Hugh Nibley calls Mosiah 29 one of the most important treatises on political power ever written. In fact, the Book of Mormon has plenty to say about good and bad political leaders. Why does a spiritual book have so much to say about politics? We’ll find out today.
You can also find it on any of these platforms by searching for Meridian Magazine-Come Follow Me.
Maurine and Scot Proctor have taught Book of Mormon for many years in Institute and have spent extensive time in the Arabian peninsula, following Lehi’s trail. They are the creators of a foundation that has sponsored a multi-year archaeological study of the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful in Oman. They have written a book on the Book of Mormon, as well as immersed themselves in the culture, history, and geography. of the scripture.
Hugh Nibley calls Mosiah 29 one of the most important treatises on political power ever written. In fact, the Book of Mormon has plenty to say about good and bad political leaders. Why does a spiritual book have so much to say about politics? We’ll find out today.
Hello, we are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast on the Book of Mormon, today chapters Mosiah 29-Alma 4. The title of the lesson is “They were Steadfast and Immovable” and talks about issues that really matter to us in our nation today. If ever there was a book that is relevant, it is the Book of Mormon. You can find the transcript for this podcast at latterdaysaintmag.com/podcast. That’s latterdaysaintmag.com/podcast.
We know that when we mention scriptures, you want to look for the references, so that’s why we make that transcript available for you. And please tell a friend about this podcast. We only can only do this if you tell your friends.
But Maurine, I have to tell a quick tender mercy story before we go on. You already know it.
I certainly do.
For those of you who are regular listeners you’ll remember that last week I mentioned going through pictures and names of those who follow the podcast. I was very prayerful about this—I felt we were supposed to just do a call out to one person. As you remember, we highlighted one man from Malawi, Africa—his first name was Rodrino. I had gone through his Facebook page and could quickly see he was a faithful follower of Christ and an active member of the Church. It was fun to just send a personal message to him through the podcast.
But that’s only half the story.
That’s right. When our daughter, Michaela, was editing the show after we had recorded it, she texted us this message:
“That guy you mention at the beginning of the podcast is my convert! I’m assuming you knew that?”
We said: “We had no idea! How amazing!”
I had checked his Facebook page through numerous posts, all the way down to a painting of the heavenly manifestations in the Kirtland Temple—and I stopped there. Had I scrolled down one more post, I would have seen a picture of our daughter, Michaela, and her husband Greg, as they visited Rodrino and he had posted:
“She is the one who introduced me to the gospel, thank you sister Proctor for coming back here together with your husband.”
Isn’t that so wonderful! It made us so happy.
It’s made me glow with joy all week long.
Now to this week’s lesson: In some ways, you might almost say that the Book of Mormon is a spiritual primer on virtuous and wicked leadership. The scripture smiles upon Nephi, King Benjamin, Mosiah, Alma, Captain Moroni and many others, but is also fearless in denouncing the tactics of Noah, Amlici, Amalickiah and the thought leaders of the day like Sherem, Nehor and Korihor.
Sometimes on Meridian we publish articles about issues like religious freedom or free speech, and once in awhile a reader will say, “Why do you put up political articles? I thought this was a religious magazine.” We always answer the same. We don’t publish articles supporting candidates or parties, but since the Book of Mormon has so much to say about power and freedom and the importance of how people organize themselves into societies where they either flourish or are brought into bondage, the topic seems more than a little important. Principles of good government matter, and not just a little.
I may bring dinner to my neighbor, but if I am allowing in the same breath her– or my– free speech to be diminished, I’ve certainly abandoned one of my Christian duties.
Right, in the pre-mortal world the principle we fought for as much as anything was moral agency. We wanted to be free to live by God’s law, not be corrupted by forced coercion to Satan’s plan. But he will ever work to steal our freedom and replace himself as our god. That is what he does, and he’s very good at it.
The Book of Mormon insists that the calamities and warnings it describes are for our day. Moroni is frank, “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:35).
