The Iron Rod Podcast
The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 073 - Mosiah 27-29

Alma the Younger sees the angel of the Lord, suffers eternal torment for three days, and is redeemed and born again. Mosiah ends the kingdom and establishes a government of judges.

Mosiah 11:7

Mosiah 9:12

Exodus 34:5

Alma 38:6-7

Alma 36

Ether 12:39

D&C 17:1

Judges 6:22

Acts 27:12-18

Alma 38:9

D&C 33:11-12

Mosiah 4:2

Isaiah 52:7

2 Nephi 28:15

Mosiah 12:25-27

Galatians 1:6

2 Nephi 10:10-14

D&C 26:2

D&C 28:13

D&C 104:71

D&C 124:144

John 15:20-24

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20 comments on “Iron Rod 073 – Mosiah 27-29

  1. Anthony Apr 28, 2020

    You opened with how Elder Bednar #hearshim… I find that the truth tends to come out when the Brethren aren’t on teleprompter or publishing carefully edited articles. The truth they carefully conceal, but admit to from time to time, is that they have not had the experiences of the prophets in the scriptures.

    While my brother was serving his mission in Florida, Elder Bednar attended one of his Zone Conferences. At a question period, an Elder sitting a few feet away from my brother asked Elder Bednar if he had ever seen the Savior. Elder Bednar turned on this poor missionary and said “How dare you ask me that question!”… and then proceeded to tear him apart for his apparent disrespect… So sad.

    Then there’s Elder Oaks who responded with this in January 2016 when asked if we should seek mighty spiritual experiences like that of Alma or Paul:
    “I don’t think we’ll get it [a testimony] like Paul did on the road to, where an angel appeared to him, where Alma the Younger had a startling experience. The Lord used a few of those kinds of experiences, and they’re recorded in the scriptures to catch our attention and teach us the answer. But I’ve never had an experience like that and I don’t know anyone among the 1st Presidency or Quorum of the 12 who’ve had that kind of experience. Yet everyone of us knows of a certainty the things that Alma knew. But it’s just that unless the Lord chooses to do it another way, as he sometimes does; for millions and millions of His children the testimony settles upon us gradually. Like so much dust on the windowsill or so much dew on the grass. One day you didn’t have it and another day you did and you don’t know which day it happened. That’s the way I got my testimony. And then I knew it was true when it continued to grow.”
    If you want to hear it, go to about the 30 minute mark…

    There you have it. Not one of the 15 have had that kind of experience. Even though Alma said that in his day “MANY… have tasted how I [Alma] have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I [Alma] have seen” (Alma 36:26), none of the PSRs of today have…

  2. Another great and insightful podcast guys. However, I did want to use an example of something Searcher mentioned to show us that we need to be careful we aren’t blindly following theology that we have inherited and that is nowhere supported by scripture. You mentioned the sin next to murder is actually spiritually murdering people by leading them astray and not adultery or sexual immorality. I agree, and I want to add another example, since Searcher mentioned it. Namely, abortion. I think this is another example where we have inherited an overly strict interpretation that cannot be justified by the scriptures. Now don’t get me wrong, the scriptures do not condone abortion, but they also no where say anything about it. Furthermore, the reason for wanting an abortion is usually due to sexual immorality so it is a consequence of sin, however, and this is the key I want to stress. I do not believe that abortion is murder, as scripture does not support the fact that an unborn fetus is alive on the same level as humans or even animals. It is simply a potential life. Thus stopping it I think is contrary to God’s purposes, but it is not the same as murdering an existing living and breathing human.

    In Moses 6:59 it says:
    That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;

    Notice the key phrase defining life is: inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul

    We are born through the water of our mother’s womb, then the blood we receive from her, and finally God places our spirits within us when we exit the womb and take our first breath. Just as God breathed into Adam and gave him life after he had created his body (Moses 3:7).

    Another interesting example is Jesus appearing to Nephi the day before he is born in 3 Nephi 1 :
    12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

    13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

    So, I don’t think abortion is the same as murder, or even like murder. It is however definitely not to be encouraged, and is really a failing of society to take care of women and provide them a place where they feel safe and loved enough to let the potential life within them become an actual life, rather than eliminate the possibility of one being born through abortion. I know what I say here will probably be controversial to most but if you actually examine the scriptures prayerfully as I have tried to do, you will find that life starts when the spirit enters the body, not when the body is formed. Furthermore, the true person is the spirit, the body is simply the temporary tabernacle that holds it, and the spirit enters it at birth, not at conception, otherwise the symbolism of Moses 6 is worthless.

