Lesson 55

Mosiah 5–6

“Lesson 55: Mosiah 5–6,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

Mosiah 5 contains the conclusion of King Benjamin’s address to his people, the record of which begins in Mosiah 2. As a result of their faith in King Benjamin’s words, the people experienced a mighty change of heart. They entered into a covenant with God and took upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ. As recorded in Mosiah 6, King Benjamin transferred his kingdom to his son Mosiah, who ruled according to the example his father set.

Suggestions for Teaching

Mosiah 5:1–4

King Benjamin’s people describe the mighty change they have experienced through the Spirit

Read aloud the following scenario, and ask students to consider how the young woman’s experience may be similar to their own:

A young woman is trying to do what is right. She prays and reads her scriptures often. She attends her Church meetings. She wants to be good, but at school and in other places she hears inappropriate language and sees a lot of inappropriate behavior. Sometimes she gives in to temptation and does things she knows are not right.

  • Why can it be difficult for us to always desire to do what is right? (Caution students to not share anything that is inappropriate or too personal.)

As students study Mosiah 5 today, invite them to look for a truth that can help them know how to strengthen their righteous desires and overcome temptations.

Remind the class that after King Benjamin taught his people about the mission of Jesus Christ, the people repented and received a remission of their sins and “were filled with joy” (see Mosiah 4:2–3).

Invite students to read Mosiah 5:1 silently, looking for what King Benjamin desired to know from his people. Ask students to report what they find.

Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 5:2–4. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the people’s response to King Benjamin’s question. You may want to explain that in verse 2, the word disposition refers to an individual’s nature—his or her desires and temperament. After they have read, ask the following questions:

  • What did the people say about their dispositions?

  • What brought about this change in their dispositions?

  • Based on verse 2, how would you state a principle about what can happen to our desires when our hearts are changed through the Spirit of the Lord? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: As our hearts are changed through the Spirit of the Lord, we lose the desire to do evil and gain the desire to do good continually. Write this principle on the board.)

  • Based on the actions of King Benjamin’s people, what do you think our role is in having our hearts changed through the Spirit of the Lord? (Like King Benjamin’s people, we need to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, follow the direction He gives through His servants, and repent of our sins.)

Explain that for most people, experiencing a mighty change of heart is a process that occurs throughout their lives, not a single event.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994):

President Ezra Taft Benson

“Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. …

“… True repentance involves a change of heart and not just a change of behavior. … Most repentance does not involve sensational or dramatic changes, but rather is a step-by-step, steady, and consistent movement toward godliness” (Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 5).

  • Why do you think it is important to understand that a change of heart usually happens over time instead of all at once?

Explain that while our hearts are in the process of changing, we still experience temptation. However, as we faithfully continue to live the gospel, our desire to give in to temptation is replaced with a desire “to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2).

To help students evaluate their progress in experiencing a mighty change in their hearts, ask them to respond in their class notebooks or study journals to the following questions. (You may want to write these questions on the board before class or prepare a handout with the questions on it.)

  • When have you felt the Spirit of the Lord strengthen your desires to do good?

  • What will you do so the Lord will continue to help you experience this change of heart?

Give one or two students the opportunity to share their answers to these questions. Ensure that they understand that they should not feel obligated to share experiences or thoughts that are too personal or private.

Mosiah 5:5–15

King Benjamin’s people enter into a covenant with God and are given a new name

Invite a student to read Mosiah 5:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what King Benjamin’s people were willing to do because their hearts had been changed.

  • What were the people willing to do now that their hearts had been changed?

  • Which words or phrases in Mosiah 5:5 show the sincerity of the people’s desire to make and keep a covenant with God? (Answers may include “do his will,” “in all things,” and “all the remainder of our days.”)

Invite students to silently read Mosiah 5:7, looking for the relationship between Jesus Christ and those who make covenants with Him.

  • According to verse 7, what do those who make covenants with Jesus Christ become? (His covenant sons and daughters.)

To help students understand this covenant relationship, explain that a father gives life to a child. We are spirit children of Heavenly Father. We are also children of our earthly fathers, who, with our mothers, provided the opportunity for us to live on the earth in our physical bodies. Referring to Mosiah 5:7, President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught that Jesus Christ also “becomes our Father” because He “offers us life, eternal life, through the atonement which he made for us.” President Smith explained, “We become the children, sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, through our covenants of obedience to him” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie [1954], 1:29).

