36: “Lift Up Your Head and Be of Good Cheer” (September 7–13)
Okay friends, THIS. IS. IT! Today marks the beginning of our study of 3 Nephi, which, according to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, is “the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon." And our study this week of 3 Nephi 1–7 is exactly what we need as we prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. So grab your scriptures and let's dig into some of the most powerful moments in all of scripture.
Books Referenced in this Episode:
Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Quote: The Book of Mormon is “the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book , 250).
Quote: “3 Nephi contains some of the most moving and powerful passages in all scripture. It testifies of Jesus Christ, His prophets, and the doctrines of salvation” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Savior’s Visit to America,” Ensign, May 1987).
The Background of 3 Nephi:
Who wrote 3 Nephi?
Mormon abridged records from the large plates of Nephi to create the book of 3 Nephi. The book is named for Nephi (the son of Nephi, the son of Helaman, the son of Helaman, the son of Alma the younger, the son of Alma), whose labors spanned the periods before, during, and after the Savior’s appearances to the people.
What is written in 3 Nephi?
3 Nephi documents the fulfillment of prophecies regarding Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and Resurrection. Twenty of the thirty chapters in 3 Nephi contain teachings the Savior delivered directly to the people.
When was 3 Nephi written?
The original records used as sources for the book of 3 Nephi were likely written between 1 BC and AD 35. Mormon abridged those records sometime between AD 345 and AD 385. Mormon did not record where he was when he compiled this book (2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, "Introduction to 3 Nephi: The book of Nephi").
Why was 3 Nephi written?
3 Nephi 26:8: Mormon intended the writings in 3 Nephi for two groups. First, he explained that he had written them for the descendants of Lehi.
3 Nephi 30: Mormon addressed Gentiles in the latter days and recorded the Lord’s admonition that they come unto Him and become part of His covenant people.
The book of 3 Nephi underscores this invitation with its powerful witness of Jesus Christ and its emphasis on the importance of covenants.
What happened when people thought that the time for Christ's coming had passed?
9 Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the aunbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be bput to death except the csign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet (3 Nephi 1:9).
Quote: “Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world. Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. Their will is swallowed up in his will. They do always those things that please the Lord. Not only would they die for the Lord, but, more important, they want to live for Him” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Born of God,” Ensign, 1989).
Quote: ". . . it’s not going to be easy, but you can do it. You will be all right” (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Call for Heroes!" BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional).
10 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.
11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
How was Nephi's prayer answered?
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the asign be given, and on the bmorrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be cspoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I acome unto my own, to bfulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the cfoundation of the world, and to do the dwill, eboth fof the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given (3 Nephi 1:13–14).
What sign was given?
15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the asun there was bno darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who afell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great bplan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.
17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the awest to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be aborn, because of the bsign which had been given.
20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets (3 Nephi 1:15–20).
What happened after signs were given?
22 And many more things did the people aimagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and bvain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading crumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come.
23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land (Helaman 16:22–23).
22 And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be alyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those bsigns and wonders which they had seen; but notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the cmore part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord (3 Nephi 1:22).
Quote: “Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice—a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. … Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism. …
“When logic, reason, or personal intellect come into conflict with sacred teachings and doctrine, or conflicting messages assault your beliefs … , choose to not cast the seed out of your heart by unbelief. Remember, we receive not a witness until after the trial of our faith.” (Richard C. Edgley, “Faith—the Choice Is Yours,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010).
Satan's strategies from Elder Larry R. Lawrence's April 2017 general conference talk, "The War Goes On"
2. Lies and Deception
What happened to the rising generation?
29 And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were aled away by some who were bZoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers.
Wax strong: To pass from one state to another (see dictionary.net).
Quote: “The Church has always been one generation away from extinction. If a whole generation were lost, which will not happen, we would lose the Church. But even a single individual lost to the gospel of Jesus Christ closes doors for generations of descendants, unless the Lord reaches out to bring some of them back” (President Henry B. Eyring, “We Must Raise Our Sights” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Aug. 14, 2001]).
Measurements of Time:
6 And six hundred and nine years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem.
7 And nine years had passed away from the time when the sign was given, which was spoken of by the prophets, that Christ should come into the world.
Lamanites join with the Nephites:
14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year (3 Nephi 2:14–16).
The curse mentioned was not related to skin color. The curse was being cut off from the Lord:
20 Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will anot hearken unto thy words they shall be bcut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were ccut off from his presence (2 Nephi 5:20).
Quote: "I would just like to reiterate our position as a church is clear. We do condemn all racism, past and present, in any form, and we disavow any theory advanced that black or dark skin is a sign of a curse" (Elder Gary E. Stevenson, "NAACP luncheon honors Huntsman Foundation, Rosie Rivera; Elder Stevenson encourages all to ‘build upon our common ground,'" Deseret News).
6 And then shall they rejoice; for they shall aknow that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God; and their bscales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a cdelightsome people (2 Nephi 30:6).
The Nephites and Lamanites unite against the Gadianton robbers:
11 And it came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and contentions throughout all the land; for the aGadianton robbers had become so bnumerous, and did slay so many of the people, and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land, that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them (3 Nephi 2:11).
How did Lachoneus react to Giddianhi's letter? (3 Nephi 3:2–10).
11 And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had awronged themselves by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers.
12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a arobber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for bstrength against the time that the robbers should come down against them.
13 Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should agather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place (3 Nephi 3:11–13).
What did Lachoneus tell his people to do?
16 And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus (3 Nephi 3:15–16).
What else did the people do to prepare themselves?
25 And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their aprayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle.
26 And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make aweapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction (3 Nephi 3:25–26).
What did the Gadianton robbers look like when they went to battle?
7 And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.
8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.
9 And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies (3 Nephi 4:7–9).
What happened to the Nephites?
10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not afear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for bprotection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.
11 And the battle commenced in this the sixth month; and great and terrible was the battle thereof, yea, great and terrible was the aslaughter thereof, insomuch that there never was known so great a slaughter among all the people of Lehi since he left Jerusalem (3 Nephi 4:10–11).
How did they celebrate their victory over the Gadianton robbers?
30 And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying: May the aGod of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall bcall on the name of their God for cprotection.
31 And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and apraising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies.
33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction (3 Nephi 4:30–33).
Quote: "To praise God is one thing; to praise the name of God is another. God's name is a symbol of his essence, power, and authority. To praise his name is to do more than acknowledge the verity of his existence; it is to assert that salvation comes only in and through his holy name. It is to attest that no proper prayer can be offered save it be offered in his, name; it is to acknowledge that all gospel ordinances must be performed by the authority of his name; it is to profess that the gospel cannot be taught save it is taught in his name, that miracles, healings, prophecies-indeed, 'all things'-must be properly done in the sacred name of Christ if they are to be recognized and upheld in the heavens" (See D&C 46:31; Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, In His Holy Name, chapters 1, 5-6.).
What caused the Nephites to fall away after their victory over the Gadianton robbers?
Did the people stay united as one?
2 And the people were divided one against another; and they did aseparate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land (3 Nephi 7:2).
14 And it came to pass in the thirty and first year that they were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred and friends; nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another; but they were not united as to their laws, and their manner of government, for they were established according to the minds of those who were their chiefs and their leaders. But they did establish very strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another, insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land; nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the aprophets and did cast them out from among them (3 Nephi 7:14).
6 ways we can become one from President Eyring's talk "That We May Become One."
