“King Mosiah Having Gone the Way of All the Earth”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

When King Mosiah died, he left no successor to the Nephite throne, but he did leave a code of laws by which the Nephites thereafter were to be governed. His sons, who had chosen to perform missions among the Lamanites, had renounced any claim to kingship and had rejected, publicly, the right to rule as monarchs. Nevertheless, in wisdom, lest, at a later date, they should change their minds and demand that which was rightfully theirs, King Mosiah caused that the monarchial form of government by which the Nephites for more than 500 years had been ruled should be replaced by a republic. A new Constitution, founded upon good and equitable laws, was framed by Mosiah who was the last king of the Nephites. The statutes he compiled provided many modifications in the manner of the legitimate procedure of government. Instead of one voice, which was the ultimate of all, he advised that the people, themselves, should have the final say as to who was to rule over them. In this Constitution Mosiah also caused it to be written that all things should be done only after the approval of a majority vote in which every one was to be permitted to participate. This system of organic law became the supreme ruling power of the Nephites when they accepted it through the popular vote of the people. For 120 years after the death of Mosiah the Nephite Commonwealth was ruled by the authority vested in Judges. Alma, who was the son of that Alma who led the righteous among the Nephites from Lehi-Nephi to Zarahemla, was the first Judge and also the chief among them. Although Alma was appointed to this high and holy office by Mosiah, his successors in office were always thereafter chosen by the people.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3