Mosiah 4

Mosiah 4:3 peace of conscience

Many have repented wondering, "How will I know when I am forgiven for my sins?" They wonder whether they will feel a great burden being lifted from their shoulders; they wonder whether they should hear a voice saying, "your sins are forgiven." They may worry, because they feel nothing at all, that they are not forgiven. Therefore, the spiritual discernment of forgiveness of sins is important to everyone. Here, in this passage, we have a very descriptive and accurate term describing what it should feel like to receive a remission of sins-peace of conscience. This is the peace that the Spirit brings when a loved one passes away. It is the peace that comes to us when we search for a testimony. Note the words of the Lord to Oliver Cowdery, Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God? (DC 6:22-3, emphasis added)

Spencer W. Kimball

"The essence of the miracle of forgiveness is that is brings peace to the previously anxious, restless, frustrated, perhaps tormented soul. In a world of turmoil and contention this is indeed a priceless gift...

"Peace is the fruit of righteousness. It cannot be bought with money, and cannot be traded nor bartered. It must be earned. The wealthy often spend much of their gains in a bid for peace, only to find that it is not for sale. But the poorest as well as the richest may have it in abundance if the total price is paid. Those who abide the laws and live the Christ-like life may have peace and other kindred blessings, principal among which are exaltation and eternal life. They include also blessings for this life." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 363-4)

Harold B. Lee

"If the time comes when you have done all that you can to repent of your sins...then you will want that confirming answer as to whether or not the Lord has accepted of you. In your soul-searching, if you seek for and you find that peace of conscience by that token you may know that the Lord has accepted of your repentance. Satan would have you think otherwise and sometimes persuade you that now having made one mistake, you might go on and on with no turning back. That is one of the great falsehoods. The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our days: '...go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth [meaning again] shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.' (DC 82:7) Have that in mind, all of you who may be troubled with a burden of sin." (Stand Ye in Holy Places, pp. 184-5)

Boyd K. Packer

"Often the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive yourself. Discouragement is part of that test. Do not give up. That brilliant morning will come. Then 'the peace of God which passeth...understanding' comes into your life once again. Then you like Him, will remember your sins no more. How will you know? You will know!" (Ensign, p. 208 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 208)

Mosiah 4:6 the atonement...prepared from the foundation of the world

"Peter testified that Christ was the 'lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world' (1 Peter 1:19-20).  In the words of John the Revelator, Christ was the 'Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:8).  Such expressions affirm that the plan of salvation was known and taught even before the creation of the earth (see D&C 132:8-11)." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 76)

Mosiah 4:9 Believe in God...that he has all wisdom, and all power

One of the fundamental components of true faith is a correct understanding of the attributes of God. This includes a correct understanding of His perfected, tangible body and the perfection of his omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

Joseph Smith

   "Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

   First, the idea that he actually exists.

   Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.

   Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Lectures on Faith, p. 33)

Mosiah 4:11 always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness

If there is a recurring theme in Benjamin's sermon, it must be that his people are to remember their own nothingness, viewing as unworthy creatures (v. 11)-in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth (v. 2). Is such a self-deprecating attitude healthy? Should we really put ourselves down so far that we consider ourselves of less value than the dust of the earth? Aren't we the children of God with intrinsic value and divine potential?

In spite of our untapped potential, our nothingness is so evident when compared to the greatness of God. Benjamin's point is that our relationship with God must be characterized by extreme humility before our Maker. He reminds us that we are indebted to him, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? (Mosiah 2:24) Emphasizing our powerlessness compared to God, the Savior asked, Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (Matt 6:27) Consider the following parable:

   'Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

   The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

   I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

   And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

   I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' (Lu 18:10-14)

Benjamin had wisely instructed his people to have publican-like humility, saying, in essence, God be merciful to me a sinner instead of wallowing in Pharisaic  pride.

Mosiah 4:12 retain a remission of your sins

Neal A. Maxwell

"Much emphasis was given by King Benjamin to retaining a remission of our sins (see Mosiah 4:26). We do not ponder that concept very much in the church. We ought to think of it a lot more. Retention clearly depends on the regularity of our repentance. In the church we worry, and should, over the retention of new members but the retention of our remissions is cause for even deeper concern." (John W. Welch, and Stephen D. Ricks, King Benjamin's Speech: Made Simple, p. 16)

David A. Bednar

A profound phrase used by King Benjamin in his teachings about the Savior and His Atonement has been a recurring topic of my study and pondering for many years.

