Lesson 36: On the Morrow Come I into the World

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 160–63


Purpose

To help class members understand the need to endure faithfully in times of trial and temptation.

Preparation

Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

  1. a.

    3 Nephi 1:1–22. Despite signs and miracles in the land, unbelievers claim that the time for the Savior’s coming has passed. The wicked plan to slay the believers. The signs of the Savior’s birth appear and vindicate those who have endured in faith.

  2. b.

    3 Nephi 2–4. Wickedness increases in the land. The Gadianton robbers become more powerful and come to battle against the Nephites. The Nephites repent of their wickedness, and the Lord helps them defeat the Gadianton robbers.

  3. c.

    3 Nephi 5–7. The Nephites forsake their sins and live righteously. As they prosper, pride and dissensions arise in the Church. The people are soon living “in a state of awful wickedness.” Nephi preaches repentance and faith in Christ, and a few of the people are converted.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Share with class members the following fable related by Elder George A. Smith, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“A man, traveling through the country, came to a large city, very rich and splendid; he looked at it and said to his guide, ‘This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city.’

“The guide replied, ‘You do not understand, sir; this city is so perfectly given up to wickedness, corruption, degradation and abomination of every kind that it only requires one devil to keep them all in subjection.’

“Traveling on a little further he came to a rugged path and saw an old man trying to get up the hill side, surrounded by seven great, big, coarse looking devils.

“‘Why,’ says the traveller, ‘this must be a tremendously wicked old man, only see how many devils there are around him!’

“‘This,’ replied the guide, ‘is the only righteous man in the country and there are seven of the biggest devils trying to turn him out of his path and they all cannot do it’” (in Deseret News, 11 Nov. 1857, 7:287).

Explain that as we strive to faithfully keep the commandments, we will face opposition. Today’s lesson discusses the opposition faced by the believers among the Nephites. Some people endured in spite of all opposition, while others received great blessings yet quickly “turned from their righteousness” (3 Nephi 7:8). From these chapters we can learn the importance of remaining faithful in spite of trials and temptation.

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. The signs of the Savior’s birth vindicate those who have endured in faith.

Read and discuss selected verses from 3 Nephi 1:1–22. Explain that the events in this chapter occurred five years after Samuel prophesied of Jesus’ birth. Samuel had said, “Five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God” (Helaman 14:2). You may wish to briefly review Samuel’s prophecies of the signs that would accompany Jesus’ birth (Helaman 14:2–7).

  • While waiting for Samuel’s prophecies to be fulfilled, “the people who believed began to be very sorrowful” (3 Nephi 1:7). What were some of the reasons for their sorrow? (See 3 Nephi 1:5–9.)

    1. a.

      Some unbelievers said that the time was past for the prophecies to be fulfilled and that the believers’ faith was in vain (3 Nephi 1:5–6).

    2. b.

      Unbelievers made “a great uproar throughout the land” (3 Nephi 1:7).

    3. c.

      A day was selected to put to death all believers (3 Nephi 1:9).

  • In spite of these challenges to their faith, what did the believers do? (See 3 Nephi 1:8.) What can we do to remain steadfast when our faith is challenged?

  • When Nephi saw the wickedness of the unbelievers, he prayed to the Lord for his people (3 Nephi 1:10–11). What message was revealed to Nephi after he had prayed all day for his people? (See 3 Nephi 1:12–14. You may want to have a class member read these verses aloud.) How were Samuel’s prophecies fulfilled? (See 3 Nephi 1:15–21.) How does this account help strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ?

2. The Gadianton robbers come to battle against the Nephites.

Discuss 3 Nephi 2–4. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud.

  • How did Satan try to turn people away from their belief in the Savior and His birth? (See 3 Nephi 1:22; 2:1–3. Point out that Satan gradually gained possession of the hearts of the people, and soon the people “began to forget those signs and wonders.”) Which of these tactics have you seen the adversary use today? What can we do to remember and preserve our spiritual experiences?

  • As the people began to increase in wickedness, what dangers did they face? (See 3 Nephi 2:11–13, 17–19.) What kinds of behavior and attitudes threaten our safety today?

  • In the 16th year from the time of Christ’s birth, Lachoneus, the governor and chief judge of the Nephites, received a letter from Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers (3 Nephi 3:1). What did Giddianhi desire of Lachoneus? (See 3 Nephi 3:6–8.)

  • When the Gadianton robbers announced their intention to destroy the Nephites, the people began at once to prepare to protect themselves, under the direction of Lachoneus and Gidgiddoni. What can we learn from their actions that can help protect us in times of temptation and fear? (Have class members read 3 Nephi 3:12–26 to find answers to this question. Summarize class members’ responses on the chalkboard. Some answers are listed below, with questions to encourage discussion.)

    1. a.

      “Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened” (3 Nephi 3:12). How might fear cause someone to give in to temptation? How can personal righteousness help us remain courageous when we face temptation or affliction?

    2. b.

      Lachoneus told the people to “cry unto the Lord for strength” (3 Nephi 3:12). Why is it important to pray for strength to face temptations or challenges?

    3. c.

      Lachoneus caused the people to “gather themselves together” (3 Nephi 3:13, 22). Why was it important for the Nephites to gather into one place to defend themselves? (See 3 Nephi 4:3–4.) How can our association with other members of the Church increase our ability to withstand the forces of evil? (See Moroni 6:4–6.)

    4. d.

      “He caused that fortifications should be built” and placed “guards round about” (3 Nephi 3:14). How can we fortify ourselves and guard against temptation?

    5. e.

      The Nephites did “exert themselves … to do according to the words of Lachoneus” (3 Nephi 3:16). How are we blessed when we follow inspired leaders?

    6. f.

      “They did repent of all their sins” (3 Nephi 3:25). How does repentance help us receive greater strength from the Lord?

    7. g.

      They were “strong with armor” (3 Nephi 3:26). What armor have we been counseled to put on? (See D&C 27:15–18.) Why are we taught to put on the whole armor of God? How can we wear this armor each day?

  • What was the result of these preparations when the Gadianton robbers came against the Nephites? (See 3 Nephi 4:11–13, 16–29.) How did the Nephites rejoice after their victory? (See 3 Nephi 4:30–33.) In what ways can we show our gratitude to the Lord for protecting and blessing us?

3. The Nephites live righteously and prosper, but pride and dissensions arise.

Read and discuss selected verses from 3 Nephi 5–7. Explain that the Nephites defeated the Gadianton robbers in the 21st year after the birth of Christ. In 13 more years, the Savior would visit the Nephites and minister to them.

  • For several years after the defeat of the Gadianton robbers, the Nephites enjoyed great peace and prosperity (3 Nephi 5:1–26; 6:1–9). What happened to disrupt their peace? (See 3 Nephi 6:10–15. You may also want to review briefly the pride cycle discussed in lesson 34.)

  • As the people continued in their wickedness, prophets came to call them to repentance, but the people rejected and killed them (3 Nephi 6:17–23). Secret combinations increased, and the people were soon divided into tribes (3 Nephi 6:27–30; 7:1–5). What did Nephi do in response to this wickedness? (See 3 Nephi 7:15–19.) What was the result of his work? (See 3 Nephi 7:21–26.)

Write on the chalkboard the dates that are listed below. Assign different class members to read the corresponding passages aloud. As each passage is read, ask class members to describe the spiritual condition of the people.

A.D. 21–26

3 Nephi 5:1–3 (The people served God “with all diligence.”)

A.D. 26–27

3 Nephi 6:4–5 (There was great order and prosperity.)

A.D. 28

3 Nephi 6:9 (There was continual peace.)

A.D. 29

3 Nephi 6:10–16 (There were disputings, pride, and boasting.)

A.D. 30

3 Nephi 6:17–18 (“They were in a state of awful wickedness.”)

A.D. 31

3 Nephi 7:21 (A few people were converted to the Lord.)

A.D. 32–33

3 Nephi 7:23 (Nephi continued to cry repentance.)

  • What blessings could all the people have enjoyed if they had remained faithful? (See 3 Nephi 10:18–19. The more righteous part of the people were spared during the destruction that accompanied the Crucifixion of the Savior. They received great blessings when the Savior visited them after His Resurrection. The more wicked part of the people were destroyed. These events will be discussed in the next lesson.)

Conclusion

Explain that we also wait for the coming of the Savior. While we wait, Satan will try to turn us toward wickedness as he did the Nephites. If we prepare ourselves as did the people in the time of Lachoneus, and if we endure in righteousness, we will be worthy to receive all that the Lord desires to bestow upon us.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Idea

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use this idea as part of the lesson.

“I am a disciple of Jesus Christ” (3 Nephi 5:13)

Have a class member read 3 Nephi 5:13 aloud. Explain that this verse contains words of the prophet Mormon.

  • What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ today?