By Emilia Julian | May 17, 2020
And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions. Mosiah 21:14
I truly pray there was as much, if not more, information that you took out of studying last week’s Come, Follow Me lesson as I did.
Before we move on to this week’s anticipated Book of Mormon Central’s Come, Follow Me lesson by Tyler and Taylor, I would like to share with you some points that stood out to me from last week’s lesson, covering Mosiah 17-24.
Let’s begin with King Noah. We all know he was an evil man, but sometimes (now don’t get too excited…I only said “sometimes”) I feel sorry for him. He came from a righteous father. Zeniff taught his children well. But Noah decided to fall away into unrighteous practices and behaviors, and in the meantime, he dragged many people down with him. Noah gained a lot of power, he has surrounded himself with other like-minded people who praised him and were at his every beck and call. Noah lived a very wild life with his priests and caused others to join him in all manner of sin. He cheated, lied, disobeyed every commandment, he was greedy, selfish, and a hypocrite. And yet, somewhere in that tough and bold exterior, there seems to be a very cowardly and weak individual. This is the case with many “Noah-like” individuals. This is why I say that I feel a little sorry for him. Let me clarify this a little more.
Outwardly it looks as if he had it all. He seemed to be happy and confident. He seemed to have many friends, riches, loads of power…what else can one ask for…right? He may feel a sense of temporal joy over all that he had, but I bet he went to bed at night in fear. Fear of losing his riches or status, and even fear of losing his life. Perhaps this is why he became more and more wicked.
King Noah was your all-around known bully. Yes, he was. And like all bullies, he followed a typical pattern. He looked for justification for everything he did. That doesn’t sound like a confident leader, does it? In Mosiah 17, King Noah was enraged over what Abinadi had to say to him and his priests. Abinadi’s words struck King Noah, and therefore his pride and his ego were bent all out of shape, so he exercised unrighteous dominion and commanded his priests to put Noah to death.
After thinking about it, however, knowing that it wasn’t enough to put him to death for the reasons that angered him, Noah instead sought some kind of justification for his outrage over Abinadi. So, rather than saying that he has ordered Abinadi’s death over his hatred for him, he made up an accusation against him. Noah told Abinadi to take back what he had said about Jesus Christ coming down “among the children of men”, calling Abinadi a liar and worthy of death. You see, he was attempting to turn the tables around and put the blame for his own wickedness onto his victim…in this case on righteous Abinadi. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is because it is too troublesome for him to face his own wickedness, so justifying his own corrupt system becomes an easier solution for him at Abinadi’s expense. That’s just what bullies do…it’s also just what Satan would do.
Now let me ask you this question: Would you want to trade places with King Noah? I know I wouldn’t.
Now, having said all that about King Noah, I also learned that perhaps he, having been raised and taught by a righteous father, had some kind of conscience that for a moment–only a small moment, allowed himself to feel that what he was doing to Abinadi could have been wrong. This brings me to two points that stood out to me. Let me explain:
In Mosiah 17:10-12, we understand that Abinadi does not take back his words as Noah warned him to do. Abinadi was very confident in the things he was teaching and preached by the Spirit of God. In verse 11, we read that King Noah was about to release him, but his wicked priests stirred him up to anger once again against Abinadi, reminding him of all he had said about Noah, and they convinced him to move forward with his call to put him to death.
Firstly, for a short moment, we can see a small miracle was about to happen with King Noah. He was a wicked person on the verge of repentance. Still, as a result of surrounding himself with other wicked and corrupt groups and individuals, he allowed himself to be unrighteously encouraged by them. His short-lasting sense of good ethics hastily turned into an order of execution toward Abinadi, who had become the only martyr in the Book of Mormon.
This is such a crucial reminder to us of how choosing our peers wisely can help us in making righteous decisions as they encourage us to stand strong in the gospel and look out for our best interests. Corrupt friends can be dangerous as they lead us further and further away from God. This is an entirely different lesson on its own.
Secondly, here is a little something to consider in terms of King Noah having gone through a small moment of morality for what Abinadi was warning them about. Had he not been surrounded by such corrupt individuals, he may have given himself a valuable opportunity to ponder these things carefully, and perhaps, could have caused himself to have a change of heart and repent, just as Alma eventually did. In fact, Alma’s experience is a beautiful reminder to us that a once-wicked and rebellious person can repent and change.
It is so comforting to know that our loving Heavenly Father gives us so many opportunities to see our mistakes, gain the desire to repent, and make the changes necessary to come unto Christ and be baptized in His name. Alma’s spiritual changes led him to do much good as he delivered apostatized people who were under King Noah’s rule back to a restoration of their beliefs. Alma served God to the end of his days.
Speaking of baptism, this brings me to the next points of interest for me in last week’s lesson.
I was baptized just over 30 years ago. Although I have been a member of the Church for several years, in many ways, I still feel like a new member at times, and being reminded of my baptismal covenants is essential for me to continue to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ. In Mosiah 18, Alma reminds us of these covenants as he teaches the people at the waters of Mormon. I will list them here:
- We must always have a desire to come unto Christ.
- We must take upon us His name.
- We must be willing to bear one a others burdens.
- We must be willing to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those in need of comfort.
- We must be willing to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.
- Serve Him and keep His commandments.
In turn, we are promised the following:
- We will be redeemed by God.
- Attain celestial glory and gain eternal life.
- Have His Spirit more abundantly on us.
I am filled with gratitude that each week I can renew these covenants by partaking of the sacrament. This practice helps me to remain faithfully steadfast even during times of trial and tribulation. For me, this is a reason to rejoice.
Finally, among the many other items of interest that I will not discuss at this time, this last one stood out to me because I feel this is a lesson we can all take something beneficial out of, and it’s about anger.
In Mosiah 20, we learn that while in the midst of Lamanite territory in the land of Nephi, Limhi and his people made a treaty with the Lamanite king that, among other things, they will not cause them any trouble. All was going well until one day, a few of King Noah’s wicked priests who had escaped into the wilderness some time ago, finding themselves without wives, kidnapped about 24 of the Lamanite daughters. Can you imagine the problem this caused Limhi and his people who had nothing to do with this?
Of course, assuming that it was Limhi’s people who had done this, the king became angry at him and his people. This caused him to break his oath with Limhi, and without warning, he sent an army of angry men to the land of Nephi intending to destroy the people of Limhi. The battle between them was extremely severe, but the people of Limhi were prepared and began fighting for their lives. Many Lamanites had been killed, and although the king was spared, he was wounded.
Now here is the lesson we can all take from this. Anger does not promote rationality and will cause a person to act in haste! This could prove to be dangerous for everyone involved. In this case, many people had died in a needless war that could have been avoided if the king of the Lamanites would have remained calm and rationally discussed this with Limhi before starting a war with his people. Had he done so, he would have learned that Limhi’s people had nothing to do with the missing daughters and could even have helped in locating them. Instead, the kings’ anger induced irrational thought, thus causing havoc for him and his people. Many lives could have been spared.
So there you have it…some of what I took away from last week’s Come, Follow Me lesson. I enjoy studying and look forward each week to learning more.
This week we are studying from Mosiah 25–28. I hope you will take the time to read it. As promised, here is the Come, Follow Me lesson as given by Tyler and Taylor from Book of Mormon Central.
I would love to know your thoughts about this week’s lesson. Also, don’t forget to share it with your friends so that they can learn more from this video as well. In the meantime, stay tuned each week for new blog posts about the Come, Follow Me lessons.