Lesson 54: Mosiah 4

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

Moved by King Benjamin’s teachings, the people repented and received a remission of their sins. They were “filled with joy” and had “peace of conscience” (Mosiah 4:3). King Benjamin continued to teach them, helping them understand what they must do to “retain a remission of [their] sins” (Mosiah 4:12). He also warned them of the danger of neglecting to watch their thoughts, words, and deeds.

Suggestions for Teaching

Mosiah 4:1–8

King Benjamin’s people receive a remission of their sins and are filled with joy and peace

Invite students to imagine that a young man has committed a serious sin and feels guilty about what he has done. He knows he should repent but worries that repentance might be too difficult. He wonders if repenting of his sins is really worth the effort.

  • What counsel would you give this young man? Why?

As students study Mosiah 4 today, invite them to look for the blessings of repentance, as well as what is required to receive a remission of sins.

Remind students that Mosiah 3 contains the words King Benjamin received from an angel about how to receive a remission of sins.

Ask students to read Mosiah 4:1–2 silently, looking for phrases that indicate how King Benjamin’s people responded to the angel’s words. Invite a few students to report the phrases they find.

If students need help understanding the phrase “carnal state,” explain that the word carnal is the opposite of spiritual. It refers to our physical appetites rather than our spiritual desire to draw nearer to the Lord. King Benjamin’s people may have considered themselves to be “less than the dust of the earth” because the dust of the earth always obeys the Lord’s commands, but God’s children often do not (see Helaman 12:7–8). Ensure that students understand that Heavenly Father does not consider His children to be less than the dust of the earth (see D&C 18:10).

Point out that, like the young man in the scenario you presented, King Benjamin’s people had to decide whether or not to repent of their sins. According to Mosiah 4:2, they repented, expressing their faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Invite a student to read Mosiah 4:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the blessings that came to the Nephites because they repented.

  • In your own words, what principle can we learn from Mosiah 4:1–3 about the blessings we can receive when we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and sincerely repent? (One possible answer is that as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and sincerely repent, we can be filled with joy, receive a remission of our sins, and have peace of conscience. You may want to invite students to consider marking key words and phrases in Mosiah 4:1–3 that emphasize this principle.)

  • Why do you think it is important that we exercise faith in Jesus Christ as we seek forgiveness for our sins? What are some ways we can exercise faith in Him?

  • How could you use this principle to help the young man in the scenario understand that repentance is worth the effort?

Testify that we can have peace and joy as we exercise our faith in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins.

Explain that after witnessing the people’s repentant attitude, King Benjamin reminded them of their dependence on the Lord and taught them how to progress toward salvation. Ask several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 4:4–8. Ask the class to look for phrases that describe people who receive salvation. You may want to invite students to consider marking these phrases.

  • What phrases did you find that describe people who receive salvation?

  • What do you think it means to “be diligent in keeping [the Lord’s] commandments” (verse 6)?

  • What are some actions that demonstrate that a person has “put his [or her] trust in the Lord” (verse 6)?

  • In what ways have you seen the “goodness of God” and His “matchless power” (verse 6)?

Testify that repentance and obedience require much work and effort on our part. However, no matter how hard we have to work, repentance is worth the effort.

Mosiah 4:9–30

King Benjamin teaches how to retain a remission of sins

Invite a student to read Mosiah 4:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for additional truths King Benjamin taught about faith and repentance. Invite students to consider marking any words or phrases that stand out to them. You may want to ask a few students to tell the class what they marked and why.

  • What is a truth taught in verse 9 that can help us have faith in God? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that God created all things and has all power and wisdom.)

  • How might knowing that God created all things and has all power and wisdom help motivate you to repent?

  • Why do you think King Benjamin might have taught his people about the importance of repentance immediately after they repented?

Write retain a remission of our sins on the board. Point out that once we receive a remission of our sins, it takes effort to retain, or keep, that clean and pure state.

Copy the following chart on the board:

What we must do

How we are blessed

  

Invite a student to read Mosiah 4:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we must do to retain a remission of our sins. Invite students to report what they find. Ask a student to write students’ answers on the board in the left column of the chart. Answers may include that we need to remember the greatness of God, humble ourselves, pray daily, and stand steadfastly in the faith. You may need to explain that to remember our own nothingness can refer to recognizing our ongoing need for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

  • According to verse 12, what blessings did King Benjamin say his people would receive if they did these things? (Invite a student to list these responses in the right column of the chart on the board.)

Help students use the chart to identify a principle in these verses by writing If above the left column and then above the right column. Invite students to compose an if–then statement using the responses listed on the board. Students should state a principle similar to the following: If we remember God’s greatness, humble ourselves, pray daily, and stand steadfastly in the faith, then we will be filled with God’s love, retain a remission of our sins, and grow in knowledge. Invite students to consider marking phrases in verses 11 and 12 that teach this principle.

  • How might humbling ourselves help us grow in knowledge?

  • How has praying daily helped you retain a remission of your sins?

  • How can worthily partaking of the sacrament help us to humble ourselves and retain a remission of our sins?

  • When has doing one of the things listed in the left column of the chart helped you to feel God’s love for you?

Invite students to look again at the list of things we must do. Ask them to ponder which of these things they can improve on, and invite them to write in their class notebooks or study journals what they will do to improve.

Explain that Mosiah 4:13–16 contains King Benjamin’s description of people who retain a remission of their sins. Divide the class into three groups. Ask the first group to search Mosiah 4:13, the second group to search Mosiah 4:14–15, and the third group to search Mosiah 4:16. Invite students to read their assigned verse or verses individually and look for attitudes and qualities that King Benjamin described in those who seek to retain a remission of their sins.

