Majority Rules (Mosiah 29)
"Majority rules" is a simple concept. It’s when you make a decision by having everyone vote on some question and then implement whichever option gets the most votes. It’s how the U.S. government is designed to operate. The majority of voters select elected officials, and the majority of those elected officials enact laws and policies. The majority makes the rules.
In Mosiah 29, King Mosiah realizes that none of his sons have a desire to follow him as king (since they’re now much more interested in doing missionary work for the Lord) so he puts into place a new form of government in which judges govern the people. These judges will be elected by “the voice of the people” (majority rules).
Since the new government is to be based upon the laws of God, and since his people have been taught the things of God, Mosiah trusts that the majority of the people will typically make the right choices when they vote:
“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right … therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law — to do your business by the voice of the people” (Mosiah 29:26)
When the U.S. government was established, it was founded on similar assumptions. The laws were to be based on the precepts of God, and the majority would typically know what was right based on God’s teachings and vote accordingly. How far from that have we come today?
What’s gone wrong? The problem is too much focus on the “majority rules” part and not enough focus on the “right with God” part. Since the rules can be established by a majority of people being in favor of something, all you have to do is convince a certain number of people to agree with you, and anything can become “truth” — what God says doesn’t matter at all.
Of course, the fallacy with this way of thinking is that God’s truth is entirely unalterable. No majority of people can change that no matter how famous they are or how educated they may appear to be.
For years, I’ve kept a cartoon (which I decided not to use as the image for this article) which has a big sign reading “Welcome to Hell” with two men riding down an escalator into rising flames. The caption reads, “Don’t worry — we voted by a 3 to 1 margin that this doesn’t exist.” Can that place be wiped out of existence by a majority vote?
If we had a national election asking whether people believe in God and 51 percent voted “No,” would God cease to exist? What if the majority was 75 percent? Or 95 percent? What if the majority included your favorite Hollywood actors assuring you that God doesn’t exist? Would any of that be enough to make God disappear?
If a majority of people cannot vote God out of existence, why would we think that a majority of people can make His teachings disappear, claiming that they are outdated, politically incorrect, or just plain wrong?
King Mosiah anticipated that a time such as this would come. He told his people:
“If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction.” (Mosiah 29:27)
Are we approaching this period of time? Before we reach that point, let’s do our best to stand up for the things of God, even if the majority of people oppose us. The truth is that God and whoever stands with Him constitute the real majority and, in the end, that majority rules.
Writer’s Note: With this article, we’ve reached the end of the Book of Mosiah. See below for an index of the other articles related to the Book of Mosiah. I appreciate all of the positive feedback I’ve received on this series. I am so blessed to know that so many of you are enjoying the articles and that God is speaking to you through these words. Based on this, it is my intention to continue on to the Book of Alma. As always, I solicit your prayers that God will continue to provide the inspiration for these articles.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.