Having been converted, the sons of King Mosiah felt a strong desire to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. After inquiring of the Lord and receiving an assurance that they would be blessed with success and protection, Mosiah allowed them to go. At this same time, Mosiah was working to care for the sacred records that had been entrusted to him. He translated the Jaredite records and then conferred all the records upon Alma the Younger. Because his sons had declined the opportunity to be king, he instituted a system of judges as the new form of government in the land.
Suggestions for Teaching
The sons of Mosiah desire to preach to the Lamanites
Before class, write the following statements on the board:
I have a sincere desire for the eternal happiness of others.
I am willing to sacrifice to help others.
I have a desire to share the gospel with others.
To begin class, ask students to use the statements on the board to silently evaluate themselves. Have them use a rating scale of 1 to 10, with a rating of 1 indicating that the statement does not describe them well and a rating of 10 indicating that the statement describes them extremely well.
Invite students to read Mosiah 27:8–10 silently.
How would Alma and the sons of Mosiah have rated on the same scale at this time in their lives?
Ask a student to read Mosiah 28:1–4 aloud.
How would the sons of Mosiah have rated on the same scale after their conversion? Which phrases in Mosiah 28:1–4 show how much they had changed?
Why did the desires of the sons of Mosiah change? (They exercised faith in Jesus Christ, repented of all their sins, and became converted; see Mosiah 27:34–36. You may also want to refer to Mosiah 28:4 to point out how the Spirit of the Lord influenced them.)
From what you have learned about the Lamanites at this time in their history, what difficulties might missionaries encounter among them?
According to Mosiah 28:2, what difference did the sons of Mosiah believe their preaching could make in the lives of the Lamanites?
How did the conversion of the sons of Mosiah influence their desire to share the gospel? What principles can we learn from their experience? (Summarize students’ answers by writing the following principle on the board: As our conversion deepens, our desire to share the gospel increases.)
Ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. You may want to encourage students to write this statement in the margins of their scriptures next to Mosiah 28:1–4.
“The intensity of our desire to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion” (“Sharing the Gospel,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 7).
Invite students to ponder how their desire to share the gospel with others has increased as they have grown closer to the Lord.
What experiences in your life have led you to want to share the gospel with others?
Ask students to imagine that they know a young man who is a member of the Church but has little desire to serve a full-time mission.
What can this young man do to increase his desire to share the gospel? (As students share their insights, encourage them to recall what has deepened their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ and how they might recommend similar activities or experiences for this young man. Help them see that greater conversion leads to an increased desire to share the gospel with others.)
You may want to explain how you received the desire to teach the gospel to others. As you do so, consider sharing your testimony that as we draw near to the Lord and feel His Spirit, our desire to share the gospel with others will increase.
Have students read Mosiah 28:5–8 and identify why Mosiah let his sons go on such a dangerous mission.
In answer to Mosiah’s prayer, what blessings did the Lord promise Mosiah’s sons?
Mosiah translates the Jaredite plates and confers the sacred records upon Alma
Draw the following on the board:
Point to the picture of a crown, and have a student read Mosiah 28:10. Ask the class to look for a problem the king had when his sons left on a mission. (He needed to find someone to take his place as king.)
Summarize Mosiah 28:11–19 by explaining that Mosiah was growing older, and he turned some of his attention to the sacred records that had been entrusted to him: the records that his father had given to him and told him to maintain and the records that King Limhi had given to him. In his capacity as a seer, he translated the record of the Jaredites—the plates that had been found by the group that King Limhi had sent to find the land of Zarahemla (see Mosiah 8:7–9). Direct students’ attention to the picture of the gold plates on the board.
Explain that in addition to appointing a leader for the kingdom, Mosiah also needed to appoint a caretaker for the plates. Ask students to read Mosiah 28:20 silently.
Who received the sacred records?
Why was Alma a good choice to care for these records?
