27 May 2024

Struck with wonder and amazement

...they knew not what to think!

I try to take seriously Nephi's instruction to 'liken the scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning' (1 Nephi 19:23). The book of Mosiah (in The Book of Mormon) has fascinated me greatly in recent weeks because the accounts of Zeniff, his people, and their great difficulties has resonated with me in new ways. The moment of reunion when Mosiah welcomes Limhi and Alma's people into his society is touching because of how Mosiah's people reacted. Here are the relevant verses, slightly paraphrased and with added emphasis:

Mosiah 25:5-11

 5 And it came to pass that Mosiah did read...the records of Zeniff to his people...
     from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until they returned again.
 6 And he also read the account of Alma and his brethren, and all their afflictions, 
     from the time they left the land of Zarahemla until the time they returned again.
 7 And now, when Mosiah had made an end of reading the records...
     his people were struck with wonder and amazement.
     For they knew not what to think; 
 8 when they beheld those that had been delivered out of bondage 
     they were filled with exceedingly great joy.
 9 when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites 
     they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow.
10 when they thought of the immediate goodness of God in delivering [their] brethren,
     they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.
11 when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful state, 
     they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.

This sounds like the most empathetic bunch of people ever. When presented with the (very contrasting) life experiences of these incoming groups of people, their minds were totally blown ("they knew not what to think")! Then, in the short span of 5 verses they allowed themselves to ride an intense emotional roller-coaster, which brought wonder, amazement, great joy, sorrow, gratitude, pain, and even anguish. Being somewhat of a sensitive soul myself, I'm touched by their emotional willingness to just feel 'all the feels' for and with their new friends. It's also amazing that these people seemed to somehow avoid feeling resentful toward the their enemies, the Lamanites.

When introduced to people with very different life experiences, how do we receive them? Are we curious enough to put ourselves in their shoes in an attempt to bear their burden with them?

If interested, here's a video depiction of these events: