Thoughts on Gospel Doctrine Lesson 21

MOSIAH 29

MOSIAH 29:7-36

What are the advantages of democracy over monarchy?

"A monarchy is a good system of government if the people can be assured they will always have good and righteous kings. (Mosiah 23:8.) However, the weakness of a monarchy is that 'ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.' (Mosiah 29:21.)

". . . The value of this system of democratic government is that 'it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right.' (Mosiah 29:26)" (Daniel H. Ludlow, Companion, 193).

DISADVANTAGES OF AN UNRIGHTEOUS MONARCHY ADVANTAGES OF A DEMOCRACY
Contentions, anger, wars, shedding much blood, perverting the ways of the Lord (v. 7) Peace (v. 10)
Much sin (v. 9) Seek for wise leaders (v. 11)
Iniquity and great destruction (v. 17) Choose leaders by the desires of the majority of the people (v. 25)
Bondage (v. 18) The majority usually choose the right (v. 26)
Can't dethrone wicked king without bloodshed (v. 21) If leaders are wicked they can be removed without bloodshed (vv. 28-29)
Destruction of righteous laws (v. 22) The people have liberties, rights, and privileges of equality (v. 32)
Wickedness becomes the law (v. 23) The people carry some responsibilities for the government (v. 34)
Wicked kings will answer for the wickedness of their people (v. 31)  
Inequality is the rule (v. 32)  
Stealing, plundering and whoredoms (v. 36)  

MOSIAH 29:13, 16

"Because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have . . . kings."

"It is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion" (D&C 121:39).

MOSIAH 29:25, 39

How can we best choose our political leaders?

"We believe that . . . civil officers . . . that . . . administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people" (D&C 134:3).

MOSIAH 29:27

What will happen if the "voice of the people" chooses iniquity?

"There is no power that can wreck the government that God has established in this country unless it be the people themselves" (Anthony W. Ivins, in Conference Report, October 1932, 108).

MOSIAH 29:32, 39

What caused the people in these verses to rejoice?

"A lot of us take our civil rights for granted. We were born in a free country. We think freedom could never end. But it could. . . .

"The only way we can keep our freedom is to work at it. Not some of us. All of us. Not some of the time, but all of the time. . . .

"Give it your faith, your belief, and give it your active support in civic affairs" (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings, 405).

MOSIAH 29:42

What did it mean that Alma was the "first chief judge" as well as the "high priest"?

"This theocratic system, patterned after the order and system that prevailed in heaven, was the government of God. . . . He gave direction in all things both civil and ecclesiastical; there was no separation of church and state" (Bruce R. McConkie, New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 35).

ALMA 1

ALMA 1:3

Which priest or teacher should be "supported by the people"?

"From the sectarian view, the true Church has a lay ministry, meaning that bishops and other church officers do not receive financial compensation for their work. . . . From the Lord's view, his Church is a 'kingdom of priests' in which every worthy and qualified man is a minister" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 505).

ALMA 1:3, 19-22

Do those who persecute the Church really hurt it?

"Every time they persecute . . . this people, they elevate us, . . . and strengthen the hands and arms of this people. And every time they undertake to lessen our number, they increase it. . . . Righteousness and power with God increase in this people in proportion as the Devil struggles to destroy it" (Brigham Young, Discourses, 351).

ALMA 1:4

Why is the idea that "all mankind should be saved" so appealing?

"Nehor's words appealed to many of the people; they were easy words because they required neither obedience nor sacrifice. As we face many decisions in life, the easy and popular messages of the world will seem appealing. But . . . it will take great courage to choose the right" (L. Tom Perry, Living with Enthusiasm, 108-9).

ALMA 1:6

What is wrong with wearing "costly apparel"?

"Worldly styles and fashions . . . are improper and to be avoided. Almost always the apparel so involved is excessively costly, with those who wear it being lifted up in the pride of their hearts" (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:80).

ALMA 1:12, 16

What do riches and honor have to do with "priestcraft"?

"Priesthood and priestcraft are two opposites. . . . When [ministers'] interest is in gaining personal popularity and financial gain, . . . they are engaged, in a greater or lesser degree, in the practice of priestcrafts" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 593).

