Lesson 6: Free to Choose Liberty and Eternal Life

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 25–28


Purpose

To help class members have a greater desire to “choose liberty and eternal life” through Jesus Christ, “the great Mediator of all men” (2 Nephi 2:27).

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      2 Nephi 1. Lehi teaches that his people have “obtained a land of promise” by covenant. He exhorts his sons to repent, obey the Lord’s commandments, and put on the armor of righteousness.

    2. b.

      2 Nephi 2:1–10. Lehi teaches that redemption comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

    3. c.

      2 Nephi 2:11–30. Lehi teaches that opposition is necessary in Heavenly Father’s plan and that we are “free to choose liberty and eternal life … or to choose captivity and death.”

  2. 2.

    If you use the attention activity, bring an alarm clock to class.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

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

Bring an alarm clock to class, and set it to ring at the beginning of the lesson. When it rings, point out that we often need something like an alarm clock to help us wake up. Explain that this lesson begins with counsel from Lehi to help some of his sons wake up spiritually.

Scripture Discussion and Application

The chapters covered in this lesson contain some of Lehi’s final words to his children. Encourage class members to look for ways to apply Lehi’s counsel in their lives. Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs.

1. Lehi exhorts his sons to repent, obey the Lord’s commandments, and put on the armor of righteousness.

Discuss 2 Nephi 1. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that this chapter contains counsel that Lehi gave to his sons shortly before he died. Ask class members to look for specific things that Lehi counseled his sons to do and for the blessings that he promised they would receive if they obeyed his counsel.

  • Lehi said that despite their afflictions, his people had “obtained a land of promise” by covenant (2 Nephi 1:5). What was the covenant between the Lord and Lehi’s people? (See 2 Nephi 1:6–7, 9–10.) What did Lehi say would happen to the inhabitants of the land if they rejected the Savior? (See 2 Nephi 1:10–12.)

  • Lehi called his sons to repentance by commanding them to “awake … from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which [they were] bound” (2 Nephi 1:13; see also verses 2 Nephi 1:14, 21, 23). How is sinfulness like being in a deep sleep? How is sinfulness like being bound by chains?

  • Lehi counseled his sons to “arise from the dust … and be men” (2 Nephi 1:21). What are the qualities of a righteous man? (See 2 Nephi 1:21–27. Have class members search these verses for the qualities Lehi suggested. You may want to list these and other qualities on the chalkboard.) What is the world’s definition of manhood? How can we help young men choose righteousness over the world’s definition of manhood?

  • What blessings had Lehi received through his faithfulness? (Have a class member read 2 Nephi 1:15 aloud. Note that while some of his sons were bound by the “awful chains” of sin, Lehi was “encircled about eternally in the arms of [the Savior’s] love.” Emphasize that as we humbly come unto Christ through repentance and obedience, we will be redeemed and “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”)

2. Lehi testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Read and discuss 2 Nephi 2:1–10.

  • Lehi said that “by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off” (2 Nephi 2:5). To be justified is to be reconciled to God, pardoned from punishment for sin, and declared righteous and guiltless. How does the law cut us off and prevent us from being justified? (See James 2:10; 1 Nephi 10:21. When we disobey the commandments, we become guilty and unclean, and no unclean thing can dwell with God.)

  • Since we cannot be justified by the law, how can we be justified and made worthy to enter God’s presence? (See 2 Nephi 2:6–8. Emphasize that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can repent and be forgiven of our sins.)

  • Lehi said that the Savior would “answer the ends of the law” (2 Nephi 2:7). The phrase “the ends of the law” refers to the consequences of the Fall and to the “punishment that is affixed” for disobedience to God’s commandments (2 Nephi 2:5, 10). How did the Savior answer the ends of the law? (See 2 Nephi 2:7; Alma 34:13–16; D&C 19:16–19; 45:3–5; see also the quotation below.)

    President Joseph F. Smith said, “Jesus came and suffered, ‘the just for the unjust,’ he that was without sin for him that had sinned, and was subjected to the penalty of the law which the sinner had transgressed” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 204).

  • How must we live so we can be justified through Christ’s suffering for our sins? (See 2 Nephi 2:7; see also Romans 10:4; D&C 19:15–16; Articles of Faith 1:3.)

  • Ask a class member to read 2 Nephi 2:8 aloud. What are “these things” that we should make known? (See 2 Nephi 2:6–8.) How can we “make these things known”? How does our making these things known show gratitude to the Savior for His Atonement?

3. Lehi teaches the importance of opposition and the freedom to choose good from evil.

Read and discuss selected verses from 2 Nephi 2:11–30.