The people follow Mosiah’s counsel to establish a system of judges as their form of government
Have students raise their hands if they would like to be a king or queen. Choose one of those students to come to the front of the class and stand by the crown drawn on the board (or place a paper crown on his or her head). Have the student describe what benefits he or she would experience from being a king or queen.
Ask a student to read Mosiah 29:1–3 aloud.
Whom did the people want to be their king?
What did the sons of Mosiah give up so they could preach to the Lamanites?
What are some opportunities young men and young women sacrifice or postpone today so they can serve missions?
Summarize Mosiah 29:4–10 by explaining that King Mosiah was concerned that the appointment of a new king could lead to contention and even war. He also mentioned other problems that could arise if an unrighteous king came to power. Have students read Mosiah 29:16–18 and identify those problems.
Explain that King Mosiah proposed that the Nephite government should no longer be administered by a king. Instead, he recommended a system of judges, with the judges chosen by the voice of the people.
Have students read Mosiah 29:11, 25 silently, looking for how the judges were to judge the people. (“According to the commandments of God” and “according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers.”)
Write Mosiah 29:26–27, 30, 33–34, 37–38 on the board. Divide the class into pairs. Have students search these verses and identify the people’s responsibility in the government proposed by King Mosiah. Then have each partnership discuss the following questions. (You may also want to write these questions on the board or provide them in a handout.)
According to King Mosiah, what benefits would come through making decisions by the voice of the people? (He said that the voice of the people generally does not desire things that are “contrary to that which is right.” He also spoke about the need for all citizens to share in the burden of their government and to have “an equal chance.”)
What consequences would come if the voice of the people chose iniquity? (The judgments of God would come upon them, and they would be destroyed.)
In Mosiah 29:34, what do you think is the meaning of the phrase “that every man might bear his part”? How might this phrase apply to citizens’ responsibilities to participate in their local and national governments?
Read the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“For what happens in cultural decline both leaders and followers are really accountable. … It is easy to criticize bad leaders, but we should not give followers a free pass” (“Repent of [Our] Selfishness,” Ensign, May 1999, 24).
Why is it important for both leaders and followers to be accountable for their actions?
What can you do to support righteous laws and leaders? (You may want to refer students to Articles of Faith 1:12.)
Express your assurance that while not every country in the world has the opportunity to choose their own leaders, the Lord will always help those who trust in Him, no matter where they live.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 29:41–43 aloud.
Whom did the people choose to be the first chief judge? Did he live up to his charge to be a just and righteous leader? What resulted from his leadership?
Ask students to explain in their own words what they have learned from Mosiah 29. They might identify some of the following truths:
Unrighteous leadership can bring contention and sin.
It is not common for the voice of the people to choose something that is not right.
If the people choose iniquity, the judgments of God will come upon them.
Each person has a duty to uphold righteous laws and leaders.
Conclude by bearing testimony of the principles in today’s lesson.
Take some time to help students review the book of Mosiah. Ask them to think about what they have learned from this book, both in seminary and in their personal scripture study. If needed, invite them to skim the book to help them remember. After sufficient time, invite several students to share their thoughts and feelings about something in the book that has impressed them.
Commentary and Background Information
Mosiah 28:3. The desire to share the gospel
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested one effective way Church members can share the gospel:
“The key to successful member missionary work is the exercise of faith. One way to show your faith in the Lord and His promises is to prayerfully set a date to have someone prepared to meet with the missionaries. I have received hundreds of letters from members who have exercised their faith in this simple way. Even though families had no one in mind with whom they could share the gospel, they set a date, prayed, and then talked to many more people. The Lord is the Good Shepherd, and He knows His sheep who have been prepared to hear His voice. He will guide us as we seek His divine help in sharing His gospel” (“Creating a Gospel-Sharing Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 86).
Mosiah 29:41–44. The reign of the judges
The change in the government instituted through King Mosiah was so significant that from then until the birth of Christ (see 3 Nephi 2:8) the Nephites recorded their time in relation to the beginning of the reign of the judges. Previously the Nephites kept track of time from the year Lehi left Jerusalem.