This address will attempt to “survey the wondrous cross” by focusing on the Christology in the book of Mosiah, using not only the words of King Benjamin, Mosiah, Abinadi, and Alma the Younger, but scriptures that lie in the suburbs of Mosiah and other related scriptures. The final focus will be on the requirements for our becoming what King Benjamin called “the children of Christ,” which is my text (Mosiah 1:11; 5:9, 11; 26:18).
Left unexplored are other possibilities, such as some our LDS scholars are reconnoitering. For instance, the biblical term mosiah was probably a political designation; it also is an honorific title in Hebrew meaning savior or rescuer (FARMS Update, April 1989). Not bad for a bright but unschooled Joseph Smith who, while translating early on, reportedly wondered aloud to Emma if there were walls around Jerusalem (The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, vol. 4, 1873–1890 [Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1967], p. 447).
There is so much more in the Book of Mormon than we have yet discovered. The book’s divine architecture and rich furnishings will increasingly unfold to our view, further qualifying it as “a marvelous work and a wonder” (Isaiah 29:14). As I noted from this pulpit in 1986, “The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings (Book of Mormon Symposium, 10 October 1986). All the rooms in this mansion need to be explored, whether by valued traditional scholars or by those at the cutting edge. Each plays a role, and one LDS scholar cannot say to the other, “I have no need of thee” (1 Corinthians 12:21). (“The Children of Christ,” BYU Speeches, Feb. 4, 1990)
Here is the complete “vast mansion” quote from the Book of Mormon Symposium:
“The Book of Mormon is like a vast mansion, with gardens, towers, courtyards, and wings. My tour of it has never been completed. Some rooms I have yet to enter, and there are more felicitous fireplaces waiting to warm me. Even the rooms I have glimpsed contain further furnishings and rich detail yet to be savored. There are panels inlaid with incredible insights, and design and décor dating from Eden. There are even sumptuous banquet tables painstakingly prepared by predecessors which await all of us. Yet we as church members sometimes behave like hurried tourists scarcely entering beyond the entry hall. May we come to feel, as a whole people, beckoned beyond the entry hall. May we go inside far enough to hear clearly the whispered truths from those who have slumbered – which whisperings will awaken in us individually a life of discipleship as never before.” (“Great Answers to the Great Question” Book of Mormon Symposium, 10 October 1986. Audio track time-stamp, 42:40-44:09)