6 And the people were desirous that Alma should be their king, for he was beloved by his people.
7 But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king.
Over the last few days, we’ve discussed two reasons not to have a monarchy:
In the passage above, we read about a third reason: monarchy is based on the false premise, and creates a false impression, that some people are more important than others. A king is prioritized above the rest of the people, which contradicts the gospel principle that we are all of equal worth in the eyes of God. Here are a few examples of this principle in other parts of the Book of Mormon:
- The first author in the Book of Mormon, Nephi, taught that God invites all of His children to come to Him and partake of His goodness. “And he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33).
- After Nephi’s death, his brother Jacob reprimands his people for the pride he is beginning to see among them. He tells them that, because some of them are wealthier than others, “ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they” (Jacob 2:13). (See also 2 Nephi 28:13-14.)
- King Benjamin went out of his way to emphasize that he was no better than the people he ruled: “I have not commanded you to come up hither that ye should fear me, or that ye should think that I of myself am more than a mortal man. But I am like as yourselves” (Mosiah 2:10-11). “And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are; for I am also of the dust” (Mosiah 2:26).
- When Alma’s son later becomes high priest over the church in Zarahemla, Mormon points out that the priests and teachers of the church labored with their own hands so that the members of the church wouldn’t have to support them: “for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength” (Alma 1:26).
- In a sermon Alma’s son gave to the members of the church in Zarahemla, he asked them whether they were living in harmony with this principle: “Will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another?” (Alma 5:54)
This same principle was codified in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”
Today, I will remember that all of God’s children are of equal importance in His sight. I will avoid patterns of thought, speech or behavior which imply that some people are more important than others. I will remember that leadership positions constitute opportunities to serve and do not imply that the leader is better or more important than others.