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3 lessons taught by Samuel the Lamanite thousands of years ago that still matter to us today

by | Sep. 01, 2020

Lesson Helps

Editor's note: “Resources to follow Him” curates study resources, teachings, and thoughts to deepen your study of this week's Come, Follow Me.

One of the reasons I love the end of the book of Helaman is that it isn’t an ending at all. In this week’s Come, Follow Me, Samuel the Lamanite shares “glad tidings” with the people in Zarahemla when he testifies that soon the Savior will soon come.

And although these prophecies were made long ago, the Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families manual explains:

Like Samuel, we too bear witness of Jesus Christ, “who surely shall come,” and invite all to “believe on his name” (Helaman 13:6; 14:13). Not everyone will listen, and some may actively oppose us. But those who believe in this message with faith in Christ find that it truly is “glad tidings of great joy” (Helaman 16:14).

Here are three lessons from the prophecies made by Samuel the Lamanite that matter to us today. We hope these resources, in addition to the resources found in the Come, Follow Me manual, will deepen your understanding of this week’s chapters.

Follow the Prophet

On this week’s episode of the Sunday on Monday Study Group, guest Mary Jane Ungrangsee shares a “Follow the Prophet” Primary song verse written by her daughters:

  • Samuel was a prophet, preached upon a wall
  • But the wicked Nephites tried to make him fall.
  • Samuel kept his balance. He knew what was right.
  • Cause he kept his faith in Heavenly Father's light.

Host Tammy Uzelac Hall shares how in Hebrew, the name “Samuel” has two different meanings:

  • • “Shema EL,” which means “heard of God”
  • • “Sham El,” which means “Name of God”

“So he's either heard of God or he has the name of God in his name,” Hall says in the podcast episode. “Either way, he's doing God's work. . . . he's preaching repentance.”

The Come, Follow Me manual explains that prophets are sometimes compared to watchmen on a wall or tower who warn of dangers and suggests: “As you study and ponder Helaman 13, you could mark the many warnings that Samuel gave. For example, what did he teach about repentance? About humility and wealth? How might these warnings apply to you?”

Just like Samuel was called to be a prophet of God in his day, our prophets today do the same. The manual shares this quote from President M. Russell Ballard:

Through the centuries, prophets have fulfilled their duty when they have warned people of the dangers before them. The Lord’s Apostles are duty bound to watch, warn, and reach out to help those seeking answers to life’s questions.

The manual also asks: “What warnings have modern prophets given recently, and what do you feel you should do about those warnings?”

In this week’s episode, the study group breaks down some of the warnings given by the prophet Samuel and how these warnings can apply to our lives today.

The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original presented by LDS Living. You can access the full study group discussion through the Bookshelf app. Listen to a segment of this week's episode below or listen to the full Sunday on Monday episode here.

► You may also like: 5 things the Lamanites got right

Consistent Conversion

Speaking in October 2012 general conference, Elder David A. Bednar shared that consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion.

For many of us, conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience. Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God. Conversion unto the Lord requires both persistence and patience.

Samuel the Lamanite identified five basic elements in becoming converted unto the Lord: (1) believing in the teachings and prophecies of the holy prophets as they are recorded in the scriptures, (2) exercising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, (3) repenting, (4) experiencing a mighty change of heart, and (5) becoming “firm and steadfast in the faith” (see Helaman 15:7–8). This is the pattern that leads to conversion.

Of the five principles taught by Samuel the Lamanite and echoed by Elder Bednar, I believe there is likely something each of us can do to persist on in our conversion. Perhaps you can set a goal this week to strengthen your conversion.

Watch or read Elder Bednar’s full address.

Unwearied Diligence

In Don’t Miss This in the Book of Mormon, Emily Belle Freeman shares an experience from when her son was serving as a missionary. A week before he returned home, he sent his mother a picture of his worn-out missionary shoes and asked if he should bring them home.

“I had never seen a pair of shoes in such bad shape,” Freeman writes. “The soles were worn completely through, the stitching had come out where his toes would be, the heels were completely worn down. In that moment I realized how many miles Caleb had walked on his mission. How many stairs he had climbed. How many doors he had knocked on. In my eyes, those shoes were a representation of his unwearied diligence. “Yea, . . . they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily” (Helaman 15:6). Those shoes were a witness of his unwearied diligence. I wrote back and told him to bring them home.”

Freeman explains those shoes are now in the office where she writes, a reminder to her how she wants to “waste and wear out [her] life” by giving her best, with unwearied diligence, to the work of the Lord.

A “Reflect and Respond” question in the book asks, “Where are you serving with unwearied diligence in your life right now?”

And perhaps that unwearied diligence might not be just in your life. Sometimes we serve our fellow travelers on the road of discipleship instead. Citing the example of Samuel, Elder Neal A. Maxwell once taught:

When, for the moment, we ourselves are not being stretched on a particular cross, we ought to be at the foot of someone else’s—full of empathy and proffering spiritual refreshment. On the straight, narrow path, which leads to our little Calvarys, one does not hear a serious traveler exclaiming, “Look, no hands!” (1 Cor. 10:13.)

With enduring comes a willingness, therefore, to “press forward” even when we are bone weary and would much rather pull off to the side of the road. (See 2 Ne. 31:20.) Hence, one prophet was especially commended by the Lord for his unwearyingness. (Hel. 10:4; Hel. 15:6.)

Paul wrote of how, even after faithful disciples had “done the will of God,” they “[had] need of patience.” (Heb. 10:36.) How many times have good individuals done the right thing initially only to break under subsequent stress? Sustaining correct conduct for a difficult moment under extraordinary stress is very commendable, but so is coping with sustained stress subtly present in seeming routineness. Either way, however, we are to “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1), and it is a marathon, not a dash.

It is my hope that we may we all press forward in this marathon with unwearied diligence.

► You may also like: Watch this animated video about Samuel the Lamanite

Lead image: Intellectual Reserve, Inc. 

Image titleIn Don't Miss This in the Book of Mormon, Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler, hosts of the YouTube channel "Don't Miss This," explore the significance of one verse from each chapter of the Book of Mormon, showing you how to dig deep and find personal application of God's word. Along with short, devotional-style lessons, their invitations will lead you to a more meaningful personal study of the Book of Mormon and vibrant discussions with your family and friends about its teachings. You may also enjoy looking for your personal "don't miss this" verses as you study on your own. Available now at DeseretBook.com

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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. Follow her on Twitter with the handle @lindsey5brooke.

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