Near the end of His ministry among the Nephites, the Savior answered His disciples’ question about what they should call the Church, telling them that they should call the Church by His name. He helped them understand that only His Church could be built upon His gospel. Later He defined His gospel. As you teach from these accounts, you have the opportunity to remind students that the Church and the gospel are means the Lord uses to help us return to Him.
This scripture block is unique because it tells the story of the translation of three Nephite disciples—including more information about translated beings than anywhere else in the scriptures. You can help students understand why the Lord chooses to translate some of His mortal servants.
Finally, 3 Nephi ends with Mormon describing the Book of Mormon’s role in the latter-day gathering of Israel. You can encourage students to recommit to using this precious gift in their individual lives and in their efforts to invite others to come unto the Savior.
Some Doctrines and Principles
Some of the Lord’s faithful servants have been translated so they can continue their ministry on the earth (see 3 Nephi 28).
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon signaled the beginning of the gathering of Israel (see 3 Nephi 29:1–3).
Suggestions for Teaching
3 Nephi 27. The Church of Jesus Christ Is Called by His Name and Built upon His Gospel
Ask students to read 3 Nephi 27:1–3 and note the question Jesus’s disciples asked. Then ask them to divide into pairs and study 3 Nephi 27:4–9 together. Before they begin their study, ask them to look for as many reasons as they can why Jesus Christ’s Church must bear His name. After students have had time to discuss this in pairs, ask them to share their ideas with the entire class.
Ask students where in the scriptures the Lord reveals the full name of His Church in this dispensation. Invite one of them to read Doctrine and Covenants 115:3–4. Then write the following on the board:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
of Jesus Christ =
of Latter-day =
Ask students to discuss the significance of each part of the Church’s name.
Share the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley on page 337 in the student manual or on the companion DVD A. Explain that President Hinckley said this in his first general conference address to the entire Church membership after he was sustained as President of the Church. The following questions may be helpful:
How would you summarize President Hinckley’s statement in one or two sentences?
What message do we send when we use the full name of the Church instead of a nickname?
What might you say to a person who asks if you are a Mormon? Why?
Ask students to read 3 Nephi 27:8–11. Direct their attention to the repetition of the word gospel.
If someone asked you what you mean when you talk about “the gospel,” what would you say?
“The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. … In its fulness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 76).
Invite students to turn to 3 Nephi 27:13–22. Instruct them to silently read and underline the principles that Jesus Christ listed as part of His gospel. After sufficient time, invite them to share what they have found. Add to the list on the board as necessary.
List the following scripture references on the board:
Divide the class into three groups, and assign one of these scripture blocks to each group. Invite students to scan their assigned scripture blocks, looking for further insights about the meaning of the term gospel. Refer them to the list on the board to help them understand the significance of the scriptures they read. Invite students from each group to share insights they have gained from their reading.
Encourage students to create a scripture chain by cross-referencing 3 Nephi 27:13–22 with the three passages listed on the board. For example, in the margin next to 3 Nephi 27:13–22, they could write See 2 Nephi 31. In the margin at the beginning of 2 Nephi 31, they could write See D&C 20:8–36. In the margin next to Doctrine and Covenants 20:8–36, they could write See Moses 6:53–62. In the margin next to Moses 6:53–62, they could complete the chain by writing See 3 Nephi 27:13–22. Or they could turn to one of the blank pages in the front or back of their copies of the Book of Mormon and list these passages under a heading such as “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Use the following chart and questions to help students discuss and internalize the principles in the scriptures they have read:
Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Atonement of Jesus Christ
Endure to the end
According to these verses, what blessings do we receive as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ?
How has your study of these verses deepened your understanding of what the gospel is?
Why do we need latter-day revelation to understand the gospel?
Help students see that the principles of the gospel as they are presented in the scriptures and in modern revelation are evidence of God’s desire to share the blessings of exaltation with His children.
Conclude by reading 3 Nephi 27:27 . Invite students to ponder what they can do to more fully follow the Savior’s admonition to be as He is.
3 Nephi 28. Some of the Lord’s Faithful Servants Have Been Translated So They Can Continue Their Ministry on the Earth
Have students read 3 Nephi 28:1–10 silently, noting how the twelve Nephite disciples answered when Jesus asked them, “What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?”
