Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites -- 28.1Mosiah's sons had good intentions. They wanted to improve relations with the Lamanites, and they thought that if they only bring the Lamanites knowledge of the Lord that they might all get along. They wanted everyone to be saved, and they were really scared at the idea of anyone being tormented forever in hell. (Who can blame them? If I really believed in hell, I'd quake and tremble too!)
That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and convince them of the iniquity of their fathers; and that perhaps they might cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites, that they might also be brought to rejoice in the Lord their God, that they might become friendly to one another, and that there should be no more contentions in all the land which the Lord their God had given them. 28.2
Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble. 28.3
Mosiah didn't know whether or not he should let his sons go on this mission... so he asked God. God gave him a surprisingly straightforward answer: Let them go. They'll do a good job, and I'll protect them.
And king Mosiah went and inquired of the Lord if he should let his sons go up among the Lamanites to preach the word. 28.6
And the Lord said unto Mosiah: Let them go up, for many shall believe on their words, and they shall have eternal life; and I will deliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites. 28.7So his sons left. Mosiah was reassured by God's words, but he was still nervous about one thing. If his sons were off on the mission, who would succeed him?
And it came to pass that Mosiah granted that they might go and do according to their request. 28.8
And they took their journey into the wilderness to go up to preach the word among the Lamanites; and I shall give an account of their proceedings hereafter. 28.9
Now king Mosiah had no one to confer the kingdom upon, for there was not any of his sons who would accept of the kingdom. 28.10Now that his sons were gone, Mosiah decided to pick up an old project that he had put off for a while. He started translating the brass plates and the plates of Nephi. His people really wanted to know what had happened to their ancestors, and since his sons were off who knows where and he might be the last true seer in a while, he decided to get to work.
Therefore he took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, and also the plates of Nephi, and all the things which he had kept and preserved according to the commandments of God, after having translated and caused to be written the records which were on the plates of gold which had been found by the people of Limhi, which were delivered to him by the hand of Limhi. 28.11
And this he did because of the great anxiety of his people; for they were desirous beyond measure to know concerning those people who had been destroyed. 28.12He used the seer stones that were prepared from the very beginning, passed down from generation to generation and preserved by the hand of the Lord. The two stones were fastened into the two rims of a bow, but it's unclear whether or not he used the Joseph Smith Hat Method.
And now he translated them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow. 28.13
Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages; 28.14
And they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land the iniquities and abominations of his people; 28.15So what did Mosiah learn from the long lost plates? Just about everything. They told the history of his people right back to the very beginning, all of the way to the tower of Babel and even to the creation of Adam. It doesn't get much better than that.
Now after Mosiah had finished translating these records, behold, it gave an account of the people who were destroyed, from the time that they were destroyed back to the building of the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people and they were scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, yea, and even from that time back until the creation of Adam. 28.17The people, as usual, were both really happy and really sad to hear the story.
Now this account did cause the people of Mosiah to mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice. 28.18After Mosiah was done translating, he gave everything to Alma: The plates, the seer stones, all of the records, everything. It looks like we have our new king, ladies and gentlemen! (Although Mosiah didn't want to call him that, as we learn in the next chapter.)
And now, as I said unto you, that after king Mosiah had done these things, he took the plates of brass, and all the things which he had kept, and conferred them upon Alma, who was the son of Alma; yea, all the records, and also the interpreters, and conferred them upon him, and commanded him that he should keep and preserve them, and also keep a record of the people, handing them down from one generation to another, even as they had been handed down from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem. 28.20