What Was King Noah's Sin?

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Short answer: Personal interpretation of the gospel and pet theories rather than the basics of faith, humility, obedience, and sacrifice.

Long answer: From Mosiah 12...


26 I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord.

27 Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise. Therefore, what teach ye this people?

This is a very important beginning of the conversation.  Abinadi specifically states that they have not taught them the ways of the Lord.  They have perverted them.  Then asks them what they ARE teaching the people.


28 And they said: We teach the law of Moses.

So, as far as they are concerned, they're doing what they're supposed to do.  They teach the Law of Moses, after all. That is the Law of God.  Therefore, we're teaching right.  But what is Abinadi's response to their claim?


29 And again he said unto them: If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people?

It is easy to think that Noah and his priests were simply hypocrites.  I don't think so.  At some level, sure they were.  But the primary thing that Abinadi is giving them a tongue lashing for was the fact that they were not doing their jobs and preaching the word of God.  He starts his actual lesson with the Ten Commandments.  Pretty basic stuff.  Not the doctrine of the atonement or grace, or works, or love thy neighbor, or the value of work...  He teaches the commandments of God.

And when he does, both Noah and Alma are pricked in their hearts.  I'd say because neither of them had even thought about (or taught about) the commandments in a long time.  And they were being reminded of them for the first time since their apostasy.

We can all have our pet principles (which are true and just principles).  But we twist them in such a way that we justify our sinning against the commandments of God.  We believe in the "warm and fuzzy things" like "love thy neighbor" and excuse ourselves from ignoring the commandment to stay chaste or to warn our neighbor or to cry repentance to all the world.  And to do so, means we're simply creating our own offshoot of the Church rather than staying true to the roots.  That was Noah's great sin.

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Isaiah tells us that apostasy is not straying from doctrine - even though this is what we all argue about.  Isaiah defines turning from G-d as: 1. Transgressing the Law. 2. Changing the ordinances. and 3. Breaking the Everlasting Covenant.  Everything else was a symptom of their apostasy.


The Traveler

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On 5/20/2020 at 11:43 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

Ben Spackman suggests that Noah had broken the Mosaic “law of the king” as enunciated in Deut 17:14-20.  

This might be another reason.

Through the hardness of their hearts, God allowed them to have an earthly king
(just as he allowed divorce) but that was not His desired goal.  Having an earthly 
king was actually a sign of rebellion because they would not accept God as their 
king (1 Samuel 8:1-9; 10:19-22; 12:17-19). God had originally appointed judges and
officials (Deuteronomy 16:18) but the people eventually rejected them and wanted a
king like the nations around them.

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