There are many times in our lives when we just have to stand up for the truth and, sometimes we stand alone. Has that ever happened in your life?  Has it happened in the lives of your ancestors or the lives of your children?  President Nelson said recently: “Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested.” (Nelson, Russell M., The Future of the Church: Preparing the World for the Savior’s Second Coming, Ensign, April 2020.)

This week’s material is a great lesson on boldness, standing up for the truth and being faithful when it is not too popular.


Hello dear friends, we are Scot and Maurine Proctor, and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast.  This week’s lesson covers Mosiah, chapters 11-17 and includes one of your favorite stories from the Book of Mormon.  The title of this lesson is “A Light … Than Can Never Be Darkened.”  The hero of this story stands boldly before a wicked king—and for telling the truth and testifying of the Savior, he is burned to death.  Let’s see what we can learn from all this.


Let’s start with the name of our hero this week. Scot, how do you say his name?


I thought you’d never ask.  You know, with a name like Scot I’m very sensitive to correct spelling and pronunciation.  My name is Scot–with one t–and so many people pronounce it Scot-t. Ha!  No, how about our hero today?  A-bin-ah-dee’!  It’s very possible that that’s how he heard his name in his day.  We don’t have a recording of the names of all the characters in the Book of Mormon.  We say them traditionally, Nephi, Lehi, Ammon, Helaman and Abinadi.  But it might be that they heard their names as Nay-fee, Lay-he, Am’-moan, Ha-el-aman and Ab-in-ad-ee’!  Whenever we’re in the Arabian Peninsula and talking about Lehi or Nephi, we always use their pronunciation of Lay-he and Nay-fee. That is because Semitic names usually put the emphasis on the last syllable. (the em-phaw-sis on the last syll-a-bull) But, let’s just refer to our hero today as Abinadi.

We learn this from Dr. Todd Parker, Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU:  “The name “Abinadi” (see Mosiah 11:20) appears to be symbolic. In Hebrew, ab means “father,” abi means “my father,” and nadi is “present with you,” so the name Abinadi may reflect his mission; it may mean something like “my father is present with you.” In the Book of Mormon account, the alleged reason for killing him was because Abinadi claimed that God would come down and would be with man (see Mosiah 15:1-7). That was the charge of blasphemy they finally used to put him to death (see Mosiah 17:8).” (


That is fascinating.  And Abinadi is truly a bold and amazing prophet.  But we don’t know a lot about him.  We know a lot about the setting, however.  The story takes place in the land or city of Lehi-Nephi—that’s the first place Nephi settled after he separated from his brethren about 385 years earlier.  Zeniff had died and he conferred his kingdom upon Noah, “one of his sons.” (See Mosiah 11:1).  That line has always gotten me—“one of his sons.”  What if Zeniff had turned the kingdom over to a much more trustworthy, faithful son?  Was Noah just the oldest or was he closest to his father and just a big smoozer? Or was he the best of the lot?  How is it that he was made king?  We really don’t know from the record.  But we do know a great deal about Noah himself.


We certainly do.  1.  He didn’t keep the commandments of God. 2. He walked after the desires of his own heart. 3. He practices apostate polygamy and added to that many concubines. 4. As king he caused the people to also follow his example and commit sin and do abominable things, including whoredoms and “all manner of wickedness.” (see Mosiah 11:2)


Well, this is not all.  5.  He laid a one-fifth tax on all that the people possessed.  That means that if you had your established home and belongings and flocks and herds and wealth, the initial tax was 20% of everything you then owned—all your gold and silver and ziff, and copper and brass and iron—and a fifth part of all their fatlings and all their grain.  He took all this just to support his riotous living and to support his tremendous building program. 6.  He was given to drink—he was a winebibber.


That’s right, and we can’t forget that Noah also had wicked priests who surrounded him who also lived the same lifestyle—and they, too, were supported by this tax of the people.  Noah had gotten rid of all the priests that his father, Zeniff, had serving in his court—and he obviously put in his cronies, his buddies, his pals, all who were lifted up in the pride of their hearts as he was. (See Mosiah 11:5). He sought the comfort of being surrounded with people who were just like him.  We also know that Noah was lazy, idolatrous and committed whoredoms.  So, all the people are laboring exceedingly—or we might say, working their guts out to support iniquity. (See Mosiah 11:6)


But this is not all.  With all this seizing of the people’s possessions and wealth, Noah started a very aggressive building program.  He built many elegant and spacious buildings “and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper” (see Mosiah 11:8) – the very things he had taken away from the people!  And, of course, Noah built a spacious palace for himself with a very amazing throne which was ornamented with gold and silver and precious things. (See Mosiah 11:9)

Just a footnote here, Scot, since you and I love studying everything in the Book of Mormon.

