3 Nephi 19

3 Nephi 19

What’s happening? The new apostles of Christ minister, baptize, and give the gift of the Holy Ghost to the people. Jesus visits them again and because of prayer and faith, miraculous ministrations happen.

Why does it matter? This Pentacostal experience occurs because of the prayers and gratitude that knit the people’s hearts to Christ and to each other. It isn’t available only to them, but provides an example what is possible among a Zion-like community.

Between the lines: The people have taken what Jesus taught them the previous day into full, 100% practice. They’re ready to be all in to the gospel.

Quote of the day: “Prayer is the key to the miraculous manifestations of heaven and the personal companionship of the Holy Ghost.” ~ JR Holland, CHRIST AND THE NEW COVENANT, pg. 278

19:2 Looking back at chapters 11 to this verse, what is the timeline for Christ’s visit?

19:8-9 With all the Nephites had seen and experienced, why was receiving the Holy Ghost what was “most desired”?

“It is most significant that it was this for which the Nephite twelve prayed above all else… because the Father and Son could not permanently be with them–or us–in a telestial world, the next best companionship came from that member of the Godhead who can be with mortals permanently–the Holy Ghost.” ~ JR Holland, CHRIST AND THE NEW COVENANT, pg. 278

19:14-15 Why is this experience so unique in the history of the world? 

19:18, 22 Why did the people pray to Jesus instead of to Heavenly Father?

“Jesus was present before them as the symbol of the Father. Seeing Him, it was as though they saw the Father; praying to Him, it was as though they prayed to the Father. It was a special and unique situation that as far as we know has taken place only once on earth.” ~ BR McConkie, PROMISED MESSIAH, pg. 561

19:20-21 How important is the companionship of the Holy Ghost?

“You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” ~ Joseph Smith, Jr.,  Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith,  pg. 95

19:24 What does it mean to pray for “that which is right”? See also 2 Nephi 32:8 and D&C 50:29-30.

“Jesus invites us to pray always. Jesus knows that our Heavenly Father hears and gives what is best for us. Why is it that sometimes we don’t want to receive? Why? At the very moment we say, ‘Father in Heaven,’ He hears our prayers and is sensitive to us and our needs. And so His eyes and His ears are now connected to you. He reads our minds, and He feels our hearts. You cannot hide anything from Him. Now, the wonderful thing is that He will see you with eyes of love and mercy—love and mercy that we cannot fully understand. But love and mercy are with Him the very moment you say, ‘Father in Heaven.'” ~ JA Uceda, 2016, The Lord Jesus Christ Teaches Us to Pray

19:25-30 How was it possible Jesus and his apostles began to shine with a white light? See also Joseph Smith–History 1:15-17.

19:31-36 Why do you think Jesus’ prayers couldn’t be written down? 

3 Nephi 18

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3 Nephi 18

What’s happening? Jesus shows the people how to institute the sacrament and heartfelt prayer. He has a special work for His chosen apostles.

Why does it matter? Hearing the Savior’s words as He said them is a priceless gift. These are Mormon’s records of Jesus’ words as pure as we can receive them.

Between the lines: Jesus institutes basic worship practices which will help members then (and now) stay close to Him once He isn’t with them (and us).

Quote of the day: “Each time we pause to meditate on the Savior, we take a step forward.” ~ TR Callister, THE INFINITE ATONEMENT

18:11-12 How can we “always remember” Him? 

“Each week, in partaking of the sacrament, we covenant to always remember Him. Drawing on the nearly 400 scripture references to the word remember, here are six ways we can always remember Him. First, we can always remember Him by having confidence in His covenants, promises, and assurances…. Second, we can always remember Him by gratefully acknowledging His hand throughout our lives…. Third, we can always remember Him by trusting when the Lord assures us, ‘He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’ …Fourth, He invites us to remember that He is always welcoming us home…. With God, there is no point of no return…. Fifth, we can always remember Him on the Sabbath through the sacrament…. Finally, sixth, our Savior invites us to always remember Him as He always remembers us. In the New World, our resurrected Savior invited those present to come, one by one, to thrust their hands into His side and to feel the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet.” ~ GW Gong, 2016, Always Remember Him

18:15-16 How does Jesus want us to pray? See also 2 Nephi 32:9; D&C 10:5; D&C 19:28; and D&C 90:24.

