King Benjamin's monumental address on service and the Savior; the powerful testimony and the martyrdom of the prophet Abinadi; the moving conversion stories of both Alma the Elder and Alma the Younger; the deliverance of Nephites from Lananite bondage – this is the historically and doctrinally rich material of which the book of Mosiah is composed and from which the symposium papers printed in this volume draw their themes.
In the introductory chapter, Elder Neal A. Maxwell sets the tone for the other chapters by noting the Christology of the book of Mosiah, making particular mention of the requirements set forth therein for our becoming "the children of Christ", a phrase used by King Benjamin in his masterful address. That address by Benjamin is the focus of several fascinating chapters. One of them examines the text and its major theme – service to God through service to humanity – in light of Benjamin's own life of Christlike service and his prophecies regarding Christ's ministry.
Another chapter offers an intriguing examination of the relationship, as set forth in Benjamin's speech, between the Atonement and divine indebtedness (that is, our indebtedness to God for all that we have, all that we are, and all that we can be).
Other chapters discuss Benjamin's use of the term natural man, his teachings on retaining a remission of sins, and his use of power and authority as contrasted with the wicked King Noah's misuse of them. Two chapters offer striking insights into the life and teachings of the first Nephite martyr, the prophet Abinadi – one of them being a general overview, the other focusing on the prophet's inspired commentary on passages from the book of Isaiah.
Various other questions and issues related to the contents of the book of Mosiah are explored: What specific, vital lessons about following living prophets, making and keeping covenants, and developing Christlike qualities can parents draw from the book of Mosiah to teach to their children, and how can they effectively teach them those lessons? What political and social insights, as well as warnings, are implied by the similarities between the Nephite system of judges and the constitutional system of the United States? An in-depth look at priesthood callings and practices as they developed among the Nephites is included here, as well as a discussion on Nephite patterns of Church discipline. Also included are papers on the process of spiritual rebirth and on the lessons about bondage – physical and spiritual – to be learned from the experiences of Limhi's and Alma the Elder's groups.Evident throughout is the authors' respect for and testimony of the Book of Mormon text. Their remarks not only underscore the Christ-centeredness of this book of scripture in general and of the book of Mosiah in particular; they also demonstrate the Book of Mormon's relevance to our modern needs, for, as President Ezra Taft Benson has reminded us, this sacred volume "was meant for us."
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