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Author Topic: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."  (Read 296 times)

Roper

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April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« on: April 21, 2020, 09:49:45 am »
Mosiah 4:13 "And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due."

What does that mean: "... render to every man according to that which is his due"? What are we "due" that we should give to each other?
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Taalcon

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2020, 11:37:11 am »
I understand that to be filled out in the rest of the chapter, regarding assisting those with the necessities of life.

A key part of Benjamin's message is everyone's role in serving and providing for each other, himself not excluded. A big part of what seems to have led to the downfall of the City of Nephi (and will be railed against specifically later) was gross inequality and allowing classism to delineate behavior.

And seeing as Benjamin then specifically calls out against judging those in need. First priority is to make sure your children are not suffered to "go hungry or naked", and then,  once that is done:

"I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants." (With wants carrying the meaning of "that which one lacks/stands in need of").

What one is due appears to be: Not going hungry. Not going naked. Having ones spiritual and physical afflictions cared for.

And Benjamin specifically gives caveats, noting that one shouldn't go overboard, ("in wisdom and in order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he have strength")but one also shouldn't use one's own poverty as an excuse to stop caring about helping others as well. And especially not look for excuses as to why shouldn't help others to fulfill their base standards of living - their 'due'.

All resources are given to us from God. God doesn't intend for life-giving resources to be deprived from anyone, especially if some of those are hoarded in excess by those unwilling to assist those who 'want'.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2020, 11:55:05 am by Taalcon »
 
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cook

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2020, 12:19:27 pm »
I always interpret as what one needs. But my understanding is that due also refers to one's right and everyone has the right to have needs (basic, reasonable) met.
 
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Jason

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2020, 05:33:37 pm »
I see it that we should pay what we owe. Do not cheat someone in commerce or business, especially the workers.
 
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JLM

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2020, 05:41:53 pm »
From the 1828 Webster's dictionary.  The usage in Mosiah is as a noun, so here we go.

DUE, noun

1. That which is owed; that which one contracts to pay, do or perform to another; that which law or justice requires to be paid or done. The money that I contract to pay to another is his due; the service which I covenant to perform to another is his due; reverence to the creator is his due

2. That which office, rank, station, social relations, or established rules of right or decorum, require to be given, paid or done. Respect and obedience to parents and magistrates are their due

3. That which law or custom requires; as toll, tribute, fees of office, or other legal perquisites.

4. Right; just title.

 
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pnr

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2020, 07:47:54 pm »
Whatever is fair.  Workers don't be lazy.  Their employers don't be stingy.   Everyone talks to and acts with respect for the other's humanity, like how they think they deserve to be treated.
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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Roper

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2020, 09:56:49 am »
It's interesting how things come together. We've been having a discussion about the challenges of doing the sacrament at home. Enochscion started a discussion about serving two masters. And there's my study of Mosiah 5. In the sacrament prayer for the bread, we have these words: "...they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son." I've always thought of that in general terms--to be called a Christian, a follower of Christ. Mosiah 5 is really expanding my understanding of what it means to take upon us the name of Christ.

- ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters
- he hath spiritually begotten you
- your hearts are changed through faith on his name
- under this head ye are made free
- no other name given whereby salvation cometh
- whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God
- this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out
- know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you
- Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his
- you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life

The words from verses 12 and 13 in particular have prompted a lot of reflection: "hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called," and "how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?" What do I need to do to know the voice of my Master when he calls me?
« Last Edit: April 22, 2020, 10:11:23 am by Roper »
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Enochscion

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2020, 08:22:19 pm »
I had an interesting thought the other day. How do we feel about the language of slavery used for our relationship with the Savior?
 
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Roper

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2020, 10:41:25 pm »
I've never been very comfortable with it. Too much social baggage. "Servant" is not much better. When I consider the alternatives used to describe our relationship--daughter/son, child/children, joint-heir, brother--I like those a lot better. I like the implications of sheep and shepherd, laborer and lord. One of my favorites is from the hymn, "We are all enlisted." Soldier and Captain has a special meaning for me. In the officer grades in the army, a Captain is the highest company officer grade. Captains go with their soldiers into battle. They eat and sleep and work and fight along side them. The next grades up, starting with Major, are much more oriented toward administrative duties and developing plans. They're not on the front lines with their soldiers. As a soldier, I'd willingly follow a good Captain anywhere. As a slave, I'd be figuring out how to get away from a master.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 

Jana at Jade House

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2020, 08:44:18 am »
Interestingly Dutch has a good word. Knecht while meaning servant also means helping hand, handmaiden, valet, assistant.  Not a slave but a servant like a body servant close to the Master. A diensknecht has an obligation attached and the one time I remember off the top of my head it is used in th scripture in reference  to prophets who speak on behalf of God.
 
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Taalcon

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2020, 10:20:18 am »
It's helpful to think about the audience addressed and context understood by those initially speaking/writing, and those receiving it. It's also useful to realize that almost everywhere in the NT where the KJV renders 'servant', the underlying word is more accurately translated as 'slave', and most translations acknowledge this.

