The lesson discusses the importance of the scriptures (plates of brass). It poses the question, "How did the plates of brass and the plates of Nephi bless King Benjamin's people?
Prior to the April 2020 General Conference, President Nelson invited members of the Church to prepare "by reading afresh Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price."
Reading afresh original accounts.
The prophets always teach us to study the scriptures and the teachings of prophets. They reiterated that counsel numerous times during General Conference (by my count 27 times).
How many times did they counsel us to study the teachings of the scholars? Zero.
Notice how King Benjamin also emphasized the importance of the original scriptures. No doubt they had their scholars who interpreted the scriptures, as we do today, but King Benjamin focused on the original records engraven on the plates of brass.
3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.
4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.
5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.
For example, if we read afresh the accounts of Moroni's visit and the translation of the Book of Mormon, the events are clear. It's only when we read instead the teachings of scholars that we get diverted into believing M2C, SITH, etc.
A good place to start is to examine what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery taught about the events of the Restoration. You'll find these things in the Joseph Smith Papers. I've put many of them on this blog: http://www.lettervii.com/.
Just be careful if you read commentaries instead of the original teachings of the prophets.
The Natural Man.
Mosiah 3:19 provides important evidence that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, as we'll see below.
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
By comparison, Moroni 10:4 has been cited 78 times (10:4-5 has been cited 68 times).
Many talks, articles and even books have discussed various ideas about the meaning of the phrase "natural man." The Book of Mormon doesn't really explain what the term means. We can infer that the "natural man" does the opposite of what verse 19 describes, but how and why is the natural man an "enemy to God" instead of merely oblivious to God?
We can start by looking at other scriptural passages.
The phrase appears only once in the Bible, but three times in the Book of Mormon and once each in the D&C and PofGP.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
(1 Corinthians 15:26)
The phrase "enemy of God" appears once in the Bible (James 4:4) and once in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 27:9, where it refers to the adversary, not a person). James 4:4 says nothing about the "natural man" but instead refers to friendship of the world.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
There is a description of the "natural man" here:
These are all good references, but King Benjamin used the term as if his listeners already knew what it meant. He did not explain it. Instead, he explained what was required to shed the natural man.
In a sense, the term "natural man" is similar to the term "law of Moses." In both cases, readers are expected to know what the terms mean, not because they are explained in the text of the Book of Mormon, but because readers should be familiar with other background sources.
For the "law of Moses" the background source is obvious: The Bible, especially the Old Testament.
But what is the background source for "natural man" as King Benjamin used the term?
He uses the phrase "Come to Christ" 5 times. This phrase is not found in the Bible; nor is the phrase "Come unto Christ." But the Book of Mormon uses the phrase "Come unto Christ" 4 times.
Edwards wrote passages such as this:
If you pretend that you do not feel enmity against God, and yet act as an enemy, you may certainly conclude, that it is not because you are no enemy, but because you do not know your own heart. Actions are the best interpreters of the disposition: They show, better than any thing else, what the heart is. It must be because you do not observe your own behavior, that you question whether you are an enemy to God.
If you want to gain some important insights into what Mosiah 3:19 means, read Jonathan Edwards' sermon carefully.