Wednesday, December 1, 2010

King Mosiah let them go

1 Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, *they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites— ….
5 And it came to pass that they did plead with their father many days that they might go up to the land of Nephi.
6 And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word.
7 And the Lord said unto Mosiah: Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites. (Mosiah 28:1,5-7)
I used to wonder why Mosiah took so long to decide to let his sons go teach the Lamanites. (After all, I knew how successful they would be on their mission because I had read all about it.) It took me a while to realize that King Mosiah seems to have been against letting them go, which is why his sons pled for many days on the issue. I realized King Mosiah had some very good rational reasons for not wanting them to go. He was worried they would lose their physical or spiritual lives, or even both. Up to this time, attempts to convert the Lamanites had been unsuccessful. Further, there was the saying given to Nephi that any who departed from the Nephites to join the Lamanites or who mingled their seed with the Lamanites would be cut off from the presence of the Lord like the Lamanites had been. Having seen his sons become so miraculously converted, Mosiah was extremely apprehensive that if his sons went among the Lamanites, they would be pulled down and turn like a dog to its vomit or fall victims to their hatred. I’m sure we can understand his view.

When his sons continued to plead for many days, Mosiah went to the Lord about it, seeking for revelation. I think that is admirable that he humbled himself to do that. The answer Mosiah got perfectly addressed all these concerns. In response, the Lord said, “Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites.” (Mosiah 28:7)

Mosiah took courage from this answer and lets them go. What comfort it must have been to have that promise that they would have eternal life.

If we notice subsequent events, it turns out that Mosiah’s obedience to this revelation becomes a great sacrifice; because he lets them go, he never sees them again in the flesh, and he dies about a year afterward. How he must have prayed for his sons in that year! How he must have yearned after them. I imagine that once released from his mortal body, his spirit must have rejoiced to finally see his sons’ progress among the Lamanites and must have watched every development with eagerness.

What does this story mean for us today? Undoubtedly the Lord knew of all the missionaries and parents of missionaries in the last days and prepared this little bit in the Book of Mormon to comfort parents as they sacrifice contact with their sons and daughters out in the mission field. I think it also can be a comfort to parents to help them trust the Lord to deliver their sons and daughters from harm. And for those few parents whose sons and daughters are killed, there is additional comfort in that promise of the Lord to Mosiah, “they shall have eternal life.”

To all you parents of missionaries, I salute you for your sacrifice!