Book of Mormon Lesson 16 (Mosiah 4–6)
THE GREAT CONVERSION
The People Are Filled with the Spirit and Joy
● Having heard and understood the principles taught by King Benjamin, the people fell to the earth (Mosiah 4:1–2). The word translated “fear” (v. 1) really means “reverence” or “respect.” They were falling down into a posture (probably kneeling) of respect.
● They were “filled with joy,” knowing they had been forgiven because of the “peace of conscience” they received (Mosiah 4:3).
● The words “joy” and “peace” are the ones most often used in the scriptures to describe the presence of the Spirit.
Rodney Turner said, “It was the baptism of fire— administered by the Holy Ghost—that King Benjamin’s people received (Mosiah 4:3).”1
Elder Marion G. Romney said, “Somebody recently asked how one could know when he is converted. The answer is simple. He may be assured of it when by the power of the Holy Spirit his soul is healed. When this occurs, he will recognize it by the way he feels, for he will feel as the people of Benjamin felt when they received remission of sins. The record says, ‘ . . . the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, . . . ‘ (Mosiah 4:3).”2
President Harold B. Lee said, “If the time comes when you have done all that you can to repent of your sins . . . and have made amends and restitution to the best of your ability . . . , then you will want that confirming answer as to whether or not the Lord has accepted of you. In your soul-searching, if you seek for and you find that peace of conscience, by that token you may know that the Lord has accepted of your repentance.”3
Recognizing Our Dependence on Christ
● King Benjamin reminded them of their “nothingness” and “worthlessness” while in a fallen state (Mosiah 4:5). This does not mean mankind is insignificant. It means he is utterly dependence upon God for his salvation.
● Moses beheld how small we are in the vastness of the universe, and exclaimed, “man is nothing.” God corrected him by calling him “my son” and reminding him that mankind is his work and his glory (Moses 1:9–10; Moses 1:39).
The Need for Action
● “If ye believe all these things see that ye do them” (Mosiah 4:6–10).
● Receiving a remission of our sins involves four things: (Mosiah 4:11).
— Coming to a knowledge of the glory of God.
— Knowing of His goodness.
— Tasting of His love.
— Receiving great joy in our souls.
● Retaining a remission of our sins after having been forgiven, requires: (Mosiah 4:11–13).
— Always remembering the greatness of God.
— Being humble by remembering our dependence upon God.
— Calling on the name of the Lord daily.
— Standing steadfast in the faith.
— Living peaceably with others without desiring to harm them.
● Teaching their children these same principles (Mosiah 4:14–15; Mosiah 26:1). This counsel is particularly interesting since some of the little children at this conference would later rebel against the Lord and “did not believe the tradition of their fathers.” As children, they did not comprehend the teachings of King Benjamin, and they had to rely on their parents to teach them these principles. That is precisely what the king was now commanding those parents to do.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “Every home is a house of learning, either for good or otherwise. Family members may learn to be obedient, honest, industrious, self-reliant, and faithful in living gospel principles, or they may learn something else. Learning the gospel in the homes of Church members should be centered on the scriptures and on the words of latter-day prophets . . . Teach your children to pray, to rely on the Lord for guidance, and to express appreciation for their blessings. Children learn from you to distinguish between right and wrong. They learn that lying, cheating, stealing, or coveting possessions of others is wrong. Help them to learn to keep the Sabbath day holy and to pay their tithing. Teach them to learn and obey the commandments of God. Teach your young children to work, and teach them that honest labor develops dignity and self-respect. Help them to find pleasure in work and to feel the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.”4
● Sharing with the poor (Mosiah 4:16–27). Charitable service is an important characteristic of members of Christ’s Church.
— The issue should not be worthiness, but need (vv. 17, 22).
— Both temporally and spiritually, we are all “beggars” (vv. 19–20). Neither our earthly possessions nor our eternal salvation are self-made.
— We have “great cause to repent” if we have this attitude (vv. 18–23).
— His counsel to the poor who could not impart of their substance (vv. 24–25). We can develop a generous heart regardless of our financial situation.
— Serving others helps us retain a remission of our sins (v. 26).
— We should do all things “in wisdom and order” (v. 27).
● We must watch our thoughts, words, and deeds. We will be judged by all three of them (Mosiah 4:28–30). The Lord said we will be required to give an accounting of every idle word that we speak (Matt. 12:36–37).
