Chapter 20: Mosiah 9–17

Hide Footnotes


“Chapter 20: Mosiah 9–17,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual (2009), 71–74

“Chapter 20,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, 71–74

Chapter 20

Mosiah 9–17


Although this scripture block contains several interesting and instructive stories, the central doctrinal teachings are found in the account of Abinadi’s ministry. Students may be familiar with the story of Abinadi’s martyrdom; you can help them understand more about his ministry and message. You can help them understand the role of a prophet, the importance of hearkening to prophets, and the divinity of Jesus Christ. You can help them understand that Abinadi’s willingness to die for his testimony of the Savior was a result of his willingness to live for it. Learning from Abinadi’s example, they can increase their commitment to be obedient, faithful, and courageous.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • Prophets call the wicked to repentance (see Mosiah 11–12).

  • God Himself shall make an Atonement and redeem His people (see Mosiah 13–16).

  • Sometimes the righteous suffer for their testimony of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 17).

Suggestions for Teaching

Mosiah 9–17. Historical Overview

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
To give students a historical overview of Mosiah 9–17, consider using one of the following options:

  1. Well in advance of the lesson, give a student a copy of the handout at the end of this chapter. Ask him or her to study Mosiah 9–10 and prepare a three- to five-minute presentation on the story of Zeniff to begin the lesson.

  2. If you decide to omit the student presentation, begin the lesson by asking students to look at the date at the bottom of the page (or in the chapter heading) at the beginning of Mosiah 9 and the date at the bottom of the page (or in the chapter heading) at the beginning of Mosiah 8. Point out that between Mosiah 8 and Mosiah 9, the story goes back in time approximately 80 years. The story in Mosiah 9 begins around 200 B.C., with Zeniff recounting the events previously recorded in Omni 1:27–30. Mosiah chapters 9–24 recount events during the reigns of three kings: Zeniff, Noah, and Limhi. These records document the people’s success when they turned to God. When the people chose not to turn to God, they struggled—outwardly against the Lamanites and inwardly against pride.

Mosiah 9–17. Doctrinal Overview: Responsibilities of Prophets

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Share the following statement from True to the Faith. Before you read it, ask students to listen for four main responsibilities of prophets.

“Like the prophets of old, prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God’s will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. At times, they may be inspired to prophesy of future events for our benefit” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference [2004], 129).

  • What four major responsibilities of a prophet did you notice? (Write students’ answers on the board as shown below.)

Responsibilities of a Prophet

  1. Testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel.

  2. Make known God’s will and character.

  3. Denounce sin and warn of its consequences.

  4. Prophesy of future events.

Divide the class into four groups. Invite one group to read Mosiah 11:20–25 silently, another group to read Mosiah 16:5–9 silently, another group to read Mosiah 16:10–15 silently, and the last group to read Mosiah 17:15–18 silently. Then have each group discuss how Abinadi fulfilled one or more of the responsibilities listed on the board. Ask one student from each group to summarize for the class their assigned verses and explain how Abinadi fulfilled one or more of the responsibilities listed on the board.

Invite students to remember these responsibilities throughout the lesson and to look for the ways Abinadi fulfilled his calling as a prophet.

Mosiah 11–12. Prophets Call the Wicked to Repentance

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Show a picture of Abinadi in King Noah’s court, such as picture 75 in the Gospel Art Book (also shown below). Ask a student to briefly describe what is taking place in the picture.

Abinadi appearing before King Noah

One way Abinadi fulfilled his role as a prophet was by calling the people to repentance. Invite the students to compare Abinadi’s words during his first visit (see Mosiah 11:20–25) with his words during his second visit (see Mosiah 12:1–8). Two years transpired between Abinadi’s two visits (see Mosiah 12:1).

  • How did Abinadi’s message change in his second visit?

  • Even if the people chose to repent after Abinadi’s second visit, what consequences would they suffer for not hearkening to his warnings the first time?