    • Jingleheimer Apr 28, 2020

      41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
      42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
      43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
      44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

      (New Testament | Luke 1:41 – 44)

      • John the Baptist was Elijah hence a special case, plus it says she was filled with the Holy Ghost, implying a spirit that could animate the baby within her.

        • Our indoctrination often leads us astray. The Holy Ghost is not a spirit, it is the mind of God (see LoF). There’s nothing in that passage to say that the mind of God animated an inanimate “potential life” within her womb.

          I wouldn’t hang my hat on the idea that John the Baptist is a special case and thus his spirit, and his alone, was trapped inside a “potential life” within Elisabeth’s womb. All it takes is one case where a spirit is present within the womb to cast doubt on the idea that it is never there.

          Renae is correct below that the unborn children will move about and respond to stimuli from outside the womb. They are learning to recognize their mother’s voice as well as other people while in the womb. I’ve observed that the child’s personality is evident from long before birth.

          We get into a lot of trouble when we rely on the scriptures to define science. Science is, and has always been, a study of how God has done what He did. Many today believe that we have a better understanding of how God did many things than those who lived in the past.

          Take procreation, for example. The ancients had a vastly different concept of how procreation worked than we do today. Hair was considered a vital part of the reproductive process, during 2nd temple times. That was the science of the day. Today, we have an understanding that there is a moment of conception when the egg is fertilized by the sperm and that is the moment when life is created. There is no other time, according to science, when a genetically distinct human being is created.

          There is no definition in either science or the scriptures of the term “potential life’. The only time I’ve heard that term used is by those who are looking to justify or minimize the ending of a human life prior to its birth.

          I suspect that God will hold us to the standard of knowledge and understanding that we have. If our science is correct about procreation, I would not count on God holding us to an ancient standard to justify or minimize the termination of what we, by our science, understand to be a human life.

    • Ranae Apr 29, 2020

      I don’t even know how to begin to respond to this justification of abortion on nothing more than your personal belief that the spirit does not enter the body until the baby takes its first breath. That is not what the verse in Moses says. Water, blood, and spirit are all necessary components of birth, but they are also present prior to the birth. A baby does not become alive when it breathes, it simply transfers the way it oxygenates the blood. There is more than physical development taking place during the fetal stage of development. The unborn baby can respond to light, sound, and emotions. Development continues for years after birth as well, before a human has the ability to survive on its own. The baby takes an active part in its own birth process, just as a baby chick is alive before exiting the shell. However, there is a point where if the birth/hatching process is not completed successfully, death will occur. Would you argue that something can die without being alive first? What happens then when a baby is stillborn? It was alive and then died in the womb.

      Your definition of life is also the basis for partial birth abortions where the healthy baby is delivered in a breech position with so it cannot take a breath. The abortionist then kills the baby before completing the delivery. In my opinion, this is the epitome of “shedding innocent blood”, something the scriptures do talk about. You are correct that many abortions are performed to cover for other sins, but that does not make it not sinful in itself.

      Apart from that, why are you not willing to admit that intentionally stopping a fetus from being born IS contrary to God’s purposes. If that is the case, then doing so would be sin. Period. Whether it is the same as murder or not is irrelevant. Many Christians feel that the abortion industry is an extension of the child sacrifices to Moloch. I would be very careful about throwing any weight behind a justification that could lead someone to consider harmless that kind of sacrifice. One verse does not make true doctrine, and wresting the scriptures to justify something abominable is not a harmless intellectual activity.

      • I never justified abortion, I said it is a sign of a failed society if it becomes common. My point was that the scriptures are silent on the issue, therefore, if you or other Christians will claim to know that abortion = murder the burden is upon you to provide the scriptural evidence for it. The only thing I speculated about was the moment a spirit enters a body thus making it truly a living soul capable of being murdered. My speculation is that it enters the body upon taking a breath, because of Moses 3:7 which says, “7 And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth,” furthermore the hebrew word ruach can mean breath or spirit. So a baby becomes a living soul when its spirit is placed within it by God. Many things such as computers can respond to stimuli but this does not make them alive. So a fetus can be life in a biological sense, just as a brain-dead person is technically still alive, but if the spirit is no longer or not yet present they are not a living soul.

