Sunday, April 26, 2020

Zeniff’s Lost People (Mosiah 7-11) QUESTIONS

Backstory Summary:

Earlier in the reign of King Benjamin, a group of Nephites wanted to return to the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla, where the Nephites had lived for the first 300 or so years of their colonization of the Americas (see Omni 1:27-30).  The Lamanites had taken over that land and Zeniff, the Nephite leader, made a treaty with the Lamanite King for some land, in return for which they would pay tribute to the Lamanites (see Mosiah 7:21-22).  The Lamanites wanted to enslave the Nephites and profit from their industry, so they broke the treaty and attacked them twice (Mosiah 9:14 and Mosiah 10:8).  Zeniff and the Nephites prayed and defeated the Lamanites both times (Mosiah 9:18 and Mosiah 10:19-20).  King Zeniff died and conferred the kingdom upon his son, Noah.  But King Noah was wicked and did not walk in the ways of his father (Mosiah 11:1-2).  

The account starts in chapter 7 at the time of King Mosiah II’s ascent to the throne with a scouting party from Zarahemla, led by Ammon I, which finds the descendants of Zeniff’s lost people, now led by King Limhi, the son of Noah and grandson of Zeniff.  By this time, the people were in bondage to the Lamanites.  Limhi is overjoyed to hear that the main group of Nephites are still alive and he wants to lead his people back to the Land of Zarahemla to reunite with them.  Previously, Limhi had sent a scouting party out to try and locate Zarahemla.  While they did not find that land, they did find a land of bones and a record on gold plates.

A Seer:

READ Mosiah 8:5-9
Whose record did they find recorded on the 24 gold plates?

READ Mosiah 8:12, 19
What information and “mysteries” are on these plates?

READ Mosiah 8:13
What does a seer do?
What is the opposite of the visionary seer?
So, why can’t the blind “see”?
What does Ammon teach Limhi regarding how a seer “sees”?
Does a seer need a device to enable them to see?
What is the difference between a seer’s tool and a crystal ball or other “magic” device?

READ Mosiah 8:14-16
How is a seer a revelator and a prophet also?

READ Mosiah 8:17-18
What does a seer see?
What is implied by the fact that without revelation there are things “which otherwise could not be known”?
What is the relationship between the office of Apostle, the titles of “Prophet, Seer and Revelator” and the gifts of prophesy, seership, and revelation?

The Wickedness of King Noah 

“The church is prospering and succeeding. All the church’s efforts meet with success, the leaders are respected and loved, and the religion is popular and accepted. The people are faithfully living their leaders' teachings that tell them of their relationship with God, and the responsibilities they must live up to as His chosen people. They are busy doing all that is asked of them. Your tithes are being put to good use; the building program has produced many beautiful and impressive buildings, including a new conference center, office tower, and a gorgeous temple. Prior attacks by those not of your faith have been put to rest, and you can live and practice your religion in peace, without fear of persecution. All is well in Zion. Yea, Zion prospereth.  Then in the midst of this comfortable prosperity, out of nowhere, a crazy man begins to publicly level accusations against your church. He says that you are not chosen, but are instead horribly wicked. He tells you your religion is an abomination and threatens that terrible destruction is coming if you don’t repent. What’s worse, he begins attacking your leaders as being corrupt, greedy, ignorant, and uninspired. The man who makes such accusations has no authority, title or office. He’s a “nobody,” neither known nor respected in the church. He’s so deluded he actually claims God talks to him and tells him to say all these horrible, unkind, and hurtful things about your church and its leadership.  Of course, he is wrong. All the evidence shows that God is pleased with your church and pouring out His choicest blessings on the leadership. Anybody can see that. Consequently, many are hurt and angered by this man. They feel threatened. They fear him and his message. Oh, sure, he preaches about God, but he obviously has no idea that a loving God would never say such things and cause such pain. The God that you know delights to pour out blessings, not destruction. He rewards you for proper behavior, rather than punishing you for error. He raises up chosen leaders to show you the right way, and would never allow them to lead you astray. Why would God ever let his church fall into corruption? The crazy man is deluded, and easily dismissed. Efforts to ignore him ensue, though he just won’t shut up. Ultimately, as one who may potentially mislead, and even eternally damage those who listen to him, he must be stopped in any way possible. He’s threatening the peace and stirring up unrest. Isn’t it better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief? Unfortunately, efforts to arrest and punish him for his crimes fail, as he gets wind of what’s coming and leaves the country. He makes a clean getaway, and is safe…” 

READ Mosiah 11:1
Why do the scriptures use the metaphor of walking a road or  path or “way” for being obedient?

READ Mosiah 11:2-8
Contrast King Noah’s “walk” with that of King Benjamin’s – what are the key differences?
Despite imposing a 20% flat tax and requiring much more labor, how does Noah win over the hearts of the people?
How does idolatry result from flattery?

READ Mosiah 11:10-11
Why does Noah spend money on a fine temple if he doesn’t keep God’s commandments?

READ Mosiah 11:16-19
What is the difference between Noah’s armies and Captain Moroni’s?

READ Mosiah 12:8
Why is it important in the latter days for us to know of the wickedness of Noah’s people?

The Ministry of Abinadi

READ Mosiah 11:20
Where did Abinadi come from?
Why does Abinadi say “thus sayeth the Lord” and what does that imply?

READ Mosiah 11:21
What is the only way Noah’s people can avoid being enslaved by the Lamanites and why would the Lord “enforce righteousness” in them instead of honoring their agency?

READ Mosiah 11:22-24
How will the people know that the Lord is their God?

READ Mosiah 11:25
What does it mean to “repent in sackcloth and ashes”?

READ Mosiah 11:26
How did the people react to Abinadi’s message of destruction, coming so soon after their decisive victory over the Lamanites?

READ Mosiah 11:27
What is Noah implying about Abinadi when he says “who is Abinadi, that I and my people should be judged of him”?
How can we make sense of Noah’s question about the Lord – does he really not know who God is?

READ Mosiah 11:28-29
How is Abinadi’s message stirring up the people to contend with anger with each other?
Why do you think the Lord sends Abinadi at a time when, in Noah and his people’s eyes, everything is going so well – economically, socially, and militarily?
Who blinded the eyes of the people so that they could not “see”?
What results from being blind?


Due to some recent work and life changes, I'm taking a hiatus from the weekly blog.  I will leave the blog up for anyone who would like ...