1. Speak ill of no one
2. Forgive others
4. Beware of pride
5. See the bounties God pours upon us as an opportunity to serve
6. Be peacemakers
Segment 1 00:00
Okay friends, I need to take a deep breath before I share some news with you because I'm so excited. I mean, you've heard me talk about this person before, but Donald Parry is going to join our study group for a bonus episode! Okay, okay, I can see a few of you thinking, "Well who is Donald Parry and why is Tammy so excited?" Well, Donald Parry is a BYU professor and one of the most amazing Latter-day Saint scholars. You guys, he helped translate the Dead Sea Scrolls and has written more 30 books.
And his new book, which is so good, is called "175 Temple Symbols and Their Meanings" and it has completely changed the way I think about temple because I love looking into meanings and symbols—you know that about me, I love it. I mean, the temple being closed during COVID, it has taken a toll on all of us, right? And we've all had to stretch just a little further spiritually to get the same insight and renewal we typically would find in the temple. And so this book has come at a perfect time.
And it really isn't really a book-book, like you're not going to sit and read it like a novel. It's more like a super interesting encylopedia of incredible symbols, and I have used it. Since I've owned this book, I've gone back several times to look up specific things in the temple to find out what this means, according to Don Parry. So whether you're new to the temple or you have a ton of temple experience, this bonus episode will bring a lot of depth to your understanding. And what better time to talk about temple symbols than the week right after general conference?
So friends, I want you to join us for this bonus episode with Donald Parry on October 5th. And as we dig in and learn more about these temple symbols, it's going to enrich both our scripture study and our temple worship. I really think you're going to like it.
Today we begin our study of 3 Nephi and you guys, this is it. This is the reason for the Book of Mormon. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland even said that 3 Nephi is, ". . . the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon," and 3 Nephi chapters one through seven is what we need to study as we prepare for His coming in our day.
I'm so excited. Welcome to the "Sunday Monday" study group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by "LDS Living" where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host (hi!) Tammy Uzelac Hall.
And if you're new to our study group, I just want to let you know a little bit about how this works. So it is about an hour long, sometimes a little bit more. And you can listen to the podcast all at once, or something that is really cool that I like about the podcast is it's broken up into six segments that are about 10 to 12 minutes each. So you can study your scriptures in 10 to 12 minutes a day if you want to study it throughout the week. Either way, we're so grateful that you've joined us today. At the end of the segment you're going to hear a little bit of music so you'll know when the segment is finished.
Now another awesome thing about our study group and my favorite part is that each week we're joined by two of my friends so you get a different perspective on how the scriptures relate to your lives. So today our study group participants are my good friends Sharon Staples and Ellery Howarth. Hi, guys.
Hi, good to be with you.
Yay! Ellery How you doing?
Sooo, great. Happy to be here.
Now you're both regulars. So we're excited to have you guys here.
That's a fun word, "regulars."
Especially when nothing's regular about the COVID time, right?
Right? Yeah, no, I just kind of feel like, you know, when you watch a movie and they get to like a restaurant, they're like, "I'll have the regular."
That's cute. I like that. I love it. How have the last few months treated you? Any good stories, anything from the coronavirus?
No, just staying safe and loved ones are staying safe and everybody seems to be looking out for each other and and that's been so sweet. Even though we don't have, you know, physical contact—hugs and stuff—the phone calls, the emails, you know, the stopping by at, you know, at a distance with masks, it's been refreshing. So it hasn't been all that bad for me, anyway.
I will say some of my family members did get COVID.
That's right, you guys were under quarantine.
We were under quarantine, we were under quarantine, not fun.
Two of your immediate family members in your household were diagnosed with it.
Were diagnosed with it. And my brother Will and I both, you know, RMs, early 20s, were so worried about like the social stigma of it. And we were, I was shocked to see the community come together. Everyone texting us. So many people went to the store for us and like brought us groceries. I had never felt so much love and received so much acts of service than we did not two weeks.
Yeah, I totally get what you mean Ellery because I think admitting that you have the coronavirus, there is sort of a stigma attached to that. So that that might have been so scary so thank you for sharing that. And what I love is how everyone came to your rescue. So shout out to the Howarth's friends and neighbors and ward members, you guys are awesome. Thanks for setting the bar and the example on how to handle that. That's awesome. Well ladies, I'm so glad that both of you are here. So if those of you listening want to know more about my friends, you can find out information and read their bios and see cute pictures of them at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday. So go there and check it out. Alright, so I have another quote about 3 Nephi. President Ezra Taft Benson said, quote, "3 Nephi contains some of the most moving and powerful passages in all scripture. It testifies of Jesus Christ, His prophets, and the doctrines of salvation," unquote. So I am so excited to see how this applies to our study in third Nephi chapters one through seven today. So friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in. So So I want to know, Ellery and Sharon, as you guys read these chapters for our discussion today, what were your overall thoughts and feelings?
The Nephites and Lamanites were living in righteousness and they became wealthy and with their wealth came a falling away from the gospel. And then there was repentance. And then there was righteousness. And then there was wealth. And then there was falling away. And it was just this cyclical pattern of once we get blessed with the secular things of the world, the secular things seemed to take over. And I thought it happens today, I just need to be aware of that. And I have to be careful. I think we all have to be careful that we don't lean toward that secular, worldly influence.
That's great insight, Sharon, thank you.
Yeah, jump in.
Jumping in. Something that stuck out to me is how all of the people saw the signs and how I feel like they became numb almost to like spiritual promptings or feelings. I was just thinking, "Am I that way in my own life?" Like, "Am I become so numb to spiritual promptings and I don't recognize them anymore?" Because to me, there's so normal like, "Oh, that's not, that's my life," which is sad.
And that reminds me of something, Ellery. When the Magi were looking for the Christ child and they were looking for a star in the East, they were looking for it. Others were not looking. And I think what you just said is, we need to be looking for the spiritual influences in our life, and then we will find them and see them.
Absolutely. What I like about what both of you said was how you internalized it. For both of you, it was a different experience but you both read it and then you reflected in your own life how it applied to you. Because I can't even tell you how many times I have read 3 Nephi and taught 3 Nephi but this time around was a completely different game for me. I mean, this time when I read 3 Nephi, I really was like, "Oh, my gosh, this is, this is now. This is my life. This is everywhere around me." And I've never had that experience before. And so that's what's so interesting about 3 Nephi 1–7. That is you read it today, and as you read it throughout this week, the applications and the connections and the parallel to our day is astounding. So before we get into the actual story, let's do a "who, what, when and why," of 3 Nephi so we have a little bit of context for everything about this book. So first of all, who wrote the book of 3 Nephi? So here's what we know: Mormon abridged the records from the large plates of Nephi to create the book of 3 Nephi. And the book of 3 Nephi is named for Nephi, now, this is Nephi who is, I'm going to give you a genealogy here, Nephi who is the son of Nephi, who was the son of Helaman, who was the son of Helaman of the stripling warriors, who was the son of Alma the younger, who was the son of Alma. That's a pretty strong pedigree. So Nephi's dad, the older Nephi, leaves the land and he hands everything over to his son Nephi. So Nephi's labors span the periods before, during, and after the Savior's appearances to the people. All right, here's the what about 3 Nephi. What is it about? And this is neat. 3 Nephi documents the fulfillment of prophecies regarding Jesus Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. And I thought this was interesting: 20 of the 30 chapters in 3 Nephi contain teachings that the Savior delivered directly to the people. Ellery, I saw your face. Tell me what you're thinking when I just said that.
I think it's cool that Christ comes, I don't know, but I was just smiling and thinking that. I mean, I served in Guatemala so I have a special tie to like, the Americas and when Christ comes. I'm sorry, I won't make faces.
No! That's so great because there's a lot of people who were like, "Wait, what? Twenty of the 30 chapters in 3 Nephi are Jesus speaking?
