Twice, I’ve had the lucky opportunity to hear Oprah Winfrey speak in person. Her words inspired me and I felt great energy in the crowd. I carried that excitement and vibrancy with me for a while afterwards. Have you attended a workshop or speaker that inspired you and kept you thinking about it? Did you feel a twinge of sadness when it all ended?
We’re still riding a spiritual wave from General Conference, where we received an outpouring of revelation and much-needed peace. It was historic in every way. I’m still processing and unpacking the many messages shared. When several joint choirs sang the closing hymn, including one assembled here in Frankfurt, Germany, I felt sad to have it all end. I surfaced from the weekend wanting to live and be better. I like to make an intentional effort to ponder the words spoken and prepare my heart for next time. (Here’s the table I use to help with my study. You’ll need to be signed in to Google Docs and it will force you to make a copy. Perhaps it might be useful for you too.) Mosiah 7-10 takes us on a similar journey after King Benjamin spoke to his people.
Following King Benjamin’s powerful address to gathered families through open tent doors, there was “continual peace for the space of three years” (Mosiah 7:1). They spent three years pondering his words and being changed by them. There was no contention during that time and they worked hard (Mosiah 6:7). Then, as is the case when our hearts are in the right place, we reach outward. King Mosiah and his people wanted to know what had happened to a group who had left the land of Zarahemla generations earlier to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi and hadn’t been heard from since (Mosiah 7:1).
DISCUSS and PONDER:
When is a time you have felt inspired and energized by a speaker? What has it motivated you to do or change? How can your family intentionally study and apply recent counsel from our leaders at General Conference? What will be the result? How can you turn outward?
If I turn to the Lord, trust Him, and serve Him, He will deliver me.
King Mosiah chose 16 strong men to go to Lehi-Nephi and “inquire concerning their brethren” (Mosiah 7:2). Ammon, a “strong and mighty man” as we’ll see many times over, is selected to lead the group (Mosiah 2:3). They wander for forty days in the wilderness, not sure where to go (Mosiah 7:4). Forty is a significant number throughout the scriptures and is often a preparatory time of teaching and testing followed by redemption and deliverance. For example, the rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights (Gen. 7:4); Moses spoke with God for 40 days upon Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy 9:11); the children of Israel wandered for 40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13); Christ was tempted 40 days in the wilderness prior to beginning his ministry (Matt. 4:2), and Christ taught and ministered with his disciples for 40 days between his resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3). No doubt Ammon and his group learned much during their wilderness wanderings.
Once they reached the land of Nephi, Ammon and a few of his brethren were thrown in prison by King Limhi (Mosiah 7:7-8) but were later allowed to speak. Remember that King Limhi is the son of King Noah, who was the son of over-zealous Zeniff that left Zarahemla and came into bondage under King Laman (Mosiah 7:21). If you need a refresher on the who’s and the where’s during the next several chapters, this is a helpful graphic overview.
Ammon tells King Limhi that he’s sent to find him and all rejoice (Mosiah 7:14), hopeful that they can be delivered from bondage. King Limhi gathers his people at the temple and reminds them to “lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God” (Mosiah 7:19). He recounts many great works the Lord has done for His people throughout the scriptures and tells Ammon that King Noah’s people had slain Abinadi for teaching about Jesus Christ (Mosiah 7: 26-28). He reminds them that they have suffered much because of their own iniquity. King Limhi offers his people a powerful invitation to “turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind” and they will be delivered from bondage (Mosiah 7:33).
DISCUSS and PONDER:
How can we correctly focus our zeal? This talk by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson is helpful. What great things has the Lord done for your family over time? What is bondage and how do we avoid it? What are some specific ways you can turn to the Lord and trust Him, especially during uncertain times?
Give everyone a piece of paper and draw two columns. On one side, have each family member make a list or draw pictures of what they are zealous about (What are they passionate about? Excited about? Interested in? Into?) On the other side, have them list or draw the things that are their most important priorities (what do they most value? How do they spend their time?) Compare the two lists and look for imbalance or signs that they might need better alignment in order to turn to the Lord and not be over-zealous.
What were the 24 Plates found by Limhi’s people?
Did Limhi’s people fail in their task to find Zarahemla? Yes and no. They didn’t find Zarahemla but they found the Jaredite record.
The CFM manual states, “While a small group of Limhi’s people were searching unsuccessfully for the land of Zarahemla, they found 24 plates of gold with engravings in an unfamiliar language. These plates, which were eventually translated by King Mosiah, told of a people known as the Jaredites, who came to the promised land from the Tower of Babel and were eventually destroyed (see Mosiah 28:11–19).” From them, we learn the value of scripture to keep and preserve the commandments of God and to teach our children (Mosiah 28:11). What we may not think of is what we learn about failure and the timing of the Lord.
“It is quite probable that those forty-three men returned to King Limhi thinking they had failed because they had not accomplished their intended mission, which was finding Zarahemla. It is also quite possible, however, that the Lord had a very different mission in mind, finding the Jaredite record, and in that they were very successful. Have there been times in your life when despite your best efforts, everything seemed to go wrong? Is it possible that the Lord had a different direction in mind for you, or other lessons He wanted you to learn, that would bless your life or the lives of others more than what you had in mind would do?”