Even our familiar phrase 'peculiar people' has roots in this imagery - 'peculiar' renders a word meaning 'private property/owned/purchased'. It doesn't have the modern meaning of wierd, or odd. It does have a connotation of 'unique' in the sense that the referents are those who were uniquely purchased by God.

YHWH was the Master of the Israelites, who allowed themselves to be purchased by him, thus granting him full rights of mastery over them as His slaves. The Covenant of Sinai, as currently presented, sets the terms of maintaining this relationship as it raises the status of the slaves. Deuteronomy, specifically, is modelled after the Suzerain/Vassal treaties, where a Higher King set the terms of Protection and Loyalty with submissive lesser kings. Obey the Covenant as a Good and Faithful Slave-state, and the Higher King will protect and provide. Break the terms, and you will be a traitor, and destroyed.

It's a model that made sense and spoke to the hearts and minds within a specific historical context.

We no longer live in that context, and thus adjusting almost exclusively the understanding of the model relationship to that of the ideal Father with the Family being the standard (not the King/Vassal relationship) is what has has naturally happened.

It's also why many of the Atonement Analogies used in the NT and BoM, when thought through, often don't sit well with our current understanding and sensibilities. They were designed to express what the Atonement was like not the mechanics or specific laws under which it worked.

It was like how you'd feel if someone paid your impossible debt. But that's not exactly what it was.

It was like realizing someone was punished for you. But that's not exactly what it was.

It was like you and all you owed being purchased (Redeemed) by a Third Party. But that's not exactly what it was.

It's the same with descriptions of the relationship between God and the Covenant People. Expressed as it had been, it was from the perspective  likeif you began life ruled by a King who was a Tyrant, imagine being told you were were now purchased by a Good King, who, as long as you remained loyal, expressed willingness to adopt you, and treat you as kings and queens, and would fight for you and protect you and share his riches with you. But if you rejected your King, your new adopted lineage, and fought against Him, you would be exiled from the Kingdom Walls, lose your royal status and privileges, and left to fend for yourselves in the wilderness.

These are symbols that would have had a much more visceral reality to the lived experiences of those in an ancient world. Where Kings regularly led battles against other kings, and Kings regularly used their subjects are unwilling tools to enrich themselves.

In the context of the scriptural relationship, it was not equivalent to involuntary abusive servitude, but was designed to serve as a higher contrast to it.
 
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Enochscion

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2020, 05:46:21 am »
Taalcon, that's some pretty cool background. I think it is very important to understand that God is a real person who was interacting with real people, according to the context they were in, the same as we have to do in our own lives. He has the added benefit of knowing what's come before and what's coming in the future, and I'm sure that also gives him extra considerations to work with.

A scripture in the D&C seems to hint that the "servant" version isn't really the Lord's preferred terminology:

Quote
D&C 93:45-46 Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me—I called you servants for the world’s sake, and ye are their servants for my sake—

I see someone who would prefer to see us as his friends when given the opportunity.

I think a lot of confusion regarding our relationship with God in general can be resolved when we really accept Heavenly Father (and Mother) as a true parent(s). With the different ways that someone can become a parent (whether our bodies through physical creation from our biological parents, our mortal life through choice/adoption from our earthly parents, our status as future Gods through adoption from Christ), I expect that the way in which Heavenly Father and Mother are our parents is more primal than the others.

On to an entirely different subject relevant to this week's Sunday School lesson...

I wonder about the context of King Benjamin's people that created the odd setup where they fell to the ground recognizing their carnal nature and begging for the atoning blood of Christ.

So, we have a setup here where King Benjamin tells his sons before he even addresses the people that the people have been diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord. I think we can take this at face value. They weren't perfect, but they were doing a good job according to their light and knowledge. I know (because people always do that), that someone is going to want to start questioning that particular statement, but I really think that's the wrong tree to bark up. I think this can be taken as pretty much a fact. These people are members of the Church in good standing, imperfect, but justified.

And then after King Benjamin delivers, and sermonizes on, a message he got from an angel about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, putting emphasis on the natural man versus being born again through Christ, they all fall to the ground, viewing themselves in their carnal state and begging for the atonement of Christ to be applied to them. They have a spiritual experience, and Mosiah formally records their names (the complete absence of any discussion of baptism here, and knowing that they had the material we have as the Small Plates of Nephi, leads me to believe that they had almost certainly already been baptized) as children of Christ.

What stands out as odd about this scenario to me is that, although we know they knew at least similar doctrines--unless the good stuff all got stuck in a storeroom with the Small Plates (Mormon seemed to go his whole life without knowing about their existence until he was making his record, so at some point they were apparently "misplaced)--their spiritual experience is out of harmony with those who would have been having those experiences.

Stop ;) Someone, right now, is reading this and again trying to normalize this account by thinking of how they had an experience when they really came to appreciate doctrine A or B better, etc. We'll get there. But this account is not describing a normal situation. It just isn't.

