Mosiah 29 is an interesting chapter in that most of it is a letter King Mosiah wrote to his people to persuade them of the desirability of changing their form of government to a judge system from monarchy.  It is interesting because it is not all directly quoted, so Mormon took parts that he considered most valuable and summarized other parts he felt were less precious.  The quotes range from v5-32 and then v33-36 is a summary of more that was in the letter.  Therefore, to be alert readers, we must look to see what is in v5-32 that seemed to warrant direct quotation; these parts must be particularly good.

Here are the main principles that I picked out:

  • Monarchy would not be a bad form of government if it was possible to ensure that only righteous men became king. (v13)
  • It is best to judge the people according to the commandments of God (v11)
  • Wicked kings hate righteous laws, do away with them, and put wicked laws in their place. (v23)
  • One wicked king can cause great iniquity and destruction among the people. (v17)
  • Wicked kings have wicked friends that support them and guards that protect them. (v22)
  • Wicked kings can’t be removed without war. (v21)
  • Rulers need to be held accountable by other rulers and by the voice of the people. (v28-29)
  • The importance of the people answering for their own sins instead of the responsibility falling on the ruler. (v30-32)
  • Iniquity among the people brings them into bondage. (v18)
  • When the majority of the people choose what is not right, then God’s judgments come and destruction comes. (v27)
  • Repentance brings the interposition of God and deliverance from bondage. (v19)

While some have thought that Mosiah’s thinking was laying out principles of democracy, I actually think Mosiah was most worried about corruption at top levels of government.   He realized that it wasn’t enough to have good laws because a bad ruler would change the laws to provide for his/her own vice. I think Mosiah was interested in creating a system that would prevent wicked rulers from getting or retaining power by which they would corrupt the rest of society and bring destruction on the people.  He seems to have seen that a self-correcting system would need to have built into it ways for the people to have a voice so that a righteous majority could bring positive change when it was needed. He also seems to have seen that other rulers in the hierarchy would need to be empowered legitimately in order to hold a higher ruler accountable for corruption. 

While our form of government is different than the Nephite government system that Mosiah set up, our government also has built into it ways that we can agitate for change.  It is up to us to notice when corruption in government becomes obvious and to make our voices heard to try to change it because saying nothing is the equivalent of saying it is okay. 

As one example, the US Attorney General Eric Holder has refused to initiate any new obscenity prosecutions under current laws against pornography ever since President Obama took office.  You can send a petition to President Obama to ask him to demand his Attorney General enforce current laws.

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