Which is so incredible because like, I just look at the New Testament and Christ doesn't speak much. Like, if you think about it, it's a lot of people saying what he did, But like actual dialogue of Christ, there's not a ton in the New Testament. But you come to the Book of Mormon and there's 20 chapters of Him just talking and people giving their feelings. Like you don't get that anywhere else.
And I think that is so cool.
It is so cool. I love that you pointed that out. Yeah, right here. Excellent, Ellery, thank you for sharing that. Okay, here's the when of 3 Nephi. The original records used as sources for the book of 3 Nephi were likely written between 1 BC and AD 35, and you can just see that down in the corner of your Book of Mormon where it has the dates, and Mormon abridged those records sometime between 345 AD and 385 AD. And Mormon did not record where he was when he compiled this book so that's just something to know. Now here's the why of 3 Nephi. Go to 3 Nephi 26:8, and let's look at this. We have two why's, why we have this book, and an El, will you read that for us.
"And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken."
So Mormon intended the writings in 3 Nephi for two groups. First, he explained that he had written them for the descendants of Lehi. And then in 3 Nephi 30 the second reason is that Mormon addressed the Gentiles in the latter days—that's us. Sharon, tell me what you're thinking about that.
Oh just accept it as true and know that it's been, it's throughout the whole Book of Mormon. We know that we need to pay attention because we're living those days that he's talking about.
Yeah. Cool, so, thank you ladies. Okay, now that we know the background of 3 Nephi, let's get into the story of these chapters. And we're going to see what they teach us about prophets, doctrines of salvation, and the events leading up to the supreme moment, the coming of Jesus Christ, then and in our day.
Segment 2 10:08
Ellery and Sharon, I'm curious to know, do either of you know someone who has given their life for the gospel?
Like Joseph Smith being martyred, that kind of giving a life, or living one's life for the gospel?
Oh, that's a good distinction.
I liked your definition of living the gospel as giving their life because, in my opinion, anyone who actively lives the gospel and doctrine is giving their life to it.
I think it's a very active choice you have to make every day and I think it's a hard one. And so I honestly would say anyone actively trying to be a disciple of Christ is giving their life to the gospel.
Good take down on that.
Well, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Let's move to the next segment. It's just like you guys read my notes. That's all we have to talk about. That's the whole point. Oh, that's awesome. Okay, so let's go into 3 Nephi chapter one. And we're going to look at verses four through nine about a group of people who almost physically had to give their lives for the gospel. And then we're going to go into what you guys were just talking about, giving our lives for the gospel. Because when I was a little kid, I have to tell you, this is a true game we used to play. In fact, we invented our own Would You Rather? almost before it was even a cool game to play. I had a friend that would say, "Okay, listen, if someone came up to you and said, 'You have to deny that the Book of Mormon is true, or you're going to be killed,' what would you do?" I'm like nine years old, right? And of course, I'm like, "I wouldn't deny. I wouldn't. I would die." I think, I look back at that and I'm like, "We were idiots." But then, we were serious about it. Like, "Would you deny?" Maybe a Primary teacher must have done that with us or something. But I think what would I do if my life was on the line for the Book of Mormon? I don't know. That's an interesting question. And in 3 Nephi 1:4–9, we have a group of people faced with that. So we just got done studying last week about the Lamanite prophet, Samuel. And he gave all of these signs for the people and everything that they should look for and time went by, and the signs weren't happening. And so then there were people who were saying, "Okay, the signs aren't even going to happen and you guys are ridiculous and you don't know what you're even believing." And it was kind of a scary time, right?
Well, yeah, they were gonna be put to death if the sign didn't occur.
And it came down to the last hour. And people were pretty frightened.
Hey, in fact, Sharon, will you read that for us? It's in 3 Nephi 1:9.
"Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet."
Thank you. That's a scary time to think that you could die. But then when we went back to that question, "Do you know anyone who's given their life for the gospel?" I've never been asked to give my life physically. However, there's a more real scenario about this and I love this quote by President Ezra Taft Benson, who shared this in 1989 about those who believe. And so Ellery will you read this for us? "Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world. Men changed for Christ will be captained by Christ. Men captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. Their will is swallowed up in his will. They do always those things that please the Lord. Not only would they die for the Lord, but, more important, they want to live for Him” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Born of God,” Ensign, 1989).
So now let's apply that quote to what we talked about earlier in that question, "Do you know anyone who's ever given their life for the gospel?" Because, you know, you could say dying for Him would be easy, it's living for Him that's hard, especially in this day and age, living for Him is hard. So how do you live for Him? How have you given your life? Well, it's reaching out to those around us to try to sustain them and build them up and help them confirm their testimonies. And I think if we have an eye single to that purpose of helping God's children, that that is living for Him. We're doing what He is not doing here upon the earth. And I think that's living for Christ.
It's great answer. How are you living for Him, Ellery?
Sometimes, at least for me, living for Him is kind of selfish because sometimes I find myself focusing so much on being like an instrument in His hands that I myself am not where I need to be, even though I'm doing good things. But I sometimes, you know, self care, focusing on yourself, focusing on your personal relationship with Him. Because I feel like I can get lost in like helping other people or like suppress my own need for it by going out with other people because working on myself would be harder. So for me, living for him is literally me doing my best to return to Him because I'm important to Him, as well as everyone else.
Thank you so much for sharing those thoughts. What do you think makes it hard in this time we're living, this generation, to live for Him?
Well, secular influences. It's constant bombardment of advertising and enhancing and tempting us to buy this and buy that and do this and do that. And one thing that came to mind, Ellery, when you were talking about wanting to get back to the Savior and taking care of you and making sure you're doing the right thing. I thought of President Nelson when he has given messages to us almost every week of encouragement. He says we're sorry the temples are closed but they will reopen again, but have the temple in your heart. And I think those little things that we can attach ourselves to on a daily basis help us to do that.
Thank you, Sharon. El, what were you going to say?
I was thinking when my friends and I talk about how hard it is to live in this world, I think we all struggle with the idea of, we're not good enough. You know, we're all RMs, we're at BYU, we're getting our education. But for some reason, we could be doing more. My testimony is not as strong as this girl. She's the Relief Society president in our YSA ward. She volunteers, she's already in her master's program, like, "Oh my gosh, I cannot compare to her." And I think that, that's something that's hard for me. It's almost like, I would say, shame and guilt I feel about not fitting into this mold. And then even when I try to fit into this mold, I am not me.
I mean, I totally agree with you in that there are secular things, but then once we dive into the cultural part of it, it's hard.
And saddening, but we can do it.
Yeah, we can. It made me think of that quote that you have in your house that your mom put up which says, "Comparison is the thief of joy," and joy is Christ. And so comparison is the thief of the Savior in our lives. You could equate it to that. And President Uchtdorf, I wrote a quote from him this last week and it said, ". . . It's not going to be easy, but you can do it. You will be all right" (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Call for Heroes!" BYU-Pathway Worldwide Devotional).
And I think, "You will be alright," that's reassuring from an apostle. It won't be easy. You can do it. You will be alright. And he doesn't say, "It will be alright." He says you will be all right.
Oh, I like that.
And I think, Ellery, I think you will be alright. I think you're doing good.
I agree. Well, in going back to our storyline then, there's a day setup for the believers to be killed and this makes Nephi so sad. And we have to look at Nephi's reaction. So go back into 3 Nephi chapter one. And we're just going to read quickly verses 10 through 12. And as we do, I want you to share with me what stands out to you about Nephi's response to the situation. And Sharon, will you please read for us verses 10 through 12?
"10 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful. "11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers. "12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: (3 Nephi 1:10–12)."
What strikes you about his reaction?
He was so sincere. He was so sincere and loving about people, probably people he'd never even met. I mean, we're talking thousands of people, it's, you know, it's not just a handful in a ward or a branch. Thousands, tens of thousands, it even says tens of thousands, and his, he's so sad, he saw their destruction and their heartache and his empathy is just moving. It's so moving.
