Limhi’s People in Bondage

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August 13, 2014 by FHElessons

This post is part of my Book of Mormon story series.  To see all the stories in this series, click on the “Scripture Stories” tab at the top of the page.  To see a timeline of how all the stories fit together, go HERE.  For the story before this one, go HERE.  To print the picture below, click on it to open the gospel library at lds.org.

Limhi’s People in Bondage

(found in Mosiah 21 of the Book of Mormon)

King Limhi's People in Bondage

from lds.org gospel library

Although the Lamanites knew that it was not Limhi’s people who abducted their daughters, they still felt angry with them. I’m sure the battle in which many of their people were killed did nothing to help foster peaceable feelings between the two groups. But the Lamanites were in a position of power over Limhi’s people, and so they began to exercise dominion over them. They would slap Limhi’s people whenever they wanted and make them carry heavy loads on their backs and treat them like beasts of burden. If you remember, this is one of the things that Abinadi prophesied would happen to the people if they did not repent (see Mosiah 12:2-5).

Limhi’s people began to feel that their afflictions were great and that there was no way they could deliver themselves from this suffering. The Lamanites had surrounded them on every side. They pleaded with their king to allow them to go to battle, despite the peace treaty they were supposed to have with the Lamanites. They begged and pleaded and pestered King Limhi so much that he finally allowed them to do as they wished.

The Nephites gathered themselves together, put on armor, and went out to try to free themselves from the Lamanite oppression. But after a severe battle in which many of the Nephites were slain, they had to concede defeat. And worse, now many of their men were slain and their women left widows and their children fatherless. The suffering of those who mourned their dead rallied the people of Limhi to anger, and they again went out to battle against the Lamanites. But again, they were beaten and suffered much loss. And a third time they tried to free themselves by battle but failed and lost.

Finally, Limhi’s people turned to humility. They submitted to the burdens placed upon them. They bowed down to the “depths of humility” and cried unto God in prayer. They pled with God to deliver them from their afflictions. The scriptures say that the Lord was “slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities” (vs 15), but He did begin to ease their burdens a little.

Slowly they began to prosper slightly, and they all worked to support the widows and fatherless children. But they were still in a lot of danger from the Lamanites. Even the king himself had to take guards with him wherever he went to protect himself from them.

About this time, Limhi’s people found Ammon and his companions in the wilderness. King Limhi had previously sent out a group of men to try to find the land of Zarahemla and request help from his countrymen. However, his men were lost in the wilderness and did not find help. They did find a land that had been destroyed, and they thought maybe that land was Zarahemla and that all their countrymen had been destroyed. In that destroyed land, they found a record: 24 gold plates which contained a history of the Jaredites and are later translated by King Mosiah.

Anyway, at first Limhi’s people thought that Ammon and his brethren were the wicked priests of King Noah, who had been hiding in the wilderness all this time, so they cast them into prison. King Limhi would have had the men put to death, but he was curious as to why they would be so bold as to be without the gates in plain sight when he, the king, was also out there with his guards. So after a few days of letting Ammon and his brethren suffer in prison, King Limhi had them brought before him for questioning.

When King Limhi discovered that Ammon and his men were not the wicked priests but were actually emissaries, sent from Zarahemla to look for them, the people who originally left Zarahemla in search of the land of Nephi, he was overjoyed. He was happy to know that the people of Zarahemla were still alive and well (and were not the ones found dead in the destroyed land), and he was happy to have a hope of help from them as to being delivered from bondage. He was also happy to know that King Mosiah, back in Zarahemla, possessed a gift from God that would allow him to translate the records they found in the destroyed land.

All in all, things are beginning to look up, as we shall see in our next story.

 

Points to Ponder:

I have always felt that this story of Limhi’s people in physical bondage is an excellent analogy for people in bondage to sin. Think about someone who is addicted to anything (drugs, cigarettes, pornography, even video games), and read back through the story:

  • The people find themselves in bondage and are powerless to escape, just as someone who has an addiction or is in bondage to sin in another way might feel powerless to overcome.
  • The burden of being in bondage seems too great to bear.
  • The people try 3 times to free themselves by their own power. Anyone who has tried to free himself from addiction will know the struggle which frequently results in failure and even greater loss when trying to free himself by his own power.
  • It is not until the people humble themselves, even unto the depths of humility, and call upon God for help that they begin to feel some relief. The 12 step program which has helped many people free themselves from addiction teaches addicts to recognize that they are powerless to free themselves and teaches them to turn their lives over to a higher power. It teaches that it is only through submitting to the Lord’s will and recognizing that He is the only one with power to free the addict from bondage, that addiction can be overcome.
  • Sometimes God does miraculously free people the first time they turn to Him in humility. But more frequently, freedom from addiction or bondage to sin is a process. A process that occurs slowly, with a gradual lessening of the burden until finally, with the help of God, the person is able to overcome.
  • Frequently, overcoming the bondage of sin or addiction requires the help of a friend, mentor, doctor, or leader – an outside person. This outside person sacrifices and perseveres to help their friend overcome his addiction.  Ammon was this outside person for King Limhi’s people.

 

Addiction or bondage to sin is one area that teaches those who suffer it how to rely wholly on God, how to be willing to submit to whatever God asks of them and how to allow God to direct their lives.

What other things might we suffer in life that teach us that same lesson?

Do we truly have control over our own lives, or is God the one who is in control?

How can we come to more fully rely on Him and allow Him to direct our lives?

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Hi! I'm Laura. I started this blog to continue to teach FHE lessons to my children who are grown and living away from home. I also hope to serve my six sisters by preparing FHE lessons that they can use with their younger children, and I hope the lessons will be helpful to you as well! If you would like to contact me, please e-mail me at FHElessons@aol.com.

What is FHE?

FHE stands for Family Home Evening and is a night set aside each week (usually Monday) by families who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHE is a chance for parents to teach lessons to their children about the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other important topics. The lesson is frequently accompanied by a fun activity together as a family and a yummy treat.
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