So I don't know what's going on here. I have a good guess (I hope). I wonder if, perhaps, the church itself under King Benjamin had not been sufficiently emphasizing the doctrine of Christ. Perhaps, even though they were taught the commandments, even though they were baptized in the name of Messiah, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, etc, perhaps the power of the Atonement and the indispensable nature of the Messiah had been falling to the wayside. From that perspective, the account could make sense.

If that is the background, then the character of that account is of a massive correction of the church by a revelation through their prophet (who also apparently needed it, since had he already been emphasizing these things to his obedient people there would have been no need for this revelation!) These people didn't have a deep enough understanding of the nature of salvation itself, and they needed to be made aware of the indispensable nature of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It's also interesting that this is all taking place at about the same time that Abinadi and Alma the Elder are restoring the true doctrine of Christ in the land of Nephi.

Anyway, those were just some thoughts I had, but I don't really know what to do with them.

 
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Taalcon

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2020, 03:49:46 pm »
And then after King Benjamin delivers, and sermonizes on, a message he got from an angel about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, putting emphasis on the natural man versus being born again through Christ, they all fall to the ground, viewing themselves in their carnal state and begging for the atonement of Christ to be applied to them. They have a spiritual experience, and Mosiah formally records their names (the complete absence of any discussion of baptism here, and knowing that they had the material we have as the Small Plates of Nephi, leads me to believe that they had almost certainly already been baptized) as children of Christ.

What stands out as odd about this scenario to me is that, although we know they knew at least similar doctrines--unless the good stuff all got stuck in a storeroom with the Small Plates (Mormon seemed to go his whole life without knowing about their existence until he was making his record, so at some point they were apparently "misplaced)--their spiritual experience is out of harmony with those who would have been having those experiences.

Stop ;) Someone, right now, is reading this and again trying to normalize this account by thinking of how they had an experience when they really came to appreciate doctrine A or B better, etc. We'll get there. But this account is not describing a normal situation. It just isn't.

So I don't know what's going on here. I have a good guess (I hope). I wonder if, perhaps, the church itself under King Benjamin had not been sufficiently emphasizing the doctrine of Christ.

A couple points to consider:
1. At this stage, Benjamin's people are actually TWO peoples in a bit of a confederacy, under the nominal leadership of a single King. You have the Zarahemlaites, and the Nephites that came over with Mosiah The First. Although they accepted Mosiah as their King (I really like OSC's suggestion that the Mulekites weren't really from Jerusalem, but were trying to one-up Mosiah's kingly claim, but then Mosiah had the reciepts/signs of leadership [Sword of Laban, Brass Plates, Interpreters], and the 'Mulekites' had nada.), they were still clearly a separate people, surely with most of their traditions being indigeneous. They accepted Mosiah/Benjamin/Mosiah as their King, but still appeared to consider themselves their own 'tribe', so to say.

Bringing them under a single unified Covenant and Name appears to be a unique development, and a Big Deal. Benjamin's rhetoric would make this important - just as you care for your own children, view everyone as being part of a single covenant family.

2. There was no 'Church'. There was the Nation State of Israel, set up in the New World. It's functional equivalent would have been the monarchy/priesthood in the Old World. It was a communal covenant, not a unique personal covenant. This was be seen somewhat like a Sinai moment. As the Tribes became covenant Israel at Sinai, the Mulekites/Benjaminite Nephites became Covenant Children of Christ at Zarahemla.

It wouldn't be until Alma's time where there is a distinct 'Church' established different from the Nation State.

3. As there is no 'Church', Baptism, per se, would not have had the functional equivalence as we have it today. Today, Baptism is COMBINED with the Benjaminite Covenant. In fact, when we teach the Baptism Covenant, we often refer to Benjamin's Covenant (which makes no reference to Baptism!). There is the covenant of Adoption into the Covenant Family, and there is the ritual cleansing/washing from one's 'ritually imperfect' status. We do both today in the Ordinance of Baptism.

It's very possible, and very likely, the Mulekites/Zarahemlaites were not necessarilly fully engaged in Mosaic observance, having spent (at the very least) generations of their history fully engaged in the indigenous culture and religion. They might have become subjects just because their King decreed they were now subject to Mosiah. Having a moment where they were not just brought under the protection of the King, but became, on their own PERSONAL terms, part of the Covenant may have been a very unique and game-changing moment for community.
 
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Jason

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Re: April 20-26. Mosiah 4-6: "A Mighty change."
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2020, 08:06:11 pm »
They were perhaps largely illiterate. Their literature was written in a different language than they commonly spoke, and after a few hundred years, even those that could read would not have been fluent in it. There would have been a lack of books. So the normal people would have lived the law off of memory and what they were occasionally taught. They probably joined together with other indigenous groups, so they probably had to try and purge out competing theologies and folk superstitions. I can imagine that this type of mass conversion would have been needed every decade or so, maybe every 5 years.
 
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