You see this trend a lot in Book of Mormon prophets. Their empathy is insane. I love the word that they always use is "sorrowful" because that is a powerful word. The fact that they're feeling it's so exceedingly, is just heartbreaking to read, and that just shows how heartbreaking the situation was for him.
And that he cried mightily. I love how it says that twice he, "cried mightily unto the Lord." And that he did it all that day. What you guys just said, too, is making me think "Well, is it the duration of his pray that mattered or the emotion, the empathy behind the prayer that mattered? Maybe it was a combination of both.
But thinking about a time when we have cried mightily unto the Lord in our own lives, you guys have any thoughts about that? Crying mightily?
Well, it's happened. I mean, I've done that in my life a number of times because I can't do it alone. And there are crises that occur, like Ellery is going through with a crisis with her COVID stuff with her family. You know, that's a crisis and none of us gets through this life unscathed. And so, knowing that we can cry mightily unto the Lord and He will go before us, he'll be on our right hand, he'll be on our left hand, and we can go to a source of refreshing, go to a source of comfort, if we are sincere in our prayers.
I agree. Amen.
You know what, Ellery I agree, amen too. Absolutely amen. So we kind of ended on a bit of a cliffhanger there with what Sharon just read. So in the next segment, we're going to see what the Lord's response was to Nephi's mighty prayer.
Segment 3 20:57
So we're just gonna jump right into the scriptures. And so remember we just read about Nephi and how sad he was. And so he started to pray for the people because there was a day set apart that they were going to kill all of those who were believing in the signs. And he's so sad. And so let's read what the Lord's responses to Nephi's prayer where it says he "cried mightily" all day. Okay, here we go. I'm going to read 3 Nephi 1:13–14. And as I read 3 Nephi 1:13–14, listen to these verses of scripture and look for and mark how the Lord responds to Nephi's prayer: "13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. "14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given (3 Nephi 1:13–14)." What stood out to you?
The Lord always fulfills his promises. And so I love that he says that I will fulfill that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. And that's comforting to me because when I, I've made promises with the Lord. And so even though maybe I'm waiting and I feel like I'm dying waiting for them to be fulfilled, you know, His end of them, as long as I keep my part, He will fulfill it.
That's a great truth that's taught, Ellery. He does fulfill His promises. I love that you pointed that out. That is a true principle of the gospel, thank you.
What struck me is He says twice, "I come on to my own." And I don't know if he's coming unto His own self, he's coming onto his own in his presence and he will do what he said he would do, as Ellery indicated so beautifully about His fulfilling His promises, or if he's referring to those who will listen. Those whom He has adopted into His family.
But just that sentence, "Behold, I come unto my own." He announces who He is and what He's all about and what He's doing and, and I want to be one of His own.
I have to say my favorite part of these verses was how He first addresses Nephi. Remember he, how sad he was, "exceedingly sorrowful." And the first thing God says was, "Lift up your head and be of good cheer." Like, it's okay. It's gonna be alright, just be happy. And, you know, I just think sometimes when we get that answer, we want to scream as little kids and say, "But you don't even know how hard it's been. You don't even know what's going on. Are you aware of how hard this is?"And of course he is. He's like, "Be of good cheer. Listen, I got this. I got it taken care of, it's gonna be fine. I got this worked out." And then both of your answers just fit perfectly into that. He's coming unto His own. I hope I'm part of that "own" group. I love that Sharon. And I hope I'm part of that "own" by doing what Ellery said and in believing that He really does fulfill all of His promises. Those were excellent answers. So then let's read about what happens in verses 15 through 20. And so Ellery and Sharon, I asked you guys to tell this story. So kind of fill us in, what's going on in verses 15 through 20?
Go for it, Ellery. I'll back you up 100 percent.
Love that. Girls supporting girls. Um, so in 15 through 20 is when, oh, that's when the signs start happening, right? There, there is three days with the only light and sun. Even when the sun went down, it was still light outside. And the people who are believed like we're so happy. Fell to the earth like, "Ah, it's here, yay!"
And then, oh, they became as if they were dead, kind of crazy. Could you imagine being like so happy and excited that you just like paralyzed? It reminds me of like those goats who like, when you, you surprise them they like fall down and play dead.
Yeah, I mean, that's literally what I think when I read that. But yeah, I don't know, anything else, Sharon?
Well, yeah, and those that were non-believers became immediate believers.
Yeah, look at verse 17 because that struck me. There's a word there where it says, "All the people upon the face of the whole earth," so just not the believers, every single person was astonished and fell to the earth. That word, it's been like playing over and over in my mind.
Yeah, and verse 20, the thing that gets me is, "And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets." So everything was fulfilled according to how the prophets predicted it would be, a day, a night without darkness, and a day. And the believers believed and the non-believers were shaken into belief, at least for the moment. And those whose lives were spared because they believed, felt the blessings.
Every wit. And what struck me too is verse 19. And we talked about this last week, when we were talking about the signs from the Lamanite prophet, Samuel. And we made this really cool connection how all of the signs of His birth were about light and all the signs of His death are about darkness. And what stood out to me was of course it is because Jesus is the light. So when he came into the world, there was so much light, and when he left the world there was so much darkness. And I think what struck me is verse 19. I had never seen this before. Verse 19, it says, ". . . it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again." So the sun didn't stay in the sky. That's what's interesting. I've never considered that the sun set, but it was still light when the Savior was born. His light really did consume everything. That's just fascinating to me. It was everywhere, and no darkness but then the sun came up the next day. So He really did fill the earth with light. I just love that. So as awesome as this moment was, though, then we have a wah-wah. So let's look at these verses of scripture. We're going to cross reference 3 Nephi chapter 1:22–24. And somewhere on the side of those verses, I want you to write Helaman 16:22–23. We have to read these in connection with each other so we understand what happened before the Savior was born and then what happened immediately after. So, Ellery, I want you to read for me Helaman 16:22–23. And then Sharon, I would like for you to read for us 3 Nephi 1:22. Okay, Helaman chapter 16. This is how Helaman ends.
Twenty-two and 23, right?
"22 And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come. "23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land" (Helaman 16:22–23).
Thank you. So that's before the signs. Now they're waiting, they're about to die. The signs happen. They all fall to the earth and believe and now look at 3 Nephi 1:22. Go ahead, Sharon.
"22 And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen; but notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord (3 Nephi 1:22)."
So here's what I want to know. What principle can we learn about how we can choose to respond to Satan's lies?
First of all, we have to recognize Satan is influencing us through someone or something. He's not there. "So Satan did this," and "Satan did that." Well, he's not there, right? But he's working through some entity, either us or a corporation or a magazine or a book. And so, understanding from whence the temptation comes then allows me to say, "Aha, I know who's behind this, Satanas, Satan."
And we can, I can then fight it. I can then walk away.
Sharon, that is such great insight because I will agree. Like as I was reading this every time you read Satan, in my mind, I'm thinking one person but he's everywhere. Like he's not a tour guide where he's like, "Alright people, let's go this way now," right? "Here, we're gonna just do this now." Like, he is everywhere, everything and so that's a great way to think about it is how did he do it with these people? They didn't have the internet. They didn't have naughty music like, what did it look like for them? Because for us it seems pretty obvious and especially when Helaman it says they were "much disturbed." That phrase is so interesting to me because I think we're disturbed today.
But what did it look like back then? And then how does it look for us? Ellery, tell us your thoughts.
No, I really liked what Sharon was saying. Because, to me, I picture like a handsome man just running around Zarahelma just like destroying everything, but that's how it is.
