Lesson 7: I Know in Whom I Have Trusted

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 29–32


Purpose

To help class members strengthen their testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and to encourage them to find happiness through trusting in the Lord and keeping His commandments.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      2 Nephi 3. Lehi teaches his son Joseph about the ancient prophet Joseph, who prophesied of Joseph Smith. Lehi teaches Joseph that their descendants will be blessed through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

    2. b.

      2 Nephi 4. Lehi dies after giving his final counsel to his children and grandchildren. Nephi laments his own sinfulness but glories in God’s goodness.

    3. c.

      2 Nephi 5. The anger of Laman and Lemuel increases against Nephi. The followers of Nephi obey the Lord’s command to separate from the followers of Laman. The Nephites live “after the manner of happiness,” and the Lamanites are cursed for their wickedness.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:24–38; Bible Dictionary, “Joseph, Son of Rachel,” 716–17.

  3. 3.

    You may want to ask a class member to prepare to read 2 Nephi 4:15–35 aloud. Inform the class member that this passage is sometimes called “the Psalm of Nephi” and that it expresses some of Nephi’s deepest feelings.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

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

Tell class members that there are four men mentioned in 2 Nephi 3 who have the same name. Invite class members to look for these four men in 2 Nephi 3:1–15. After class members have had time to look through these verses, ask them whom they have found. The correct answers are listed below:

  1. a.

    Joseph, last-born son of Lehi and Sariah (2 Nephi 3:1–3)

  2. b.

    Joseph of Egypt (2 Nephi 3:4–5)

  3. c.

    Joseph Smith Jr. (2 Nephi 3:6–15)

  4. d.

    Joseph Smith Sr. (2 Nephi 3:15)

After this brief activity, go directly into a discussion of 2 Nephi 3.

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. Lehi teaches that his descendants will be blessed through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

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

  • Lehi taught his son Joseph about a prophecy made by Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel who was “carried captive into Egypt” (2 Nephi 3:4; see also Genesis 30:22–24; 37:1–3, 23–28). Why were the covenants that Joseph of Egypt made with the Lord important to Lehi’s family? (See 2 Nephi 3:4–5; Jacob 2:25; see also Genesis 45:7.)

  • Who was the “choice seer” whom Joseph of Egypt saw in vision? (See 2 Nephi 3:6–15. The Prophet Joseph Smith.) How did Joseph Smith “bring forth [the Lord’s] word”? (See 2 Nephi 3:11 and the quotation below.) How have you been blessed because of the word of God brought forth by Joseph Smith?

    Elder LeGrand Richards said: “The Prophet Joseph Smith brought us the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and many other writings. As far as our records show, he has given us more revealed truth than any prophet who has ever lived upon the face of the earth” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 43; or Ensign, May 1981, 33).

  • The Lord told Joseph of Egypt about the Bible, which would contain words written by descendants of Judah, and the Book of Mormon, which would contain words written by descendants of Joseph (2 Nephi 3:12). How have the Bible and the Book of Mormon “grow[n] together”? What blessings did the Lord say would come because the Bible and the Book of Mormon would “grow together”? (See 2 Nephi 3:12.)

  • The Lord promised that “a righteous branch” of the descendants of Joseph of Egypt would be “broken off” but would be “remembered in the covenants of the Lord” (2 Nephi 3:5). What are the roles of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon in the fulfillment of these covenants? (See 2 Nephi 3:12–13, 18–21; 30:3–6.) How is this promise being fulfilled today? How does the Book of Mormon help you remember and keep your covenants with the Lord?

  • What connects Joseph of Egypt, Lehi’s son Joseph, and Joseph Smith, in addition to their name? (See 2 Nephi 3:4–7, 11–12, 18–21. Answers may include lineage, covenants, and the Book of Mormon.)

2. Nephi laments his sinfulness but glories in the goodness of God.

Read and discuss selected verses from 2 Nephi 4. Explain that just before Lehi died, he counseled and blessed his children and grandchildren (2 Nephi 4:3–12).

Soon after Lehi’s death, “Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with [Nephi] because of the admonitions of the Lord” (2 Nephi 4:13). As Nephi wrote of these continuing difficulties, he recorded his feelings in a passage that is sometimes called “the Psalm of Nephi.” As an introduction to the discussion of the Psalm of Nephi, explain that a psalm is a poem or hymn, much like our hymns today. You may want to ask class members to name a few of their favorite hymns and briefly talk about why those hymns are meaningful to them.

If you have asked a class member to prepare to read the Psalm of Nephi, invite him or her to do so now. Invite the other class members to follow along silently.

  • Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth [them] continually” (2 Nephi 4:16). What specific things did Nephi delight in? (See 2 Nephi 4:15–16.) What does it mean to ponder? What can we do to make time to ponder the things of the Lord? How can pondering the things of the Lord help us?

