The revealed text

The revealed text
The light of revelation at the Whitmer farm where Joseph and Oliver worked upstairs to finish translating the Book of Mormon

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lesson 20: My Soul Is Pained No More

This chapter covers Mosiah 25-27. In Chapter 25, king Mosiah causes the people to gather together. I find this interesting because I infer the people came in from throughout the land of Zarahemla; this was not only a gathering of the residents of the city of Zarahemla.

Alma relates the story of the people of Limhi. Then Limhi and all his people desired baptism. The text doesn't say where this took places except "into the water," but I infer the people were baptized in the river, much as the early LDS were baptized in the Mississippi River.

I also think it's interesting that Mosiah 25:23 says "there were seven churches in the land of Zarahemla." We can't tell if a "church" in this sense was like a stake or a ward, but here is the description:

20 Now this was done because there were so many people that they could not all be governed by one teacher; neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly;
 21 Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma.

This leads me to conclude that the term "church" refers to a "congregation" or "assembly." A congregation would be more like a ward than a stake, IMO. This means the population of Zarahemla may not have been as great as is sometimes proposed. True, there were nonbelievers as well, and for all we know, there were many more nonbelievers than believers. I mention this to suggest that maybe these Nephite cities were not all that large--at least not as large as we often think.

This reminds me of small branches of the Church I've visited throughout the world. No matter how small the congregation, the principles of the Gospel apply equally.

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20.

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