        I also never mentioned anything about partial birth abortions, which to me would qualify as murder, since the baby is already exiting the birth canal. I also never said anything about abortion not being sinful, so I’m not sure where you see that written. I said abortion isn’t murder. It simply is a sad situation that I would never want to have to make a decision on, and I don’t think it is our right to judge. Furthermore, who is to say an abortion isn’t part of God’s purpose in some instances. If David hadn’t committed adultery and had Bathsheba’s husband murdered, then Solomon never would have been born, and neither would Jesus. So, again it is not our place to judge, especially when we don’t know all the answers.

        You say that, ” Many Christians feel that the abortion industry is an extension of the child sacrifices to Moloch. I would be very careful about throwing any weight behind a justification that could lead someone to consider harmless that kind of sacrifice. One verse does not make true doctrine, and wresting the scriptures to justify something abominable is not a harmless intellectual activity.”

        Yes, many feel that way, but my point is that there is no scriptural basis for believing so, that it makes Christians look like uncaring, hypocritical, judgemental fools, and drives people away from the healing message of Christ that could help people considering or who have had an abortion. It shows a lack of faith in Christ’s atonement that can heal all things. Cast out the beam from your own eye then judge others. Finally, I cited more than one verse of scripture to back my view, you provided none.

        • Ranae Apr 30, 2020

          Paul, please be careful to distinguish between what I am actually saying and what I didn’t say that you would like to argue against. I did not say that abortion = murder, I said it is sin, so quibbling about whether or not it equals murder is irrelevant. Instead of using my analogy of a hatching chick, you switched to a computer as a comparison. A computer cannot feel pain, a fetus can. You did not mention partial birth abortion, but your definition of breath=life is the dividing line between abortion and infanticide. You agreed that partial birth abortion is murder, although the baby has not yet drawn its first breath, correct?

          Your logic about Jesus not being born if David had not instructed the death of Uriah is baffling. God being able to work around and with our bad choices to bring His good works to fruition is not the same thing as saying God’s plan depends on our sins to come to pass.

          You want me to quote scripture, but you have not addressed how abortion is not shedding innocent blood. The blood of the baby is its own, not the mother’s. Christ’s blood atones for our sins, not the blood of an innocent baby. An abortion may set the parents on a different course, but it does not absolve the guilt of sin, it compounds it.

          We could argue about this all day. I think our biggest difference though is found in your final paragraph. You say that believing abortion to be a sin “makes Christians look like uncaring, hypocritical, judgmental fools, and drives people away from the healing message of Christ that could help people considering or who have had an abortion. It shows a lack of faith in Christ’s atonement that can heal all things.” I cannot disagree more! Who needs repentance except the person who has sinned? Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of a Pharisee and a woman “which was a sinner”. He goes on to tell the parable of two debtors, one who owed much and one who owed little. Both were forgiven, but he with the greater debt had the greater love. Telling a person that they have not sinned before God gives them no incentive to turn to him in humility and ask for forgiveness. When they recognize the depth of their sin and then the sweet release of forgiveness, a true Christian is made. This is the whole point of Alma’s story this week. I am sure there are any number of people who could have told him he was actually helping people and had nothing to repent of, but when the angel showed him the true nature of his actions, the rationalizations fled. The weight of his actions were brought down with full force, and he finally cried to Jesus with real intent to save him. And he was saved.

          We probably agree that the weight of an “unwanted” pregnancy are born primarily by the mother, so it seems merciful to spare her the consequences of the pregnancy, but that’s not how mercy works. Taking away the immediate consequence simply changes the consequences to something less obvious. Giving birth to the baby is a way to turn tragedy into healing. There is such a thing as post-traumatic growth, and this is one of the ways that God can “give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning” (Isaiah 61:3). Giving birth even under the worst circumstances can bring healing and life. It is turning a heart to God in the midst of difficulties, rather than seeking to “cover your sin” or trust in the arm of flesh. 1 Timothy 2:15 says “she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith, and charity and holiness with sobriety”. If you prefer the JST, changes she to “they”.

          “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt 9:11-13) Maybe to find Jesus we need to be counted among the sinners. A real Christian will recognize they cannot judge another’s sins because they too would be lost without the atonement of Christ. With that realization we can finally walk together, bearing one another’s burdens that they may be light. Some burdens are too heavy to carry alone, but they must still be carried until God sets us free (as indicated by the stories of Limhi and Alma’s captivities.)

          • I’m glad you agree that it’s not murder. However, later you say it’s shedding innocent blood, so is that different from murder in your opinion? Most Christians argue that it is murder, hence, my argument against that belief as it cannot be substantiated by the scriptures.

