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.
Why do we become members of the church when we are baptized? Why do we meet regularly with other members of the church, and why are we organized into congregations with priesthood leaders? Mormon provides some insight into these questions as he describes King Benjamin’s follow-up actions after his sermon. Benjamin knew that his people had made a covenant of eternal consequence after hearing his words. He wanted that covenant to stick; he wanted the people to be true to their promises for the rest of their lives. But he knew that time has a tendency to erode our resolve, and that the people would face distractions and obstacles along the way. So he did two things to help maintain their faithfulness over time:
- He took their names. By creating a permanent record of who had agreed to enter this covenant, he made it harder for the people to forget or deny that they had made solemn promises.
- He appointed priests to teach them and to “stir them up.” We can become complacent so easily. We need frequent reminders of our covenants as well as people who hold us accountable, to help us endure to the end.
Today, I will be grateful for my membership in the church. I will be grateful that my name is on the records of the church, as evidence that I have promised to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will also be grateful for fellow church members and leaders who help me to fulfill that promise and who “stir me up” as needed in remembrance of my duty.