  • What words would you use to describe Nephi? (Answers may include righteous, obedient, and humble.) Why would Nephi say that he was a “wretched man” whose “soul grieveth because of [his] iniquities”? (See 2 Nephi 4:17, 27; see also 1 Nephi 10:6.) Why is it important to recognize our fallen nature before God?

    President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ. No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 106; or Ensign, May 1987, 85).

  • How did Nephi find hope despite feeling “encompassed about” by temptation and sin? (See 2 Nephi 4:18–19.) How had the Lord helped Nephi in the past? (Have class members read 2 Nephi 4:20–25 to find answers to this question. List their answers on the chalkboard. Some possible answers are shown below.)

    The Lord had:

    1. a.

      Been Nephi’s support (2 Nephi 4:20).

    2. b.

      Led Nephi through afflictions in the wilderness (2 Nephi 4:20).

    3. c.

      Filled him with His love (2 Nephi 4:21).

    4. d.

      Confounded his enemies (2 Nephi 4:22).

    5. e.

      Heard his cry (2 Nephi 4:23).

    6. f.

      Given him knowledge by visions (2 Nephi 4:23).

  • When have you received similar blessings from the Lord? How can remembering blessings you have received in the past help you through difficult times?

  • Nephi asked himself why he yielded to sorrow and sin in spite of the things that he had seen and the things that he knew (2 Nephi 4:26–27). Why do we sometimes struggle with sorrow and temptation despite our knowledge of the gospel? What can Nephi’s psalm teach us about overcoming sorrow and temptation? (See 2 Nephi 4:28–30.)

  • In the first part of his psalm, Nephi’s words were directed toward himself (2 Nephi 4:15–30). The conclusion of the psalm was a prayer (2 Nephi 4:30–35). What did Nephi ask of Heavenly Father in this prayer? (See 2 Nephi 4:31–33. Invite class members to discuss parts of Nephi’s prayer that are especially meaningful to them. You may want to use some of the questions below to encourage discussion.)

    1. a.

      How does the Lord “deliver [us] out of the hands of [our] enemies”? (See 2 Nephi 4:31, 33.)

    2. b.

      What does it mean to “shake at the appearance of sin”? (See 2 Nephi 4:31; Mosiah 5:2; Alma 13:12.)

    3. c.

      What do you think it means to “walk in the path of the low valley” and “be strict in the plain road”? (2 Nephi 4:32).

    4. d.

      What do you think it means for the Lord to “encircle [us] around in the robe of [His] righteousness”? (2 Nephi 4:33).

  • In his prayer, what did Nephi promise to do? (See 2 Nephi 4:30, 34–35. He promised to trust God and praise Him forever.) What did Nephi mean when he said, “I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh”? (See 2 Nephi 4:34; 28:31.) What are some ways that people “trust in the arm of flesh”? What are the dangers of this? What can we do to increase our trust in the Lord?

3. The anger of Laman and Lemuel increases against Nephi, and the Lord commands the followers of Nephi to separate from the followers of Laman.

Read and discuss selected verses from 2 Nephi 5.

  • Why were Laman and Lemuel angry toward Nephi? (See 2 Nephi 4:13; 5:3.) What did Laman and Lemuel seek to do as a result of their increasing anger? (See 2 Nephi 5:2, 4. Compare their anger with Nephi’s efforts to control his anger, as recorded in 2 Nephi 4:27–29.) What are some dangers of increasing anger? What can we do to be peacemakers in the home, the community, and the Church?

    President Howard W. Hunter taught: “We need a more peaceful world, growing out of more peaceful families and neighborhoods and communities. To secure and cultivate such peace, ‘we must love others, even our enemies as well as our friends.’ … We need to extend the hand of friendship. We need to be kinder, more gentle, more forgiving, and slower to anger. We need to love one another with the pure love of Christ. May this be our course and our desire” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 87; or Ensign, May 1992, 63).

  • Because of the anger of his brothers, Nephi prayed for help (2 Nephi 5:1). How did the Lord answer his prayers? (See 2 Nephi 5:5.)

  • When Nephi and his people had departed, they “lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27). What did they do that contributed to their happiness? (See 2 Nephi 5:10–17. Answers may include that they kept the commandments, preserved the records that were on the plates of brass, built a temple, and worked together.) How can the Nephites’ example help us as we strive to live “after the manner of happiness”?

Conclusion

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.

“Awake, my soul! … Rejoice, O my heart” (2 Nephi 4:28)

Explain that we can follow Nephi’s example when we feel discouraged. Chapters 4 and 5 of 2 Nephi give several examples of things we can do to overcome feelings of discouragement. Discuss the following examples with class members:

  1. a.

    Read the scriptures (2 Nephi 4:15).

  2. b.

    Delight in and ponder the things of the Lord (2 Nephi 4:16).

  3. c.

    Trust in the Lord and look to Him for support (2 Nephi 4:20–21, 34).

  4. d.

    Engage in mighty prayer (2 Nephi 4:24).

  5. e.

    Be industrious; work (2 Nephi 5:15, 17).

  6. f.

    Serve in the temple (2 Nephi 5:16).