“We are commanded to ‘pray always’–‘vocally as well as in [our] heart[s]; … before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private’ (D&C 19:28). I testify that prayer becomes more meaningful as we counsel with the Lord in all of our doings, as we express heartfelt gratitude, and as we pray for others with real intent and a sincere heart.” ~ DA Bednar, 2008, Pray Always

18:19-21 What kind of promises does Jesus make when we pray?

18:24 How do we hold up the light of Christ?

“By virtue of the Restoration of His gospel, we can be filled with the light of our Savior. However, that light is not meant for you and me alone. Jesus Christ has called upon us to… be more intentional about helping others see the path and thereby come unto Christ.” ~ BH Cordon, 2020, That They May See

18:27 How does this verse show us Jesus’ total obedience, even after He had completed the Atonement?

“Jesus is our perfect example of obedience. Learn to do as He did when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Even though He was weakened by fasting, His answer was quick and firm.” ~ JB Wirthlin, 1994, Live in Obedience1

8:31, 36 Why are these verses examples of how Jesus is our personal Christ? 

18:34 How does Jesus feel about contention among believers? See also Mosiah 18:21.

18:38 How did Jesus travel? 

3 Nephi 17

3 Nephi 17

What’s happening? Christ is ministering to the people in the Western Hemisphere.

Why does it matter? This is an unprecedented event for the people and corroborates all Jesus did and taught during His mortal life.

Between the lines: Mormon is recording this with the awe and detail of someone who believes. We also know because of His power, Jesus could have done all of this without being with the people. Here we see the joy He has in ministering to the one and in person.

Quote of the day: “Jesus’s visit to the Nephites after His resurrection was carefully organized to teach us the things of greatest importance.” ~ BK Ashton, 2016, The Doctrine of Christ

17:3 What does pondering accomplish?

“Take time to meditate. Ponder the meaning of the work in which you are engaged. The Lord has counseled, ‘Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds’ (D&C 43:34). You cannot do that when your minds are preoccupied with the worries and cares of the world.” ~ ET Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pg. 390

17:5-8 What role did the desire of the people play in being able to be ministered to by the Savior?

“Sensing with divine insight that these people desired to behold the miracles He had performed for their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, and recognizing instantly that their faith was sufficient for them to be healed, Christ responded to each need within the multitude. ~ JR Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, pg. 268-269

17:9-10 Though we may not have Christ minister to us in person and individually, how have you felt His healing hands in your lives?

“When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do (D&C 88:63). When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you (Luke 8:46).” ~ RM Nelson, 2017, Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives

17:11-14 Why do you think Jesus prayed and blessed the children?

“In such times as we are in …I too pray for the children. Some days it seems that a sea of temptation and transgression inundates them, simply washes over them before they can successfully withstand it, before they should have to face it…. Well, some of [these things] may be beyond our control, but I testify with faith in the living God that they are not beyond His.” ~ JR Holland, 2003, Prayer for the Children

17:15-18 Why do you think Jesus’ prayer couldn’t be written?

17:20-21 Why do you think Jesus wept?

17:24 Why do you think being encircled about by fire is symbol of an outpouring of the Holy Ghost. See also Helaman 5:23-49 and Matthew 17:2-8.

17:25 Why do you think it was important for Mormon to record the exact number of witnesses of Jesus’ visit?

“Mormon must have felt [urgency] in trying to convey that this really did happen. After this vivid description from his own words, he invoked witnesses–two thousand five hundred of them, ‘men, women, and children,’–stressing twice that the entire multitude ‘did see and hear and bear record’ of this unprecedented experience.” ~ JR Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, pg. 270-271

Helaman 13

Helaman 13

What’s happening? Samuel comes to preach a second time to the Nephites. 

Why does it matter? Samuel is an outsider, but a prophet, and through him the Lord is giving the Nephites one more chance to repent.

Between the lines: For the prideful, the truth can be harder to hear from an outsider.

Quote of the day: “Our joy in God’s kingdom will be a natural extension of the happiness we cultivate in this life.” ~ JH Gosalind, “Happiness”

13:2, 5 Who was Samuel?

13:3 How would you feel if the Lord asked you to return to people who had rejected you? Have you ever felt the right things to say come to you in the moment through promptings from the Spirit? See also D&C 100:3-8.

13:4 What were the figurative and literal walls Samuel was up against with the Nephites?

13:6-7 How would you react to such words from a prophet? Has a call to repentance ever been a blessing in your life?