            Besides computers, I also mentioned being brain-dead, which to me implies the absence of a spirit, hence, no longer alive. As to your chick analogy, I’m not a farmer so I have no knowledge of such things. I would assume on partial birth abortion however, that if the baby is already exiting air/spirit would already have entered the womb as an opening had been made, hence, I see no contradiction in my definition. I guess technically it may not have breathed, but god may have breathed into it as it’s exiting.

            Yes, that is my logic that God can use what we find to be bad for good purposes, which is exactly what you say, so how is that baffling? I never said the sin was required. I simply said that we shouldn’t judge so hastily.

            The blood in the initial stages of pregnancy is actually the mother’s blood. So again you say abortion is not murder but it is shedding innocent blood? Again are these different in your opinion. Because to me shedding innocent blood is the same as murder.

            I agree we could argue all day on personal opinion, which is why I provided scriptures to back my claim that abortion is not murder or shedding of innocent blood as those are the same thing in my parlance. Furthermore, there is a difference between telling a person that what they are doing is a sin and shaming them and damning them to hell, which is what most Christians do around abortion. In fact most American Christians are so hypocritical that they are willing to vote for a man who is about as anti-christian as possible in order to get supreme court picks to overrule abortion. Thus, showing how little morals most American Christians have. Christ showed love to people and that’s what turned them from evil. My main point is that most modern Christians aren’t christlike. Thus, why would anyone see the error of their ways and follow Christ, if Christians are terrible examples?

            As to unwanted pregnancies, I think that giving birth rather than aborting is probably the right choice in most cases, however, if in some cases it can be the right choice, then it cannot be murder in any case. It is up to the individual mother to decide what is right in her unique case, so we have no right to choose for her, and I do not believe God sees it as a sin, if a mother feels she must make such a difficult choice.

            As to your last paragraph I agree!
            “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt 9:11-13) Maybe to find Jesus we need to be counted among the sinners. A real Christian will recognize they cannot judge another’s sins because they too would be lost without the atonement of Christ. With that realization we can finally walk together, bearing one another’s burdens that they may be light. Some burdens are too heavy to carry alone, but they must still be carried until God sets us free (as indicated by the stories of Limhi and Alma’s captivities.)

            • It sounds like a bit of a twisted logic and standard to fit the outcome you want. If breath implies life and the presence of the spirit, then why do you believe that being brain dead implies the absence of the spirit? That’s a convenient twist of logic.

              If breath means the spirit is present, then so long as the body is breathing or capable of breathing the spirit should be present, correct?

              If brain function implies the presence of the spirit, then the spirit is clearly present in the unborn children.

              • Yes, I believe in LoF. The Greek uses a particle that implies cumulative action thus implying the leaping in the womb os due to the spirit’s influence. Therefore, this passage still proves nothing from the point of view of when a spirit enters and stays within a tabernacle.

                I agree that we get into trouble when we rely on the scriptures to define science. But we also get into trouble when we define spiritual matters based upon science and what we feel. That’s why I said scientifically life starts at conception, but scripturally it is not yet a living soul, as it does not have a spirit within it.

                As to brain dead that’s simply a speculation on my part there’s no scriptural evidence to back it up that I can think of. Which I’m happy to admit. My whole point with bringing up a controversial topic was to get people to maybe think and actually measure their beliefs against the scriptures, and be willing to throw out false beliefs if necessary. That’s what we need to do with all things.

                • Again, you are reading into the passage something that simply isn’t there. There’s no implication that the mind of God caused the child to leap. Rather, Elisabeth was filled with the mind of God such that she recognized that her child’s leaping for joy at hearing Mary’s voice was because of who Mary was and who her child was. The mind of God was influencing Mary, not her child.

                  What you may not realize is that you are attempting to use the scriptures to define a made-up term “potential life’. That’s why it appears to Ranae that you are wresting the scriptures to get them to say what you want it to say. It’s a huge mistake to believe that the passage in Moses is intended to tell us that God doesn’t think it much of a thing to kill an unborn life.

                  It’s liberal caricature that Christians aren’t concerned about women who choose to end the life their unborn child. It’s lacking in understanding of the immense spiritual toll that choice leaves on women. Precisely what they need is the healing grace of Christ to overcome that pain. It is only through the love, grace, and mercy of God that they can be healed. It’s cruelty on top of cruelty to suggest to women that God doesn’t consider their unborn child living, but merely a potential host for His spiritual creations, and doesn’t care too much what happens to them. Women who have gone through the horrors know the truth is far different from this. That’s why the gospel message is so essential for them.