In his spiritually stirring farewell sermon to the people he had served and loved, King Benjamin described the importance of knowing the glory of God and tasting of His love, of receiving a remission of sins, of always remembering the greatness of God, and of praying daily and standing steadfastly in the faith.1 He also promised that by doing these things, “ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins.”

My message focuses upon the principle of always retaining a remission of our sins…

Sometimes Latter-day Saints express the wish that they could be baptized again—and thereby become as clean and worthy as the day on which they received their first saving gospel ordinance. May I respectfully suggest that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son do not intend for us to experience such a feeling of spiritual renewal, refreshment, and restoration just once in our lives. The blessings of obtaining and always retaining a remission of our sins through gospel ordinances help us understand that baptism is a point of departure in our mortal spiritual journey; it is not a destination we should yearn to revisit over and over again…


The ordinance of the sacrament is a holy and repeated invitation to repent sincerely and to be renewed spiritually. The act of partaking of the sacrament, in and of itself, does not remit sins. But as we prepare conscientiously and participate in this holy ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then the promise is that we may always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us. And by the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion, we can always retain a remission of our sins. (General Conference, April 2016)

Mosiah 4:14-15 neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel

Benjamin had a good sense for human nature and the typical fighting which occurs between almost all siblings. He indicates that such quarrels serve only the devil, who is the master of sin.

Heber J. Grant

"I have heard men and women say that they were going to let their sons and daughters grow to maturity before they sought to teach them the principles of the gospel, that they were not going to cram the gospel down them in their childhood, before they were able to comprehend it. When I hear men and women say this, I think they are lacking faith in the principles of the gospel and do not comprehend it as they should. The Lord has said it is our duty to teach our children in their youth, and I prefer to take His word for it rather than the words of those who are not obeying His commandments .... I may know that the gospel is true, and so may my wife; but I want to tell you that your children will not know that the gospel is true, unless they study it and gain a testimony for themselves. Parents are deceiving themselves in imagining that their children will be born with a knowledge of the gospel." (Richard O. Cowan, The Church in the Twentieth Century, p. 319)

Mosiah 4:16 ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain

Everyone is faced, from time to time, with the petitions of the beggars. It is often difficult to know what to do in these varied circumstances. What if he is a drunk and is just going to use this money to buy alcohol? What if he has track marks on his arm suggesting the abuse of harmful drugs? Well, Benjamin has an answer for everyone of those situations-his advice, do not turn him out to perish. On the other hand, Benjamin never required that the petition be granted with money. If the drunk says he wants the money for food, take him to a restaurant and buy him a meal. If the addict says he needs money for shelter, find and pay for his shelter for the night. If the sign says, "will work for food," put him to the test.

The problem with dealing with these many, varied circumstances is that they never seem to come at convenient times. It is likely that the priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan were actually in a hurry to get somewhere and do something.

Joseph F. Smith

"We have always managed to give something to the poor, and refuse no one who asks for food. I believe this is the general sentiment and character of the Latter-day Saints. I think all the Mormon people are kindly disposed, and are generous toward the poor and unfortunate, and that there is not a Latter-day Saint under the sound of my voice or anywhere that would not divide his portion with his fellow creature in case of need....

"I have seen men go away from my door with good bread and butter in their hands (good enough for any king to eat, for my folks make good bread and good butter, as good as I ever ate on earth) and when out of the gate they have thrown it into the street. It was not food they wanted. They wanted money. For what? That they might go to some gambling [hall] or to some drinking saloon. Of course they are responsible for that. We can only judge by appearances and by the promptings of the good spirit within us; and it is better to give to a dozen that are unworthy than to turn away empty one worthy person." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, Pr/RS Manual, p. 194)

Mosiah 4:17 perhaps thou shall say: The man has brought upon himself his misery

Every time I am confronted with a beggar, these thoughts invariably enter my mind. I think, "go get a job," "this is your own fault," and "not the old, Vietnam Vet story again!" In this day and age, there seems to be almost no excuse for a life of vagrancy and begging. Yet Benjamin warns us against such pride, for behold, are we not all beggars? Hugh Nibley taught, "Indolent and unworthy the beggar may be--but that is not your concern: It is better, said Joseph Smith, to feed ten impostors than to run the risk of turning away one honest petition." (Approaching Zion, p. 226)

Mosiah 4:21 God...doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right

Neal A. Maxwell

" many sincerely believe that if they simply ask for something in prayer, God will grant it, especially if they ask with at least a modicum of faith. King Benjamin counseled us, however, that while we are to pray in faith, it should be for that [which] is right (Mosiah 4:21). The resurrected Jesus so confirmed, saying: And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you (3 Ne 18:20).

