At the time this project began, I was a little more than half way into my service as a missionary in Malaysia, September 2014 I believe. The idea to study this was inspired in part by a movie that my mom had told me about that was in the works, Reign of Judges:Title of Liberty. If you want to check out the trailer and website, here is the link. I thought it would be best to get the most out of the book before I saw the movie.
As I do with all my notebooks, I begin with the background on what I’m reading. This time though, it will be more of what has happened in the story thus far that leads up to Mosiah 29 when the system of judges is set up. Essentially all the history from the book of Omni to Mosiah 28.
I’m looking forward to this a lot and I hope by the time I’m done writing about the reign of the judges (and you are done reading it) the appreciation for the Book of Mormon will have increased.
We start off our journey in Mosiah 29. I’ll copy in the chapter heading:
“Mosiah proposes that judges be chosen in place of a king-unrighteous kings lead their people into sin-Alma the younger is chosen chief judge by the voice of the people-he is also the high priest over the church-Alma the elder and Mosiah die.”
The king Mosiah referred to in the chapter heading is king Mosiah II.
The Nephite and Mulekite civilizations have already met up and joined together, calling themselves Nephites with the capital in Zarahemla. That was about 200 B.C. Mosiah I was chosen as their first king. He was a good king. Later, his son Benjamin was his successor. Good king as well. His son Mosiah II then became king. It was at the end of Mosiah II’s reign(92B.C.) that the judges are set up.
Alma the Elder
After the Nephites and Mulekites joined civilizations, a group of people, led by Zeniff, went down to possess the land of their first inheritance, or in other words, the land where Lehi’s family first landed when they arrived in America. Land that was currently occupied by Lamanites. Zeniff and his followers had quarrels with the Lamanites but were allowed to stay. Once Zeniff died his son, Noah, became king. He was wicked and oppressed the people. A prophet named Abinadi came and preached unto him and his people concerning their wickedness but was killed. One of the members of the king’s court, named Alma, believed Abinadi’s teachings but ended up fleeing the city with others that believed Abinadi.
After Alma left, king Noah was killed by his own people ensuing a Lamanite invasion. King Limhi, son of Noah, reigned. He was a righteous king however, his people now lived as tributaries to the Lamanites who taxed them heavily. Eventually a group of people, led by a man named Ammon, (not King Mosiah II’s son who teaches king Lamoni) find Limhi and his people. They had come from Nephite territory to discover what had become of Zeniff’s group that had left years before. Ammon and King Limhi make plans to escape Lamanite bondage. A gift of wine is given to their Lamanite guards and they become drunk. While the guards were sleeping, the people fled into the wilderness, back to the land of Zarahemla and came under the protection of Mosiah II.
Meanwhile Alma the elder’s group in the wilderness desired that he become their king. He refused. During this time Lamanites, led by one of king Noah’s wicked priests, stumble upon Alma’s followers and bring them into heavy bondage. However, the Lord causes a deep sleep to come upon their taskmasters and they are able to escape and flee back to Zarahemla.
Alma the Younger
Back in Zarahemla, Alma the elder had a son, Alma the younger. King Mosiah II had four sons that became friends with Alama the younger. All five of them went about destroying the church. One day, an angel of the Lord appears unto them and rebukes them. Alma the younger is struck by the experience and doesn’t wake up for a few days. When he wakes, he is a changed man, forgiven of his sins. This episode changes the sons of Mosiah as well. The five of them repair the wrongs they did and then the sons of Mosiah desire to serve missions to the Lamanites. They leave. Once they are gone, Mosiah II receives and translates the Jaredite record by means of a Urim and Thummin. The Jaredite record was discovered by King Limhi’s people and was delivered to King Mosiah after they joined up with the Nephites. After Mosiah translates the record, he gives it, as well as all the records of his forefathers, to his son Alma the Younger to preserve. This is the setting our story begins.