It might be jarring to think that a prophet who has seen our day delivers a book to us that doesn’t just give us sweet platitudes about the importance of being good, but also spells with such muscle the tactics of demagogues and the smooth talk of tyrants. Let us not mince words. “O be wise; what can I say more?” implores Jacob (Jacob 6:12).
Yes, the Book of Mormon describes to us the prosperity and happiness of people who are united under righteous leaders, but oh, do we also see grinding wars, clashing philosophies, egos inflated by megalomania, secret acts below the radar and ultimately the utter dissolution of a people who were promised so much more if they could have been faithful.
We might wish the book had a happier ending, but since it is a witness and a warning, the Lord paints for us not once, but twice, the attributes of a civilization that is decimated through the people’s heedlessness and covenant breaking. The Book of Mormon repeats insistently and repeatedly that a proud civilization must repent or be destroyed.
At fault are the citizens who have abandoned their religious foundation, are lulled by material well-being, boast in their own strength and are carried away with flattering words. It is in these conditions they become ripe for leaders who make matters even worse, leading the population into babbling, envying, strife and “all manner of wickedness” (Alma 1:32).
As Mosiah chapter 29 begins, we find the Nephites at a governmental crossroads. Mosiah’s son Aaron would legitimately be next in line to be king, but as we know, he and his brothers have gone on a mission to the Lamanites.
This is certainly a glimpse into how completely he has been converted, because he is giving up the kingship, casting himself into the most dangerous place he could, all to bear testimony of the Lord he has come to know.
Yet, Mosiah sees clearly that his son had been destructive, “And if my son should turn again to his pride and vain things he would recall the things which he had said, and claim his right to the kingdom, which would cause him and also this people to commit much sin” (Mosiah 29:9).
In fact, any weakness in human nature seems somehow to be corrupted by power, and then the damage that one man or woman can do is incalculable. Joseph Smith wrote in the Doctrine and Covenants, “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately exercise unrighteous dominion” (D0ctrine and Covenants 121:39).
Mosiah, of course, had a vivid example before him, as he was intimately familiar with the reign and destruction of king Noah.
Mosiah said, “For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction! Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage” (Mosiah 29; 17, 18).
It is also important to remember that Mosiah knew about Jaredite history as he had translated their records. Theirs, of course, is a sad tale of nefarious kings, who betray those closest to them, send secret combinations among the people, and end in blood shed. He was under no illusion that people are better off with kings.
He does make the exception that if they could have “just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments” as Benjamin did, “then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you: (Mosiah 29:13)
Fat chance. Noah is an example of what too often happens in the history of the world.
Note that Noah, “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 the people.”
Noah embraces the philosophies of men with all the power of his office, while he still appears to maintain religious faith through a cadre of priests who are beholden to him. They spout scripture while they plan to burn a prophet alive.
It is interesting that bad rulers are often consummate public relations men and women. They say what they must to appear that they are doing the good, virtuous and important work for the people, while they undermine their lives and freedoms. Evil does not usually announce itself as evil, but proclaims all along that it is good.
Mussolini kept the trains running in perfect time and Hitler sponsored a great physical fitness program and made people believe that German values were wholesome values. He stressed a utopian world view.
The point is that concentrating that much power in the hands of one person is too often risky and perilous even if they can give a great, charismatic speech rallying the nation about the worldview they promote.
What’s more Mosiah could foresee that, if he appointed anyone else in his son’s place, “there could rise contentions among you. And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and draw away a part of this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among you” (Mosiah 29:7).
It is staggering how one person can have such a deleterious affect upon an entire nation. That’s why the governing of people is of such an enormous concern to God.
So, says Mosiah, “I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings; therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings” (Mosiah 29:31).
What Mosiah suggests instead is that judges replace kings, that they are chosen by the voice of the people, that they may be judged according to the laws which have been given them by their fathers. This will be a series of higher judges and lower judges that can be a kind of check and balance on each other.