Ziff is only mentioned two times in the Book of Mormon text—and it’s right here in Mosiah chapter 11—verses 3 and 8.  Since it is in that list with other precious metals—it is likely that ziff is the transliteration of the Nephite word for this alloy of precious metals. Ziff is the probably the same as tumbaga—used throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.  Tumbaga is an alloy of gold and copper.  “Tumbaga was widely used by the pre-Columbian cultures … to make religious objects. Like most gold alloys, tumbaga was versatile and could be cast, drawn, hammered, gilded, soldered, welded, plated, hardened, annealed, polished, engraved, embossed, and inlaid.” (Wikipedia: Tumbaga) That description fits perfectly for what Noah used it for.


And I love the detail the record goes into here.  Mormon, the great abridger of all the records of the Nephites, goes out of his way to let us see this setting and paint the great need for repentance of this people.  He goes into great detail even about the places where the priests sat:

“And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people” (Mosiah 11:11). And you can bet that there is some ziff thrown in the mix here for these fancy-pants seats. Here they are called priests, but they lie to the people. A glimpse in a snapshot of their condition.

That is quite the scene, isn’t it?  And wonderful artists like Arnold Friberg, Jeremy Winborg, James Fullmer and Andrew Bosley have helped us to imagine this great contrast between evil and good in their paintings of this. As a child, the thing I remembered most about Arnold Friberg’s depiction of Abinadi, was the two jaguars that were looking up at the prophet and growling!  Aren’t we grateful for these talented artists?


They have certainly blessed our lives.  Now, back to our scene here of pure wickedness.  What happens when the people, especially a people who have once had the gospel among them, turn from the Lord and begin to embrace such wickedness?  When there is imminent spiritual destruction, the Lord, in His goodness and generosity and love, sends a prophet to call the people to repentance.  And in the ancient world, the prophets usually did not come with an envoy.  They came alone.  They stood alone.  They boldly bore their testimonies to the wicked, called them to repentance and pled with them to turn to the Lord. Such was Abinadi’s mission.


We see from the record that Abinadi comes twice.  He first comes and cries repentance to the people and he is completely rejected.  The people are all a reflection of the king’s wickedness.  Abinadi gives them a stern warning that if they do not repent of their iniquities, the people will be delivered up to their enemies and will be smitten and be taken in to bondage.  As we’ve talked before—bondage and deliverance are two of the great messages of the Book of Mormon.  How do we get out of bondage and Who is our Deliverer?  And I love the last verse of Mosiah 11, verse 29:

29 Now the eyes of the people were blinded; therefore they hardened their hearts against the words of Abinadi, and they sought from that time forward to take him. And king Noah hardened his heart against the word of the Lord, and he did not repent of his evil doings.

There are two things that strike me about that verse:  Blindness and the hardening of the heart.


We were just talking about blindness the other day on our walk, Scot.  Blindness is fascinating.  It’s one of Satan’s greatest tools.  He loves to create blind spots in our vision or give us blindness in certain areas.  This tool is very effective, because when you are blind, well, obviously you can’t see.  And, if you cannot see your own weaknesses or failings or sins or fallacies of thinking—you are miserably blind.  Make no mistake in verse 29 where it says, “Now the eyes of the people were blinded”—there is a direct inference that they were blinded by something or someone.  That someone is Satan.  He uses the same technique in our world today, he used the same technique after the great sign of the birth of Christ—when nearly everyone initially believed.  He blinded their minds and he blinded their eyes and even led them to believe that “the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.” (See 3 Nephi 2:1-2)


And Satan hardens our hearts.  Does this mean hardening of the arteries as in arteriosclerosis?  Well, not really—but that could also play a role.  The heart is always symbolic of the center of our emotions and feelings.  If Satan can harden our hearts—make those flexible parts of us to become inflexible and hardened, or obdurate or unmoving—he can keep us from feeling anything from the Spirit.  He can harden our hearts so that we will not be able to receive revelation.  He can harden our hearts and blind our minds so as to destroy our relationships with the those we love the most and with the Lord Himself.  Blindness and hardness of hearts are really powerful tools of Satan—and we see it so clearly in the court of wicked King Noah and among his people.


