We don’t hear a lot about the Mulekites, mainly because their name is primarily used by the prophets as a cautionary tale to warn people what happens when people don’t have scriptures in their lives. Let’s look at what happens to people who are without scriptures in their lives for prolonged periods of time.

The Cautionary Tale

We are introduced to the importance of having scriptures in our lives in 1 Nephi 4:12-16. Nephi has crept into the city of Jerusalem, not knowing beforehand where he should go. He has found Laban, who tried to kill him and his brothers more than once, and has stolen all their property. Laban has passed out from too much drink, and the Spirit is reasoning with Nephi to convince him to kill Laban to get the brass plates, their only source of scriptures and family history.

Nephi kills Laban

Nephi kills Laban

12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;

 

13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

 

14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise.

 

15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the Law of Moses, save they should have the law.

 

16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.

To recap – we are told that without the scriptures Nephi’s posterity will dwindle in unbelief (v13). Nephi’s descendants can only prosper in the land of promise if they have, and keep, the commandments (v14). Without the commandments (which are on the plates of brass), they cannot keep the Law of Moses (v15-16).

Vindication of the Spirit’s Counsel to Nephi

Fast forward in time to the book of Omni. In Omni 1:14-17 we learn what happens to people who are deprived of the scriptures for extended periods of time. Omni lived during the lifetime of the first King Mosiah, King Benjamin’s father. It was between 250 – 450 years after Nephi lived.

People of Zarahemla are welcomed.

People of Zarahemla are welcomed.

14 And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla. 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.

 

15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.

 

16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were 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.

 

17 And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them.

The main point here is that their knowledge in their God, their spiritual heritage, their promised blessings in mortality and in eternity, were all lost because they had lived without the scriptures. Their spiritual compass had lost its bearing, and they no longer even believed in their Creator.

The people of Mulek, the son of King Zedekiah, arrived in the promised land roughly the same time as the people of Lehi. The main difference was that Lehi was a prophet and had a set of scriptures, but Mulek was not a prophet, nor did he possess the word of God to help guide his people.

The Lord always vindicates his statements. The Spirit had told Nephi that without the commandments written on the brass plates that the people would dwindle in unbelief. Nephi had to take that on faith. He killed Laban because of his faith in the words of the Spirit. It may have taken 300-500 years to prove Him right, but finding the Mulekites verified the words of the Spirit to Nephi and proved to the people that Nephi had done the right thing in killing Laban. It also proved to the people that the scriptures were their lifeline in their relationship with the Lord.

Likening the Scriptures …

So what does this have to do with us? We have scriptures. We have prophets. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost so we can receive our own revelation to guide us in our lives. Why worry about whether or not the Mulekites had the scriptures?

In a Conference talk from 1976 Elder LeGrand Richards said this about the importance of having scriptures:

If we didn’t have the Holy Scriptures, what would we know about our Father in heaven and his great love that gave us his Only Begotten Son? What would we know about his Son and his great atoning sacrifice, and the gospel that he has given us, the pattern of life to live by, and the principles … of where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going? Without a knowledge of those things, we would be like a ship upon the ocean without a rudder or sail or anything to guide it. We might keep afloat, but we would never come into port.

LeGrand Richards, LDS Apostle

LeGrand Richards

The first time the question about why having scriptures is important to me came into my mind, my first response was, “But we have the scriptures, and we know all these things.” I felt like it was a rather pointless question. My problem was that I was thinking of the question from the frame of reference of an active LDS member.

What if we look at the question of the relevance of having scriptures in our lives from the frame of reference of someone who has become disenfranchised with the church? What about those in this life who don’t know the value of the scriptures that line the bookshelves of their LDS neighbor? They’re in the same boat as the Mulekites.

This is important, so I will give you Elder Richards’ words one more time.

If we didn’t have the Holy Scriptures, what would we know about our Father in heaven and his great love that gave us his Only Begotten Son? What would we know about his Son and his great atoning sacrifice, and the gospel that he has given us, the pattern of life to live by, and the principles … of where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going? Without a knowledge of those things, we would be like a ship upon the ocean without a rudder or sail or anything to guide it. We might keep afloat, but we would never come into port.

How worried are we really about our inactive brothers and sisters? We all have them. They are either in our family or our ward. They have strayed from the gospel or have not yet found the gospel. To paraphrase the apostle, they are rudderless, and without a sail. They have no true guidance in their lives. How will they ever return to their Father in Heaven without these instruments of guidance?

For that matter, how will we return to our Father in Heaven if we become like the Mulekites and leave our scriptures on the shelf? If we abandon the reading of our scriptures are we not just like the Mulekites? If we don’t read the scriptures we have then is there any difference between us and someone who doesn’t have them at all? Spiritually, the result will be the same.

To read more of Kelly Merrill's articles, click here.

To read more of Kelly Merrill’s articles, click here.

If we don’t read and study the words of eternal life found in our scriptures, we are in danger of becoming like the Mulekites. Losing faith and belief is the natural result of not having the word of God active in our lives. If you know someone who lacks faith and belief, they need to read the scriptures and let the word of God fill their mind and heart with truth. If you are struggling with belief and faith, the Lord has provided us with His teachings to prove His intentions and teach us His plan of happiness for us.

With the scriptures we can become people of belief, and people of faith. Our spiritual strength is directly tied to the amount of time we spend contemplating the teachings of the Lord as found in the Holy Scriptures. There is no need for us to become Mulekites.

To listen to Kelly’s Podcast, click here.

About Kelly P. Merrill
Kelly Merrill is semi retired and writes for https://gospelstudy.us. He lives with his wife in Idaho. His strength is being able to take difficult to understand subjects and break them down into understandable parts. He delights in writing about the gospel of Christ. Writing about the gospel is his personal missionary work to the members of the Church and to those of other faiths who are wanting to know more about Christ's gospel and His Church.

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