“Too often we think of repentance as something miserable and depressing. But God’s plan is the plan of happiness, not the plan of misery! Repentance is uplifting and ennobling. It’s sin that brings unhappiness. Repentance is our escape route!” ~ SW Owen, 2017, Repentance is Always Positive

13:8-9 What about these scriptures could have made the unrepentant Nephites mad?

13:18-20 What are modern day treasures to hide up to the Lord?

13:21-23 How can someone be cursed because of their riches?

“Historically, the abundance with which the Lord has blessed his people has proved to be one of their greatest tests. The cycles of their acquiring worldly wealth and their subsequent spiritual decline are well documented in scriptural and historical records. Moses’ concern for his people proved to be justified in the years following their entry into the land of Canaan. It was when they became settled in this goodly land that they began to take their abundance for granted and to forget the real source of these blessings.” ~ DL Larsen, 1992, “Bewarest Lest Thou Forget the Lord”

“The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear … is that they cannot stand wealth.” ~ B Young (quoted from James S. Brown, Life of a Pioneer, Salt Lake City: Geo. Q. Cannon and Sons Co., 1900, pp. 122–23.)

13:24-26 Why do bad things happen to a people when they reject or even kill prophets? See also Matthew 23:37-39.

“Especially have men through the ages refused to accept prophets of their own time, and many of them have been persecuted, ridiculed, and slain. The scriptures are replete with incidents lamenting the fact that the majority of people have always refused to accept the prophets who have cried repentance unto them and reminded them of their iniquities.” ~ NE Tanner, 1972, Warnings from Outerspace”If you accept the prophets whom the Lord sends in your day, you also accept that Lord who sent them.” ~ BR McConkie, 1981, “Who Hath Believed Our Report”

13:30-31 In what ways can land become cursed and riches slippery?

13:38 Why is it impossible to be happy in sin? See also Alma 41:10-11.

“Heavenly Father’s commandments are key components of the care package. Alma declared, ‘Wickedness never was happiness’ (Alma 41:10). Tolerating improper behavior without loving correction is false compassion and reinforces the common notion that wickedness might in fact be happiness. Samuel the Lamanite clearly countered this notion.” ~ MJ Brough, 2017, His Daily Guiding Hand

Helaman 12

Helaman 12

What’s happening? Mormon tells us how he interprets what has just happened to the Nephites.

Why does it matter? It is helpful to have Mormon point out what these historical happenings have to do with salvation and judgment. 

Between the lines: We learn what happens to the repentant and the unrepentant, those who rely on the Lord, and those who only think of themselves.

Quote of the day: “Most of us, like the Nephites of old, have ourselves taken a few laps around the pride cycle. I used to wonder how the Nephite nation could run the entire cycle in a period of as short as five years. I have since come to believe that we can run the cycle in five years and we can run it in five minutes. It is a pernicious pattern of thinking and behavior that permeates our society. It is so common that it sometimes becomes hard to recognize…. But… instead of becoming proud we become thankful, then we will exit the pride cycle…. We must recognize that every blessing we receive comes from Heavenly Father. He is the source of all that is good in our lives—the fount of every blessing.” ~ WW Anderson, 2017, The Pride Cycle

12:1-3 Why is comfort in prosperity something everyone has to watch out for with vigilance?

“As people heed the words of the prophets, the Lord blesses them. When they disregard His word, however, distress and suffering often follow. Over and over, the Book of Mormon teaches this great lesson. In its pages we read of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent who, because of their righteousness, were blessed of the Lord and became prosperous. Yet often this prosperity turned into a curse in that it caused them to ‘harden their hearts, and … forget the Lord their God.'” ~ JB Wirthlin, 2005, Journey to Higher Ground

12:4-6 How can we avoid the trap of not recognizing God’s goodness to us individually and collectively?

“God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration. No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.” ~ DF Uchtdorf, 2009, The Love of God

12:7-13 In what way can God’s children be infinite in potential but also “less than the dust of the earth”?

“Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth…. On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact. As President Brigham Young taught: ‘The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth … is worth worlds.’ No matter what, we always have worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.” ~ JD Jones, 2017, Value Beyond Measure

12:21-23 Why is obedience and sticking to the eternal plan as simple as these scriptures? See also D&C 63:2-6.

12:24 What does grace for grace mean? See also John 1:16; D&C 93:12, 19-20.

12:25-26 What does eternal life and damnation look like and why are they called “everlasting”? 

