Last week we began discussing King Benjamin’s sermon. How would you summarize what he taught in chapters 2-3?
Serve others, serve God, we are all unprofitable servants & indebted forever, beware of contentions/evil spirit, keep the commandments, sin/guilt causes us to shrink from Lord’s presence, remember awful state of the unrepentant and the happy state of those who keep the commandments, salvation only possible through Christ’s Atonement, we must “put off” the natural man, we will be judged according to our works
Now, think back three weeks, to general conference. Do you remember President Monson’s closing remarks? He said,
“As your humble servant, I echo the words of King Benjamin in his address to his people when he said: “I have not commanded you to … think that I of myself am more than a mortal man. But I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind; yet I have been chosen … by the hand of the Lord … and have been kept and preserved by his matchless power, to serve you with all the might, mind and strength which the Lord hath granted unto me.”
Is it a fair to compare King Benjamin’s sermon to general conference? Did we figuratively “pitch our tents” toward the Temple? Note that King Benjamin caused his words to be written so the people who were unable to hear it at the time could read them…if you were in that situation, have you read the words from conference?
What was the reaction of the people to King Benjamin’s sermon? (v. 1-2) How does our reaction to general conference compare?
Why do you think King Benjamin emphasized his people’s “nothingness” and unworthiness? Doesn’t that contradict our belief that “I am a Child of God” and “the worth of souls is great”?
How can King Benjamin’s words to his people give us hope when we are discouraged by our weaknesses?
From Nancy W. Jensen on the LDS Gospel Doctrine Plus blog: "Remembering our nothingness causes us to feel “poor in spirit,” but if we stop here, we just experience despair and guilt (downward spiral). Remembering God’s greatness and goodness and patience as well impels us to come unto him (upward spiral)."
Why is it essential for us to recognize our dependence on the Lord?
What did understanding their “carnal state” lead King Benjamin’s people to do? (See Mosiah 4:2.)
What caused them to become “filled with joy”? (See Mosiah 4:3.)
“God wants each of His children to enjoy the transcendent blessing of peace of conscience. A tranquil conscience invites freedom from anguish, sorrow, guilt, shame, and self-condemnation. It provides a foundation for happiness. It is a condition of immense worth, yet there are few on earth that enjoy it. Why? Most often because the principles upon which peace of conscience is founded are either not understood or not adequately followed.”
—Richard G. Scott, Oct. 04 GC
What enabled them to be forgiven of their sins? How did they know they had been forgiven? How can we know that we are forgiven after we repent?
What did King Benjamin teach about how we obtain a remission of our sins? (See Mosiah 4:1–10.)
What did he teach about how we retain a remission of our sins? (See Mosiah 4:11–26.)
—D. Kelly Odgen, Andrew C. Skinner (Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 320)
Why do you think serving others helps us retain a remission of our sins? (Mosiah 4:26.)
How can we develop a generous heart regardless of our financial situation?
Mosiah 4:17-20 "Are we not all beggars?" I missed this connection, but my friend Julie was teaching today and showed President Uchtdorf's talk "The Merciful Obtain Mercy". I LOVE it!
Mosiah 4:27 What does it mean to do all things “in wisdom and order”? How can you be helped by this counsel?
King Benjamin taught his people that to avoid sin and maintain their commitment to God, they must watch their thoughts, words, and deeds (Mosiah 4:29–30). How are our thoughts, words, and deeds related? How will our words and deeds be affected when we watch our thoughts?
King Benjamin’s people experience a “mighty change” and covenant to do God’s will in all things.
Once we have experienced a “mighty change … in our hearts” (Mosiah 5:2), what challenges do we face in maintaining this change? How can we meet these challenges?
What does it mean to become children of Christ? (See Mosiah 5:2, 5–7.) What does it mean to “take upon [ourselves] the name of Christ”? (See Mosiah 5:8–11). What can we do each day to help us keep Christ’s name written in our hearts? (See Mosiah 5:11–15.)
King Benjamin asked, “How knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?” (Mosiah 5:13). How have you come to know Christ better through serving Him?
“And again, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of all these things, and had consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his people, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed priests to teach the people, that thereby they might hear and know the commandments of God, and to stir them up in remembrance of the oath which they had made, he dismissed the multitude, and they returned, every one, according to their families, to their own houses.” (Mosiah 6:3)
How can the organization of the church help us better live the gospel?
1)Teaching and 2) renewing of covenants are both important tools for remembering.
Excerpts from Donald L. Hallstrom's talk, “Converted to His Gospel through His Church” (April 2012 general conference):
“Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal. Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less active in the gospel. Let me stress: activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed.
By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance. For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?
I suggest three fundamental ways to have the gospel be our foundation:
1. Deepen our understanding of Deity. A sustained knowledge of and love for the three members of the Godhead are indispensable. Mindfully pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, and seek direction from the Holy Ghost. Couple prayer with constant study and humble pondering to continually build unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. “For how knoweth a man the master … who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13).
2. Focus on the ordinances and covenants. If there are any of the essential ordinances yet to be performed in your life, intently prepare to receive each of them. Then we need to establish the discipline to live faithful to our covenants, fully using the weekly gift of the sacrament. Many of us are not being regularly changed by its cleansing power because of our lack of reverence for this holy ordinance.
3. Unite the gospel with the Church. As we concentrate on the gospel, the Church will become more, not less, of a blessing in our lives. As we come to each meeting prepared to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118), the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. If we come to be entertained, we often will be disappointed. President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked, “What do you do when you find yourself in a boring sacrament meeting?” His response: “I don’t know. I’ve never been in one” (quoted by Gene R. Cook, in Gerry Avant, “Learning Gospel Is Lifetime Pursuit,” Church News, Mar. 24, 1990, 10).
In our lives we should desire what occurred after the Lord came to the people of the New World and established His Church. The scriptures read, “And it came to pass that thus they [meaning His disciples] did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed” (3 Nephi 28:23).
The Lord wants the members of His Church to be fully converted to His gospel. This is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever.”