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King Benjamin's Discourse


consiglieri

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We are approaching a study of King Benjamin's discourse in Sunday school this week and next. I have been doing some boning up, reading a number of essays (conveniently compiled by FARMS in a 1999 book titled "That Ye May Learn Wisdom"), reading the speech in the Book of Mormon several times, etc.

It seems that many conclude King Benjamin's speech to be tightly constructed and incredibly profound, addressing both religious and political issues of the day, as well as highly influential in modern times.

I wanted to ask if any posters have feelings one way or another about this address, and the reasons they may have for their perspectives.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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I can't remember where I read it, but it wasn't too long ago, but somebody wrote about the King Benjamin's discourse and how it fit in extremely well with the pre-exilic beliefs of Israel. It was a great article. I think Kevin Christensen wrote it, but I'm not all that sure.

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I see King Benjamin as a crucial prophet in Book of Mormon; ie- his prophecies, his declarations become standard fare for subsequent authors, in terms of citation and theology, etc.

I believe those chapters in the BoM are second in scripture only to Christ's sermon on the Mount/at the Temple.

I love that FARMS book, and more members ought to read it, imo. I really can't say all I feel about the man in this little thread.

Oh, and by the way, the New Approaches to the Book of Mormon analysis I found to be amazingly weak compared to the stuff Nibley and others have pointed out.

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One thing that stood out to me was that more than 100 years later, Nephites were still referring to his speech. That may not seem like a big deal today, we do that with sermons given 100+ years ago, but in BOM times, that seems pretty substantial, since, you know, they didn't have the internet and all.

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[...]

I wanted to ask if any posters have feelings one way or another about this address, and the reasons they may have for their perspectives.

[...]

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

A man that walked the walk (if the record is to be believed) of the talk he talked.

'Nuff said.

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  • 4 weeks later...
We are approaching a study of King Benjamin's discourse in Sunday school this week and next. I have been doing some boning up, reading a number of essays (conveniently compiled by FARMS in a 1999 book titled "That Ye May Learn Wisdom"), reading the speech in the Book of Mormon several times, etc.

It seems that many conclude King Benjamin's speech to be tightly constructed and incredibly profound, addressing both religious and political issues of the day, as well as highly influential in modern times.

I wanted to ask if any posters have feelings one way or another about this address, and the reasons they may have for their perspectives.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

I believe Bruce R. McConkie called it one of the 5 most important sermons recorded.

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If all we had from the Book of Mormon was this sermon, I would count it worth the cost.

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There's an article in the newest Journal of Book of Mormon Studies discussing the importance of the temple setting to the speech. Unfortunatly, the article is not yet posted at the maxwell institute site (I got my copy yesterday in the mail).

I found the artcile very insightful. I'd always thought of the gathering as a sort of general conference and that the people were coming to hear their prophet/king. In reality, they were coming to do temple work. They faced their tents not towards the King, but towards the temple. The tower was constructed because the people were too numerous to fit within the temple.

When one understands that King Benjamin had intended for the sermon to be given in the temple, and then considers the references to ordinances and King Benjamin cleaning his garments from the people's blood, and then considers that the people end the sermon by making an outward covenant, it seems to me that the sermon is much more similar to the teaching that goes on in our temples today than what happens at general conference - at least as similar as could occur under the aaronic priesthood.

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Yesterday, a sister gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting about service and she pointed something interesting about the word "service."

Service can mean:

1. Assistance; help: was of great service to him during his illness. work done by one person or group that benefits another

2. An act of assistance or work done by one person or group that benefits another; a favor: My friend did me a service in fixing the door.

3. Active devotion to God, as through good works or prayer.

4. A religious rite.

5. Celebration of public worship

So, in the sense of King Benjamin's thoughts about service to men and service to God, the service to men would be the first two and service to God would be the last three.

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I wanted to ask if any posters have feelings one way or another about this address, and the reasons they may have for their perspectives.

I taught the Sunday School lesson on Sunday, and I was impressed with how King Benjamin made obvious use of contrasts -- between the nothingness and worthlessness of us, and the power we get from God by obeying the Lord, exercising faith, and participating in the Atonement.

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