Chapter 18: Mosiah 1–3

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 64–67


Introduction

For many years, the people of Zarahemla, who became known as Nephites, were led by a righteous king named Benjamin. As King Benjamin grew old, he instructed his son Mosiah to call the people together. He said that in his final sermon, he would appoint a new king. He would also give the people “a name that never [would] be blotted out, except it be through transgression” (Mosiah 1:12). Early in his sermon, King Benjamin proclaimed that his son Mosiah would be king over the people. Throughout the sermon, he bore witness of the Savior, preparing the people to receive the name he would give them.

The following material focuses on King Benjamin’s witness of the Savior as recorded in Mosiah 2–3. It provides an opportunity for you to remind students of the blessings of salvation that come through Jesus Christ and the Atonement. You can help them see how the Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall and compensates for mortal weakness and how humility and gratitude are essential as we strive to keep our covenants with God. The next time you meet with students, you will discuss Mosiah 4–6, in which King Benjamin gives his people the name as he promised.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • We are accountable before God for the way we serve others (see Mosiah 2:1–18).

  • We are eternally indebted to God (see Mosiah 2:19–41).

  • Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 3).

Suggestions for Teaching

Words of Mormon 1:12–18; Mosiah 1. King Benjamin Was a Righteous Leader

Hold up a picture of King Benjamin on his tower. (You may use Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 74, or the picture on page 67.) Ask students to identify the event in the picture.

Point out that Words of Mormon 1:12–18 and Mosiah 1 provide background information for King Benjamin’s address. To share that background information, ask that each student write the numbers 1 through 5 on a piece of paper. Then read the five statements below, without the information in parentheses. Ask students to write True or False for each statement. After students have written their answers, ask them to read the corresponding scriptures and discuss whether each statement is true or false.

  1. 1.

    King Benjamin fought with the sword of Laban against the Lamanites. (True; see Words of Mormon 1:13; see also Omni 1:24.)

  2. 2.

    Throughout King Benjamin’s reign, all the people loved him and accepted his counsel. (False; see Words of Mormon 1:16; however, see also Mosiah 1:1.)

  3. 3.

    King Benjamin single-handedly established righteousness among the Nephites. (False; see Words of Mormon 1:17–18.)

  4. 4.

    King Benjamin taught his sons the language of his fathers so they could search the scriptures and know the mysteries of God. (True; see Mosiah 1:2–4.)

  5. 5.

    King Benjamin called the people together to hear him speak for political and spiritual reasons. (True; see Mosiah 1:10–11.)

Explain that when we know how King Benjamin established peace and righteousness, we gain a greater appreciation for the depth of his teachings and testimony.

Mosiah 2:1–18. We Are Accountable before God for the Way We Serve Others

Explain that the Nephites gathered outside the temple in Zarahemla to hear King Benjamin speak. They pitched their tents with the doors facing the temple so they could hear Benjamin’s words. The king asked that a tower be built so more people could hear him. He also asked that his words be written for the people who were still too far away to hear. (See Mosiah 2:1–8.)

On the board, write We are accountable before God for the way we serve others.

Read Mosiah 2:9–18 with the students. You may want to give special attention to Mosiah 2:17 . Ask students to look for evidence that King Benjamin believed that we are accountable for our service to others.

  • What reasons did King Benjamin give for his service?

  • In what ways have you felt that your acts of service to others have also been service to the Lord?

Share the following statement by President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency (also available on the companion DVD A):

“By serving and lifting others … we experience the only true and lasting happiness. Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.

“Knowing that service is what gives our Father in Heaven fulfillment, and knowing that we want to be where He is and as He is, why must we be commanded to serve one another? Oh, for the glorious day when these things all come naturally because of the purity of our hearts. In that day there will be no need for a commandment because we will have experienced for ourselves that we are truly happy only when we are engaged in unselfish service” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 135; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 93).

  • Think about a time when you followed a prompting to serve someone. How did you feel when you responded to this prompting?

  • Ponder President Romney’s statement that “we are truly happy only when we are engaged in unselfish service.” Why do you think this is true?

Mosiah 2:19–41. We Are Eternally Indebted to God

Invite students to list on a piece of paper five or six blessings they have received for which they are especially grateful. After students have written their lists, invite them to read Mosiah 2:19–24 silently. Have them identify, as they read, anything on their lists that King Benjamin suggested we should be thankful for. Invite each student to turn to another student and discuss what these verses teach we should be grateful for.

  • What are some ways we can show our gratitude to the Lord?

Ask the students to review verse 22, looking for promised blessings. Ask them what the Lord requires of us so we can receive those blessings.

  • What blessings have you or your family received as a result of obedience to the commandments?

Bring an item to class that has visible dust on its surface. Wipe your finger across the surface of the item and hold your finger up for the class to see.

  • Which is more valuable—the dust on my finger or me?

As students discuss this question, invite someone to read Mosiah 2:25–26. Ask students to explain what they think Benjamin meant when he said that he and his people were not even “as much as the dust of the earth.”

Write the following scripture references on the board:

Give students time to read and mark these passages. Point out that one passage says that we are not even “as much as the dust of the earth,” while the other says that we are only “a little lower than the angels.”

  • How are both statements true?

Invite a student to read Mosiah 2:34. Invite all students to listen for a phrase that teaches us something about our relationship to Heavenly Father.

  • What does it mean to be indebted to someone?

  • What has God provided for us?

  • Why is it important for you to remember that you are eternally indebted to the Lord?

Invite a student to read Mosiah 2:36–41. Invite the class to read along, looking for contrasts between people who keep the commandments of God and people who do not keep the commandments.

  • According to these verses, what consequences come to people who do not obey the commandments and who do not repent?

  • According to these verses, what blessings come to those who keep the commandments?

  • How can feeling grateful to Heavenly Father help us be obedient to His commandments? How can ingratitude lead to disobedience?

Encourage students to ponder their indebtedness to the Lord.

Mosiah 3. Salvation Comes Only through Jesus Christ

Share the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency:

“What we need is faith in [Jesus Christ] and to love Him. We must know that He lives and who He is. When we do, we will love Him” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2006, 16; or Ensign, May 2006, 16).

  • Why will we love the Savior more as we come to know who He is?

Explain that Mosiah 3 contains the words that an angel spoke to King Benjamin. Help students see that through revelation, the Nephites were allowed to know important details of the Savior’s life and the purpose of His mission more than 100 years before His birth. Similarly, with the spirit of revelation, we can know the truth of the angel’s message more than 2,000 years later. Through the witness of the Spirit, we come to know and love the Savior, developing greater faith in Him.

Divide the class into five groups. Assign each group one of the following scripture blocks:

As the groups study their scripture blocks, ask them to identify prophecies of the Savior’s ministry and Atonement and explanations of how salvation is available through the name of Christ. After students have had time to discuss their findings in their groups, have them report to the entire class.

Depending on the needs of students, consider asking some of the following questions:

  • From what you have read in this chapter, why is salvation available only through Jesus Christ?

  • On pages 139–40 in the student manual, read the explanation of the phrase “natural man.” Why is faith in Christ and His Atonement the only way for us to overcome the natural man and become saints?

  • In verse 19, we are told that we should become “as a child.” What does this mean to you?

  • How does this chapter testify of our need for Jesus Christ?

Invite students to share their testimonies of the blessings of the Atonement. Consider bearing your own testimony.