We certainly see all the wicked priests of Noah protecting their jobs as they bring Abinadi before the king.  After reporting to the king all the evil that Abinadi has spoken against him, the priests question in Mosiah chapter 12, verses 13 and 14:

13 And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be condemned of God or judged of this man?

14 And now, O king, behold, we are guiltless, and thou, O king, hast not sinned; therefore, this man has lied concerning you, and he has prophesied in vain.

Isn’t that the perfect view of blindness and hypocrisy?


Job security is a huge issue for these wicked priests.  And isn’t it so significant that these priests could quote scriptures, even from Isaiah, and did not understand them at all?  These priests were so into their wickedness they were now past feeling.  Abinadi summarized their condition in verse 27 of chapter 12:

27 Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise…

This idea of applying our hearts to understanding is really critical.  Let us be so careful that we are not just “reading” our scriptures, or “studying” our manuals and lessons, or “talking” about these eternal truths without applying them to our hearts to understanding.

We might ask these questions as we delve into the scriptures:

What is the Lord trying to say to me personally here?
How do I apply this teaching to my life and current situation?
How do I hear Him?  (Does that one sound familiar?)
How can I draw closer to Him by applying these truths in my life?
Is there something the Lord wants me to understand right here, right now?


And what would the Lord have me do?

How do I take these teachings and apply them to action?

Based on the things that I am reading, what can I do to serve my fellowmen more than I am now?

I’m always thinking what are the actionable items for me in the messages of the scriptures?

Clearly the wicked priests of Noah, and Noah himself were not willing to process any of these questions because of their blindness and their hard hearts.


But I do love Abinadi’s discerning of their hearts in the midst of this initial exchange.  He asks them in verse 30 of chapter 12:

30 Know ye not that I speak the truth? Yea, ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God.

He knew that that they knew that what he was saying to them was true.  I think at this point, the one wicked priest by the name of Alma, started reconsidering his ways.

But the King responded to Abinadi’s accusations and truths this way:

And now when the king had heard these words, he said unto his priests: Away with this fellow, and slay him; for what have we to do with him, for he is mad. (Mosiah 13:1)


We mentioned that Abinadi came alone, but clearly the Lord is with him, so, he is really not alone. But there he is boldly standing before King Noah, the winebibber, adulterer, whoremonger, sinner king. And he calls him and all the priests to repentance.  His message is clear and they get it right away and decide to take him away.  But, before they can even touch him to drag him off, Abinadi is filled with the Spirit of the Lord:

And they stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him; but he withstood them, and said unto them:

Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver; neither have I told you that which ye requested that I should tell; therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time. (Mosiah 13: 2-3)


And I love how the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Abinadi.  The record says:

Now it came to pass after Abinadi had spoken these words that the people of king Noah durst not lay their hands on him, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; and his face shone with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord.

And he spake with power and authority from God … (Mosiah 13: 5-6)

This experience of the prophet’s face shining with exceeding luster is fascinating.  We have about a dozen accounts of this happening in history.  You’re familiar with most of them.


That’s right.  When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, having spoken face to face with Jehovah, the scriptures record:

“…that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.” That’s in Exodus 34: 29-30.


And remember that Jesus face was filled to on the Mount of Transfiguration:

And [Jesus] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. (see Matthew 17: 1-2)

And we have people in Church History who saw this same thing happen to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  Anson Call recorded this when Joseph Smith saw the Rocky Mountains appear before him in vision:

“… and now [I] saw, while he was talking, his countenance change to white, not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living, brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing upon something at a great distance and said, “I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains.”” (


Wilford Woodruff recorded:

“His face was clear as amber. The room was filled with consuming fire.” (

Philo Dibble reported:

“[Joseph] seemed to be dressed in an element of glorious white, and his face shone as if it were transparent” (

Lorenzo Snow said:

“At times [Joseph] was filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking as with the voice of an archangel, and filled with the power of God; his whole person shone and his face was lightened until it appeared as the whiteness of the driven snow.” (


And one of my favorites is from Mary Rollins Lightner.  She is the same person, who as a young girl rescued the signature sheets from the Book of Commandments in 1833 when a mob was destroying the press.  She recorded of this experience in Kirtland about the Prophet Joseph:

