“Mosiah Caused That They Should Be Taught in His Language”

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

From the record we learn that the people of Zarahemla “denied the being of their Creator” (Omni 1:17) and have to be instructed in the written and spoken language of the Nephites, their language having become “corrupted” (verse 17). Once the people are able to communicate with Mosiah and his followers, he is able to orient them concerning the history and lineage of the Nephites. Thereafter, the Mulekites of Zarahemla are absorbed into the Nephite flow of events.

The cultural/linguistic information provided by this historic account is most interesting. Over a period of several hundred years, the Mulekites, having no written record, experience a corruption and decline of their language. Doubtless it has transformed itself into quite a different dialect than the original mother tongue. Mosiah turns out to be a divinely appointed language teacher. He instructs the people in his language so that all can understand one another. No doubt he also instructs the people in the principles of the gospel in order to correct their lapse of testimony, for, prior to his coming, they are in a state of mind where “they denied the being of their Creator” (verse 17).

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1