There is a significant transition in the Words of Mormon that I want to use as a suggestion to us as a family, about How To Be Organized.
King Benjamin is a well known character, who gets quoted, revered, and praised for establishing “a people and a land,” among the Nephites. But what we often read about King Benjamin, and quote in sacrament meeting talks, are his messages at THE END of his life! In order for us to understand his life’s work, the real labor, the miracle of a united people under his Kingship, we have to look at the origins.
The Beginning Of The Work: The work that King Benjamin did is only a glimpse of the work required of a Zion people. If we are Zion, we are required to do that, and much more! Although K. Benjamin and his people obtained many blessings, Zion was NOT established at that point. He brought his people to the beginning. And the beginning is where we need to focus on getting to right now.
Recreating K. Benjamin’s work can seem overwhelming. But rather than being discouraged, we can find encouragement in the fact that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We have K. Benjamin’s record. We have the answer book! We can use the work of King Benjamin to our advantage, rather than learning from trial and error, through sad experiences. Let’s go to the answer, and start there, in the words of Christ! Consider what Mormon writes and my commentary:
Words of Mormon 1:12-18
“12 And now, concerning this king Benjamin—he had somewhat of contentions among his own people. [That’s where it all begins, a disorganized, a disordered, and a contending people. Hey, what do you know, that’s exactly where we are!]
13. And it came to pass also that the armies of the Lamanites came down out of the land of Nephi, to battle against his people. But behold, king Benjamin gathered together his armies, and he did stand against them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban.
14. And in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies, until they had slain many thousands of the Laminates. [K. Benjamin lived an “reality,” fighting to survive, with his own hands, and killing Lamanites. He was required to put-off the waters of chaos just as much as we all have to do, by going to work and paying our dawg-gone bills.] And it came to pass that they did contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands of their inheritance. [Lamanites were completely driven out of the land of their inheritance; they were removed by force. We too must remove bondage, out of us, by force. We do this by working together, like in our current project.]
15. And it came to pass that after there had been false Christs, and their mouths had been shut, and they punished according to their crimes; [These false-Christ’s were among themselves, like we have among us. And K. Benjamin shut them up. There’s unbelief among our people, because they wrest the scriptures, and they need to shut-up too.]
16. And after there had been false prophets, and false preachers and teachers among the people, and all these having been punished according to their crimes; and after there having been much contention and many dissensions away unto the Lamanites, [People from among them went apostate, and dissented, because they could not survive in that environment. Why? …read on!] behold, it came to pass that king Benjamin, with the assistance of the holy prophets who were among his people— [Prophet’s (plural) were among K. Benjamin’s people, assisting him, that’s why! This was a tight group of holy people with a vision of one heart and one mind among them. A people seeking Christ.]
17. For behold, king Benjamin was a holy man, and he did reign over his people in righteousness; and there were many holy men in the land, and they did speak the word of God with power and with authority; and they did use much sharpness because of the stiffneckedness of the people— [These weren’t politically correct, apologetic, or quivering lipped, men. They used the word of God with POWER and AUTHORITY, and with SHARPNESS! K. Benjamin wasn’t soft spoken at all. And the key to our skipping the losses of trial and error is to use the words of Christ.]
18. Wherefore, with the help of these, king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land.” [The Lord’s work requires nothing less than all our might of our body and the faculty of our whole soul! And it requires other prophets (plural)]
It is OUR responsibility to establish peace in the land. K. Benjamin is at the end of his life when he gives his final address from the tower, at the temple. Just before dying, the people begin to commit to repentance, and becoming a covenant people. This is not an END. This isn’t the point of Zion yet. The people weren’t the same as K. Benjamin. To become Zion, each one of the citizens must be precisely what K. Benjamin and those holy prophets were. This was a beginning!
The work of Zion only begins when you have peace established in the land, and a people willing to be covenanted. If ye are not one, ye are not mine, saith the Lord. Obtaining the covenant is only the starting point. The work to be done is becoming the covenant, so that the covenant is fulfilled in you! Those in Zion aren’t there because they did a couple of good things. All who enter Zion do All things in righteousness. K. Benjamin didn’t have enough time in his lifetime to finish the work of Zion amongst them. But we do.
Conclusion: We have an advantage, if we choose to use it. It is our own liahona, our wordcompass. It requires faith for it to work, just as it did for Lehi and his family. Failure to follow it’s instructions will be a detour, and we will learn our lesson through sad experience, rather than by obedience.
The inability has not been in the Fathers of the dispensation, the Holy Prophets, the Sent-Ones. Zion requires two components: A Father, and a People. That is what made Adam’s Zion. That is what made Enoch’s Zion. That is what made Melchizedek’s Zion. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That is what will make our Zion. We must be the people who will repent, as did Adam’s, Enoch’s, and Melchizedek’s Zion. At the foundation of our unity MUST BE the words of Christ, and nothing else.
Joseph Smith was unable to produce a people who would lay hold upon the word. They failed to establish Zion, and suffered jarrings, malice and strifes among them. They flew to pieces like glass when something was taught that went against their traditions, when they should have just SHUT UP! Lets work smart. Lets make different mistakes, and avoid making the same mistakes.
Lets start that work by being ordered, by being organized upon the words of Christ. That hasn’t been done since the time of Melchizedek, approximately 3,000 years ago. C’mon gang lets do it right this time. Or else, bum-bye-you-learn!