And also I just think, you know, Satan is so smart. I always like to remember like, he's literally our brother. Like, he knows us. He knows our weaknesses. He knows what gets us. He will do whatever it takes to make sure that we are getting a very catered suffering, or not suffering because he makes it look beautiful. A very catered vacation package.
Can't pass it up. Well, you know, I always, what I would always say to students, and when I teach this, I would say, "How many of you have siblings?" They would raise their hand. "How many of you know how to push your siblings buttons, and how many you will enjoy it?" You know, it's kind of fun. And I said, "Well, then Satan's the ultimate button pusher." Like he knows your buttons. He knows exactly where to get you and what to get you with. He is, he's your brother. Yeah, he's your sibling. I think that's a great way to think about it. Now, there's a great quote about choosing faith and how we can make the choice to not choose Satan's tactics. And so let's read this quote, it's by Richard C. Edgley, who served in the presiding bishopric, and I just think this is interesting, especially in the day, we live in today, Sharon, can you read this quote for us?
“Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today’s world, I wish to suggest a single choice—a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is faith. … Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism. … “When logic, reason, or personal intellect come into conflict with sacred teachings and doctrine, or conflicting messages assault your beliefs … , choose to not cast the seed out of your heart by unbelief. Remember, we receive not a witness until after the trial of our faith.” (Richard C. Edgley, “Faith—the Choice Is Yours,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010).
As you just read that, I thought, "Oh my gosh, those things are what Satan uses: doubt, fear, unseen pessimism.
That reminds me of a "Liahona" article I read on my mission. It's "The War Goes On" by Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy. And he talks about Satan and what are Satan's tactics. It's temptation, contention, lies and deception, the fourth one's discouragement. And this is his most effective tool.
Oh, for sure. Very awesome. I'm so glad you brought that up. So I want you to kind of be thinking in your mind then what gets in the way of choosing faith. Because I want to continue with this discussion in the next segment. And I want to get your thoughts on choosing faith, and we're going to talk about the effect that a generation had on the overall well-being of the people. And it's going to astound you it can happen in just three short years.
Segment 4 33:43
So we just talked about choosing and the effects that Satan can have on the people, but this is an interesting effect. In 3 Nephi chapter one, we read verse 22 and all the way through it talks about the effects that Satan's having on the people and on those who are believers, both Nephites and Lamanites. Now, I want to read verse 29 and 30 because this is interesting. "29 And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites; for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words, to join those Gadianton robbers. "30 And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the arising generation" (3 Nephi 1:29–30). Now, look at that verse right there. How is that verse being fulfilled today? What effect did the rising generation have, and are they having today?
Well, I underlined in chapter 29 the words "for themselves."
So did I. Oh, tell me about that, Sharon.
By nature we're selfish. We want everything for me, me, my, my, mine, and they became for themselves. They were into themselves. It's the I, me, generation.
Well and we, and that "wax strong," mark that in your scriptures. We've talked about this before, but just a reminder, something that waxes strong, it means "to pass from one state to another." So they're passing from a state of righteousness and belief to a state of disbelief. And then that idea that they became for themselves. Oh, I like, I did mark that and I wanted to know what your thoughts would be on that so that's great. Ellery, I want to know your thoughts. You represent the rising generation, you sweet young thing. Single, by the way,
That's a large mantle.
But what are your thoughts on that?
I look at the Church and all I see is potential. And I don't think the state we're at now is perfect and I don't think it was perfect when it was created. I think it is a living body, you know, the religious organization of it. And so, I think things can change and I think we can be better. And I think God thinks that too. But sometimes I feel belittled by older generations thinking, "You just want to change because you don't want to live it." No, I want to live it, but I want it to be better. And I just think that that polarization is not good for anyone. I think we could be, I think the path to becoming a disciple of Christ is an upward hill and it's, you know, eternal. It's not ending because we got a lot of work to do.
That's a great insight, Ellery, because we're living in the Restoration. That's neat to think because I think sometimes we believe the Restoration happened. It's true, it began but we're living in it and things are constantly changing. So great insight. You know, it's, I remember teaching seminary and attending a meeting with President Eyring in 2001 and I can remember when he said this exact quote about the rising generation and it struck me. This is what he said: “The Church has always been one generation away from extinction. If a whole generation were lost, which will not happen, we would lose the Church. But even a single individual lost to the gospel of Jesus Christ closes doors for generations of descendants, unless the Lord reaches out to bring some of them back” (President Henry B. Eyring, “We Must Raise Our Sights” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Aug. 14, 2001]). And I think that's what He's doing, Ellery. I think that He's bringing us back. And when you were talking about this polarization, we do see that a lot. "Okay, boomer," you know, we have that and we have calling older women "Karens." And we laugh about it, and it's funny, but it is polarizing. And, again, when you read 3 Nephi one through seven, you're like, "Oh my gosh, that is now." That's so crazy so I'm super glad for those thoughts and insights. Thank you for sharing those. Sharon, what were some of the things you were thinking as Ellery was talking?
My thoughts were just like Ellery's only that the older people are looked down upon by the younger people. When someone calls me, "dearie." "Well, Sharon, dearie," then I know I'm over the edge. And you know, I passed the age of freedom. And I think that not always and not everyone and not on every occasion, but on occasion, a young person will say something or do something and I'll think, "They've just crossed me off." They've just, they just said, "You don't count." And I think you're right on with that polarization. And it's not everyone and it's not everywhere, but it's noticeable. And I think you hit the nail right on the head: we need to gather and respect one another's position and place in life. That I need to appreciate your youthfulness and your, your wanting to make things better. And I want to appreciate my wanting things to stay the same because it's my comfort level. So I think, I think you know, it's there, it' obviously there.
And just going back to not becoming for yourselves. That's not what any of this is about. And so, you know, that saying, "I'm going to do me." Well, no, that's not what our Heavenly Father wants us to do. Don't do you do, like, look out for each other. I just think, I love that phrase that they "became for themselves." That is the key to all of this because then in 3 Nephi, chapter two, the people become less and less astonished at the signs that are given. More things are happening and they're like, "Yeah, it's not a big deal." Like, "We've seen that before," or whatever, I think it's just interesting they become less and less astonished, things don't really matter to them anymore. And then we're going to stop for a second there because we need to talk about this time scale because now we have a stamp in the Book of Mormon of when the times change and when they start calculating their years differently. So we need to point that out. So in 3 Nephi, chapter two, I just want to stop for a minute and point this out. In verses five through eight, you just need to know this that the measurement of time has now changed. There's three times that we've been adhering to throughout the Book of Mormon. We have a time when Lehi left Jerusalem, and we have the time from the days of Mosiah. And now we have the time when the sign of Christ was given. So from this point on, they will number their years from the moment the sign of Christ's birth was given. And so you can see that in verses five through eight, it would say 100 years had passed away since the days of Mosiah was king over the people of the Nephites; 609 years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem; and nine years had passed away from the time when the sign was given, which was spoken up by the prophets that Christ should come into the world. And so the Nephites began to reckon their time from this period when the sign was given so it won't any, we will no longer say, "In the days of the judges," or any of that. So I think this is kind of cool. Why do you think Mormon included that? Why do you think they changed their time at that moment? Why didn't they just keep with tradition?
It's the most significant event in the history of the world and it is to be honored in every way we can possibly honor it. Because of Him and His beginning, we begin time. He's the central part of the Book of Mormon, He is a central part of our lives, He's the central of everything. And our timing is even related to Him, which I think is marvelous and wonderful.
Okay, wow, Sharon, you know what, thank you so much for sharing that. Because as you were saying all of those words, in my head I thought, "Wait a minute, she's right." I've never considered that before. Like all these years that has been lost on me until this very moment. I mean, I've always known what AD and BC stood for, but it really is surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. We have been measuring time by that incident, that moment in time. That's so cool. Thank you for sharing that, that was great.
Okay, the other thing we need to cover that's found inside, in 3 Nephi chapter two is in verses 14, 15 and 16. And this is important for us to know because what happened is the Lamanites become believers and they join with the Nephites because they are going to join forces to help each other to fight the Gadianton robbers. We need to know that going into this story. And what's so interesting about that is that as the Lamanites joined with the Nephites, something interesting happens in verse 15 and 16. In verse 15, it says, "And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites." Okay, we have to just pause for a minute. We've talked about what this curse is, and it is not skin color. And so I've given you scripture references before going back to 2 Nephi 30:6 and 2 Nephi 5:20, the curse is being cut off from God. They are no longer cut off from Him. So the curse has been taken away from them. And when it says their "skin became white like unto the Nephites," what we need to understand about that word white, and this is so significant, it goes back to when Christ was born and He filled the earth with light. When Christ enters our lives, He fills us with light. And that is the light, the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with skin color. And so we just, I cannot be more emphatic about that. You can even cross reference that to the New Testament where it talks about how the eye is light. And everything that the eye sees fills the whole soul and body with light and whiteness and goodness. And I just want to read this quote by Elder Gary E. Stevenson just to solidify, again, that the curse is not a skin color. He says, "I would just like to reiterate our position as a church is clear. We do condemn all racism, past and present, in any form, and we disavow any theory advanced that black or dark skin is a sign of a curse" (Elder Gary E. Stevenson, "NAACP luncheon honors Huntsman Foundation, Rosie Rivera; Elder Stevenson encourages all to ‘build upon our common ground,'" Deseret News). So I just have to point that out. But the idea of the beauty that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, the lightness, you know that you've served missions, anyone who served a mission has seen someone accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, when they come out of those waters of baptism, there is a lightness about them.
Well, there's a quote from Bruce R. McConkie in his doctrinal commentary. He says, "Their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes."
"And many generations shall not pass away among them." So the relieving of the curse is removing the scales of darkness from their eyes and bringing in that light that you just talked about.
Oh, I'm so glad you brought that quote in. That's the scripture reference for 2 Nephi 30:6, make sure you cross reference verse 15 with that. That's where it says the scales of darkness removed from their eyes, that connection to eyes and light, that is what it's about. Okay, so now let's go back into the story. We have this younger generation and they're believing less and less in the signs, and it's a difficult time. And then we have the Gadianton robbers who come in and, in fact, in third Nephi 2:11, it says they spread so much death and carnage throughout the land. I mean, it's pretty bad times, and that's why they're going to combat the Gadianton robbers. And they almost have a little success, but not completely. It's kind of a little heartbreaking because they just can't seem to get it together completely so that the Lord can help them fight their battles. So in them next segment, we're gonna read about a letter that spelled out what that destruction would look like among these people.
Segment 5 45:06
Okay, I asked both of you to come prepared to share a story about a time when you felt the Lord had protected you. And in any way: from an accident, from Satan, from a poor decision anytime, the Lord protected you.
I like to have fun and I also like to have the fear of God put in me sometimes that I'm gonna die. I like adrenaline. Like, I remember one time on my mission I was crying because I was so sad I hadn't felt adrenaline in so long. But, um, so in high school, I had a friend whose mom was getting rid of a mattress. And so being the teenagers we were, we strapped two long boards to the bottom of it and I had a truck and we would go into this huge parking lot and we'd drag it. And we'd be going 40 in this parking lot making turns on this mattress just having the time of our lives. Like we did this several times. The mattress stayed in my car for months. But one night, I was doing that with a friend. And I got a feeling like, "You should leave." And I didn't want to because it was my car and my mattress and there were a lot of people there and I'm like, "I don't want to be the buzzkill. That's not me." And I got it again, like, "You, you need to stop doing this." And I was like, "No, I shan't, sorry." And then I got a third time. But nope, nope, I didn't do it. And so finally God is like, "Wow, you are stubborn. I'm trying to save you." So He went through my mom. I got a text from my mom, and she said, "I don't feel good about whatever you're doing." She didn't know what I was doing. "Please come home." And that's when I was like, "Alright." I sent everyone home, I gathered up, and I went home and it was like 10:30 on a Friday night. And nothing, you know, happened. But I did hear from, you know, word of mouth of other people, that in that parking lot a car had come in and was doing donuts very dangerously and was putting in danger the lives of everyone else in the parking lot. And so, that was a time where I felt like God really was helping me out, was trying to save me and I didn't listen. But luckily, He, He went to my mom.
Good old mom.
Yeah, I'm grateful you listen to your mom. That's a good story.
That's a great story.
It is a great story.
Thank you for sharing that, Ellery. Sharon.
Yes, um, on my mission we were in an apartment with a lot of sisters. And it was P-day and it was about seven or eight o'clock at night and all the sisters says, "You and your, your companion go get donuts at the donut shop." And we said "No, we don't want to." "Yeah, go get donuts." Okay. So we left the house and we always have a prayer before you leave the house no matter what you're going to do. So we said a prayer. We started down the stairs and a voice said to me, "Don't go." And just like Ellery, I said, "I'm just going to get donuts, no way." I kept walking. And the voice said, "Don't go." And I thought, "I'm just gonna go get donuts. We're gonna go." Third time: "Don't go." And we're almost at the bottom and I looked at my companion, I said, "Have you heard anything or felt anything or do you have a premonition or an epiphany or anything?" She said, "No." I said, "Well, I've heard three times, "Don't go." She grabbed my hand and dragged me back upstairs to the apartment. And so the sisters were disappointed, "What? No donuts? What do you mean nah, nah, nah, nah, nah." So, the following morning, we went into the mission home and had our morning prayer and meeting with the president. And he said, "Boy, you had some excitement over by your place last night." And we said "Excitement?" And he says, "Yeah, they blew up the grocery store next to the donut shop."
Oh my gosh.
And I thought, "We may not have been hurt. We may have been implicated. We may have been, I don't know what it would have been. But we were not supposed to go to the donut shop that night." So that was the one biggie in my life where I thought, "Why didn't you listen? Why did you have to ask your companion? I mean, He told you three times you ninny." But in addition to that story, I mean, every day, I'll fall off a ladder and nothing breaks. I fall out of a tree and nothing's broken. I start to pull out on a busy highway and I sneeze and while I'm sneezing a truck comes around the bend and would have, you know, bumped me off.
Little things. And so I am aware of, on a daily basis, that I'm being watched over. And I need to pay attention.
I think that way how many times throughout the day that I am protected?
And little things like, "Oh, that could have been so much worse. Wow. Who's watching out for me?" So thank you both of you for sharing those stories. Let's find out what those stories that you shared has to do with the story in the Book of Mormon. So let's jump into 3 Nephi, chapter three. And in 3 Nephi, chapter three, as the storyline goes the Gadianton robbers, they are awful. And in chapter three, the head of the Gadianton robbers writes a letter, an epistle to Lachoneus, who's the chief judge, and he's a good man. We like Lachoneus. We were introduced to him back in 3 Nephi 1:1. And the head of the Gadianton robbers, he writes this ridiculous letter and he's basically like, "Listen, you're going to give us your land, you're going to give us your people, you're going to unite with us. That's exactly what he says in verse seven. Yield yourselves up to us and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works. Like that's what we want you to do. And if you don't do it, then we're going to destroy everybody. So his letter is in verses two through ten, you can mark those. And he ends by saying, "I am Giddianhi." Like, here I am, hear me roar. Just give up yourselves or we're gonna kill everybody. But I like how Lachoneus, he just kind of comes in. And in verse 11, it says, he's, "exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi," but he doesn't really care. He's not gonna buy into this because he believes in God. And so in verse 12, I like how it tells us, he's the governor, he's a just man, and "he could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi." And so what he does is he then sends a proclamation, in verse 13, to all his people. And he tells all of his people to gather together, gather your women, your men, your children, your flocks, your herds, your substances, your food, everything. I want everybody to be gathered together in one place. He tells them to do something specific in verses 15 and 16. Ellery, will you please read verse 15?
