I was asked a few weeks ago to give a talk on the book of Mosiah in The Book of Mormon. Mosiah starts with King Benjamin giving a sort of farewell talk before he dies, and this is really hard for him because his “whole frame doth tremble exceedingly” while he is standing trying to speak (Mosiah 2:30). Like all good talks, his ends with a powerful testimony:
Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen. (Mosiah 5:15)
King Benjamin knows that the way to everlasting salvation is through Jesus Christ. He testifies that if we are steadfast and immoveable, and always abound in good works, Jesus Christ will bring us eternal salvation. Because of this last public testimony–before his death three years later–there are many people converted.
The next big event we read in the book of Mosiah is about the teachings of Abinadi. At this time the people are being led by an awful guy named King Noah, not to be confused with the Noah who had the ark, and he was taxing his people so that he could have a grand palace and throne and beautiful decorations and lots of wives and concubines, and while this is happening all the people are becoming wicked. Abinadi is commanded by God to go among the people and tell them that if they do not repent they are going to fall to their enemies. Of course, no one likes to be told that they are wrong, so the people all seek to kill Abinadi. Then Abinadi goes into disguise for a little bit. This only lasts for a short while; when he finally comes back to preach to them they take him before King Noah to be judged. Abinadi stands before King Noah and his priests and continues to preach to them and teach them the ten commandments, the atonement of Christ, the teachings of Isaiah, and he bares powerful testimony. He ends his teachings with an invitation to Noah’s priests:
And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved?
Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come–
Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen. (Mosiah 16:13)
This moment was so powerful, that it’s almost hard to grasp that they rejected him, but then again, people rejected Christ too. He is sentenced to death.
Abinadi is someone that missionaries talk about often. Was he a successful missionary? Preach my gospel says:
Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost. (Preach My Gospel p. 10)
I’d say that Abinadi was committed. We learn that there was one person who heard and believed him: Alma. So Abinadi converts one person because he was willing to share his testimony.
Now Alma tries to plead for Abinadi and the King gets upset at this and send people to kill Alma as well. Alma goes into hiding and writes down all the words of Abinadi, and then he goes to preach to the people as well about the importance of baptism.
And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you? (Mosiah 18:8-10)
So he is telling them that in order to be redeemed of God, and have eternal life, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that need it and always be a witness of God, then why wouldn’t you get baptized?
Of course, this isn’t just any baptism he is talking about. Alma has the authority to baptize from God, we find out later. We know that that authority was lost and has been restored ONLY in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. So, by this authority, Alma baptizes 204 people.
After they are baptized he commands them to teach repentance and faith on the Lord. He commands them to love one another, btu most importantly he commands all of them to preach that they can become children of God, to keep the sabbath day holy, to not have paid clergy, and to give to the needy. And they do those things. Because of this, more people join the church and they have a membership of 450 people.
SO, what does this have to do with me; and what does it have to do with you?
King Benjamin stood and oreached of Christ even when he could hardly stand. Abinadi shared his beliefs even though he would be put to death. Alma went behind the king’s back to preach. Do you think they were scared? Probably, missionary work can be scary. So, what helped them? What did they know?
President George Albert Smith, who was president of the church from 1945-1951, tells us this about missionary work:
That is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the church, that is your responsibility. Freely you have received and our Heavenly Father will expect you freely to share with His other sons and daughters these glorious truths…We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God only on the condition that we share with our Father’s other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter (Preach My Gospel 10).”
I believe that they knew that. They knew that their celestial exaltation was dependent on their commitment to share the gospel! And were they successful? King Benjamin converted thousands, Abinadi converted only one, but that one converted hundred and lets not forget that those hundreds converted hundreds more.
Do you have that kind of faith? Do you understand that you will be blessed for your commitment to share the gospel? Our faith in the Lord’s promises should be infinitely greater than our fear of what the world will say.
I’ve been on my mission now for 9 months and guess what? I still get scared sometimes because I have not been a member long. I don’t know everything, but I know that the Lord expects me to share the gospel. I know that the Holy Ghost can convert people who hear my testimony.
I truly believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the word of God. I know that the priesthood authority of God is on the earth today in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I will die knowing these things, whenever that may be necessary. I will not deny them.
In The Name of Jesus Christ Amen
❤ sister myers