“Eternal life is God’s life. It is that gift by which the righteous not only dwell in his presence, but by which they become like him…. As all things have their opposites, there is a punishment which is the opposite to eternal life…. This is the second or spiritual death, which is banishment from the presence of God and from his light and truth forever. In speaking of the second death as eternal death, we do not mean that those who partake of it are doomed eternally to the dissolution of the body and also of the spirit. The spirit of man is eternal and cannot die in the sense of ceasing to exist.” ~ JF Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:217-18

Helaman 11

Helaman 11

What’s happening? At Nephi’s request, the Lord switches out war with famine as a way to humble the people.

Why does it matter? When people are prideful, they must be forced to be humble or they forget God and their purpose here on earth.

Between the lines: Some, as seen with the Gadianton robbers, refuse to be humbled because of their deep sins (in this case, murder and satanic oaths) and no matter the circumstances.

Quote of the day: “Be it remembered that tribulations lie ahead… Bands of Gadianton robbers will infest every nation, immorality and murder and crime will increase, and it will seem as though every man’s hand is against his brother.” ~ BR McConkie, 1979, Stand Independent above All Other Creatures

11:3-4 Why did Nephi pray for the Lord to take away civil war and send a famine instead? See also 1 Kings 17:9–11, 13–16; and Alma 32:16. 

“God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble.” ~ ET Benson, 1989, Beware of Pride

11:5-6 How do you think Nephi felt when his prayers were answered?

11:7-9 What changed for the Nephites because of the famine?

11:10-16 What stands out to you about Nephi’s prayer? What is the tone?

11:17 How was Nephi’s prayer answered?

11:18-19 What do we learn about Lehi, Nephi’s brother? Of whom else from history does he remind us?

“Lehi is relegated to the wings, as it were, while his brother, Nephi, is the main actor on the stage of this part of history. So it was with Sam, brother of the earlier Nephi, and so it was centuries later with Hyrum Smith, while his brother Joseph took center stage.” ~ Ogden and Skinner, BOOK OF MORMON, 2:100.

11:26-33 What were some of the Gadianton robbers’ deeds?

11:34-37 How is all of chapter 11 a good example of the pride cycle seen a lot in the Book of Mormon?

Helaman 10

Helaman 10

What’s happening? The voice of the Lord comforts Nephi and gives him sealing power. The Lord asks Nephi to preach to the people and Nephi immediately does.

Why does it matter? Encouragement and power from on high can help us get through challenging times, just like it did for Nephi.

Between the lines: Because of the Lord’s trust in Nephi, he can play a role in what happens to the Nephites if they won’t repent.

Quote of the day: “Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people.” ~ Helaman 10:6

10:2-3 Even prophets need to spend time pondering. What good things can you or have you pondered on? How can you make time to ponder on the things of the spirit?

“To know what the voice of the Divine sounds and feels like, read His words, study the scriptures, and ponder them. Make them an integral part of everyday life.” ~ RG Scott, 2014, Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority

10:4-5 Can you think of other times in history when pondering has prepared someone for a heavenly visitation? 

“Pondering, which means to weigh mentally, to deliberate, to meditate, can achieve the opening of the spiritual eyes of one’s understanding. Also, the Spirit of the Lord may rest upon the ponderer.” ~ JB Wirthlin, 1982, Pondering Strengthens the Spiritual Life

10:6 How does Nephi have power over the people when they won’t listen to him?

10:7-11 Judging by His words, how much do you think the Lord trusted Nephi?

10:12 What did Nephi do with the information the Lord had given him?

10:13 How did most of the people react to the miracle Nephi had just shown them about the murder of the chief judge? Why don’t miracles convert?

10:15-17 How did Nephi escape the people’s plans for him?

Helaman 9

Helaman 9
What’s happening? Nephi, through prophesy, helps identify the chief judge’s killer.

Why does it matter? This becomes a high profile case which allows Nephi to preach to more individuals than before.

Between the lines: Sometimes when things look like they’re falling apart, they’re really falling into place.

Quote of the day: “The first of the Ten Commandments reiterates this divine wisdom: ‘I am the Lord thy God. … Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:2-3). The placement of this commandment helps us understand that if we place Him as our main priority, everything else will ultimately fall into place—even our service to others. When He takes the preeminent position in our lives by our deliberate choice, then He is able to bless our actions to our good and to the good of others.” ~ JD Jones, 2018, For Him

9:2-5 Why did the five men who went to check on the chief judge fall to the earth?

