The Book of Mormon: Doers of the Word

King Benjamin Depiction

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Believe in God

Mormon transcribed many poignant statements of King Benjamin in his record which became The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The following gives a direct statement of what King Benjamin wishes to press upon the hearts and minds of all people:

Believe in God; believe that He is, and that He created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that He has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that He would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.1

In the middle of his address to his people, King Benjamin was delighted to see that his people hearkened to his introductory words as recorded in Chapter Three of The Book of Mosiah. He told them that natural man is in opposition to all that is good and must be overcome and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

The Nephites accepted the prophetic words that Benjamin uttered and received testimonies of the coming of Jesus Christ.

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Benjamin saw that his subjects accepted God's will as revealed through him while he yet gave his sermon though he did not know for sure. They accepted the prophetic words that Benjamin uttered and received testimonies of the coming of Jesus Christ. In confirming their faith in his words, King Benjamin told them to believe, yes; but also to do.

He taught that believing is great, but believers must also be doers of the word. Devils believe, which was taught by the Master through his Apostle James.2 It is good to believe and greater to also do God's will.

Not all who profess the Lord's name will be considered His people at the last day, but those who profess and do His will; "if you believe all these things see that ye do them.1

This article contains the life-altering teachings King Benjamin shared with his people after they converted to Christ on how to live a life that benefits from God's Plan of Salvation. Though it is by grace that all receive salvation, God expects His people to keep His commandments.

Point to Remember

  • It is important to remember with Pre-Atonement Christians that they lived Christian lives via the Law of Moses. They were under obligation to that law until Christ fulfilled the law He gave to them, the House of Israel specifically--all 12 tribes.

King Benjamin

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Remember These Things

Following the dramatic spiritual experience of his people, King Benjamin instructs them to remember.

He taught them that if they had tasted of the goodness of God, had been forgiven of their sins, and understood how powerless they were to achieve salvation from sin without a savior, that they must remember all of it!

He called them unworthy creatures! Why is that? It was true for one; and it was a sign of humility to accept the truth of their situation--of all humanity's situation of nothingness.

To Western society, it is offensive to hear such a thing! Westerners prize and value human life philosophically above all else! However, all ARE unworthy.

All have sinned. Sin automatically under the law of the universe, which is the law of God, convicts the offender and condemns him or her to death as payment.

No other person besides Jesus Christ appeared in mortality, lived, and died without committing sin.

If the wages of sin is death, Christ paid a price that was not fair to Him, which is why the grave could not hold Him.

There was no justice under the Law to hold Him in death. There was no justice in him suffering for sins not His own! The universe and all the elements of it owe Him a debt.

Because of this debt, all the elements of creation are beholden to God. King Benjamin points out to his people:

...are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God... [Ye] have been calling on His name, and begging for a remission of your sins.

...And has He suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; He has poured out His Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.10

As unworthy as all humanity is, the worth of souls are vital to God; insomuch, that He would sacrifice His Son as a ransom. Sacrifice does not capture the meaning as much since God did not perform a ritual to sacrifice Jesus Christ.

Christ volunteered for His opportunity to save all humankind from eternal damnation. Christ created an ultimate act giving up His life freely for the sake of others without any personal benefit other than knowing He obeyed the Father's will.

Harold G. Hillam

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Worth of Souls

Doers of the word are instructed to continue always because of the good that will come from doing good works as opposed to doing nothing.

Harold G. Hillam of the First Quorum of the Seventy related a story of a woman who spoke at a meeting he attended in the past.

In that meeting, she revealed that she completed her family history and found that her great-grandfather had over 1000 descendants.

Unfortunately, this grandfather also left the faith. She was the only one of those hundreds of posterity who partook faithfully of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness.

Said Elder Hillam,

When we see the effect one person can have on the lives of so many, it perhaps is no wonder that the Lord reminded us, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10).

I pray we all might consider what we can do individually to assist those who will be the future [lost souls] whether a little child, a teenager, or an adult, so that each will leave a righteous legacy of those who know and love the Lord.3

Following the example of Jesus Christ, disciples must be doers of the word--becoming saviors to all they assist in accepting Christ. Those who do not may be the reason hundreds and thousands of souls never hear the gospel message.

King Benjamin stressed doing the word of God for personal salvation and the salvation of others. Hillam gave the perspective that those influenced by those individuals can have a lasting impact for generations.

King Benjamin expressed a desire to leave a righteous legacy by the very act of preaching to his people and calling for the general conference of his Kingdom--and he did leave that legacy.

Conditions for Salvation

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King Benjamin taught that people must do work to gain salvation. Works without faith are vain as much as faith without works is dead. Thus the prophet James instructs:

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.12

Both faith and works are companions when it comes to the salvation of humanity.

Benjamin reiterated to his people things that they had just experienced, which caused them to pass out as a group! He said,

I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and His matchless power, and His wisdom, and His patience, and His long-suffering towards the children of men...also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world....4

The first set of conditions that King Benjamin instructed were the things of which believers must develop knowledge and remember. First, he speaks of the goodness of God. The fact that He provides a plan of salvation for all humanity indicates His goodness towards mankind, His love.

Elder Robert D. Hales

Presiding Bishop a the time of the related sermon.
Presiding Bishop a the time of the related sermon. | Source

God's Goodness

Elder Robert D. Hales said in a heartfelt sermon delivered soon after he experienced a heart attack in 1992 that

The Atonement brought mercy through repentance to balance justice. How thankful I am for the doctrine of repentance. Repentance is essential to salvation.5

The Goodness of God is that He sent humanity here and provided a way for it to have salvation from death and hell (eternal life without God the Father).