After sufficient time, invite students to report what they have found. As they do so, help students understand what they are learning by asking one or both of the following questions as each attitude or quality is mentioned:

  • Why do you think this attitude (or quality) is important to retaining a remission of our sins?

  • When have you seen examples of this attitude (or quality)?

Organize students in pairs. Invite each pair to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 4:17–23, looking for additional teachings of King Benjamin about caring for the poor and needy. After students have had time to read the verses, invite them to discuss their favorite phrases from these verses with their partners.

Invite students to read Mosiah 4:24–27 aloud with their partners, looking for King Benjamin’s counsel to those who are unable to or have little to give to beggars. Invite students to report to the class what they find. You may want to ask students whether they have any comments or questions about King Benjamin’s teachings on caring for the poor. Discuss their comments and questions as time permits.

Explain that after King Benjamin taught his people how to retain a remission of their sins and be saved, he warned them about what might cause them to “perish,” or become spiritually lost and separated from God. Invite a student to read Mosiah 4:29–30 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what might cause us to perish.

  • How would you state King Benjamin’s warning in verse 30 as a principle? (Students’ responses should reflect the following principle: If we are not careful about our thoughts, words, and deeds and do not keep the commandments or continue in the faith of Jesus Christ throughout our lives, we will perish. Invite students to consider marking phrases in verse 30 that teach this principle.)

  • What is the relationship between our thoughts, words, and deeds? What can we do to watch ourselves?

Testify of the Lord’s love for each of us and of His desire for us to repent and retain a remission of our sins.

Consider giving students a few minutes to write about how they will apply the principles in Mosiah 4:9–30 as they strive to retain a remission of their sins.

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

Mosiah 4:16–27. Caring for those in need—an attribute of disciples of Jesus Christ

Rather than inviting students to read Mosiah 4:17–27 with their partners, you may want to use the following teaching idea.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 4:16–23. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what King Benjamin taught about caring for the poor. Invite students to report what they find.

  • According to King Benjamin, how are we all beggars?

  • Why do you think King Benjamin might have taught his people so much about caring for the poor as part of teaching them about how to retain a remission of their sins? (Help students identify the following principle: Caring for the poor and needy in whatever way we can helps us retain a remission of our sins.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what he taught about caring for the poor and retaining a remission of our sins.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us [see Mosiah 4:11–12, 20, 26]” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Are We Not All Beggars?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 41).

  • Why do you think retaining a remission of our sins partially depends on the way we care for others?

Invite students to read Mosiah 4:24–26 silently, looking for the counsel King Benjamin gave to those who are unable to give to beggars.

  • What did King Benjamin say we should do if we are unable to give to beggars?

  • What are some ways the Church today helps care for the poor and needy?

  • How does giving fast offerings help us follow the counsel in Mosiah 4:26? How can youth participate in fast offerings? (Answers may include that they can fast; some may contribute fast offerings; and Aaronic Priesthood holders in some parts of the world gather fast offerings from ward or branch members.)

You might ask Aaronic Priesthood holders to think about their efforts to gather fast offerings.

  • Why do you think caring for the poor and needy is part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ?

  • How have your experiences with serving those in need helped you come closer to Jesus Christ?

Point out that with all the good things we are asked to do, it can sometimes be challenging to find balance in our lives. Invite a student to read Mosiah 4:27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what King Benjamin taught about finding that balance.

  • What do you think it means to do all things in “wisdom and order”?

  • How can this counsel help you?

Mosiah 4:30. Watch your thoughts, words, and deeds

To help students apply the counsel in Mosiah 4:30 to watch their thoughts, read the following analogy and counsel from President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Boyd K. Packer

“As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. I had been told … as I grew up that thoughts must be controlled, but no one told me how. I’ve thought about this over the years and have decided that the mind is like a stage. During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of your mind.

“Have you noticed that shady little thoughts may creep in from the wings and attract your attention in the middle of almost any performance and without any real intent on your part? … If you permit them to go on, all thoughts of any virtue will leave the stage. … What do you do at a time like that, when the stage of your mind is commandeered by the imps of unclean thinking … ? If you can fill your mind with clean and constructive thoughts, then there will be no room for these persistent imps, and they will leave” (Boyd K. Packer, “Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts,” New Era, Apr. 2008, 7–8).

President Packer went on to suggest one way to push unworthy thoughts out of our minds:

President Boyd K. Packer

“Choose a favorite hymn or song, … one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. There are many beautiful songs to choose from. Seek the guidance of the Spirit in making your selection. Go over the song in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a simple song. Now use this as the course for your thoughts to follow. Make it your emergency channel. …

“Because the music is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will slip shamefully away. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light. In due time you will find yourself humming the music inwardly, almost automatically, to drive out unworthy thoughts” (Boyd K. Packer, “Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts,” 11).

Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles similarly taught:

Elder Richard G. Scott

“Some bad thoughts come by themselves. Others come because we invite them by what we look at and listen to. Talking about or looking at immodest pictures … can stimulate powerful emotions. It will tempt you to watch improper [videos] or movies. These things surround you, but you must not participate in them. Work at keeping your thoughts clean by thinking of something good. The mind can think of only one thing at a time. Use that fact to crowd out ugly thoughts. Above all, don’t feed thoughts by reading or watching things that are wrong. If you don’t control your thoughts, Satan will keep tempting you until you eventually act them out” (Richard G. Scott, “Making the Right Choices,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 37).

Invite students to create a plan to remove bad thoughts that creep into their minds. Their plans might include many ideas, such as thinking of a hymn or Primary song, reciting a scripture, or picturing the Savior. Invite a few students to share their plans. Encourage students to put their plans into practice.