October 20, 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.
I didn’t have a picture to go with today’s story, but one thing I’ve noticed about the stories found in Mosiah is that it can be hard to figure out which group of people go where and when. I decided to create a flow chart to help myself understand the different groups of people in the Book of Mosiah and where each group is located. If you notice, there is a key at the bottom of the chart showing how each color represents each land. Hopefully, this chart will help you as well! You can click on it to enlarge and then right click to save or print. Or, you can download the chart HERE. Enjoy!
And here is our Book of Mormon story for today:
Mosiah the First
(found in Omni 1 in the Book of Mormon)
Now you will remember that fairly soon after landing in the Americas, Nephi and his followers separated from those that followed his brother Laman. The land where Nephi and his followers dwelt was called the Land of Nephi. They settled it by building buildings, including a temple, and they also constructed weapons to defend themselves against the Lamanites. For somewhere between 300-350 years, the Nephites lived in the land of Nephi with periodic times of peace and times of war and bloodshed.
This continued until a man named Mosiah was warned by the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, taking as many with him as would follow him (Omni 1:12). So it seems that the majority of the Nephites (or at least “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord”) fled into the wilderness. They were “admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm” (vs.13) until they reached the land of Zarahemla. They brought with them the brass plates that Nephi had taken from Laban as well as Laban’s sword and also the Liahona.
Now Zarahemla was a land that was already populated by a large group of people, called the Mulekites. This is a group of people who had also fled from Jerusalem, about 10-11 years later than Lehi and his group (at the time Jerusalem was conquered). They were also led by the Lord to the Americas. Very likely, the man, Mulek, who led them was one of the sons of the king of Jerusalem at that time, King Zedekiah.
At any rate, the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites) were very numerous, but because they did not have the advantage of having the brass plates with them when they left Jerusalem (the written word), over the course of the 300 years, their language had become corrupted so that they no longer spoke the same language as the Nephites. Furthermore, because they did not have the brass plates (the scriptures), their religion had become corrupted, and they no longer believed in God.
Mosiah’s first task was to teach the people of Zarahemla to speak his language. Once that was accomplished, he shared the genealogy from the brass plates with them. Finally, the two peoples decided to unite together and appointed Mosiah to be their king. The people of Zarahemla also showed Mosiah an engraven stone, which Mosiah was able to interpret because he had the gift of revelation. The record contained on this stone was one made by Coriantumr, the last remaining Jaredite, who came upon the people of Zarahemla a few months before he died.
Mosiah reigned as king in the land of Zarahemla until he died, at which time his son, Benjamin, became king. We will read about Benjamin in the next story.
Points to Ponder:
When Mosiah was warned by God to flee the land of Nephi, he took as many with him as were willing to listen to the voice of the Lord. What do you think happened to the Nephites who stayed behind in the land of Nephi? How important is it to allow the Lord to direct your life and to follow the promptings of the Spirit?
The Book of Mormon is full of stories of groups of people contending against each other. Sometimes the Nephites stay and fight to defend their lands and their liberties, but sometimes they choose to flee their homes in order to be safe. What makes the difference? When is it appropriate to fight and when is it best to flee to avoid contention?
Because the people of Zarahemla did not have the brass plates with them (the scriptures) when they left Jerusalem, over the course of time they lost both their language and their religion. How important are the scriptures to our lives? Was Nephi justified in killing Laban in order to obtain the brass plates for his family and his people?
The people of Zarahemla were much more numerous than the followers of Mosiah who arrived in their land. Why do you think Mosiah was chosen to be the king, even though he was an outsider and from a smaller group of people?
Mosiah the First translates the stone with Coriantumr’s record on it, and his grandson, Mosiah II will later translate the 24 plates containing the complete record of the Jaredites that we find in the Book of Ether. Both of these men use the gift and power of God to make these translations. How is this similar to Joseph Smith’s translation of the entire Book of Mormon for our day? Why is it important for God to give religious leaders the gift of revelation and seership?
In this one chapter, we learn about three separate groups of people who were led by the Lord across the ocean to America (the Nephites, the Mulekites, and the Jaredites). All three of these groups were found within a relatively small distance of one another (within walking distance, over the course of some amount of travelling time). The Americas are a vast land. Do you think there were other groups of people living in the Americas other than these three groups that we know of? How many do you think there may have been? Where do you think they may have come from?