DISCUSS and PONDER:
Share with your family a time that your life took a different direction than what you initially thought and what you learned in the process. How have you learned to trust God? Are there stories you could share from the lives of your ancestors that demonstrate such trust in God?
The Lord provides prophets, seers, and revelators to benefit mankind.
Take a minute and count how many prophets have served during your lifetime (click here for a list if needed). King Limhi “rejoiced exceedingly, and gave thanks to God” (Mosiah 8:19) when Ammon told him the Lord had raised up a seer. Why?
Elder John A. Widtsoe taught: “A prophet is a teacher of known truth; a seer is a preceiver of hidden truth; a revelator is a bearer of new truth. In the widest sense, the one most commonly used, the title prophet includes the other titles and makes of the prophet, a teacher, perceiver, and bearer of truth.” I love that. A prophet teaches us, helps us understand, and leads us forward in the right direction.
Just before General Conference, I asked a few seminary students this question: What does it mean to you personally that we have a living prophet on the earth today? This image shows their insightful replies:
When mapped in a word cloud, their responses look like this:
DISCUSS and PONDER: What does it mean to you personally that we have a living prophet on the earth today? Perhaps you could list or even graphically display your answers (this is the word cloud tool I used to create the graphic above). What is something you have learned from or appreciated about each of the prophets you remember that you can share with your family? How can you help your family establish a deeper love for our prophets, seers, and revelators?
ACTIVITIES AND RESOURCES ABOUT PROPHETS
- Gospel topics: Prophets
- Videos: Follow the Prophet (4:15), Why Do We Have a Prophet (1:37), Living Apostles Testify of Jesus Christ (2:16)
- Interactive infographic of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency
- Meet the Prophets and Apostles coloring pages and video
- Mosiah 7-10 coloring packet for older kids and younger kids
I can face my challenges “in the strength of the Lord.”
I love that God works with imperfect people. Despite our mistakes, He uses us to accomplish His work and inspires us for good. We see this with Zeniff. He made mistakes that caused bondage and heartache for his people. But he also helped his people live in peace for 22 years, guarding his people, leading them in faith, toiling alongside them, and helping them to prosper in the land (Mosiah 10:2-5). When faced with battle, Zeniff said, “in the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us” and they were “awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers” (Mosiah 9:17). What does that type of strength look like? They put their strength in the Lord rather than in their own strength (Mosiah 10:10-11) and put their complete trust in the Lord (Mosiah 10:19). The Lord’s strength is much stronger than our own.
Elder David A. Bednar taught that it’s “through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means” and “the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us to see and to do and to become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity” (Oct. 2004 General Conference talk). We receive strength from the Lord to see, to do, and to become good. This is especially helpful to remember in uncertain times when the battle ahead seems overwhelming and impossible to win. When we place our trust in the Lord, we know that in His strength we can do all things (Alma 26:12).
DISCUSS and WATCH
Watch this video as a family. How have you felt strength in the Lord during uncertain times? What has helped you to rely on the Lord rather than your own strength? How has your faith in Christ overcome your fear?
My choices can influence generations
At the outset of COVID19, we had a family council and discussed strategies for how we’d get through weeks of sheltering in place, cancelled plans and trips, adjusted routines and expectations, government restrictions, and the like. As a mother and writer, I also aim to help us come through this stronger, better, and closer. We are living the story we will tell for years to come, and that has me constantly thinking…how do we want to write our story? While I wish I knew the ending, or could read even a few paragraphs ahead, I know that through this writing process beauty will emerge. The story we are writing in this shared global document will be one of strength, courage, and helping others in creative ways. It will speak of goodness abounding despite loss, suffering and heartache. What we teach our children matters for generations to come.
Mosiah 10:11-17, paints a grim picture how the Lamanites were influenced and shaped deeply by the traditions of their fathers. They felt they were wronged by the Nephites, were angry for a variety of reasons, and they “understood not the dealings of the Lord” (v. 14). They taught their children to hate the Nephites (v. 17) and sought to destroy them.
DISCUSS and PONDER:
CFM asks us to reflect, “How did the choices of the Lamanites’ ancestors affect future generations? Think about the people who might be influenced by your beliefs and choices; what are you doing to help them more fully have faith in Christ?” I would add one more: What story are we writing by how we live that will be told and passed down for future generations?
Create a time capsule. Find an empty container and add in anything that captures a snapshot of your life. Make lists (movies you’ve watched as a family recently, favorite foods, funny memories, etc.), include small mementos and photos (hair that needs a haircut? pets?), and determine when you’ll open it again.
- Sample time capsule questions
- COVID19 time capsule packet for adults and children
- How to make a family time capsule
Feeling motivated and energized by General Conference is easy. Moving forward with faith in Christ and trusting the Lord is harder. Wherever we are in our journey, whether hoping for deliverance, suffering because of our sins or others’, or wondering how we’ll ever find peace and return to “normal” again, we can be inspired to “turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart” and know that God will deliver us (Mosiah 7:33). The next several chapters of Zeniff’s account contain pretty incredible stories of struggle, faith, and deliverance. We, too, can remember to trust that God will hear our cries and answer our prayers (Mosiah 9:18).