Nephi concluded his record by declaring that his written words testify of Jesus Christ and persuade people to do good and endure to the end. He said that although he wrote “in weakness,” his words were “of great worth” and would “be made strong” for those who would read them (see 2 Nephi 33:3–4). He testified that his writings were “the words of Christ” and that people would be accountable to God for their response to them (see 2 Nephi 33:10–15).
Suggestions for Teaching
Draw the following picture on the board:
What is the difference between a message going unto someone’s heart and a message going into someone’s heart?
Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 33:1 aloud. Then ask students to ponder the following question silently.
Why do you think it is significant that the Holy Ghost carries the truth unto our hearts but not into our hearts?
As students ponder this question, read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Explain that in this statement, Elder Bednar is talking about 2 Nephi 33:1.
“Please notice how the power of the Spirit carries the message unto but not necessarily into the heart. A teacher can explain, demonstrate, persuade, and testify, and do so with great spiritual power and effectiveness. Ultimately, however, the content of a message and the witness of the Holy Ghost penetrate into the heart only if a receiver allows them to enter” (“Seek Learning by Faith” [address to CES religious educators, Feb. 3, 2006], 1, si.lds.org).
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Gerald N. Lund of the Seventy:
“Why just unto the heart? Individual agency is so sacred that Heavenly Father will never force the human heart, even with all His infinite power. … God allows us to be the guardians, or the gatekeepers, of our own hearts. We must, of our own free will, open our hearts to the Spirit” (“Opening Our Hearts,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 33).
What determines whether a message enters a person’s heart?
When have you felt that a gospel message entered your heart? What does this tell you about your heart at that time?
Ask students to read 2 Nephi 33:2 silently, identifying the way people respond to the Holy Ghost when they harden their hearts. You may want to explain that the word “naught” means “nothing.” To “esteem [written words] as things of naught” is to think that they are worthless.
What are some behaviors and attitudes of people with hard hearts?
For you, what is the message of 2 Nephi 33:2? (Students might respond that we choose to either open or close our hearts to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Make sure they understand that when we open our hearts, messages from the Holy Ghost can enter our hearts.)
Before moving on with the lesson, give students a moment to silently consider the condition of their hearts and to determine if they are allowing messages of truth to enter their hearts.
Write the following on the board:
2 Nephi 33:3—I pray continually for …
2 Nephi 33:4—I know …
2 Nephi 33:6—I glory …
2 Nephi 33:7—I have …
Invite students to read 2 Nephi 33:3–7 silently, looking for Nephi’s hopes for those who would read his words. Invite a few students to come to the board and complete the sentences, using their own words or the words of Nephi. (A few of the phrases on the board lead to more than one answer.)
How can we strengthen our personal testimonies of Jesus Christ and His Atonement?
Have five students take turns reading aloud from 2 Nephi 33:10–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for phrases in Nephi’s farewell that are meaningful to them. You might suggest that students mark these phrases.
Which phrases are meaningful to you? Why?
What did Nephi warn would happen to those who would reject his words? (As students respond to this question, you might suggest that they also think about how they will feel in the presence of the Lord if they have believed and followed the words of Nephi and other prophets.)
Ask students to read 2 Nephi 33:15 silently and to ponder Nephi’s final words: “I must obey.” Then give them a few minutes to look back through 1 and 2 Nephi, identifying examples of Nephi’s obedience. After a few minutes, ask students to share what they have found. Answers might include leaving Jerusalem, returning to Jerusalem to get the brass plates, returning to Jerusalem again to ask Ishmael’s family to join them, keeping two sets of plates, following the directions on the Liahona, building a ship, journeying to the promised land, separating from Laman and Lemuel, and leading his people in righteousness. As students provide examples, you might list them on the board.
Write the following on the board: I must …
Invite students to complete this sentence in their scripture study journals or class notebooks. Express your confidence that they can choose to be obedient. Share your thoughts about how Nephi’s words can help them strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and increase in their ability to do good.
2 Nephi Review
Take some time to help students review 2 Nephi. Ask them to think about what they have learned from this book, both in seminary and in their personal scripture study. If needed, encourage them to skim 2 Nephi to help them remember. Ask them to prepare to share something from 2 Nephi that has inspired them to do good and have faith in Jesus Christ, as Nephi said (see 2 Nephi 33:4). After sufficient time, ask several students to share their thoughts and feelings.
Share the following statements about the responsibility we have to read the Book of Mormon and the blessings that come into our lives when we fulfill this responsibility:
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “It seems to me that any member of this Church would never be satisfied until he or she had read the Book of Mormon time and time again, and thoroughly considered it so that he or she could bear witness that it is in very deed a record with the inspiration of the Almighty upon it, and that its history is true” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1961, 18).
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught that if members of the Church will read the Book of Mormon, “there will come into [their] lives and into [their] homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, Aug. 2005, 6).
To conclude the lesson, you might consider sharing a personal experience as a testimony that Nephi’s words in this chapter have been fulfilled in your life.