To prepare students to learn more about covenants, invite a few students to tell why they were given their names. For example, you might ask them to tell about how their parents decided to name them, or you might ask if their names have any particular meaning. Then ask the class:

  • What is the significance of a name? (On the board, summarize students’ answers to this question. Answers may include that a name is how we are known, it is associated with our identity, it is one way we are distinguished from others, and it often carries with it a reputation and expectations because of the family associated with it.)

Remind students that one reason King Benjamin gathered the people together was to give them a name (see Mosiah 1:11). Explain that Mosiah 5:7–15 records King Benjamin’s explanation of the name he had promised to give his people.

Invite a student to read Mosiah 5:8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the name that King Benjamin encouraged his people to take upon themselves. You may want to invite students to consider marking the name in their scriptures.

  • What name did King Benjamin give his people?

  • What words and phrases did you notice that teach the importance of this name?

  • What principle can we learn from verse 8 about what happens as we make and keep sacred covenants? (Help students identify the following principle: As we make and keep sacred covenants, we take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ.)

Refer students to the words on the board that describe the significance of a name.

  • How can the words on the board help us understand the significance of taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ?

Divide students into pairs. Ask them to read Mosiah 5:9–13 aloud with their partners, looking for more counsel from King Benjamin about taking the name of Jesus Christ upon ourselves. Invite them to discuss the following questions with their partners based on what they have read. (You may want to write these questions on the board or provide them on a handout.)

  • What do you think it means to have the name of Christ written in your heart?

  • Think of people you know who honor the name of Christ. What do these people do to show the reverence and love they have for the name of Christ?

  • What blessings come to those who have the name of Christ written in their hearts?

After sufficient time, invite a few students to report to the class what they discussed with their partners.

Ask a student to read Mosiah 5:15 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for additional blessings that come to those who keep their covenants. Ask students to report what they find.

Share your feelings about what it means to have taken upon yourself the name of Jesus Christ. Testify of its importance in your life.

Give students a moment to ponder what they can do better or differently in order to keep the name of Jesus Christ written in their hearts. Encourage them to commit to do what they feel prompted to do.

Mosiah 6:1–7

Mosiah begins his reign as king

Ask students to read Mosiah 6:1–3 silently, looking for what King Benjamin did before he dismissed the multitude. Invite students to report what they find.

  • Why do you think it was important to record the names of all the people who had entered into the covenant?

  • Why did King Benjamin appoint priests among the people?

Explain that after speaking to the people, King Benjamin conferred the kingdom on his son Mosiah. Three years later, King Benjamin died. Invite a student to read Mosiah 6:6–7 aloud. Ask the class to look for words and phrases that show that Mosiah followed his father’s example and helped his people continue to experience a mighty change in their hearts. Invite students to report what they find.

To conclude, testify of the truths students have discovered while studying Mosiah 5–6 today. Encourage students to follow any promptings they may have received that will help them as their hearts continue to be changed through the Spirit of the Lord.

Commentary and Background Information

Mosiah 5:2. “A mighty change in … our hearts”

A change of heart is more than just a change of behavior. When we experience a change of heart, we become new people, changed through the power of the Savior’s Atonement. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

Elder David A. Bednar

“The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. … This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord” (David A. Bednar, “Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 81–82).

Mosiah 5:15. “Steadfast and immovable”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained what it means to be “steadfast and immovable”:

Elder David A. Bednar

“The word ‘steadfast’ is used to suggest fixed in position, solid and firm, unshaken and resolute (Oxford English Dictionary Online, 2nd ed. [1989], “Steadfast”). The word ‘immovable’ is used to indicate that a person or thing is unalterable, firmly secured, and not subject to change. It also signifies the quality of being unyielding and incapable of being diverted from one’s purpose (Oxford English Dictionary Online, “Immovable”). Thus, a person who is steadfast and immovable is solid, firm, resolute, firmly secured, and incapable of being diverted from a primary purpose or mission” (David A. Bednar, “Steadfast and Immovable, Always Abounding in Good Works,” New Era, Jan. 2008, 2).