Help students understand that even though the people could still repent of their sins, they could not escape the consequences of ignoring a prophet’s first warning. Share your feelings about the need for prompt repentance and the importance of following the counsel of living prophets.

Mosiah 13–16. God Himself Shall Make an Atonement and Redeem His People

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Abinadi continued to fulfill his role as a prophet by testifying of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. As part of his testimony, he quoted one of Isaiah’s prophecies about the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. Instruct students to read Mosiah 14 silently. (Consider playing a sacrament hymn softly in the background while they read. You could play an audio recording of the hymn or ask someone to play the piano.) When they have finished reading, invite them to share their feelings about what they have read.

After students have shared their feelings about the Savior, help them identify some of the significant truths taught in Mosiah 14. Explain that the chapter contains a prophecy that has already come to pass. Then ask the following questions. Invite students to write their answers to the questions.

  • In verse 2, what does the phrase “as a root out of dry ground” suggest about the general spiritual state of the people during the time of the Savior’s mortal ministry? (Many were unreceptive to His message.)

  • According to verse 3, how did some people treat the Savior?

  • According to verses 4–6, what burdens did the Savior bear?

  • According to verses 7–9, how did Jesus Christ show His willingness to atone for our sins?

Invite a few students to share the answers they have written. Encourage all the students to ponder Isaiah’s words further by reading Mosiah 14 again outside of class and sharing what they have learned with a family member or friend.

You might conclude this portion of the lesson by having students read the words to the hymn “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193).

  • How does this hymn relate to Mosiah 14?

  • How does this hymn deepen your appreciation for the Savior?

  • How do you feel as you realize that the Savior descended “from his throne divine” to rescue you?

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Invite a student to read Mosiah 13:33–35 and 15:1.

As class members read and discuss these verses, you may need to explain Abinadi’s use of the word God. When Latter-day Saints use the word God, they usually refer to Heavenly Father. However, Abinadi used the term in reference to Jesus Christ. To help students understand this, invite them to read the commentary on page 153 in the student manual.

To illustrate the value of the doctrine that Jesus Christ was and is a God, ask the following questions:

  • Is Jesus Christ a myth?

  • Was He a wise moral teacher, but still merely a man?

  • Is He the literal Son of God?

  • How can people’s answers to these questions influence their lives?

Ask students if they are aware of any efforts made in the world to diminish the status of Jesus Christ as the literal Son of God.

  • Why is it important to recognize that Jesus Christ was and is a God?

Help students understand that our faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement increases when we understand His eternal nature and His divinity as the Son of God.

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
In Mosiah 15:1–9, Abinadi testifies of the Savior’s divine nature and mission and teaches about Jesus Christ’s roles as both Father and Son.

Have a student read Mosiah 15:1–5. Then ask a student to read the statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard on page 153 in the student manual.

  • How is Jesus Christ both Father and Son?

If you feel that you need to develop this topic further, consult the rest of the student manual’s information about Mosiah 15:1–7 (page 153), which contains excerpts from the 1916 proclamation titled “The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve.”

Note that Mosiah 15:1–8 is not a discussion about the different members of the Godhead. It is a discussion about Jesus Christ and His different roles as Father and Son.

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
In Mosiah 15:10–13, Abinadi further explains the father-child relationship between Jesus Christ and those who accept His gospel. He speaks of the Savior’s “seed,” or sons and daughters. Invite students to read verses 10–13. Then ask the following questions:

  • According to verses 11–12, what does it mean to be the Savior’s sons and daughters? (See also D&C 25:1.)

  • What blessings come to those who become the “seed” of Christ?

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
As Abinadi continued to teach Noah and his priests, he answered a question one of the priests had asked him earlier. Invite students to look at this question in Mosiah 12:20–24. In answering this question, Abinadi continued to testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ. To help students discuss his answer, ask half of the class to read Mosiah 15:13–18 and the other half to read Mosiah 15:19–25. As they read, write the following questions on the board:

Who are the messengers who share the good tidings? (See Mosiah 15:13–18.)

