Mosiah 26


Out of Bondage through Covenants

      Jarom -- Mosiah



Mosiah 26:11 They Have Been Taken in Diverse Iniquities:


     There is a distinction between what is a sin and what is a crime. A sin is a violation of a law of God, while a crime is a violation of a public law. An act can be both, but many times it is not.

     Alma sought King Mosiah's help in dealing with sinful beliefs and practices being spread among the people: "And he said unto the king: Behold, here are many whom we have brought before thee, who are accused of their brethren; yea, and they have been taken in divers iniquities. And they do not repent of their iniquities; therefore we have brought them before thee, that thou mayest judge them according to their crimes" (Mosiah 26:11). Mosiah, however, could not involve the government in Church matters. Even though the beliefs of some people were evil, Nephite law allowed them to believe as they chose (see Alma 30:7-11). In this sense, the people had committed no "crime." As the head of the Church it was Alma's responsibility to judge such people, so he turned to the Lord for instructions (Mosiah 26:15-32). [Book of Mormon Student Manual for Religion 121 and 122, p. 68]


Mosiah 26:15 Thou Art Blessed Because of Thy Exceeding Faith in the Words Alone of My Servant Abinadi:


     As Alma sought the Lord in prayer in order to know what to do in a matter of judgment, the Lord responded with a somewhat puzzling statement in Mosiah 26:15: "Thou [Alma] art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi." Hugh Nibley ponders the phrase, "in the words alone of Abinadi." He asks, Now what about childish faith? What about being gullible, etc.? Alma believed in the "words alone"? Alma saw no evidence, no proof, or anything like that? And it wasn't the words of God; it was the words of Abinadi alone that he believed in? What's going on here? Why is there merit in this?

     There is merit because Alma believed in his words alone. I would emphasize his. You are blessed because of the things you choose to believe--not by the act of believing, not just by faith. You weren't blessed because you believed, but because you chose what to believe. Everybody chooses what to believe. The atheist is a very strong believer. He is the most passionate arguer you can possibly find, and the positivist. Where will you find greater faith and firm conviction than among economists? . . . You must believe in something and everybody does. But the Lord said, blessed are you [Alma] because of the things you chose to believe; you chose to believe in the things that Abinadi taught. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 2, pp. 177-178]


Mosiah 26:39 To Pray Without Ceasing:


     What does it mean to "pray without ceasing" (Mosiah 26:39)? According to Hugh Nibley, it means simply that you continue in the practice of prayer. It's like saying, "They went on having breakfast every morning without ceasing." That doesn't mean they ate breakfast all day and all night, but they did it without ceasing. Or "he constantly brushed his teeth" doesn't mean he did it twenty-four hours a day. The interesting thing is that in a Semitic language like Arabic, the only way you can say "continually," or "go on doing a thing" is la zalla or lam yazil/ma zalla, he did not cease. Ma zalla yaktubu, "he did not cease writing," means he wrote from time to time, or he wrote regularly. . . . When it says, "they continued in prayer without ceasing," that doesn't mean they had a monastic fanaticism here, or anything like that. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 2, p. 183]