“Unit 14: Day 1, Mosiah 26,” Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2012), 136–38
“Unit 14: Day 1,” Book of Mormon Study Guide, 136–38
As recorded in Mosiah 26, some unbelieving Nephites of the rising generation influenced members of the Church with flattering words and led them to sin. Alma prayed to find out how to judge these members according to God’s will. The Lord revealed to Alma how to hold the Church members accountable for their sins. The Lord also set forth conditions for repentance. Alma learned of God’s willingness to forgive those who truly repent.
Take a moment to think about the following question: Why do you think some young people do not have testimonies or do not have strong testimonies, even when they have listened to prophets and been taught by their parents?
Mosiah 26 gives insight into this question. Study the verses and answer the questions in the following chart (write your answers in the manual):
What three things did many of the rising generation not believe?
How can reading the scriptures or listening to prophets with an attitude of unbelief affect us?
What was one of the main reasons these people did not have faith in the Savior and join the Church?
Write one principle you learned from studying these verses:
The phrase “tradition of their fathers” in Mosiah 26:1 refers to gospel truths passed down from previous generations; the phrase can sometimes also refer to false ideas (for example, see Alma 9:16). One of the principles taught in Mosiah 26:1–4 is: Desire to believe and personal effort are necessary to develop a testimony.
Read the following statement from President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, and underline what actions are necessary to gain and maintain a testimony:
“Testimony requires the nurturing by the prayer of faith, the hungering for the word of God in the scriptures, and the obedience to the truth we have received. There is danger in neglecting prayer. There is danger to our testimony in only casual study and reading of the scriptures. They are necessary nutrients for our testimony. …
“Feasting on the word of God, heartfelt prayer, and obedience to the Lord’s commandments must be applied evenly and continually for your testimony to grow and prosper” (“A Living Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 127).
Notice that in Alma’s time, those in the rising generation were not doing the things mentioned by President Eyring.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In your experience, why is it important to have a believing attitude as you pray, read the scriptures, and strive to obey the commandments?
Describe an experience when faithful prayer, scripture reading, or obedience to the commandments has strengthened your testimony.
Consider for a moment whether you have ever seen people without testimonies of the gospel influencing members of the Church. Read Mosiah 26:5–6, and look for how the unbelievers influenced those in the Church.
As you continue your study, it may be helpful to know the meaning of this statement from Mosiah 26:6: “Those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished [warned and corrected] by the church.” This means that it was necessary for rebellious Church members to be judged according to their sins and given the opportunity to repent.
To prepare to study the rest of Mosiah 26, imagine you are a bishop of a ward that includes some members who have committed serious sins. As a bishop, you are charged by the Lord to hold these members accountable and help them to repent. Consider how you would treat these members and how you could best help them.
A situation like this was difficult for Alma. Like authorized priesthood leaders today, he had the responsibility to help members of the Church who had committed serious sins to repent, gain forgiveness, and return to an active and honorable standing in the Church. Read Mosiah 26:7–14, and look for how Alma reacted to this situation and what he did to receive an answer from the Lord.
- Write in your scripture study journal why it is important for us to know that priesthood leaders seek and receive the Lord’s guidance when helping those who have sinned.
Remember that Alma had been a priest to the wicked King Noah before his conversion. Read Mosiah 26:15–18, and identify what Alma and his people had done to return to the Lord and what blessings the Lord extended to them.
- Read Mosiah 26:29–30. Then respond to one or both of the following:
Explain why you think the following principle is essential for everyone to understand, including anyone who may have committed serious sin: The Lord will forgive those who repent in the sincerity of their hearts.
Write your testimony of the following principle: The Lord will forgive those who repent in the sincerity of their hearts.
After Alma prayed for guidance about how to help the Church members who had committed serious sins, the Lord gave him instructions. He was to give the members the opportunity to repent, but if they did not repent, they were not to be numbered among the Lord’s people. These instructions give important insights into the principle of repentance. Read Mosiah 26:21–31, looking for insights into repentance.
- To help you analyze what you read in these verses, answer two or more of the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
How would you summarize the Savior’s words in Mosiah 26:23? Why do you think it is important for us to realize that the Savior Himself paid for our sins?
What phrases in Mosiah 26:21–31 show the Savior’s confidence and trust in Alma as a priesthood leader? How could having the help of a priesthood leader assist those who struggle with difficult sins or temptations?
What do you think it means to repent “in the sincerity of [one’s] heart”? (Mosiah 26:29).
Why do you think we must forgive others to receive the Lord’s forgiveness? (see Mosiah 26:31).
In your own words, write a principle that you discovered in Mosiah 26:21–31:
Though you may have identified a different principle, or you may have used different words, the following are some examples of principles taught in Mosiah 26:21–31:
Bishops and branch presidents represent the Lord in helping us repent and gain forgiveness.
Confession of our sins leads to forgiveness. (All sin must be confessed to God, and serious sins should be confessed to a priesthood leader who can assist with the repentance process.)
We must forgive others to receive the Lord’s forgiveness.
- To help you analyze these principles, read the following case studies. Select one case study and write in your scripture study journal how the verses and principles you have studied today may help people in the situation described:
A young woman has committed a serious sin, but she is afraid to speak with her bishop.
A young man has a desire to repent, but he does not know how.
A young woman repeats a sin she has previously committed, and she worries that the Lord will no longer forgive her.
A young man decides to repent, but he refuses to forgive someone who has offended him.
- Pick one of the principles identified in this lesson and ponder how you could apply it to your own efforts to repent. Write in your scripture study journal how you will apply this principle.
Read Mosiah 26:37–39 to discover what happened as Alma implemented the Lord’s counsel. The experience of Alma and his people teaches that as we repent and live righteously, we can also have peace and prosper.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Mosiah 26 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: