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Kingship, Democracy, and the Message of the Book of Mormon

TitleKingship, Democracy, and the Message of the Book of Mormon
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDundas, Gregory
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsChief Judge; Democracy; Government; Judgeship; King Mosiah; Monarchy; Nephite

Gregory Steven Dundas offers a detailed reading of governmental forms in the Book of Mormon in the context of other ancient civilizations. He makes the case that democracy was almost unknown in the ancient world and that nearly all people assumed that kingship was the best form of government. This makes King Mosiah’s decision to implement a form of democracy (elected judges) among the Nephites a significant aberration. Dundas also argues convincingly that, contrary to what moderns might assume, this early form of democracy did not fare very well. As soon as the system of judges was in place, significant and repeated challenges to it arose and eventually resulted in the collapse of this particular form of government.


Scripture Reference

Mosiah 29:1-47