It also places the responsibility for the people’s sins and choices upon their own heads. God is very interested in our living in a society where we can learn the lessons that only come when we are responsible for ourselves. We read, “Every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.” (Mosiah 29:38).
But wait. These judges are to be chosen by the voice of the people. That seems to be putting a lot of faith in people, what are sometimes called the unwashed masses. Aren’t there some who are more educated and experienced who should make that choice instead of allowing everybody to have a voice?
Some ideas leap to mind in response to that question. First, Mosiah reflects God’s faith in his people when he says, “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is nor right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people” (Mosiah 29:26).
This is why society works, for a righteous people. The majority of them will usually not choose evil if they are allowed to see clearly. However, if they are propagandized by liars or fed false stories, people can, of course, be carefully led to believe something that is not true about what is good for them.
The Lord says in Moroni 7, “For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man” (Moroni 7: 15 16).
When people are righteous, on the whole, the judgment of the majority can be trusted.
That reminds me of what John Adams said about the government he and the other founding fathers set up for the United States. “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Mosiah also understands, however, “If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you” (Mosiah 29: 27).
That time, in fact, comes as we read in Helaman 5.2.”For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.”
What I hear in this series of scriptures is that it is not only important that you live righteously, but do what you can to create the kind of environment where people can live righteously by the laws and leaders you support. An important prayer for my nation would be, “How can I be full of light and help lead others to the light?” We have a vested interest in making righteousness contagious. And we must not just sit back and watch our society spiral in iniquity without raising our voices. Our survival depends on it.
Hearing Mosiah, the people “became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land” (Mosiah 29:38).
Notice how often we hear the terms liberty and equality paired. Yet, there is also a sense that where there is liberty there cannot be equality. This is because as soon as liberty triumphs, people left on their own differentiate themselves. Some have more skills, talents, intellect and in an environment of freedom, they flourish. Power and wealth are accumulated by some. Others are left behind. How can there possibly be liberty and equality, unless some force is making sure that all are equal?
Of course, you are talking about one of the largest philosophical questions. Can liberty and equality work together? Where we see confusion is from those who say equality is about equality of outcome. We all have to be the same and have the same and, even believe the same.
What the Lord champions is equality of opportunity. Notice the scripture said that the people “became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance.”
Equality of outcome will always be at war with liberty.
The system of judges is accepted, and it is so important to them that they number their years from this time. Mosiah and Alma both pass away, and Alma the Younger becomes the chief judge of the land. He is also the high priest of the church, his father having conferred this charge upon him. Thus he will be head of the army, head of the state and head of the church.
It is a sacral state, and there is not a king any more. The laws, of course, are the laws of God.
Yet as the book of Alma begins, trouble comes into town in the form of one charismatic, flashy speaker named Nehor.
It is as if Mormon, writing expressly for our times, wanted to arm us for the debates of the day with those “enlightened and emancipated” voices that would swarm the Internet, criticize the Church, its leaders and doctrine, seek to win souls and then complain if their membership was on trial in a church they didn’t believe in.
Nehor was clearly a great orator, a powerful personality and a very persuasive speaker. He also enjoyed the heady thrill of seeing his arguments land and stick with a good share of the Nephite population.
Nehor comes bounding on to the scene, energized by the honor and attention brought by his crowd-pleasing doctrine. Though his personal story is short—contained in only a few verses, his philosophies remain, widely influencing society and becoming a major source of division among the Nephites, ultimately igniting the 72 BC wars and fanning the flames that made the people of Ammonihah burn the Saints.
It matters that his story and his corrupting philosophy is told in this first chapter of Alma, because the devastating events that follow right to the end of Alma’s story are largely a result of Nehor’s philosophy.
For example, when we meet the people of Ammonihah, they are a “hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people; and they repented not of their sins, ascribing all the power of Alma and Amulek to the devil; for they were of the profession of Nehor” (Alma 15:15)
The “many lawyers, and judges, and priests, and teachers, who were of the profession of Nehor” are those who not only burned the believers in Ammonihah, but came into the prison where Alma and Amulek stayed, and mocked them, and spit upon them.
