“Their Language Had Become Corrupted” – Omni 1:17

My nephew, who is currently serving as a missionary in Idaho, wrote today about Omni 1:17. In this verse, the prophet Amaleki describes the state of a group of people called the Mulekites when King Mosiah and his people found them. The Mulekites had left Jerusalem at about the same time that Lehi and his family left, and they had also been led by “the hand of the Lord” to the American continent. But unlike Lehi’s family, they had brought no written records with them. More than four hundred years had passed, and Amaleki tells us that “their language had become corrupted” (Omni 1:17). It had changed so much that none of Mosiah’s people could understand them.

Additionally, they had lost their faith. Amaleki tells us that “they denied the being of their Creator.”

In response, Mosiah “caused that they should be taught in his language.” When they could understand one another, the king of the Mulekites, Zarahemla, recited a genealogy of his fathers from memory. Then, Amaleki records that these two groups of people “did unite together” (Omni 1:18-19).

The Mulekites lost both their language and their faith, but king Mosiah and his people were able to restore both because of the spiritual record which they had brought with them from Jerusalem. Here is what my nephew learned from this story:

They had lost their language without even realizing it until other people from their homeland made contact with them. They had also lost their faith, which is something that I am sure happened just as gradually as losing their language. The point is, we can lose things without even realizing it, and then when we do realize it, it is too late. How do we realize when things are going wrong before it’s too late? READ YOUR SCRIPTURES. If we have scriptures and never read them, what good do they do us? About as much good as for the people that Mosiah found that didn’t even have them at all…. [And if] we don’t study what we have we will lose what we have. We will lose our faith without nourishing it, as we see from this verse. That’s because faith is a living thing, like a seed. If we neglect it, it will simply shrivel and die.
(Email from Elder Neal Anderson, 30 March 2020)

The Lord told Nephi what will happen to those who think they have enough knowledge and refuse to accept more: “From them shall be taken away even that which they have” (2 Nephi 28:30).

And Alma told the people of Ammonihah that people who harden their hearts will receive “the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries” (Alma 12:11).

President Thomas S. Monson said, “Once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study” (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” General Conference, April 2017).

Today, I will remember that the knowledge I have received is precious and fragile. If I take it for granted and fail to nourish and cultivate it, it will gradually fade. I will recommit to maintaining my daily personal religious practices in order to keep my knowledge and my faith alive and strong.

2 thoughts on ““Their Language Had Become Corrupted” – Omni 1:17

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  1. You don’t suggest it but is it possible that the brass plates are the differentiator? Not just for the loss of religious beliefs but also the loss of language?

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    1. Yes, I think that’s exactly it. Having a written record helped them preserve their language and their faith. The Spirit had warned Nephi that, without those plates, an entire nation would “dwindle and perish in unbelief,” which also sounds like a process that happens gradually (1 Nephi 4:13). Reading enriches our experiences with language and it enables us to interact with people of faith from earlier generations. Thanks for pointing out the critical role of the brass plates in that process for the descendants of Nephi (and for the Mulekites).

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