9:9, 15, 18, 39 Why do you think the Lord allowed the five men to be sent to prison?

“Scripture says, ‘Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good’ (D&C 90:24). This doesn’t mean all things are good, but for the meek and faithful, things—both positive and negative—work together for good, and the timing is the Lord’s.” ~ NF Marriott, 2015, Yielding Our Hearts to God

9:19-20 Why was Nephi accused of being a “confederate”?

9:25-33 What does Nephi say and do in his defense?

9:39-41 What were the results of the five men and Nephi’s unjust imprisonment? Have you ever had something not fair happen to you that ended up being a good thing for someone else or yourself in the end?

“Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son. He already knows, and we have the opportunity to learn, that no matter how difficult our circumstances, ‘all these things shall [be for our] experience, and … [our] good’ (D&C 122:7).” ~ RD Hales, 2011, Waiting Upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done

Helaman 8

Helaman 8

What’s happening? Nephi is calling the wicked political leadership out and these leaders try to incite the public against Nephi. Nephi testifies of their destruction if they don’t repent and that even at that moment the chief judge has been murdered.

Why does it matter? The Lord always warns a people before utter destruction. He gives many chances until there isn’t a chance they’ll change.

Between the lines: Some people believe Nephi and protect him. Similar to our day, we must protect who and what is right, because in return, the Lord protects us.

Quote of the day: “As we invest time in learning about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice, we are drawn to participate in another key element to accessing His power: we choose to have faith in Him and follow Him. True disciples of Jesus Christ are willing to stand out, speak up, and be different from the people of the world. They are undaunted, devoted, and courageous. There is nothing easy or automatic about becoming such powerful disciples. Our focus must be riveted on the Savior and His gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto Him in every thought. But when we do, our doubts and fears flee (D&C 6:36).” ~ RM Nelson, 2017, Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives

8:1-7 What are some red flags to watch out for in political leaders?

8:10 What is the difference between people who act out of fear and those out of faith?8:15 Who represents the serpent to whom we should look upon to live? Why? See also Numbers 21:6-9;  Alma 9:26Alma 36:27Alma 37:47.

8:13-22 Why is it important to remember the words of prophets today as well as those in the past?

8:24-26 How is Nephi a good example for us in our day?

“As the advent of Christ approached, social disorder increased, with burgeoning warfare, murder, and political disarray. To counter this trend and give hope, Nephi invoked the ancient teachings his people knew so well, testifying of these problems and the coming of the Messiah who would resolve them.” ~ JR Holland, CHRIST AND THE NEW COVENANT, pg. 129

8:27-28 Why do you think the Lord allows the evil choices of others to still be part of His plan, as in the case of Nephi’s prophesy about the murder of the chief judge?

“God rarely infringes on the agency of any of His children by intervening against some for the relief of others. But He does ease the burdens of our afflictions and strengthen us to bear them. …He does not prevent all disasters, but He does answer our prayers to turn them aside. …Through all mortal opposition, we have God’s assurance that He will ‘consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain’ (2 Nephi 2:2).” ~ DH Oaks, 2016, Opposition in All Things

Helaman 7

Helaman 7

What’s happening? Nephi mourns the wickedness of the people. He calls them to repentance and warns them of destruction.

Why does it matter? God always sends prophets to allow a people one last chance to repent.

Between the lines: The Lamanites are becoming more righteous while most of the Nephites are feeding their pride.

Quote of the day: “Behold, I know that these are true because the Lord God has made them known unto me, therefore I testify that they shall be.” Helaman 7:29

7:4 Why do political leaders who “do no justice unto the children of men” stay in power?

7:5 How can the righteous endure unjust treatments?

“Even in our day, ‘the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money.’ Some things just don’t seem fair. With strong underpinnings, however, we are better able to reach upward for help, even when faced with questions without easy answers.” ~ RM Nelson, 2002, How Firm a Foundation

7:6 Why do you think the government shifted in favor of the Gadianton robbers “in the space of not many years”?

7:7-9 Can you relate to Nephi and wish you lived in a different era?

7:10-11 Why do you think Nephi went to his garden tower to pray? Why do you think he sorrowed for his people’s sins rather than felt angry?

7:20-22 Nephi lists some ways people forget God, but what are some ways to be vigilant about remembering Him?

7:24-27 Is wealth inherently bad? Why or why not? And why would the Lord prosper His people if it made them forget Him and choose sin?