Come, Follow Me: April 27 — May 3
Things were going well for Zarahemla with Mosiah as king and the city-state had enjoyed peace for three years. However, he was receiving constant petitions from his people regarding those who had gone up to reclaim the land of Lehi-Nephi. No one had heard anything from them since they had left Zarahemla.
In verse 2 we see that King Mosiah chose 16 strong men to try and find them. Their leader was Ammon, a Mulekite. Not knowing where to go, the men wandered for “40 days” in the wilderness. Note that it says that they wandered many days, even 40 days. This is an old Hebrew idiom meaning “a really long time” (verse 4).
After they had wandered for a really long time, they pitched their tents on a hill north of the land of Shilom. Ammon took Amaleki, Helem, and Hem, and they went down to the land of Nephi (verse 6).
Nephi included a walled city, which Ammon and his brethren approached. The king happened to be outside of the walls with his guards. He immediately took Ammon and his brethren and threw them into prison (verse 7). After 2 days, they were brought before the king for questioning. Do you feel like their encounter with the king was by chance? Could God have arranged this to happen? What do you think the young men were feeling during those two days in prison?
When Ammon and his brethren were brought before the king, the king declared his identity—“I am Limhi, the son of Noah, who was the son of Zeniff, who came up out of the land of Zarahemla to inherit this land” (verse 9). How do you think Ammon felt when he heard this announcement? Limhi was of the second generation after Zeniff. Approximately how many years might have passed since Zeniff left Zarahemla? A generation is more or less 30 years, so two generations later would have been about 60 years. How do you think Ammon felt when the king turned out to be Zeniff’s grandson?
In verse 13, we see that Ammon is happy to announce that he is a descendant of Zarahemla who has come inquiring about Zeniff and his party who had left so long ago. Limhi rejoices when he hears this (verse 14), “Now, I know of a surety that my brethren who were in the land of Zarahemla are yet alive. And now, I will rejoice; and on the morrow I will cause that my people shall rejoice also.” Because so many years had passed without any communication between them, both groups feared the worst.
There is a more modern counterpart to this story in Saints, Volume 2. In the late 1800s it was a long, hard journey from Utah to the South Pacific islands, and although there were members of the Church in the South Pacific, they were not receiving good information from Utah. Most of what they heard were just rumors. Beginning on page 651, we can read about three elders who were sent to the Tuamotu Islands near Tahiti. One of the elders was an older man who had served a mission to the islands in his youth. However, these Saints and their elderly leader, Maihea, were very suspicious and would not believe they were true elders of the true church without proof. False missionaries had told them that Brigham Young and the Saints in Utah had cut themselves off from the true church. These were false rumors spread by missionaries from the Reorganized Church. The following story is recounted in the book:
Unsure if these new missionaries were true representatives of the Church, Maihea and the Tuamotu Saints greeted them coldly, giving them only an unripe coconut to eat. Soon, however, Maihea learned that the oldest missionary was a one-legged man named James Brown, or Iakabo, which was the name of one of the missionaries who had taught him the gospel. Even Saints who were too young to have met James Brown personally had heard the older generation speak his name.
Since Maihea was blind and could not recognize the missionary by sight, he confronted him with questions.21 “If you are the same that has been among us before, you have lost one leg,” said Maihea, “for the Iakabo that I used to know had two legs.”
Maihea then asked James if he taught the same doctrine as the man who had baptized him so many years before.
James replied that he did.
Maihea’s questions continued: Have you come from Salt Lake City? Who is the president of the Church now that Brigham Young is dead? Which hand do you raise when you baptize? Is it true that you believe in plural marriage?
James answered each question, but Maihea remained unsatisfied. “What was the name of the village where the French arrested you?” he asked. Once again, James answered the question correctly.
Finally, Maihea’s fear faded away, and he gladly shook James’s hand. “If you had not come and satisfied us that you were the same man who was here before, it would have been useless to send these young men here,” he said, referring to the missionaries with James, “for we would not have received them.”
“But now,” Maihea said, “we welcome you. We welcome these young men too.”
How do the modern communication technologies we have today help prevent or remedy these kinds of situations? This would make a good family discussion.
In verse 14 we see Limhi desiring to share the good news with his people and in verse 15 we see why—his people are in bondage to the Lamanites and this might be the deliverance he has been seeking. He sends his guards to bring in the rest of Ammon’s men in order to celebrate (verse 16), and in verse 17, he sends out a proclamation to gather his people to the temple.
We know that Nephi built a temple in the land of Lehi-Nephi. Do you think this is the same temple? Why?
Beginning in verse 18, we see Limhi addressing his people. He tells his people they have an opportunity to be delivered and then in verse 19, he recounts the story of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Back in 2 Nephi, Nephi also told the story of the deliverance of the Israelites to Laman and Lemuel to encourage them to have faith. Why tell the same story over and over for so many generations? What are the lessons in that story that are important to remember? The Jews still tell this story every year at the Passover because God wants them to remember. What happens when we forget these lessons? How do we forget them?