The phrase which is right is correlated [among various prophetic utterances]. Not surprisingly, Paul also understood the need for inspired prayers, saying, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom 8:26). I hope I am not the only one in this audience who has sometimes wondered what to pray for. Therefore, how much in the complexities of life's situations, we need to have our very prayers inspired!" (John W. Welch, and Stephen D. Ricks, King Benjamin's Speech: Made Simple, p. 9)

Mosiah 4:23 his substance shall perish with him

"In parable Jesus said: 'The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.' (Luke 12:16-21.)  To those of our day the Lord has said: 'If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment' (D&C 104:18)." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 166)

Mosiah 4:24 I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give

Dallin H. Oaks

"Paul described the same principle in his second letter to the Corinthians, in which he said, 'If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not' (2 Corinthians 8:12). What a contrast between these examples and those of the priest and the Levite, who looked on the wounded man but 'passed by on the other side of the way; for they desired in their hearts that it might not be known that they had seen him' (JST Luke 10:33).

"President Harold B. Lee relied on the above scriptures on the desire to give when he defined another example of rewards for righteous desires :

'(Women) who have been denied the blessings of wifehood or motherhood in this life--who say in their heart, if I could have done, I would have done, or I would give if I had, but I cannot, for I have not--the Lord will bless you as though you had done, and the world to come will compensate for those who desire in their hearts the righteous blessings that they were not able to have because of no fault of their own.' (Ye Are the Light of the World (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974), p. 292.)" (Pure in Heart, p. 61)

Mosiah 4:25 ye covet that which ye have not received

"Notice how King Benjamin speaks to both the poor and the rich. He says that the rich should give and the poor should not covet. Sometimes we think of coveting as being directed only at something someone else has that we want, but coveting is an attitude. It is setting one's heart on the things of the world more than on the things of God. Thus Benjamin says we can be guilty of coveting (or holding back) what we haven't even received." (Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1981, p. 165)

Mosiah 4:26 for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins

Jeffrey R. Holland

"Are we not all beggars?" Don't we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don't we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don't we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjain says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain a remission of our sins by compassionately  responding to the poor who plead to us." (Ensign, Nov. 2014, 41)

Mosiah 4:27 it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength

Diligence is defined as being hard-working, industrious, and persistent. It is the mark of a committed servant. However, sometimes we get more zealous than is healthy. These are the times when things need to be done in wisdom and order. The same advice was given to the prophet Joseph Smith when he was given the gift of translation subsequent to losing the 116 pages. Early in 1828, the prophet had suffered considerable anguish of mind and soul because he lost the gift of translation for a season. The scripture records that his mind became darkened (DC 10:2). When this period of repentance ended, the prophet was probably filled with desire to show his faithfulness and diligence. It was at this zealous time that the Lord counseled him, Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end (DC 10:4). Elder Neal A. Maxwell succinctly states, "There is a difference, therefore, between being 'anxiously engaged' and being over anxious and thus underengaged." (Conference Reports, Oct. 1976, p. 14)

"Slow me down, Lord! Teach me the art of taking minute vacations...of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book...There is more to life than measuring its speed. Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well. Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring values." (Author Unknown as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 211)

Neal A. Maxwell

"When we run faster than we are able, we get both inefficient and tired....I have on my office wall a wise and useful reminder by Anne Morrow Lindberg concerning one of the realities of life. She wrote, 'My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.' That's good counsel for us all, not as an excuse to forgo duty, but as a sage point about pace and the need for quality in relationships." (Deposition of a Disciple, pp. 57-8)

Mosiah 4:29 I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways

"Sin is anything that offends the Spirit, and there are many ways and means to commit sin, so many they cannot be numbered. However, we have no need to feel overwhelmed; there is no subject the Spirit would rather discuss with us than our sins. If we want a near guarantee that a prayer will be answered, all we need to do is-with real intent-ask: 'Father, tell me the ways and means my thoughts, my words, or my deeds have offended thee. I would like to change any and everything in my life that would keep me from having thy Spirit to be with me.' That is a prayer we can be sure will be answered.

"If we then proceed to correct our sins, we place ourselves in a position to receive more blessings from heaven. The Prophet Joseph said: 'Search your hearts, and see if you are like God. I have searched mine, and feel to repent of all my sins.' (HC 4:588)" (Errol R. Fish, Promptings of the Spirit, p. 132)

Spencer W. Kimball

"The curse of the earth is sin. It covers every area. It takes on numerous forms and dresses itself in many kinds of apparel, depending on factors such as the stratum of society in which it is operating. But whether man calls it convention or business, or uses any other euphemism, if it offends God's law it is sin." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 39)