God the Father elected to provide form after His Own Image for spirits He calls His children and supply bodies for them to use while learning to become as He is!

John H. Groberg

John Holbrook Groberg has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1976.
John Holbrook Groberg has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1976. | Source

God's Power

Benjamin spoke about the power of God. Having a knowledge of the power of God is a profound yet simple matter. The power of God is based on love, pure and sweet. God has power over all things in the universe because all things in the universe obey Him through His influence of love, His divine grace, and justice.

In 2004, John H. Groberg of the Quorums of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave a sermon about the immensity of the love of God, which is also His power!

Jesus Christ was filled with unfathomable love [Power] as He endured incomprehensible pain, cruelty, and injustice for us. Through His love [Power] for us, He rose above otherwise insurmountable barriers. His love [Power] knows no barriers. He invites us to follow Him and partake of His unlimited love [Power] so we too may rise above the pain and cruelty and injustice of this world and help and forgive and bless.7

Jesus used power or love to endure the pains He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane. He used Power or Love to bear the cross until He finished the work. The word of God's power is love. Christ's is the word of God's power. Christ is love and love is power.

King Benjamin wanted his subjects to understand that remembering the power of God to reverse sin was imperative for their salvation. Recognizing this authority enables them to repent of their sins and knowing that they will be forgiven is part of humanity's salvation. The power of God lords over life and death because of His love of humanity.

Power is not necessarily synonymous with force as understood in modern vernacular.God is the Man of influence and persuasion. He does not force any element to obey Him. He uses the power of His overwhelming love to bring all things into subjection. Even the wrath of God is a show of His love and mercy when the gospel is understood in fullness.

King Benjamin Depiction at the Temple in Zarahemla

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God's Wisdom

Benjamin counsels his people to believe in God and that He has wisdom greater than the wisdom that mortal men have. He then instructs them that to gain salvation they must also remember always the supreme example of God's wisdom among the others.

Nephi, the first legitimate leader of the Nephite nation, showed his trust of God's wisdom by stating in his record

I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.6

Nephi remembered that God's wisdom exceeded his own so much so that he could have confidence in each commandment that God gives no matter how strange or ridiculous it may seem to humanity in general.

Isaiah recorded, speaking with divine investiture of authority from God

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.8

The work of God is foolishness to evil people, but to the righteous who know and remember His wisdom, His wisdom is law. The questions as to why things occur the way that they do in life are answered in the wisdom of God, Who sees the beginning, the middle, the end and beyond.

Life is forever. Humanity is an eternal species and possesses the ability to exist indefinitely because of the wisdom of God. Being of the same species, or being the literal children of God means the seeds of godhood are within humanity, which explains the inventive genius of scientific ingenuity in mortal man.

Humanity inherited God's creative nature. Reason dictates that God intends to divulge more to humanity as it reaches beyond the carnality of telestial mortal life towards celestial life. For as King Benjamin instructs--though his breath left him thousands of years ago--

...the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord...1

Depiction of King Benjamin

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Sacred Grove, Joseph Seeing God and Jesus

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Nephi Killing Laban

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God's Patience & Long-suffering

As part of the plan of happiness that God has designed for the human family, King Benjamin wanted his subjects to remember that He has to wait patiently and tolerantly of their imperfections until they can achieve the desired level of righteousness He expects.

Humanity and God wait on each other! Literature for how people must wait patiently for things to occur in God's time is extent. God must also wait on people to become righteous enough to hear Him speak, and to be able to abide the commands He provides for their salvation.

It was not until after Joseph Smith was ready to act and obey did the Lord appear to him in the Sacred Grove instructing him on things to come.

It was not until following Nephi's plans to obtain the Brass Plates failed that God delivered Laban into his hands commanding him to kill that man.

God waited until after Lehi pondered the dreams he received and asked the Lord before he saw the vision to preach to Jerusalem.

God must wait until His people are ready before He shows them miracles or gives them commandments, fortunately, He is the very patient and tolerant Man!

Moroni referenced this concept as it applies to mortals, but the same applies to the immortal God of heaven! Moroni records,

Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not.

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.9

Benjamin instructed his people that because God must have patience and long-suffering that He has knowledge of their ability to do His will.

The past, present and future are always within view of God's cognition and are well within His purview. Theories exist trying to explain how God can know what is the outcome of all events and not share responsibility for causing all sin as well as all goodness.

Such thinking is based in linear mortal perspective regarding time. Whether God sees all scenarios or just sees all things as they are is of little consequence since the outcome is the same. He has knowledge of all things and waits patiently for them to occur so that He can act for the good of all people collectively and individually.

He must suffer long through all individual's errors and misconceptions for the opportunity to correct them in a way that each individual is most likely to accept, whether that is through His authorized servants or the next adequate conduit such as an Imam, television program or next door neighbor!

For clarification, God works through His official sources for general counsel to His people, a prophet. Any person with leadership responsibility to any group of human beings has the right to receive inspiration for his or her stewardship, but not the right to act as a representative of God without direct authority from Him by way of the priesthood.

Though King Benjamin did not mention all of these things during his sermon to his people, he wanted them to understand that God is constantly waiting on mankind to exalt them, and they should remember it--counsel that applies eternally to all mortals.

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Points to Remember

Knowledge One Must Remember about God for Salvation

  1. His Goodness
  2. His Power
  3. His Wisdom
  4. His Patience
  5. His Long Suffering
  6. The Atonement

© 2013 Rodric Johnson

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2 comments

Vyolet 21 months ago

Well done arltcie that. I'll make sure to use it wisely.


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Rodric29 20 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thank s for reading and commenting Vyolet

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