“Joseph looked around very solemnly. It was the first time some of them had ever seen him.  “Said he, “There are enough here to hold a little meeting.” They got a board and put it across two chairs to make seats. Martin Harris sat on a little box at Joseph’s feet. They sang and prayed. Joseph got up and began to speak to us. As he began to speak very solemnly and very earnestly, all at once his countenance changed and he stood mute. Those who looked at him that day said there was a search light within him, over every part of his body. I never saw anything like it on the earth. I could not take my eyes off him; he got so white that anyone who saw him would have thought he was transparent. I remember I thought I could almost see the cheek bones through the flesh. I have been through many changes since but that is photographed on my brain. I shall remember it and see in my mind’s eye as long as I remain upon the earth.” (


I love Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner. And there are other of these accounts about Joseph Smith and about David O. McKay that we have record of.  Why is this even important to note?  I think it shows us a number of things.

One. We are never completely alone.  The Lord and His Spirit are always near as we live the commandments and strive to stay close to Him.

Two. The Lord can show forth great power so that the people who witness it can understand that the Lord is near.  This is the case with Moses, with Abinadi, with Joseph Smith and others.

Three. That physical witness that the people can see is binding upon them and can either serve to help convert them to the truth—as we will see in this story with Abinadi—or it will stand as a sure witness against those who see, but will not see.


And I think, Four. We realize that our body is just an instrument in the Lord’s hands.  When Moses had been talking with the Lord face to face and the Lord withdrew from him, he fell to the earth and was quite unable to do anything for many hours.  This caused Moses to say, “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” (See Moses 1:10) And I think this shows, five, that the spirit and the body are separate and the Lord’s influence can light up our spirit so that they shine forth as nothing early can. And six, that when we are filled with this light we can speak with power and authority.

This scene was powerful with Abinadi, because he was now absolutely protected by the power of God and he then delivered the full message that he was called to deliver to Noah and the wicked priests.


And I love how he taught them the Ten Commandments as part of his core message and he told them that boldly that they were breaking these commandments and they needed to repent.  “For,” said Abinadi, “I perceive that they are not written in your hearts.” (Mosiah 13:11). That begs the question for each of us: Are the commandments and laws of God written upon our hearts?  That is worth some deep pondering.

Abinadi asked the wicked priests—almost as a test—if they thought salvation came by the law of Moses.  They said they thought it did.  Then Abinadi taught them this:

28 … I say unto you, that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses. (See Moses 13:28)


Abinadi testifies boldly that God Himself, the Messiah, will come down among the children of men “and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth.” (Mosiah 13:34). Remember, this testimony and prophecy is given about 148 years before Christ’s birth.  Then Abinadi reminded the wicked priests and King Noah that all the prophets since the beginning have testified of this same Jesus Christ—the Messiah.

And to make it perfectly clear, Abinadi quotes the entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah to his reluctant yet captive audience—this is one of the greatest Messianic chapters in all of holy writ.  You know it perfectly well, with language like:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…

But he was wounded for our transgressions…and with his stripes we are healed. (see Mosiah 14: 3-5)


I love that fact that in the midst of this pure wicked group he draws from this intimate and powerful witness of the Messiah Who will come.  Abinadi is doing all he can to try to convince them and convert them to the true Messiah and to keep his commandments.  You see him here as a Prophet of compassion and love as he stands alone, boldly testifying of Jesus to these 24 high priests and one wicked king.

Are we willing to stand alone, to boldly testify of what we know or stand firm in the truth in the midst of persecution or ridicule?


I love this story that President Monson told from his life some years ago:

“I believe my first experience in having the courage of my convictions took place when I served in the United States Navy near the end of World War II.

“Navy boot camp was not an easy experience for me, nor for anyone who endured it. For the first three weeks I was convinced my life was in jeopardy. The navy wasn’t trying to train me; it was trying to kill me.

“I shall ever remember when Sunday rolled around after the first week. We received welcome news from the chief petty officer. Standing at attention on the drill ground in a brisk California breeze, we heard his command: “Today everybody goes to church—everybody, that is, except for me. I am going to relax!” Then he shouted, “All of you Catholics, you meet in Camp Decatur—and don’t come back until three o’clock. Forward, march!” A rather sizeable contingent moved out. Then he barked out his next command: “Those of you who are Jewish, you meet in Camp Henry—and don’t come back until three o’clock. Forward, march!” A somewhat smaller contingent marched out. Then he said, “The rest of you Protestants, you meet in the theaters at Camp Farragut—and don’t come back until three o’clock. Forward, march!”