What are the good tidings? (See Mosiah 15:19–25.)

Invite one student from each half of the class to share answers to these questions.

Share the statement by Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy on page 154 in the student manual.

  • How can we help bring these good tidings to others?

Mosiah 17. Sometimes the Righteous Suffer for Their Testimony of Jesus Christ

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Refer again to the picture of Abinadi before King Noah. Ask a student to tell the class the fate of Abinadi. Then ask a student to read Mosiah 17:1–13, 20.

Help students understand that Abinadi’s willingness to die for the truth came as a natural result of his obedience to God. However, very few people are asked to die in defense of their testimonies. To help students see what we are asked to do rather than die for the truth, share the following statements:

President Brigham Young (1801–77), the second President of the Church, said, “The most effectual way to establish the religion of Heaven is to live it, rather than to die for it: I think I am safe in saying that there are many of the Latter-day Saints who are more willing to die for their religion than to live it faithfully” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 221).

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), the 13th President of the Church, taught:

“Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world.

“Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. …

“… Men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. …

“Their will is swallowed up in His will. (See John 5:30.)

“They do always those things that please the Lord. (See John 8:29.)

“Not only would they die for the Lord, but more important they want to live for Him” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 5–6; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 6).

  • In what ways did Abinadi live for the Lord?

  • In what ways did Abinadi’s life and teachings influence Alma? (See Mosiah 17:1–4. If you want to develop this discussion further, you may want to refer to the statement by Elder Robert D. Hales on page 155 in the student manual.)

  • In what ways can we live for the Lord?


Historical Overview of Mosiah 9–10

This presentation should take between three and five minutes. To prepare to present the historical context for this lesson, read Mosiah 9–10 as many times as necessary to be familiar with the story. You may also want to review the table below and pages 149–50 in the student manual.

In class, invite the other students to open their scriptures to Mosiah 9–10 and follow along while you share a brief overview of the story of Zeniff. On the board, you might draw the following chart as a reminder of the major people and places in the book of Mosiah:

Land of Lehi-Nephi

Land of Zarahemla

King Zeniff (Mosiah 9–10) around 200 B.C.

King Mosiah I

King Noah (Mosiah 11–19) around 160 B.C.

King Benjamin

King Limhi (Mosiah 7–8; 19–22) around 121 B.C.

King Mosiah II

Zeniff was a Nephite who led a group of other Nephites to try to regain the land of Lehi-Nephi, where their ancestors had lived. Zeniff and his group left Zarahemla sometime after King Mosiah I began his reign there. Note that between Mosiah 8 and Mosiah 9, the story goes back in time approximately 80 years. The story in Mosiah 9 begins around 200 B.C., with Zeniff recounting the events previously recorded in Omni 1:27–30. Briefly tell in your own words some of the highlights of Zeniff’s story in Mosiah 9–10. You might include:

  1. The results of Zeniff’s first journey (Mosiah 9:1–5; Omni 1:27–30).

  2. The consequences of being overzealous. For example, overzealousness led to poor judgments, such as being “slow to remember … God” (Mosiah 9:3) and being blinded by “the cunning and the craftiness of king Laman” (Mosiah 9:10).

  3. The influence for good that Zeniff had on the people. For example, he encouraged them to (a) repair the city (see Mosiah 9:8); (b) raise flocks and crops (see Mosiah 10:2, 4); (c) manufacture clothing (see Mosiah 10:5); and (d) defend themselves “in the strength of the Lord” (see Mosiah 9:17).

Zeniff’s reign demonstrates how he labored throughout his life to obtain the land of Lehi-Nephi and live there in peace. His overzealousness led to some questionable actions, but his desire to establish an independent Nephite colony among the Lamanites eventually succeeded.