Limhi adds the story of how God delivered them from Jerusalem before the Babylonians attacked (verse 20). So that’s two deliverance stories to prove the love and rescuing power of God. What other deliverance stories were added to legend later in the Book of Mormon?
In verse 21, Limhi begins a brief history of his people to help them remember how they got to the point where they are. Why did Zeniff fall for the tricks of the Lamanites who welcomed them and gave them land? In verses 25 and 29 – 33, Limhi connects righteousness with blessings and unrighteousness with afflictions. In other words, he is calling his people to repentance so they are worthy of deliverance. Have a discussion and relate this to the atonement.
In verses 26 to 28, Limhi states:
26 And a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations, and prophesied of many things which are to come, yea, even the coming of Christ.
27 And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth—
28 And now, because he said this, they did put him to death;
Who is the prophet who was slain mentioned by Limhi in these verses?
As Limhi was ending his speech to the people, he introduced Ammon and had him recount what had transpired in Zarahemla since Zeniff had left the land. He also taught them the words of King Benjamin which had committed the people to be disciples of Christ.
In verse 5, we see Limhi bringing the record of his own people to Ammon. What if Zeniff and his descendants had not kept any records? Why is it important to keep our own records? In verse 6, Limhi asks Ammon if he can interpret other languages, and Ammon doesn’t have that ability. In verse 7, Limhi begins to tell Ammon a story. While his men were out looking for Zarahemla, they got lost for quite a while, and discovered a land covered with bones of men and animals and ruins of buildings. They returned with 24 engraved plates of pure gold and other artifacts. In verse 12, we see why Limhi is anxious to read what is on the plates. These were an accomplished people, but they were destroyed, and Limhi wants to learn their story.
In verse 13, Ammon says that King Mosiah can translate the plates, because he is a seer and has ancient “interpreters,” also called Urim and Thummim. Urim and Thummim means “lights and perfections.” At the time of Moses, there was a pocket in the priestly breastplate for these stones to be kept. Only a man who was worthy and ordained could use these interpreters, and they were used for judging and translating. Seer stones are not just ancient, they have eternal use. Go to D&C 130:10 – 11. What is the white stone it talks about?
Talk about verse 16. What is the difference between a revelator, a prophet, and a seer? (See verse 17.) What is our prophet today?
In verse 20, Limhi says that we choose not to seek wisdom or let wisdom rule over us. What does he mean? Many times in the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites they will be destroyed because they don’t have knowledge. What knowledge is He talking about?
The record of Limhi’s people begins in Mosiah 9. Was Zeniff a Nephite or a Mulekite? Why would that matter? Zeniff started out as a spy sent to assess the forces of the Lamanites. Why did Zeniff back down from his mission (verse 1)? Zeniff was part of a group and he wasn’t in charge. He rose up against his commander. What happened (verse 2)?
This small army had to return to Zarahemla and explain why most of them had been killed. How could this come to pass? What can we learn from it? In verse 3 we see Zeniff gathering people together who want to go back and reclaim the land of Lehi-Nephi. What good things did Zeniff see in the Lamanites? What things did he choose to ignore about the Lamanites? Why were he and his people smitten in the wilderness?
Zeniff does find the land of Lehi-Nephi (verse 5) and the king of the Lamanites agrees to give his people land. How does this differ from when the Nephites give the land of Goshen to the Anti-Nephi-Lehies? What is the difference in their motives? (See verse 10.)
In verse 12, Zeniff, who saw such good qualities in the Lamanites, now criticizes them. What does he say? At this point there begins to be violence between Zeniff’s people and the Lamanites. In verse 17, Zeniff says his people went forward in battle in “the strength of the Lord.” How does this show a change in the righteousness of the people from when they first left Zarahemla? Did the Lord help them?
Zeniff has his people make weapons and sets guards around the people and their flocks. They had already rebuilt the walls of the main city, but the lands outside the walls needed protection. The people had relative peace for another 22 years (they had been there 12 years when the first battles occurred). His people were industrious.
Then King Laman died and his son who became king wanted war (verse 6). The Lamanites came up to battle from the north. How were they dressed? (See verse 8.) Why does Zeniff mention the dress and hair of the Lamanites?
Look at verse 10. Were the people of Zeniff still righteous? How do you know? Look at verse 11. What does it mean to be left to your own strength?
In verses 12 – 18, what were the beliefs and stories of the Lamanites that caused them to hate the Nephites? Can you see why they might believe these stories?
At the end of Mosiah 10, Zeniff, who is very old, confers the kingdom on one of his sons. He asks that the Lord bless his people. Talk about Zeniff. What were his good qualities and what were his weaknesses? Back when he first wanted to recover the land of Lehi-Nephi, he calls himself “over-zealous.” What does that mean and how can that cause a person to make mistakes in judgment?