                  • Maybe your interpretation is right maybe it’s not, but if the spirit is capable of physically transporting people, why can’t it move a child within the womb? As to wresting the scriptures, I have no agenda, and have not wrested them. I used to believe abortion was murder like you and Renae seemingly do. Several years ago I began examining my beliefs once I realized the church was teaching false doctrine. I asked God to lead me to the truth as I studied the scriptures and weighed the issues. Both of you continue to misunderstand my point by failing to even consider it as a possibility. My point once again, to be clear, is that abortion is not murder, however, it is a sin in most cases if the point is wasting the creative potential God has endowed us with. Therefore, it would be the female equivalent of male masturbation. But not equal to murder. So, again I never said God or the scriptures approve of abortion, simply that they never equate it to murder as most modern Christians do.

                    Liberal or not caricatures or stereotypes usually have truth within them. And I have sadly been disappointed by most so-called Christians in my life, and have sadly found most “liberals” and atheists, and pagans etc., have a higher sense of morality and caring for others than most Christians. So, yes, I agree the gospel message is what is needed, but I find many more non-Christians live the Gospel message than those who claim to follow it.

            • Ranae Apr 30, 2020

              I did not say that abortion was not murder. Nor did I say that it was. I am not the judge in these cases, so I do not find it wise to give definitive definitions. If, as you say, that murder = shedding innocent blood, then by your definition, abortion is murder.

              By the way, the baby’s blood and the mother’s blood are separate. The placenta is a semi-permeable barrier that filters nutrients to the infant without mingling their blood together. The blood of the baby is not from the mother.

              Your ultimate argument seems to be about your feelings and the supposed mother’s feelings. I don’t see Christians “telling a person that what they are doing is a sin and shaming them and damning them to hell”. I see Christians as people who stand in the breech to let mothers know there is help through a difficult time and showing them there is hope when they are dealing with the aftermath of following logic such as yours. You may not know the evil of abortion, but many women find out otherwise after it is too late to change their decision.

  3. Great Podcast as always! Just a few thoughts that came to my mind. The Angel appears to them in this amazing experience, and they “UNDERSTOOD NOT the words” that he spake to them. He’s “STRUCK DUMB”. To me, this is a parallels experiences of Zechariah in the temple/and Mary in her house. Two complete opposites. One a young woman, the other a old man. One a married man who has never born a son (he and his wife barren). the other, a young woman of bearing age but not married, just betrothed. One in the temple. The other in her house. One making offerings at a temple altar. The other pondering events in her heart. BOTH receive the appearances of the angel gabriel, but they are on completely different “grounds” that the event takes places. . Neither speaks after the appearance. Mary keeps the event in her heart to ponder. Zechariah also doesnt speak and is struck dumb. Those only difference between the two accounts is that one doubts in their response to the appearance.. Also, for me, it’s interesting to ponder what happens after these types of experiences happen– For Alma, as it is described, it’s a language that we don’t understand, and so as a result, these individuals are struck dumb for a time. He can’t speak it, not because something didn’t happen, but mostly because the language is foreign to us. . Anciently, the act of LAYING on of hands was more than just a ritual. It meant the passage of knowledge from the elder to the younger. It was a passing of a mantle of knowledge.. The act of the Priest gathering together in these verses mirrors and “actual laying on of hands.” to give Alma sight/language that I have seen encoded in other stories in scripture.. I also find the parallels of meeting the LORD face to face to resemble the imagery of the ark of the covenant. You have two opposing Cheribums, standing FACE TO FACE, and the presence of the Lord appears between these two images in a cloud of smoke. This is the same imagery I see of the Lord appearing in a cloud in this story of Alma. The Lord appears, in my opinion, in the spiritual balance between two opposites. In the same way the egyptians weighed a feather on one end of the scale, and the heart on the other. The temporal weight was not what balanced the scale, but rather, the weight of those things in the heart must be perfectly balanced against a feather, or they would be destroyed by an egyptian god. The jews use this same imagery in their writings, scripture, and I also find these same parallels in this story.

    Also, you’re defining of the word Remembrance made me laugh and say out loud, “wait, so you mean we don’t need to wear an outward symbol as a constant reminder?’ You mean, that’s not how we remember?
    12 And so great was their astonishment, that they fell to the earth, and understood not the words which he spake unto them.