Elder James E. Talmage said, “Man’s accountability for his individual acts is as complete as is his agency to elect for himself. The ultimate result of good deeds is happiness, the consequence of evil is misery; these follow in every man’s life by inviolable laws. There is a plan of judgment (Matt. 10:15; Matt. 11:22; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 John 4:17) divinely foreordained, by which every man will be called to answer for his deeds; and not for deeds alone but for his words also and even for the thoughts of his heart. ‘But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment’ (Matt. 12:36) These are the words of the Savior Himself.”5
— All of our thoughts are being recorded, along with our words and deeds, within our own minds, and at the day of judgment we will have a “bright recollection” of everything we’ve ever thought, said, or done (Alma 11:43).
President John Taylor said, “If I had time to enter into this subject alone I could show you upon scientific principles that man himself is a self-registering machine, his eyes, his ears, his nose, the touch, the taste, and all the various senses of the body, are so many media whereby man lays up for himself a record which perhaps nobody else is acquainted with but himself; and when the time comes for that record to be unfolded all men that have eyes to see, and ears to hear, will be able to read all things as God himself reads them and comprehends them, and all things, we are told, are naked and open before him with whom we have to do.”6
Entering into a Covenant with Christ
● The people experienced a “mighty change” of heart and “had no more disposition to do evil” (Mosiah 5:1–5). President Joseph F. Smith said, “What a glorious condition was this! a condition in which the Lord God Omnipotent, by the power of His Spirit, had wrought a mighty change in the hearts of that people, that they no longer had any desire to do evil, but were filled only with a fervent desire to do that which was good. This was indeed a great change, and yet it is precisely that change that comes today to every son and daughter of God who repents of his or her sins, who humble themselves before the Lord, and who seek forgiveness and remission of sin by baptism by immersion, by one having authority to administer the sacred ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”7
● “Becoming children of Christ” (Mosiah 5:6–7). Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “It is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we receive eternal life, through the resurrection of the dead and obedience to the principles of the gospel. The Savior becomes our Father, in the sense in which this term is used in the scriptures, because he offers us life, eternal life, through the Atonement which he made for us . . . We become the children, sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, through our covenants of obedience to him. Because of his divine authority and sacrifice on the cross, we become spiritually begotten sons and daughters, and he is our Father.”8
Taking Christ’s Name Upon Us
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ affirms our commitment to do all that we can to be counted among those whom he will choose to stand at his right hand and be called by his name at the last day. In this sacred sense, our witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ constitutes our declaration of candidacy for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Exaltation is eternal life, `the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7).”9
● The blessings that come from keeping these covenants (Mosiah 5:11–15). The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. . . . In obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness . . . He never has—he never will—institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness.”10
● King Benjamin recorded the names of all those who made this covenant (Mosiah 6:1–2). President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Men’s deeds and thoughts must be recorded in heaven, and recording angels will not fail to make complete recordings of our thoughts and actions. We pay our tithing and the bishop records it in his book and gives us a receipt. But even if the entry fails to get in the ward record, we shall have full credit for the tithes we paid. There will be no omissions in the heavenly records, and they will all be available at the day of judgment.”11
The Church Is Organized and King Mosiah II Reigns
● King Benjamin organized the Church and dismissed the multitude (Mosiah 6:3).
● King Mosiah II began his reign at age 30 (124 BC). Three years later, King Benjamin died (Mosiah 6:4–7).
● King Benjamin had named his son after his father.
—We therefore refer to King Benjamin’s father as Mosiah I.
—We refer to King Benjamin’s son as Mosiah II.
—The Book of Mosiah is named after Mosiah II, who kept the record and preserved it for our benefit.
1. “The Great Conversion,” in Kent Jackson, ed., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 7: 1 Nephi to Alma 29 , 224–225.
2. In Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 25.
3. Stand Ye in Holy Places , 185.
4. Ensign, May 1993, 68.
5. The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. , 50.
6. In Journal of Discourses, 26:31.
7. In Conference Report, Apr. 1898, 65–66.
8. Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:29.
9. In Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 105; or Ensign, May 1985, 83.
10. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith , 255–257.
11. The Miracle of Forgiveness , 107–109.