As Lehi taught his sons about the need for opposition, he reviewed the account of Adam and Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit. Have class members take turns reading a few verses from 2 Nephi 2:15–25. Ask them to look for (1) conditions that existed for Adam and Eve before they partook of the forbidden fruit and (2) the opposition Adam and Eve experienced after they partook of the fruit. Summarize class members’ responses in a chart on the chalkboard. The chart should look something like the chart below.

Note that in 2 Nephi 2 Lehi mentions some of the conditions that were brought about by the Fall. However, the doctrine of the Fall is broader in scope than is presented in this chapter. Class members should understand that the Fall brought physical death and spiritual death into the world, thus bringing the plan of redemption into operation.

Conditions Before Partaking of the Fruit

Opposition Experienced After Partaking of the Fruit

They could act for themselves (2 Nephi 2:15–16), but they did not do good “for they knew no sin” (2 Nephi 2:23).

They could do good, and they could also commit sin (2 Nephi 2:23). They were commanded to repent of their sins (2 Nephi 2:21).

They did not have to till the ground in order for food to grow in the garden (2 Nephi 2:19; see also Moses 2:29).

They had to work to obtain food (2 Nephi 2:19).

They knew no misery or joy (2 Nephi 2:23).

They experienced misery and joy (2 Nephi 2:23).

They would have remained “in the same state … forever, and had no end” (2 Nephi 2:22).

They became fallen and mortal—subject to physical death (2 Nephi 2:22; see also Moses 6:48).

  • If Adam and Eve had not partaken of the fruit, they would not have experienced the opposition mentioned in this chart (2 Nephi 2:22–23). What blessings can we receive because the Fall of Adam and Eve brought opposition into the world? (See 2 Nephi 2:23–27; Moses 5:10–12.)

  • Lehi told his children that “it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11; see also verse 2 Nephi 2:15). How have you seen that it is important to have opposition in our daily lives? (You may want to have class members read 2 Nephi 2:11–13 as they discuss this question.) How can opposition help us progress?

  • According to 2 Nephi 2:24–28, what does our Father in Heaven want for us? (Joy, liberty, and eternal life.) How did He provide a way for us to receive these blessings? (See 2 Nephi 2:26–27; see also John 14:6.) What does Satan want for us? (See 2 Nephi 2:18, 27, 29. Misery, captivity, and spiritual death.) How do our individual actions determine whether we receive joy, liberty, and eternal life or misery, captivity, and spiritual death?

    Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught: “The Lord has given you the gift of agency (see Moses 7:32) and instructed you sufficiently to know good from evil (see 2 Nephi 2:5). You are free to choose (see 2 Nephi 2:27) and are permitted to act (see 2 Nephi 10:23; Helaman 14:30), but you are not free to choose the consequences. With absolute certainty, choices of good and right lead to happiness and peace, while choices of sin and evil eventually lead to unhappiness, sorrow, and misery” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, 94; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 75).

  • 2 Nephi 2 contains the doctrines of the Creation (2 Nephi 2:14–15), the Fall (2 Nephi 2:4–5, 8, 18–25), and the Atonement (2 Nephi 2:3–4, 6–10, 26–27). How are these three doctrines central to Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption?

Conclusion

Emphasize that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be “encircled about eternally in the arms of [the Savior’s] love” (2 Nephi 1:15). Explain that it is a great blessing to be “free to choose,” and encourage class members to “choose liberty and eternal life” through Jesus Christ, “the great Mediator of all men” (2 Nephi 2:27).

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.

Using Lehi’s teachings to counter the teachings of the world

Write on the chalkboard the statements listed below under the heading “False Teachings of the World.” Invite class members to imagine that they have heard a friend, coworker, or schoolteacher present persuasive arguments for these false statements. Then explain that Lehi shared truths that can give us peace and reassurance when we are confronted by the world’s false teachings. Write on the chalkboard the scripture references listed below under the heading “Lehi’s Teachings.” Have class members read each scripture passage and determine how it could help them feel peace if they are troubled by the false teachings of the world. Encourage class members to discuss ways to apply the scripture references in their lives.

False Teachings of the World

Lehi’s Teachings

There is no good or evil.

2 Nephi 2:5. (“Men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.”)

There is no law.

2 Nephi 2:5. (“The law is given unto men.”)

There is no Christ.

2 Nephi 2:6. (“Redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah.”)

There is no existence after this life.

2 Nephi 2:10. (“All men [will] stand in the presence of [God], to be judged of him.”)

There is no God.

2 Nephi 2:14. (“There is a God.”)

Life has no purpose.

2 Nephi 2:25. (“Men are, that they might have joy.”)

Our actions are determined by genetics and environment.

2 Nephi 2:26–27. (We are free “to act for [our]selves and not to be acted upon.” We are “free to choose liberty and eternal life … or to choose captivity and death.”)