  4. Ranae May 1, 2020

    In response to your question about why King Mosiah would give the records to Alma instead of one of his sons, isn’t it because they weren’t there? The sons left, Mosiah translated the record brought back by Limhi’s people, and the sons were still gone when he gave the records to Alma. As for what items were given to King Benjamin by Amaleki, the record only tells us about the small plates of Nephi. I am under the assumption that the large plates of Nephi, the sword of Laban, and the liahona were passed down through the kings, in which case King Benjamin would have received them from his father, King Mosiah, who led the people out of the land of Nephi.

    • Seriously, Ranae? Two servings of humble pie in one comment?!? (sigh)

      Yes, Mosiah 28:9 says the sons leave, 10 says he has no one to confer the kingdom to, and 11-20 talks about handing them over to Alma. I can’t even pretend that one was hidden. Duh!

      And yes, the record only mentions plates being passed down from Jacob to Amaleki. I remember reading something 10-15 years ago that planted the seed in my head that they also passed the other artifacts, and it stuck. Now that I think about it, it makes more sense for the kings to retain the sword and the directors.

      Thank you for setting me straight!

      • Ranae May 2, 2020

        My pleasure. This was a great podcast. I haven’t even begun to comment on the train of thought you guys put me on this week while listening. I was surprised though when you talked about “face to face” that you didn’t mention the LDS series of face-to-face with the apostles series. That one jumped right out at me.

  5. Ranae May 3, 2020

    There may be a very good reason why the people chose Alma to be the chief judge at the same time he was high priest — their laws were based on the laws of God. Mosiah 29:11 shows this clearly in a parallel grammar structure: “let us appoint judges to judge this people according to our law. . .for we will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God.” Verse 13 echoes the message, “if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments…” This helps to explain the checks and balances built into their system of judges. Because men do not always judge justly, the decisions of lower judges can be appealed to a higher judge (supposedly someone with greater experience in the application of God’s laws in human affairs), but the decision of a higher judge can be appealed to a small number of lower judges. (Note that there doesn’t seem to be a legislative body to create new laws, except for the direct vote of the people.) Verse 25 again repeats that the Nephite judges were to judge the people “according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.”

    The vote of the people to accept the change in governance might be considered acceptance of a covenant of freedom, much as the people of Moses accepted the law of Moses by covenant. As they keep the laws of the land/God, they will be blessed with peace and prosperity. This dynamic may be the reason why Alma later gives up his position as chief judge rather than high priest when the people begin to be wicked. He would know that repentance was more important to the peace and prosperity of the Nephites than using political power to force civil order.

    This combination of political and religious law in one is a delicate balance to strike, having freedom of conscience to worship as we wish, without the establishment of a national religion. Perhaps this is part of the reason for the later division between kingmen and freemen which almost caused the end of the Nephite society. It is possible, though, even in modern society. D&C 101:77,80 tells us that God established, or allowed to be established the Constitution to protect the rights and safety of all flesh, so they might be accountable before Him for how they use their agency. Section 98 says God’s people should observe to do whatever He commands them. ALSO, the constitutional law of the land, which supports freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, is justifiable before Him. However the laws of men which are more or less than this come of evil. Note the laws do not enforce religious belief or observance, but the national laws should reflect God’s laws in preserving life, liberty, and property.

    Living in the days of COVID shutdowns, the political stories in the Book of Mormon might be more relevant than they used to seem. It is important to decide for ourselves whether the laws and edicts passed down to us are justifiable before God, and whether or not we are choosing leaders who uphold our rights and privileges, or whether they seek to become kings in their own right. Is the right to shop at Walmart while small businesses are deemed “non-essential” justifiable? Maybe we are watching the resurgence of the battle between kingmen and freemen in our own day when moms are arrested for taking their kids to the park, and rapists are let out of prison so they don’t get sick.

    • I just noticed that the laws that are used are the laws given by the fathers. Once you have laws that prohibit murder, assault, theft, and other such things, how often do they really need to be updated? Especially if they are to be enforced equally? Under the Nephites and Israel, not very often. Contrast that with our lawmaking process today. Thousands of new laws every year, most of which are really just controlling the flow of money and picking the winners and losers. Even when they pass a new law that specifically outlaws murdering a federal agent while enforcing social distancing edicts, it’s really just undermining the existing laws against murder and setting up a unequal system where murders of civilians are less important than murders of government agents. Inequality. In the scriptures, I not aware of any mention of a legislative body that is constantly writing new laws, only groups that interpret and enforce existing laws.