8 Now I say unto you let us be wise and consider these things, for we have no right to destroy my son, neither should we have any right to destroy another if he should be appointed in his stead.
9 And if my son should turn again to his pride and vain things he would recall the things which he had said, and claim his right to the kingdom, which would cause him and also this people to commit much sin.
10 And now let us be wise and look forward to these things, and do that which will make for the peace of this people.
One of the functions of a leader is to serve as the voice of reason in a conversation. When the people they lead are going down the wrong path, a great leader isn’t so much a dictator–preventing them from making mistakes–as a coach–helping them think through their decision more carefully. Twice in the passage above, King Mosiah says to his people, “Let us be wise.” He means that he wants them to think through their desire to anoint a king as his successor. They likely haven’t considered the possibility that there is any other form of government. They’ve had a king their entire lives, and except for the people who had lived under King Noah, their experiences have been pretty good. So, by choosing a new king, they’re simply maintaining the status quo–doing what they’ve always done.
Now Mosiah says, “Let’s think this through more carefully. Think about all the ways this can play out. There are some pretty catastrophic potential outcomes. Don’t we want to do something to prevent those from happening?” Mosiah was obviously affected by the stories of the people of King Noah and wanted to shield his people from having to experience the same. Putting too much power in the hands of one person increases the likelihood that a single individual exercises undue negative influence over the entire nation.
Mosiah had also been influenced by his friend Alma, a former priest of King Noah, who had refused to serve as king of the people he led away from Noah’s kingdom. Alma urged them to “trust no man to be a king over you” (Mosiah 23:13).
Today, in my leadership roles, I will take the time to counsel with the people I lead. I will help them think through decisions so that they can arrive at wise decisions. Instead of dictating courses of action which may be at odds with their thinking, I will ask questions and remind them of facts and prior experiences which might lead to a more informed decision. Like King Mosiah, I will help those I lead to “be wise.”