Mosiah, father of King Benjamin and grandfather of Mosiah II. The animosity of the Lamanite branch of the family against the Nephites had continued for many generations by Mosiah’s time, and Mosiah, because of his obedience, was likewise warned of the Lord to flee into the wilderness to preserve his life from his enemies.
And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla.
In the land of Zarahemla, to the north of their original homeland. Mulek and his followers had been “brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth”. Thus, Mosiah encountered a colony whose origins closely paralleled those of his ancestors—Lehi and his family—with one important exception: the Mulekites had brought with them none of the records concerning their genealogy or their scriptural foundations. The appearance of Mosiah and his group created considerable excitement among the people. “Now, there was great rejoicing among the people of Zarahemla; and also Zarahemla did rejoice exceedingly, because the Lord had sent the people of Mosiah with the plates of brass which contained the record of the Jews”. In his wisdom, Mosiah had taken the sacred records before fleeing the land of Nephi and had carried them forth to preserve the written language of his forebears and the record of God’s dealings with His people.
Mosiah instructed the people in his language so that all could understand one another. It is likely that he also instructed the people in the principles of the gospel in order to correct their lapse of testimony, since, before his coming, they were in a state of mind where “they denied the being of their Creator”. So much did Mosiah endear himself to the hearts and minds of the people of Zarahemla that he was appointed king over the united population. Mosiah’s son and successor, Benjamin, carried on his father’s righteous leadership and became one of the greatest prophet-rulers in the Book of Mormon.
History: The Book of Mormon provides scant detail concerning Mosiah’s life. There are only a dozen verses of scripture about him from the hand of his contemporary, Amaleki, one of the curators of the sacred text. Mosiah was active in the period from around 279 BC to 130 BC. During his reign as king, the people brought to him an archaeological artifact—a “large stone”—displaying engravings that Mosiah was able to interpret “by the gift and power of God”. The stone told of the last days of Coriantumr, the final Jaredite ruler, who had been discovered by the people of Zarahemla and dwelt among them for the better part of a year —perhaps around 500 BC. Thus the story of Mosiah also blends with the history of the Jaredites, who had been led by the Lord to the northern part of the Promised Land at the time of the Tower of Babel—approximately 2000 BC. It was within the lifetime and tenure of Mosiah, therefore, that the three major migrant peoples of the Book of Mormon—Jaredites to the north, Mulekites in the central area, and Nephites to the south—crossed paths. Because of the record-keeping of Mosiah and his successors, the origins and histories of these peoples have been preserved for the latter days.