But others continue to listen to King Noah and the wicked priests and follow them away from their families. But then something begins to happen in their hearts. Part of it is in the text and part of it isn’t, but the part that is there helps us realize everything that happened.
Now they had sworn in their hearts that they would return to the land of Nephi, and if their wives and their children were slain, and also those that had tarried with them, that they would seek revenge, and also perish with them. (Mosiah 19:19)Because these people made an oath in their hearts to return to their families, they must have realized soon after they had left their families that what they had done was wrong. After all that King Noah had done during his reign (and his wicked priests) to legitimize evil and whoredoms, the light of Christ was still in them and when they left their families in danger, immediately afterward they began to realize that was wrong to do. And that led to a desire to change and do it right. This led them to the point that they actually made an oath to return to their families.
No doubt they told the king what they had sworn to do. And King Noah, unfettered by any consideration for the legitimate claims that his family could have on him, was opposed to this. He was more worried about his own preservation. Because King Noah opposed their return to their families, it became immediately evident that King Noah was wicked. He was openly standing in the way of them keeping the oath they had sworn. So King Noah had to be removed.
It is interesting that changing their priorities with an oath to focus on family suddenly made it so obvious to the people that King Noah was wicked. Just think how the whole reign of King Noah could have been avoided if they had done such a thing at the beginning of his reign instead of at the end.
I think this lesson is relevant for us today. Anything that stands in the way of us keeping our covenants needs to be removed from our lives. Anything that becomes an obstacle and stands in the way of us doing our duty to our families needs to be removed from our lives.