Two other wicked groups of Nephite dissenters, the Amalekites and Amulonites built synagogues after the order of the Nehors (Alma 21:4), and the more wicked part of the Lamanites, who do not join the Church, are also after the order of Nehors. (Alma 24:28-29)
What he preached was clearly a most corrosive, damning, but inviting philosophy—and I wish it didn’t sound so familiar. It is the echo of the world we live in.
Nehor did all this by “bearing down against the Church” with a most seductive alternative. If he had a blog today he might have written, “I have my complaints” about the Church, and then later said that he got in all this trouble “Just for asking questions”.
Of course, like many who say they are “just asking questions”, what Nehor actually did was make a series of assertions that flew right in the face of doctrine, while probably claiming that he was doing it for the people’s own good. He may have claimed that he was saving the anxious and depressed who found the laws of the Church terribly strict.
He certainly believed that he had a more enlightened idea than God. He might have said something like, if this “strait is the way” doctrine is God’s, “he’s got a lot of explaining to do.”
Here was his alternative doctrine: “that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice;…and in the end, all men should have eternal life (Alma 1:4).
That is certainly a very soft and amiable revision of the gospel Alma was teaching. Hugh Nibley asks, “What is wrong with this upbeat, cheerful religion—this popular message? Well, it’s the period that is wrong. It says, ‘in the end all men shall have eternal life’—and that’s the whole story. Everyone is saved, and that is that. This short circuits and bypasses the whole plan of salvation, which is that this is a time of probation here” and that God does not accept all behavior as created equal. He cares what we do and for growth and joy we must conform to eternal law.
What Nehor says is that if all mankind are saved at the last, why do or believe all that hard stuff that religion requires? He offers a “pleasant, permissive, easy-going religion”, implying that what the Lord asks is not very loving.
No wonder Nehor was the first to introduce “priestcraft” ,“that every priest and teacher ought to become popular.” You’d get a lot of support with a popular doctrine like that—riches and honor and quotes in the national press. Nehor would have definitely posed himself as the champion of the dispossessed.
This idea appeals to those who would like to be able to do whatever they’d want now and still claim all the blessings of eternity later. Preaching repentance has never been popular. Truth telling won’t get you likes on your Facebook page. This idea that “all men shall have eternal life” is a doctrine easy to understand at a quick glance and requires no spiritual or mental exertion.
Priestcraft is an idea that became rampant and grew like a weed. Priestcraft says, pay me well and I will tell you exactly what you want to hear. It says, do what you want; I accept everything. It requires no knowledge of God, but an ear to the popular clamor.
Because Nehor was expounding to a religious people, he couldn’t come right out and oppose religion. Instead, he posed his way as a more friendly alternative.
Nibley notes, “Churches of Nehor’s persuasion dotted the land as evidence of the popularity of his teaching “that God will save all men,” as well as his common-sense rejection of “foolish traditions,” and the belief in things as angels of the possibility of prophecy (Alma 21: 6-8).
Now, if Nehor lived today, he would undoubtedly have a blog and say that the best thing about his doctrine was that it was inclusive. He was all for the groups who are marginalized, implying, of course, that the Church and the God it represents is narrow, and that asserting standards is bigotry. Maybe tomorrow when the Church becomes more progressive and international, it will drop its outmoded doctrines.
What a sleight of hand that is. Wasn’t it, after all, the tolerant Nehor who murdered Gideon for maintaining the gospel point of view?. This is the fruit of a morally superior position? This is inclusiveness? It is like today when those who embrace what they call tolerance and acceptance may be the first to call your ideas foolish or mean-spirited.
The idea that Nehor had something on God in inclusiveness is simply a lie.
It is God who invites all ye that labour and are heavy-laden to come unto him for rest (Matt. 11:28). He wants the gospel preached to “all the world for a witness to all nations” (Matt. 24:14). He was lifted up to draw all people to him (John 12:32). All are called to the work. (D&C 6:13).
