Mosiah 18 to 24 – “We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him”

May 11, 2020 to May 17, 2020

Alma teaches that baptism is a sign that a person has willing to enter into a covenant with God. These chapters also show God’s hand in escape from physical and spiritual bondage. Mormon’s narrative moves from telling a history to teaching about sanctification.

“Understanding Christian Baptism Through the Book of Mormon,” Noel B. Reynolds, BYU Studies, Vol. 51, no. 2
Alma understood and taught the covenantal nature of baptism (Mosiah 18). Baptism is more than a means to repent and have one’s sins “washed away.” Baptism is a covenant and a witnessing to God that one has already repented and commits to follow Jesus Christ, and that sins are remitted through the Holy Ghost.

“What Is the Purpose of Baptism in the Book of Mormon?” Book of Mormon Central KnoWhy 59
The Book of Mormon teaches that baptism is a symbol of a covenant that one makes with God (Mosiah 18). This KnoWhy discusses baptism’s place in the doctrine of Christ.

“Marriage and Treaty in the Book of Mormon: The Case of the Abducted Lamanite Daughters,” S. Kent Brown, From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon.
The account of the abducted Lamanite women (Mosiah 20)offers an unusually clear view into legal and social norms among Nephites, which reflect biblical law and custom. Perhaps surprisingly, the report hints strongly that some of these norms also survived among Lamanites.

“Dancing Maidens and the Fifteenth of Av,” John W. Welch, Reexploring the Book of Mormon.
In Mosiah 20, the wicked priests of King Noah find the Lamanite daughters dancing and take them to wife. When looked at from an ancient Israelite perspective, one discovers that before the Babylonian captivity, the fifteenth of Av was a time of mating and “bride hunting,” where the young maidens would dance, as Israelite men chose wives. If that is the setting of this story, it makes more sense why the priests took the maidens to wife.

“Deliverance from Bondage,” Clyde J. Williams, The Book of Mormon: Mosiah, Salvation Only Through Christ
The narrative of Limhi’s people’s escape from bondage (Mosiah 19-24) can be compared to an escape from spiritual bondage. It was ultimately by humbling themselves before the Lord that Limhi and his people were able to escape from the bondage of the Lamanites.

“Benjamin or Mosiah? An Anomaly in Mosiah 21:28,” L. Ara Norwood, Fair Mormon 2001 Conference
In Mosiah 21:28, it reads that Mosiah had a marvelous gift of seership. However, in the Printer’s Manuscript and the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, it reads that Benjamin was the one with the gift of seership. Also in Ether 4:1, this textual change from Benjamin to Mosiah occurs. Norwood outlines criticism about this change and LDS response, and then provides his own explanation that can still leave room for faith.

“Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon,” Royal Skousen
On Mosiah 21:28, Skousen writes: “Despite the apparent difficulties with the original reading, the critical text will restore the name Benjamin in Mosiah 21:28 and Ether 4:1; the occurrence of Benjamin instead of Mosiah cannot be readily explained as an error in the early transmission of the text; moreover, the text can be interpreted so that Benjamin was still alive when the plates of Ether were delivered by king Limhi to king Mosiah, who then gave the Jaredite record to his father, king Benjamin, for his examination and perhaps safekeeping.”

“‘In the Strength of the Lord,’” David A. Bednar, BYU devotional, October 23, 2001
In Mosiah 24, we see how Alma’s people were strengthened even though the persecution was not quickly removed. They were “empowered through the Atonement to act as agents and impact their circumstances.”

“Another Testament of Jesus Christ: Mormon’s Poetics,” Heather Hardy, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 16:2
In Mosiah 23-24, Mormon, as storyteller and prophet, moves from telling to showing to suggesting. By becoming alert to his methods, we see Mormon’s effort to enact the fulness of Jesus’s gospel in both his text and his readers’ lives.