And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual (Mosiah 2:41, emphasis added).
What are we to make of this scripture? There are many scriptures that teach that God will bless the obedient, but this is one that goes further: it claims that those blessings will be temporal as well as spiritual. So how do we think of those that are not temporally blessed? Are there people who keep the commandments but are not temporally blessed? I suspect so, but that doesn't fit with this verse.
Some attempts at resolving this might be:
Their blessings will come at some later point, possibly in the next life. There are a couple of problems with this: first, if the blessings don't come until the next life, then the term “temporal” means something different than what we typically think it means; and second, the verse loses its rhetorical impact if we can no longer “consider ... the blessed and happy state” now.
They are blessed, since everything we have comes from God. Or, a similar attempt: They are blessed, because their lives would have been much worse if they had not been obedient. The problem with both of these is that there is no reason to consider the obedient any more blessed than the disobedient. In response to the first, we point out that God “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” In response to the second, we point out that the lives of the disobedient could have been much worse. Why could we not equally say, “Consider the blessed and happy state of those that keep not the commandments of God...?”
Is there a good resolution of this verse that preserves its rhetorical value?