ALMA 1:26

Who is considered "equal" in the Church?

"In the Lord's Church the members are a congregation of equals; . . . every man and woman may speak in the name of God the Lord . . . (see D&C 1:20). The bishop perhaps is a plumber, while his clerk is the vice president of a large corporation" (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary, 3: 10).

ALMA 1:27-31

What blessings come to those who are willing to "impart of their substance"?

"The scriptures contain many evidences of the Lord's willingness to prosper his people with the riches of the earth when they demonstrate that they will use this abundance prudently, with humility and charity, always acknowledging the source of their blessings" (Dean L. Larsen, Ensign, November 1992, 40).

ALMA 2

ALMA 2:2-3

What are the differences between a government ruled by a king and a democracy?

See insights for Mosiah 29:7- 36.

ALMA 2:8-10

What makes anger such a serious sin?

"Anger is a yielding to Satan's influence by surrendering our self- control. It is the thought- sin that leads to hostile . . . behavior. . . . Unchecked, anger can quickly trigger an explosion of cruel words and other forms of . . . abuse" (Lynn G. Robbins, Ensign, May 1998, 80-81). See also Alma 19:21-22; 3 Nephi 12:21-22.

ALMA 2:17, 25

When is war justified?

See insights for Alma 43:9, 26, 30, 45-50; 44:5; 46:12; 48:10, 24.

ALMA 2:18, 28, 31, 35

Where does safety come from in times of conflict?

"Where is there safety in the world today? Safety can't be won by tanks and guns and the airplanes and atomic bombs. There is only one place of safety and that is within the realm of the power of Almighty God that he gives to those who keep his commandments" (Harold B. Lee, Ensign, January 1974, 128).

ALMA 3

ALMA 3:4, 10, 13

Both anciently and in the modern day, the wicked have "marked themselves."

"Young women, you do not need to drape rings up and down your ears. One modest pair of earrings is sufficient. . . . A young man . . . does not need tattoos or earrings on or in his body. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are all united in counseling against these things" (Gordon B. Hinckley, New Era, January 2001, 11). See Alma 23:16; 27:27 for how the righteous also distinguish themselves.

ALMA 3:6-14

The Lamanites were cursed and marked by the Lord.

There was a difference between the curse and the mark of dark skin placed upon the Lamanites. This difference is emphasized by the use of the conjuction "and" rather than "or" in verses 7 and 14. See also insights for 2 Nephi 5:20- 24.

THE CURSE THE MARK OF THE DARK SKIN
The curse was that the Lamanites were "cut off from [God's] presence" (2 Nephi 5:20). The "skin of blackness" was given so that the Lamanites "might not be enticing" to the Nephites (2 Nephi 5:21).

ALMA 3:18-19

How and why are some people cursed?

"He had caused the cursing to come upon them . . . because of their iniquity" (2 Nephi 5:21).

ALMA 3:26-27

We "reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit" that we follow.

"What is this life? . . . The Latter- day Saints are living for things [on] the other side of the vail. . . . Our eternal destiny depends upon the manner in which we spend our short lives here in the flesh" (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 17:194).

ALMA 4

ALMA 4:2

Is it appropriate to feel "greatly afflicted" when we lose a loved one?

"Thou shalt live together in love, . . . thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die" (D&C 42:45).

ALMA 4:6

How can people be wealthy and remain faithful?

"Many people who remained faithful . . . while they were poor may be unable to stand when they are rich. Riches [have] a very corrupting effect upon the human heart, and it requires a very pure people to be as honest, virtuous, humble and upright when surrounded by luxury and wealth" (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, 525).

They were "lifted up in the pride of their eyes."

See insights for Helaman 11:37.

ALMA 4:11

How important is it to be a good example?

"How much easier it is to understand and accept if the seeker after truth can also see the principles of the gospel at work in the lives of other believers. No greater service can be given to the missionary calling of this Church than to be exemplary in positive Christian virtues in our lives" (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings, 555). See also insights for 2 Nephi 31:7-10, 12-13, 16.

ALMA 4:20

Another name for the Melchizedek Priesthood is "the holy order of God."

See insights for Alma 13:1-2, 6-11, 14.

Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com