“Instantly there flashed through my mind the thought, “Monson, you are not a Catholic; you are not a Jew; you are not a Protestant. You are a Mormon, so you just stand here!” I can assure you that I felt completely alone. Courageous and determined, yes—but alone.

“And then I heard the sweetest words I ever heard that chief petty officer utter. He looked in my direction and asked, “And just what do you guys call yourselves?” Until that very moment I had not realized that anyone was standing beside me or behind me on the drill ground. Almost in unison, each of us replied, “Mormons!” It is difficult to describe the joy that filled my heart as I turned around and saw a handful of other sailors.

“The chief petty officer scratched his head in an expression of puzzlement but finally said, “Well, you guys go find somewhere to meet. And don’t come back until three o’clock. Forward, march!”


“As we marched away, I thought of the words of a rhyme I had learned in Primary years before:

“Dare to be a Mormon;
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm;
Dare to make it known.

“Although the experience turned out differently from what I had expected, I had been willing to stand alone, had such been necessary.

“Since that day, there have been times when there was no one standing behind me and so I did stand alone. How grateful I am that I made the decision long ago to remain strong and true, always prepared and ready to defend my religion, should the need arise.” (Monson, Thomas S., Dare to Stand Alone, General Conference, October 2011)


I love that story from President Monson.

Now, Abinadi testifies “that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.” (Mosiah 15:1). This plays into the meaning of Abinadi’s name:  “My father is present with you.”  This chapter 15 can sometimes be confusing for people as Abinadi teaches the concept of Christ being the Father and the Son.

What did Abinadi mean? He taught that God the Son—Jehovah—would be the Redeemer (see Mosiah 15:1), dwelling in the flesh, becoming part man and part God (Mosiah 15:2-3).

He will completely subject Himself to the will of God the Father (Mosiah 15:5-9).

And because of this, Jesus Christ is both the Son of God and the perfect earthly representation of God the Father (see John 14:6-10).  We can look to Jesus Christ to understand in every way the Father, His love, His compassion, His long-suffering, His mercy, His tender care, His awareness of the widow and the wealthy, His knowing us by name.  All these characteristics of Jesus are the perfect reflection of the characteristics of the Father.


And Abinadi continued by explaining that Jesus Christ is also the Father in the sense that when we accept His redemption, we become “his seed” (Mosiah 15:11-12). In other words, we become spiritually reborn through Him (see Mosiah 5:7) and He becomes our spiritual Father.

Abinadi closes his witness with a powerful testimony of the ministry, mission, atonement, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He testified:

“He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.” (Mosiah 16:9)


Now, with all this powerful testimony, there is one solitary soul among all the wicked who is moved and touched by Abinadi’s words.  His name was…Alma.  He knew that Abinadi’s words were true.  He knew that they were living in sin. And he began to plead with the king that he would not be angry with Abinadi and not harm him.  But the king now turned on Alma and sent his servants to slay him.  But Alma ran from this setting and went and hid and wrote down all the words of Abinadi.


Through all of this, Noah is given one more chance.  Abinadi is accused of saying that God himself will come down and be with us and for this cause he is deemed worthy of death.  How ironic!  The very thing that can save this wicked king and these wicked priests is the thing he is condemned for.  He testified that he is innocent and that if they slay him they will be slaying an innocent man and the judgements of God will come upon the king.  King Noah nearly released him (see Mosiah 17:11) but then all the wicked high priests reviled against Abinadi and said, “He has reviled the king.” (Mosiah 17:12)

This is a perfect picture of peer pressure, pride, hardening of the heart and blindness.

The king gives the order and Abinadi is burned to death.  Even as he is in the flames he testifies that this same thing will happen to King Noah.


Scot, it appears that evil triumphed in this story—the prophet of God is burned to death and wicked King Noah and the wicked priests go free.  But wait, Abinadi did have one convert.  His name, of course, is Alma, and through him the entire course of religious history for the Nephites and the Lamanites will be changed.  Abinadi’s mission was a success!


That’s all for today.  Thank you for joining us.  We love you and we love studying with you.  Next week’s lesson will cover Mosiah, chapters 18-24 and is entitled “We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him.”  Special thanks to Paul Cardall for the beautiful music that opens and closes this podcast and thanks to Michaela Proctor Hutchins for producing this show.  Have a wonderful week, be safe and see you next time.