The difference here is that the Lord seeks equality of opportunity—has even designed an entire program to redeem the dead who have never heard his word. What Nehor insists on is equality of outcome—as if where God dwells is a come-as-you-are party, no sanctification required. Remember, Nehor, is only teaching his philosophy for our own good.
As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat, but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. Talk about man creating God in his own image!” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland “The Costs—and Blessings of Discipleship” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2014/04/the-cost-and-blessings-of-discipleship?lang=eng
Nehor slew Gideon, for which he was tried “and suffered an ignominious death”, but “this did not put an end to the spreading of priestcraft through the land for there were many who loved the vain things of the world, and they went forth preaching false doctrines, and this they did for the sake of riches and honor.” (Alma 1: 15, 16)
Though they did not lie or steal, they did something that was equally as damaging. They persecuted, belittled, mocked and disdained those who belonged to the church. Do you remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” That, of course, is not true. Words hurt. We read that those who persecuted the church “afflicted them with all manner of words” (Alma 1:20). Afflicted is a good word there.
Heated debates broke out, even some leading to physical blows. Some church members simply couldn’t stand this persecution “for the hearts of many were hardened, and their names were blotted out, that they were remembered no more among the people of God” (Alma 1:24)
I keep thinking how much this is like our times. I remember, too, however, that there were a great many “that did stand fast in the faith” who were “steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them” (Alma 1:25).
How can we be those people? We must be those people. We must be able to stand by God in all times, under any conditions, because this kind of persecution will surely come upon us. We will certainly be called foolish for our beliefs. President Nelson recently said: “[D]ifficult 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).
Now in the fifth year of Alma’s rule, there arose a man named Amlici who wanted to be king. (Here you have to think how prophetic Mosiah was in anticipating this.) He was after the order of Nehor and was very cunning, drawing many people’s support.
“Now this was alarming to the people of the church, and also to all those who had not been drawn away after the persuasions of Amlici; for they knew that according to their law that such things must be established by the avoice of the people.
“Therefore, if it were possible that Amlici should gain the voice of the people, he, being a wicked man, would adeprive them of their rights and privileges of the church; for it was his intent to destroy the church of God.” (Alma 2: 3,4)
So, in other words, if you can have a really good marketing strategy for your false, but inviting ideas, and you have enough followers on Facebook, and you can persecute anyone who doesn’t believe as you do, you might be able to get the support of enough people to turn around and destroy what is most precious to the religious by taking away their freedom and rights. The Book of Mormon is indeed a book for our day.
Despite Amlici’s appeal and the hot contentions between his followers and anybody who opposed them, “the voice of the people came against Amlici, that he was not made king over the people…This did cause much joy in the hearts of those who were against him; but Amlici did stir up those who were in his favor to anger against those” who had opposed him (Alma 2: 7,8).
It is one thing, of course, to have a differing worldview from someone else, but that your viewpoints should stir you to contempt, division and ultimately violence is something else.
Stirred up, Amlici’s people gathered themselves together, consecrated Amlici to be their king and took up arms against the Nephites. It was a civil war. The Amlicites against the Nephites.
The Nephites were prepared for this battle “with cimeters, and with bows, and with arrows, and with stones, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons of war, of every kind” (Alma 2:12) That description is a powerful look into their world. The Amlicites were also well-prepared and the battle between them was bloody.
Remember, however, the covenant protection upon the Lord’s people, when they are attacked. “The Lord did strengthen the hand of the Nephites.” (Alma 2:18)
However, their hearts must have fallen within them when they followed to the camp of the Amlicites, and saw that “a numerous host of the Lamanites” had joined them and their brethren in the land were fleeing before them.
Together the Lamanites and the Amlicites were as numerous “as the sands of the sea, [and they came] upon them to destroy them” (Alma 2:27). Will numbers alone win this battle? All those who understand the covenant blessings of protection know that answer. The Nephites are “strengthened by the hand of the Lord” and when finally Alma and Amlici face off against each other with a sword, contending mightily with each other, Alma exercised much faith and cried, “O Lord, have mercy and spare my life, that I may be an instrument in thy hands to save and preserve this people” (Alma 2:30).