"15 Yea, he said unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, ye will in nowise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers."
Read 16 for us.
"16 And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus" (3 Nephi 3:15–16).
Okay, so now we're going to go over to verses 25 and 26 because what happens after this, Lachoneus, he calls together and he appoints some chief captains. But the chiefest of the chief captains is named Gidgiddoni. And there's a really cool story about how righteous Gidgiddoni was and Gidgiddoni had the gift of prophecy and revelation. So I recommend reading those verses 19 through 23. It's a great story. Basically, the people say, "Let's just go into the mountains and destroy the Gadianton robbers and Gidgiddoni was like, "I think I should pray about that first." And he prays the Lord's like, "Don't go." Just like you have those moments. "Don't go, there might be a bomb at the donut shop." He says, "Yeah, tell your people if they go and fight, they're going to be destroyed." So Gidgiddoni says, "We're going to stay put, we're going to stay here together." Now, let's go to verses 25 and 26 because I think this is one of my favorite things about this story. And, Sharon, will you please read verses 25 and 26?
You bet. "25 And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they did put up their aprayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle. "26 And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make aweapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction" (3 Nephi 3:25–26).
Thank you. Let's go back into verse 25, and there is a word we're going to mark and it's twice in this verse. And we're going to focus on this in this segment and in the next segment, so I want us to be thinking about this word. Verse 25 says, "and they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body." So cross reference that verse of scripture with Doctrine and Covenants 38:27, and you can go there later and mark it on your own. But this is the classic scripture that the Lord says to the saints in verse 27, "I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine." I mean, that command in there to be one, we have to be one. I love that scripture. What is it about being one that's protecting?
What struck my mind reading these is President Nelson has been telling us to hear Him for, you know, the last couple of months, and it just resonates with these scriptures. Hear Him. Listen to that voice. And if we all listen to that voice, the same voice, we will be one. The voice of the Savior and what He's telling us is unifying. And although we live in Guatemala or Peru or Kanab, if we are all hearing Him, we are one.
This past week, the "Come, Follow Me" my family did was the Title of Liberty. Talking about how, when you have something, almost a purpose, it's unifying and then you have more faith in going forth and doing what needs to be done to accomplish your task. And so I think, going back to this polarization we've been talking about, you can't be one. You can't when you are so polarized and so unwilling to find what you have in common because you're so focused on what you don't have in common we're gonna push each other away. And if we're not one nothing will get done. You know, we're all unique. We're all different. But what unifies us is what we have in common and what is that? Our love for Christ. What is that? It's our desire to return to Him again.
Ellery, I'm so excited because that is exactly what happens in 3 Nephi, chapter four. So the people are united; they are one. They were, they fortified themselves to be one and then they go to battle against the Gadianton robbers and they slaughter them. They totally win. And it's interesting because when the Gadianton robbers come into fight, I love how the verses describe them. Did you notice that in verses seven through nine in 3 Nephi, chapter four? What word would you use to describe how they looked?
Yes, terrifying. And that's exactly how these Nephites and Lamanites felt and they fall to their knees. But what's interesting is the Gadianton robbers are like, "Haha! They fell to their knees because they're scared of us." But the verse of scripture that I like is verse 10. They didn't fall to the Lord because of terror for them, they fell because of their belief in God and their need to have help by Him. And so they're unified just like you said, Ellery. They all believe in the same thing. They believe in Jesus Christ. And it's that belief that will help them slaughter, the word is used slaughter in verse 11, to slaughter the Gadianton robbers and to destroy and win this war. Now what is so cool about this going back to being one is go into 3 Nephi 4:30 because after they win this war, after they kill the leaders of the Gadianton robbers, look what happens in verses 30 through 33. It's so beautiful. And, Ellery, will you please read verse 30 for us?
"30 And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying: May the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall call on the name of their God for protection."
Okay, read verse 31 too because I forgot there's another one in there.
"31 And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies."
Thank you, now highlight verse 32 because this is beautiful. "32 Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God." I'm going to read this quote about why this is so important about what they said. When you bless in the name of God, "To praise God is one thing; to praise the name of God is another. God's name is a symbol of his essence, power, and authority. To praise his name is to do more than acknowledge the verity of his existence; it is to assert that salvation comes only in and through his holy name. It is to attest that no proper prayer can be offered save it be offered in his, name; it is to acknowledge that all gospel ordinances must be performed by the authority of his name; it is to profess that the gospel cannot be taught save it is taught in his name, that miracles, healings, prophecies-indeed, 'all things'-must be properly done in the sacred name of Christ if they are to be recognized and upheld in the heavens" (See D&C 46:31; Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie, In His Holy Name, chapters 1, 5-6.). When they are saying, "blessed be the name of the Lord God," they are recognizing that they would never have won this war without Him. So in unison as one people, they're attesting that the war was won because of Him and nothing else. So in the next segment, we're going to discover what happens when we're not one, and it's pretty tragic.
Segment 6 59:33
All right, so ladies, going back to the experiences you shared in the last segment, you shared stories with us about a time where you felt protected by the Lord, and I love that you recognized it was the Lord who protected you. So now we're gonna take it one step further because I want to know, how does gathering in families or in branches or in wards protect us?
Well, it's like when we painted a room in our barn. We put on three coats of primer before we put on the paint and it was the three coats of primer that has sustained the paint. We have not had to repaint for 25 years or so. So it's the primers of a family, the primers of a ward, that allow the Spirit to be sustained and to flourish in a home, a ward, a temple, a district, a branch—it's all of those primers. We're all primers and Heavenly Father's the paint.
Sharon, I love that analogy that you gave us. And this idea of then going into how we need wards and branches to help sustain us because we haven't been together as a ward for a really long time. Now, this is interesting because I've heard a lot of people say, "Boy, when this ends, there might be a lot of people who don't want to go back to church. They might just want to keep having church in their home." And my friend, you know, Tammy Cutler I was speaking to her yesterday and she brought this up. She's like, "Do you think we'll go back? I think we need to go back." And it was really cool to have her teach this to me that the importance of going back to church and being one. Ellery, what are your thoughts about the role that the Church plays in our lives?
Yeah, I was just thinking like, my own family and my own ward why do I feel so comfortable with them and strong? And I think of it as like, well, they're your support system and they help you stay centered. Wards and family are just a safe haven and a place to grow. So that way, and recharged so that way you can go out and be light on your own.
Thank you, both of you. I love what you shared. You know, it's because it's so powerful when we get back into 3 Nephi, especially in chapters five, six and seven. And this goes back to how you started at the very beginning. Sharon, when you said you just see this cyclical pattern: they continue to do well and then they get pride. And that's what happened. This unification where they're singing and praising God's name, it did not last forever because then pride creeps in. And sure enough, it starts to destroy the people and then they start to disbelieve. And then chapter six is just heartbreaking, chapter six and chapter seven. And so I asked the two of you before we met to look over 3 Nephi, chapter six. And I asked you to tell me what are all of the negative side effects that pride had on the people in this chapter?
They divided up into tribes and as a result, then they weren't one. They thought they were better than other little tribes and so they began to divide. So the divisiveness of the people, I think, was part of their downfall.
Yeah, I mean, some of the things I wrote down were that in verse 18 at the end when it says—
3 Nephi chapter six?
Six, yeah, verse 18.
