Died ca. 121 B.C.
A Nephite prophet and king, Benjamin was a son of Mosiah. Mosiah was a righteous leader who led his people wisely and taught his son to follow the direction of the Lord. Benjamin was a righteous and holy man who also led the military efforts of his people and served them in all ways all the days of his life.
Preparation and Calling
We do not know of Benjamin’s preparation to become a prophet, nor of his actual calling. However, we do know that he was the son of a righteous prophet and king, who must have taught him in the ways of the Lord and prepared him in all ways to follow in footsteps.
Interaction with God
Benjamin sought the Lord’s direction in all that he did. He was rewarded with promptings, revelation, and even a visit from an angel. Whether he saw the Father or the Son himself is not recorded, but he was certainly familiar with both and understood their roles. He taught that Jesus Christ would be born among men, and was the first in the Book of Mormon to record that “his mother shall be called Mary” (Mosiah 3:8). He understood and clearly taught of Christ’s atonement and the need for all men to repent and come unto Christ.
Benjamin’s father, Mosiah, had led his people to the land of Zarahemla to avoid war with the Lamanites. With his own hand, Benjamin continued fighting against Lamanite invasion and succeeded in securing Zarahemla for the Nephite people under his rule. He believed strongly in service to one another and in holding firm to the revealed word of God, serving also as a keeper of the sacred records when Amaleki, the previous keeper, was left with on heirs to pass that duty on to. Benjamin was known, in today’s parlance, as one who not only “talked the talk but also walked the walk,” establishing a kingdom of righteous people who would provide a heritage for the Nephites for many years to come.
Benjamin was a masterful and clear teacher. He led by word and example. He is perhaps best known for his powerful witness that salvation can come only through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and for his chosen lifestyle that required him to labor for the good of his people rather than demanding that they care for every whim of his royal station.
Living with the Prophet
King Benjamin had a great ability to view all people as equals. One key to this was his understanding that we are all equally in debt to God for our salvation. Not one person can be saved without coming to Christ and being relieved of the burden of sin that we all carry. Rich and poor alike are beggars before the Lord. Because we are all in need of something, he taught that we should view one another as people to serve and help with whatever the Lord has blessed us. Look at your life. Perhaps you have been blessed with monetary success. Perhaps you play an instrument. Maybe you have the ability to work hard. Whatever “wealth” the Lord has given you can be shared with others who are in need. Consider what you can do to help.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 1, s.v. “Benjamin.”
Book of Mormon, Reader’s Edition, ed. Grant Hardy.