Covenant people have the covenant promise that though their battles may be hot, God will be with them to share His strength, right when they need it.
Alma slayed Amlici and both the Lamanites and the Amlicites retreated. Amlici had sought to use the propaganda mill to obtain power at whatever cost, and now look at the cost.
Two interesting points arise now. First, so the Amlicites could be distinguished from the Nephites, they “marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites” (Alma 3:4).
We also read “the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren” (Alma 3:6).
“And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not amix and believe in incorrect btraditions which would prove their destruction” (Alma 3:8).
This sounds so extremely strange to us as we know that dark skin is not any kind of a curse, and light skin no special divine favor. We know the Lord would be offended if we thought so. His beloved children come in many ethnicities and races, and they are free to marry whom they will
So we have to be careful not to read our own time frame and assumptions into their time.
The scholars at Book of Mormon Central say, “Readers should avoid simplistic approaches that fail to appreciate the nuances of ancient cultural, religious, racial, and ethnic sensibilities.”
They say, It is understandable how some, without this nuanced understanding, could read the Book of Mormon as a text that portrays the Nephites as having what we today would deem “racist,” or more properly ethnocentric, attitudes towards non-Nephites. “Could the Nephites have been racist in their views of the Lamanites?” asked John A. Tvedtnes. “Perhaps, in the same sense that the biblical patriarchs were racist when it came to their pagan neighbors—the Hittites, the Canaanites, and the Amorites—and did not want their offspring to marry these unbelievers.”
The mark upon them ultimately is that they “believed in the incorrect traditions of their fathers” and thus the Nephites did not want their children to intermarry.
Scholar Brant Gardner noted, the Book of Mormon is “not at all [racist] in the usual sense of the term. Rather than being a form of modern racism that bases antipathy on a difference of skin color, Gardner reads Nephite “racism” as an ethnocentrism “along the insider/outsider boundary, not the white/dark boundary.” He concluded that the ‘skin of blackness” was certainly intended to be a pejorative term, but it was not a physical description.”
What’s more, the Book of Mormon Central scholars note, “the curse was not indefinitely fixed, but was as fluid as the religious and cultural identity of both ‘Nephite’ and ‘Lamanite.’ Those who turned away from the Nephites and became Lamanites, either through intermarriage or apostasy, inherited the curse, while those Lamanites who repented and turned to the Lord were saved from the curse.”
We know that in the Book of Mormon, the righteousness of the Lamanites sometimes far exceeds their Nephite neighbors, and some of the most wicked of all are the Nephites such as the citizens of Ammonihah.
The other interesting point here is that Nephi said that the Book of Mormon would be carried ‘forth unto the remnant of [his] seed and they would rejoice for then “they shall know that is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people”. (The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi (Palmyra, NY: Joseph Smith Jr., 1830), 117 (2 Nephi 30:6).
“The Prophet Joseph Smith made an important textual emendation to this passage in the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon, where the phrase ‘a white and delightsome people’ was changed to “a pure and a delightsome people’. According to Royal Skousen, ‘The 1840 change of white to pure seems to be a conscious one and was probably made by Joseph Smith as part of his editing of the 1840 edition.” (For references on this discussion see Book of Mormon Central. https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-white-and-delightsome-people and
The important point to remember from the story of the Amlicites is that when they painted their foreheads with red marks, they cursed themselves. They marked themselves not just as nonbelievers, but those who would persecute and fight the gospel. This is a very tangible example of how people bring their own curses upon themselves.
That’s all for today. We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and this has been Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. Thanks to Paul Cardall for the music we hear at the beginning and ending of the program and to Michaela Proctor Hutchins, who produces and edits the podcast. Next week we’ll look at Alma chapters 5-7 called “Have Ye Experienced This Mighty Change in Your Hearts?”
See you then.