“There Was Not Any of His Sons Who Would Accept of the Kingdom”

Alan C. Miner

When the time came for Mosiah2 to relinquish the kingdom, none of his sons were available to accept it; they had declined the opportunity for kingship and gone on a fourteen-year-long mission to the Lamanites (see Alma 17-25). This was a delicate situation because apparently no Mulekite was even entitled to any consideration for becoming king under the law imposed on the people of Zarahemla by Mosiah1 (see Mosiah 25:13), even though they constituted the majority of the population (Mosiah 25:2). In his editing process, Mormon chooses this time to not only document the transfer of kingship symbols from Mosiah2 to another Nephite (Alma2 -- Mosiah 28:20) but to especially detail an account of Mosiah translating the 24 gold plates. (Mosiah 28:11-19). Why was translating the 24 gold plates so important to Mosiah2? Because they contained the Jaredite history (see Ether 1:1-2). Why was the Jaredite history important to Mosiah2? Perhaps Mosiah2 realized that if kingship continued among the Nephite-Mulekite mixture of people which he ruled, the right of the Mulekites to rule sooner or later could not be suppressed. And if a Mulekite were to become king, it could ultimately spell the end of priesthood rule by the tribe of Joseph. By bringing to light the story of the demise of a Jaredite civilization driven by kingship (or kingcraft) which Mosiah presumably knew was recorded on the 24 plates, Mosiah was perhaps hoping to warn his people to keep away from such a calamity. Perhaps King Mosiah reasoned that if the ancestors of his Mulekite people had observed or even been a part of the downfall of Jaredite civilization, by bringing the Jaredite story on the 24 plates to light at this particularly sensitive time of power transfer in government, he might pacify the Mulekites enough to allow the Nephite royal line of the tribe of Joseph to retain control (by means of a system of judges -- see Mosiah 29:25,28-29), and he might avoid the re-emergence of a Jaredite system of kingcraft of which the Mulekite culture had been part of for many years. Sadly however, the reader will see that the rise in power of the Mulekite "kingmen" who desired the ways of Jaredite kingship (or kingcraft) is a major part of the continuing Book of Mormon story. It is interesting that Mormon includes Mosiah's discourse on kingcraft immediately following the account of Mosiah translating the 24 plates. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [For more information on this Jaredite-Mulekite kingship (kingcraft) tradition, see the commentary on Mosiah 28:12; Alma 2:1; 2:11]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary