Lesson 42: This Is My Gospel

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 185–89


Purpose

To help class members understand the fundamental doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach them that living the gospel is the only way to true and eternal happiness.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      3 Nephi 27. The Savior commands His twelve Nephite disciples to call the Church after His name. He expounds His gospel.

    2. b.

      3 Nephi 28. One by one, the Savior grants His twelve Nephite disciples the desires of their hearts. Three of the disciples desire and are given power to remain on earth to preach the gospel until the Savior returns in His glory.

    3. c.

      4 Nephi 1. All the people are converted, and they establish a society of perfect peace. Many years later, the majority of the people dwindle in unbelief and reject the gospel.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Doctrine and Covenants 39:1–6.

  3. 3.

    If the picture Christ with the Three Nephites is available, prepare to use it during the lesson (Gospel Art Picture Kit 324).

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

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

Write on the chalkboard Mormon Church. Ask class members to silently consider their feelings about this nickname. Then read the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer:

“Others refer to us as Mormons. I do not mind if they use that title. However, sometimes we are prone ourselves to say ‘Mormon Church.’ I do not think it best for us to do so” (“The Peaceable Followers of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 64).

  • Why is it best not to refer to ourselves as the “Mormon Church”?

    The First Presidency stated: “Keep in mind that this is the Church of Jesus Christ; please emphasize that fact in making contacts with others. … We feel that some may be misled by the too frequent use of the term ‘Mormon Church’” (“Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Mar. 1983, 79).

Erase Mormon Church from the chalkboard. Tell class members that 3 Nephi 27 includes Jesus’ instructions to His Nephite disciples concerning the name of His Church.

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 Savior commands His Nephite disciples to call the Church after His name. He expounds His gospel.

Read and discuss selected verses from 3 Nephi 27.

  • Jesus’ Nephite disciples were “united in mighty prayer and fasting” when Jesus came to them and asked, “What will ye that I shall give unto you?” (3 Nephi 27:1–2). What did the disciples ask of Him? (See 3 Nephi 27:3.) What was His answer to their question? (See 3 Nephi 27:4–9.)

  • The Lord has commanded that His restored Church, like His Church among the Nephites, be called after His name (D&C 115:4). Why is it important for us to remember that the Church is called after the name of Jesus Christ?

  • Jesus said, “Whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name” (3 Nephi 27:7). What are some things we do in the name of Christ? (In addition to asking for class members’ responses, you may want to read the quotation below.)

    President Boyd K. Packer said:

    “Every prayer we offer is in His name. Every ordinance performed is in His name. Every baptism, confirmation, blessing, ordination, every sermon, every testimony is concluded with the invocation of His sacred name. It is in His name that we heal the sick and perform other miracles of which we do not, cannot, speak.

    “In the sacrament we take upon ourselves the name of Christ. We covenant to remember Him and keep His commandments. He is present in all that we believe” (“The Peaceable Followers of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 64).

  • Jesus taught that in addition to being called after His name, His Church must be “built upon [His] gospel.” He said, “If it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it” (3 Nephi 27:10). What are the works of the Father? (For some answers, see 3 Nephi 21:1–9, 24–29; Moses 1:39.) How have you seen these works in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Point out that when Latter-day Saints bear their testimonies, they often say that they know the gospel is true. Ask class members to silently consider how they would respond if, after saying “I know the gospel is true,” they were asked, “What is the gospel?”

Write “This is my gospel” on the chalkboard. Explain that after Jesus said that His Church must be built on His gospel, He gave His disciples a concise, complete definition of His gospel. Have class members take turns reading verses in 3 Nephi 27:13–22, looking for different aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may want to invite a class member to list the responses on the chalkboard. Some possible responses follow:

  1. a.

    Jesus’ submission to the will of the Father (3 Nephi 27:13)

  2. b.

    The Atonement (3 Nephi 27:14)

  3. c.

    Resurrection (3 Nephi 27:14–15)

  4. d.

    Judgment (3 Nephi 27:14–15)

  5. e.

    Repentance (3 Nephi 27:16, 19–20)

  6. f.

    Baptism (3 Nephi 27:16, 20)

  7. g.

    Faith in Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 27:19)

  8. h.

    The gift of the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 27:20)

  9. i.

    Enduring to the end (3 Nephi 27:16–17, 19)

  • What did the Savior promise to those who live according to His gospel? (See 3 Nephi 27:21–22.)

  • Jesus asked His disciples, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” What was the answer to this question? (See 3 Nephi 27:27. Invite class members to silently consider what they can do to be more like the Savior.)

2. The Savior grants the desires of His twelve disciples. Three of the disciples choose to remain on the earth until His Second Coming.

Read and discuss selected verses from 3 Nephi 28. Explain that before the Savior returned to His Father, He spoke to His disciples one by one and asked what each desired of Him. Nine asked that their ministries might end when they reached a certain age and that they might then go speedily to Him in His kingdom. The other three were hesitant to express their desire, but the Savior knew their thoughts (3 Nephi 28:1–5). If you are using the picture of Jesus with the three Nephites, display it now.

  • What was the desire of the last three Nephite disciples? (See 3 Nephi 28:7–9. They wanted to remain on earth and bring souls to Christ until the end of the world.) Jesus said that these disciples were “more blessed” because of their desire (3 Nephi 28:7). What can we learn from this statement? (See D&C 15:6; 16:6; 18:10–16.)

  • In response to their request, the three disciples were transfigured, meaning that their bodies were changed so they “could behold the things of God” (3 Nephi 28:13–15). Then they were translated. What does the account in 3 Nephi 28 teach about translated beings? (See 3 Nephi 28:7–40 and the list below. You may want to divide the class into three groups, assigning one group to read verses 7–17, a second group to read verses 18–28, and a third group to read verses 29–40. Have each group report on the things that their assigned verses teach about translated beings.)

    1. a.

      Translated beings never taste of death or endure the pains of death (3 Nephi 28:7–8, 38).

    2. b.

      When the Savior comes in His glory, they will be “changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality” (3 Nephi 28:8).

    3. c.

      Except for the sorrow they feel for the sins of the world, they do not experience pain or sorrow (3 Nephi 28:9, 38).

    4. d.

      They help people become converted to the Lord (3 Nephi 28:9, 18, 23, 29–30).

    5. e.

      They cannot be killed or harmed in any way (3 Nephi 28:19–22).

    6. f.

      Satan cannot tempt them or have any power over them (3 Nephi 28:39).

    7. g.

      They remain in a translated state until the Judgment Day, when they will be resurrected and received into the kingdom of God (3 Nephi 28:40).

    Note: Stories often circulate about the three Nephites who were translated. Members of the Church should be careful about accepting or retelling these stories. You should not discuss them in class.

3. After many years of peace, the majority of the people dwindle in unbelief and reject the gospel.

Read and discuss selected verses from 4 Nephi. Explain that the short book of 4 Nephi contains Mormon’s abridgment of about 300 years of history. The history was originally written by four men: Nephi, who was named after his father, one of the Savior’s twelve Nephite disciples; Nephi’s son Amos; and Amos’s sons Amos and Ammaron. The first part of the book describes a period of great righteousness and happiness, and the second part of the book tells of the people’s decline into wickedness.

To begin your discussion of 4 Nephi, you may want to have class members take turns reading verses from 4 Nephi 1:1–18. Ask them to look for characteristics of the people described in these verses. List the characteristics on the chalkboard as class members mention them.

  • For many years after Jesus’ visit, there was no contention among the people (4 Nephi 1:2, 4, 13, 15–18). Why was there no contention? (See 4 Nephi 1:15.) How can we become like the righteous people described in 4 Nephi? What can we do so that the love of God will dwell in our hearts?

    President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “If the world is to be improved, the process of love must make a change in [our] hearts. … It can do so when we look beyond self to give our love to God and others, and do so with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind” (“And the Greatest of These Is Love,” Ensign, Mar. 1984, 5).

  • During this period of peace, there was not “any manner of -ites” (4 Nephi 1:17). What does this mean? (See 4 Nephi 1:2–3, 15–17.) What problems exist today because of distinctions between groups of people? In what ways can the gospel help us become united, despite our differences?

  • What contributed to the end of this long era of peace? (Have class members scan 4 Nephi 1:20–46 to find answers to this question. Summarize their answers on the chalkboard. Some possible responses are shown below.)

    1. a.

      Division and the creation of classes (4 Nephi 1:20, 26, 35)

    2. b.

      Pride and greed because of riches (4 Nephi 1:23–25, 41, 43; see also 3 Nephi 27:32)

    3. c.

      Churches that professed to know Christ but denied most of His gospel (4 Nephi 1:26–29, 34)

    4. d.

      Churches built up to help people get gain (4 Nephi 1:26–29, 41)

    5. e.

      Hard-heartedness (4 Nephi 1:31)

    6. f.

      Persecution of Christ’s followers (4 Nephi 1:29–34)

    7. g.

      Parents teaching children not to believe in Christ (4 Nephi 1:38)

    8. h.

      Parents teaching children to hate (4 Nephi 1:39)

    9. i.

      Secret combinations (4 Nephi 1:42, 46)

  • The attitudes and actions described in 4 Nephi 1:40–46 led to the Nephites’ destruction. Why is it important for us to examine this account?

Conclusion

Have a class member read aloud the Lord’s promises in 3 Nephi 27:10, 22, 28–29. Point out that when the people remained faithful to the gospel, “there could not [have been] a happier people” (4 Nephi 1:16). As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. Responding to persecution

  • How did “the people of Jesus” respond when they were persecuted? (See 4 Nephi 1:34.) How did this response show that they were indeed Jesus’ people? (See 3 Nephi 12:10–12, 38–39.) How should we respond if we are persecuted?

    President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Let us reach out with love and kindness to those who would revile against us. … In the spirit of the Christ who advised us to turn the other cheek, let us try to overcome evil with good” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 112; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 77).

2. Insights from 3 Nephi 29–30

Discuss 3 Nephi 29–30. Chapter 29 teaches of the relationship between the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant with Israel (3 Nephi 29:1–4, 8–9). Chapter 30 contains words that the Lord commanded Mormon to write to latter-day Gentiles.