“King Benjamin and the Prophets Establish Peace”

Monte S. Nyman

The false Christs, false prophets, false preachers, and false teachers were all influenced by Satan; but what were their crimes and punishments? Among the Nephites “there was no law against a man’s belief” (Alma 30:11), but there were laws against “murder, or plunder, or steal[ing], or commit[ting] adultery” (Mosiah 2:13). The punishments were apparently based upon some form of crime related and advocated by these men’s falsehoods. They had caused “contentions among [Benjamin’s] own people” (Words of Mormon 1:12, 16), which may have resulted in civil disturbances among the people. Whatever the crimes, they were punished for them and peace was established. The combination of holy men and political leaders shows a separation of church and state responsibilities, but co-operation among them for attaining moral and ethical goals. The king “did reign over his people in righteousness,” and the holy men “did speak the word of God with power [by the Spirit] and with authority [the priesthood].” Their use of “much sharpness [clear, concise, clarity]” (vv. 16–18) was certainly as “moved upon by the Holy Spirit” (D&C 121:43). This should be the goal of every society.

Book of Mormon Commentary: These Records Are True