Sunday School Lesson 21

June 5, 2004 | 5 comments
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My apologies for posting this so late. I’ve had family visiting, so blogging has had to take a back seat, along with Sunday School preparation. I think I’ll have the next lesson up by Sunday or Monday evening.

Lesson 21: Mosiah 29, Alma 1-4

Mosiah 29

Verses 7-9: Aaron has just been converted in a miraculous manner, and he is obviously serious about his conversion. His mission is evidence of that. Nevertheless, here we see Mosiah worried that being king might destroy him. Does he lack confidence in his son? If so, why? If not, how do you explain Mosiah’s remarks?

Verses 12ff: What is necessary in order to have a king? Are the judges that Mosiah suggests as rulers the same or similar to the judges of ancient Israel, or is this a different system of government?

Verse 13: Mosiah tells us that the problem with kings is that sometimes they are unjust. How does having judges instead of kings ameliorate this problem? (Compare verses 28-29.)

Verse 16: In the Old Testament the king is often understood as a shadow of the Messiah, one who typifies the Savior. Is he suggesting here that, because of our iniquity, that type and shadow doesn’t work?

Verse 25: Does this verse tell us that the judges were elected democratically, or does it mean something else? What evidence can you give for your conclusion?

Verse 26: Given the Nephite experience so far, the record they have of Israel before Lehi left, and what they have just read in the Book of Ether, how can Mosiah say this? All the evidence seems to indicate that it is quite common for the majority to desire what is wrong, doesn’t it?

Verse 27: Does this verse answer the question I asked about verse 26? How are we to understand these verses as they apply to us today?

Verse 31: Israelites also had this belief, that the wickedness of the king caused the wickedness of the nation. It was the flip side of the belief that the king typified the Messiah. What bearing does this belief have on our understanding of government? Why might the ancient Israelites and King Mosiah have believed that a wicked king caused a wicked people? We don’t usually believe that a wicked CEO in a company is necessarily a bad leader for the company. Why would a wicked national leader necessarily be a bad leader for the country? In other words, how do the two kinds of leadership differ, if they do?

Verse 32: To what inequality is Mosiah referring?

Verses 33-34: Is Mosiah arguing that it is too difficult to be king, even for a righteous person, so no one should ask someone to be his or her king? Why would that argument be different for a king than for any other leader?

Verse 38: Two things seem to have most impressed Mosiah’s people to give up their desire for a king: they wanted each person to have an equal chance and they wanted each person to answer for his or her own sins. What kinds of things has Mosiah been talking about that would have led them to the conclusion that each should have an equal chance at something or other? To what do you think they want each person to have an equal chance? How is their desire to have each person answer for his or her own sins a response to Mosiah’s teaching? Why wouldn’t each person be responsible under a king? Is this, perhaps, reflection of the Israelite understanding of the king (see verse 31)?

Verse 42: Does this tell us that Alma held two offices or that the office of chief judge and that of high priest were the same, in the same way that for us, the President and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Services aren’t two different offices?

Verse 43: Alma judged righteously and there was peace throughout the land. Is that a cause and effect relation? If so, how so?

Alma 1

Verses 3-4: What are Nehor’s doctrines? For what appears to be more of them, see Alma 15:15 and 21:6-8.

Verse 12: To what group does “this people” refer? Is Alma saying that this is the first case of priestcraft since Lehi’s colony arrived? Why would priestcraft result in the destruction of the people? Do we have priestcraft among us today? Outside the Church? In it?

Verses 13-14: What is Alma’s justification for the death penalty? What does the last part of verse 14 mean: “[the law] has been acknowledged by this people; therefore this people must abide by the law”? How do we acknowledge our laws?

Verse 15: Why do you think ancient peoples felt it was important for a criminal given the death penalty not only to die but to suffer an ignominious death?

Verses 19-22: The non-members persecuted the members “with all manner of words.” On the other hand, there was a strict law that forbade the members from persecuting others or each other. What was the result? (Be sure also to look at verse 24.) What lesson is in this for us?

Verses 25-27: What are the three things that distinguish this church?

Verses 29-30: Why do you think the writer felt it so important to record these two verses?

Alma 2

Verse 10: Amlici commands his people to go to war so that he can subjugate his people. How does going to war do that? Do you know of contemporary examples of someone using a declaration of war to subjugate his people? What lesson is there in this for us?

Verse 30: What is significant about Alma’s prayer? How does his intent differ from that of Amlici?

Alma 3

Verses 14-18: How do these verses understand the mark put on the Lamanites and others? How do you reconcile these verses with verses such as 2 Nephi 5:21-24? How do you reconcile the fact that in verses 14-16 the Lord says he will put a mark on certain groups of people and verse 18 tells us that the people put the mark on themselves?

Alma 4

Verses 6-8: What do you make of the fact that wearing costly apparel is the sign of Nephite pride? To what could we compare this in our own day? The word “heresy” originally referred to something that created divisions in the Church. What does verse 8 tell us created divisions among the Nephites? What sorts of things are comparable today?

Verses 12-13: What kind of inequality begins to come among the people? What causes it? How is that inequality related to the sins we saw described in verses 6 and 8?

Verse 19: What does the last part of this verse suggest we must do if we wish to see peace in the world? How is this related to Alma’s teaching in Mosiah 18:9? Does Alma here imply that other things are unnecessary? This verse suggests that testimony has a saving power, not only in heavenly, but also in temporal things. How can that be?

5 Responses to Sunday School Lesson 21

  1. Ben S. on June 5, 2004 at 7:57 pm

    Verses 7-9: Aaron has just been converted in a miraculous manner, and he is obviously serious about his conversion. His mission is evidence of that. Nevertheless, here we see Mosiah worried that being king might destroy him… how do you explain Mosiah’s remarks?

    Mosiah had just finished translating Ether (Mosiah 28:11-17), which is a numbingly repetitive account of brothers, sons and one daughter killing, plotting and scheming against the king or heir-apparent, or each other, inciting civil war, etc. to gain the kingship. Having Ether in mind, I think Mosiah had legitimate fears about what kingship could potentially do to his immediate family and his people. See this brief article here

    See here for a reference list of such articles arranged by chapter and verse.

  2. Jim F. on June 7, 2004 at 8:39 pm

    If I’ve not mentioned it before, I highly recommend Ben’s site: .

  3. Jim F. on June 7, 2004 at 8:46 pm

    Though Ben Huff has instructed me in the fine art of making my comment contain an html link, I keep failing. So, until I get it right, here’s the link to Ben S’s very useful http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackman/masterbom

  4. Kingsley on June 7, 2004 at 8:52 pm

    Jim F.: I couldn’t find your reply to Philocrates either … Do you know where it currently resides?

  5. Jim F. on June 8, 2004 at 2:48 am

    Kingsley: I don’t know what happened. I can no longer get to Philocrates’s page or to my response.

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