Where they say, therefore they did "willfully rebel against God."
I marked that in my scriptures too.
Hold on, I'm gonna mark that. Let me get my marking pencil.
That to me shows that they they had to understand what they were doing was wrong they cannot claim that they are ignorant or naive and this they knew what was right and they chose the wrong. And so to me that just shows how powerful or strong I guess their pride was, how rebellious they truly are. And it's sad.
Because I, at least I know in my life, I know several people who are this way. You know they know it. You've seen their testimonies before. And they just refuse and they willfully rebel and it breaks your heart. Yeah, I noticed that. I also noticed that the Church was broken up, which I thought was fascinating considering, you know, what we're living now.
Isn't that interesting? It did say that, that the Church was broken up in verse 14. "14 And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and athey would not depart from it . . . "(3 Nephi 6:14). Yeah, just that idea, broken up.
But what I liked is that, you know, the Lamanites, they kept going, though. They were "steadfast and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments." So even though the organization, religion, I guess, you could say, had been broken up, they were still able to live it and to keep going.
Which I think is so awesome. It's like what we're doing now, right? Even though we're not going to church, we can still live it. We're still given the ability, like you don't need to actually be in the chapel to have a sacrament, you know, or feel the Spirit or have your "Come, Follow Me."
You're absolutely right. And so let's go into 3 Nephi, chapter seven, because there's a couple of words, again, opposing this oneness that Christ wants us to be. In 3 Nephi 7:2, it says, "2 And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes." Like, this is nine years after they just got done praising God's name. That's not a lot of time. It's not like 30 years had passed, only nine years have passed since they sang that prayer. And now they're separated every man in their own tribes, and you pointed that out, Sharon. And then look over in verse 14, in the middle of that verse it says, "they were not united." And I just, it strikes me because the Church has set up a wonderful way for us to be one. They have given us so many great things in our religion to help us be united as a people and I can't wait till we can come back and worship together as one. I think that will be a wonderful day. And I want you to kind of just think about what are some of the things in your own life that you have done to help become one?
The word "gathering" is so significant, I think, today because we are gathering and we gather in our homes, our branches, our wards, and we gather in the temple, and we gather others to us. You go on a mission and you gather people to the gospel. So gathering and oneness are extremely significant, I think. And one of the other things that, that was mentioned earlier in the chapters, it said "And they did not remember." They did not remember the covenants. They did not remember the teachings. They did not remember their testimony. And, apparently, it was purposeful because they knew, like Ellery said, they knew about it and they went against it anyway.
What I was thinking is how we can be one and gathered together now is in our family units, or wherever we're living, you work together to center your life around Christ. That way, when we are able to gather in groups, we have the same North Star, same center point. That way, it's easier for us when we mesh together.
Thank you, Ellery. Thank you, Sharon. I think that is, both of you great examples of how we can be one. And when we think about this idea, I want you to take a minute and write in your journal one way that you are going to try to be one this week. Like, what's something else we can do to be one? In the Doctrine and Covenants scripture that we read in section 38, I thought it was interesting how He started out by saying you are like me if you're one. And in John 17: 18–21, he says becoming one is becoming like Him. I read a great talk by President Eyring called, "That We May Be One." And in this talk, he talks about six things that we can do to become one. And I want you to kind of listen to these and think if any of them qualify if you were to write in your journal what you could do to become one. Let's look at this. And, Ellery, will you read these six things that he said?
Number one, speak ill of no one. Number two, forgive others. Three, repent so you can have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion. Four, beware of pride. Five, see the bounties which God pours upon us not only as a mark of His favor but an opportunity to join with those around us in greater service. Number six, be peacemakers.
That's a great list. I want you guys to be transparent, what one are you going to work on this week?
I'm going to beware of pride, number four.
I'm going to do number one, speak ill of no one.
I was going to do number one, but then I was like ughhh. Do I want to admit that I gossip on this podcast?
You can totally admit it. I'm gonna totally work on number one. Speak ill of no one, starting with my kids. I mean, I'm not gonna call them a bunch of jerks anymore. I just think that's so simple. Speaking of no one, that's my goal. I'm going to take a minute and write in my journal. My goal to become one is to speak ill of no one. And that is, I think that's, maybe that's why it is number one in his talk, I think the hardest one. I do like though the idea of seeing the bounties that God pours out upon us not as a mark of His favor, but an opportunity to join with those around us in greater service. That was interesting to me because I think sometimes we think, "Oh, I'm so blessed. I'm so blessed." And then we leave it at that. And then God's like, "Well, what are you gonna do with that blessing, then?" Maybe recognize it as a mark for you to do more things for people. So that one might also kind of be mine this week. So those of you listening, take a minute and write in your journal or talk as a family, be one this week. And talk about what you're going to do to become one because the message of 3 Nephi 1–7 is about our day. And it's about being one, unified in what we believe in. We believe in Jesus Christ and that you cannot fail. When we believe in Him, we are united. We are one and that is what's going to destroy Satan. That is what is going to protect us from him and all of his tricks. I believe that. So that's the end. That's it. That's 3 Nephi 1–7. Thanks, ladies.
Thank you. That was great, you guys.
That was really cool.
So share with us then what was your takeaway from today?
My takeaway was actually at the beginning of the podcast when we were talking about Nephi's prayer. And then the Lord answered and said, ""Be of good cheer." Maybe that's struck me recently because I think I've been very sad or just like upset with certain situations in my life. And I think it's important that God is the God of happiness and he wants us to be happy, so I'm going to be of good cheer.
It's a great takeaway. Thank you, Ellery.
Mine was that, on this podcast, we are one. We have shared our hearts and our testimonies. And what I have learned has been confirming to me. It's enhanced my testimony so I feel like I am one of one. And part of that force of faith and goodness.
Absolutely. Thank you, Sharon. My takeaway was the talk about how they became for themselves. I just love that you brought that up, Sharon, and the discussion around that was really significant to me. I think there's a lot of times in my life where I do become for myself. I think sometimes in my marriage, I think that. I become for myself, like, "I'm gonna do, I'm just gonna take care of me then." And Satan is so, he does not want us to be united in marriages, in families. And there is strength and protection that comes from that unity. So I loved that discussion. Thank you.
Thank you. It's great.
So for those of you who are listening, we would love to hear what you your big takeaway was from this episode. If you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, you probably should because it is such a great place to go as you study throughout the week. People ask really cool questions and they share significant insights throughout the week with all of the posts that we put up in our social media sites. And then at the end of the week, and it's usually on a Sunday, we do a post asking for what your big takeaway was. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson. I love everything that you guys are sharing. So thank you, thank you for strengthening my testimony by sharing your takeaways. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday. It's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have the links to all the references from all of the quotes in the scriptures that we used in today's lesson. So go there and read the show notes. You can also see the transcript for this entire discussion so go and check it out. The "Sunday on Monday" study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original and is brought to you by "LDS Living." It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our beautiful study participants, who I love, were Sharon Staples and Ellery Howarth. And you can find more information about these ladies at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and Erika Free. It's recorded and mixed by Mix at Six studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember, you are God's favorite.
I feel so weird saying "Chili"
Chile, right. And Guatemala.
Yeah, Guate No, it's really hard, it's really hard for me so my mom grew up in California, and she grew up on a street that she calls "Corty Norty." And literally I shiver every time like, "Corte Norte?"
Because that's how it's spelled, huh? "Corte Norte."
But she's like no, "Corty Norty, where I grew up." My brother and I always like, "We don't know her."
Oh my gosh, that's funny
Would Amy call it that too?
Probably, until her mission.
She knew, "Corte Norte."
Now she'll probably correct herself.
That's funny, I like that.