What blessing did the Lord promise the first nine disciples? What blessing did He give to the other three?
Help the students understand that the three disciples were placed in a condition we call being translated. Help them understand that this is different from being transfigured or resurrected. For further information, direct them to the definitions on page 339 in the student manual.
Ask students to name others in the scriptures who have been translated (possible answers include Enoch and his people, Moses, Elijah, and John the Beloved). Explain that the Lord translates those who need to (1) live beyond the normal span of mortality and (2) retain their physical body to accomplish their divinely appointed mission.
Divide the class into groups of three or four. To help students understand the experiences and conditions of the three disciples as presented in 3 Nephi 28, ask them to examine verses 6–40 and share insights about these verses. While students work in their groups, walk from group to group and listen to their comments. Encourage every student to contribute to the group’s discussion. Invite students to mark in their scriptures the insights shared by their groups. Insights should include that the Three Nephites:
Would not experience pain except sorrow for the sins of the world (see verse 9).
Received a sure promise of exaltation (see verse 10).
Saw and heard unspeakable things (see verses 13–14).
Would be protected so that the wicked would have no power over them (see verses 19–22).
Would be able to show themselves to others as they desired (see verse 30).
Would be blessed so that Satan would have no power over them (see verse 39).
Would remain on the earth until the Judgment Day (see verse 40).
Point out that the Savior told the Three Nephites that they would be among the Jews and Gentiles, who would not know them (see 3 Nephi 28:25–30). Therefore, many of the stories people hear about the Three Nephites are probably untrue. Also explain that the phrase “ye shall never endure the pains of death” (verse 8) is often misunderstood to mean that the Three Nephites would never die. As Paul taught, “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). This refers to everyone, including translated beings. However, translated beings pass through death very quickly and then become resurrected beings. They do not experience the separation of the body from the spirit for any appreciable length of time, as most of us will experience. This change will happen in what the scriptures call “the twinkling of an eye” (verse 8). In this sense, they do not “taste of death” (verse 7).
Ask three students to each read one of the following scripture passages. Invite the rest of the class to listen for descriptions of the work and ministry of the translated Nephites.
What do we learn about the three disciples from these scripture passages?
How did the translated condition of the three disciples help them accomplish their work?
Ask a student to read 3 Nephi 28:9–10.
Why did these three disciples want to stay on the earth?
According to these verses, what is one of the results of sharing the gospel with others?
Invite students to tell about the joy they have felt in sharing the gospel with others. You may also want to invite them to tell about the joy they have felt when others have shared the gospel with them.
3 Nephi 29:1–3. The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon Signaled the Beginning of the Gathering of Israel
Have students read 3 Nephi 29:1–3 and Moses 7:60–62. You may want to write these references on the board. Ask students to identify the teachings that these two scripture passages have in common. (They both prophesy of the gathering of Israel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. If students do not discover the references to the Book of Mormon, you may want to direct their attention to the phrase “these sayings” in 3 Nephi 29:1 and to the statement “truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten” in Moses 7:62.)
According to 3 Nephi 29:1–2, when would the gathering of Israel begin? (When “these sayings” in the Book of Mormon “shall come … according to his word.”)
Remind students that latter-day prophets have emphasized that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is more than a sign that the gathering has started. It is also an instrument to assist in the gathering.
“Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world. If we are to have the harvest of souls … , then we must use the instrument which God has designed for that task—the Book of Mormon” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 6–7; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 7).
In what ways do we participate in gathering Israel, or, in other words, inviting others to come unto Christ?
In what ways can the Book of Mormon help us in our efforts to invite others to come unto Christ?
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 29:3 while the other students listen for what the Lord promises to remember.
Remind students that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are also members of the house of Israel.
As a member of the house of Israel, what evidence do you have that the Lord has remembered the covenants He has made with you?
How might your knowledge that the Lord remembers His covenants with you influence your actions?
Time permitting, have students read 3 Nephi 29:4–9 and identify the Lord’s words to those who live in the last days—His warnings and His promised blessings.
Share your feelings about the Lord’s tender watchcare and about His work to save each of us and bring us home again.
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