1 And now, king Benjamin thought it was expedient, after having finished speaking to the people, that he should take the names of all those who had entered into a covenant with God to keep his commandments.
2 And it came to pass that there was not one soul, except it were little children, but who had entered into the covenant and had taken upon them the name of Christ.
3 And again, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of all these things, and had consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his people, and had given him all the charges concerning the kingdom, and also had appointed priests to teach the people, that thereby they might hear and know the commandments of God, and to stir them up in remembrance of the oath which they had made, he dismissed the multitude, and they returned, every one, according to their families, to their own houses.
My dad taught me that discipline means doing what you want to do when you don’t want to do it.
In the book Choice and Consequence, political economist Thomas Schelling discusses the difficulty of disciplining yourself in the context of getting up early in the morning. You are still the same person who decided the night before what time you wanted to get up, but it almost seems like you are a different person, because your desires in the moment are not aligned with your long-term desires.
After King Benjamin completed his speech and saw his people experience a “mighty change” in their hearts, he wanted to help them remain true to their stated desire “to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). Knowing that they would find themselves in a variety of circumstances with a variety of challenges and stressors, he took the following steps to remind them of the covenant they had made:
1. He recorded the names of all those who had entered a covenant (which was all of them). Knowing that you have publicly committed to a course of action and that there is a written record of your commitment can help you when your short-term motivations are temporarily out of sync with your long-term goals.
2. He appointed priests to teach the people. No matter how firm our resolve may be, it has a tendency to erode over time if we don’t consistently reinforce it. Hearing the word of God on a regular basis helps us keep the fire of faith burning in our hearts.
Note also that the people participated in this event as families (Mosiah 2:5). They were well positioned to strengthen each other in their homes because they had experienced this conversion together.
Today I will be grateful for the tools I have been given to help me align my actions with my long-term goals. I will remember the importance of my covenants, of my leaders and teachers, and of my family in helping me to be true to my genuine desires.