Ya know... The first verses of this chapter brought back some well-known stories of Mormon culture. The most potent one being the experience Joseph Smith had in a Missouri jail surrounded by a mob of people cursing and glorying in their raping, murdering, and wickedness against the Mormon people.
Parley P. Pratt said the following in his book (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt,
Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985, pp. 179–80.):
In one of those tedious nights we had lain as if in sleep till the hour of midnight had passed, and our ears and hearts bad been pained, while we had listened for hours to the obscene jests, the horrid oaths, the dreadful blasphemies and filthy language of our guards, Colonel Price at their head, as they recounted to each other their deeds of rapine, murder, robbery, etc., which they had committed among the "Mormons" while at Far West and vicinity. They even boasted of defiling by force wives, daughters and virgins, and of shooting or dashing out the brains of men, women and children.
I had listened till I became so disgusted, shocked, horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards; but had said nothing to Joseph, or any one else, although I lay next to him and knew he was awake. On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words:
SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!
He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained, and without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel, he looked upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground; whose knees smote together, and who, shrinking into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet till a change of guards.
I have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes, and criminals arraigned before them, while life was suspended on a breath, in the Courts of England; I have witnessed a Congress in solemn session to give laws to nations; I have tried to conceive of kings, of royal courts, of thrones and crowns; and of emperors assembled to decide the fate of kingdoms; but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri.
What is it, I wonder, which can cause a power to come upon people with such effect as to render all sensibilities and rational thought useless? What can cause people like Nephi
, Joseph Smith
, Nephi and Lehi
(Helaman's sons), and others, although without any power or weapon otherwise, to command in the name of Jesus Christ and render all enemies speechless, afraid, and unable to respond? Have their weapons stopped working? Did the prisons or chains holding the prophets weaken? What is it, then?
I'll tell you what it is, and for some odd reason, I have never in my life doubted it. It is called having an unshakable faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What a beautiful thing faith is, and what power - true power - it really has.
Back to Mosiah 13... I find is absolutely dumbfounding that the priests and King Noah still had the gall to kill Abinadi. If they believed him when he told them they couldn't touch him, why in the world didn't they believe him when he basically told them that whatever they did to him, would be an example of what would happen to them.
I guess faith is a funny thing. It can keep people who otherwise would be not only able, but aptly inclined to harm prophets from doing so... Yet, when it isn't a life-altering, or shocking instance - people tend to disregard it, or doubt it, or find any other reason to discredit it.
Not sure why this chapter caused me to reflect this way, but I'm glad it did.
I love feeling the Spirit.