Lesson 135: 3 Nephi 29–30

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

As Mormon concluded his account of the Savior’s visit among the Nephites, he explained that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon would be a sign that the Lord was fulfilling His covenant with the house of Israel. He also warned that those who reject the works of God will be subject to God’s judgments. Finally, he recorded the Savior’s invitation for all people to repent and be numbered among the house of Israel.

Suggestions for Teaching

3 Nephi 29

Mormon testifies that the Lord will fulfill His covenant with the house of Israel in the last days

Copy the following chart on the board before class begins (or prepare it as a handout for each student):

  1. ______ 1.

    Gentiles

  1. a.

    Two meanings: (1) the descendants of the Old Testament prophet Jacob (Israel), with whom the Lord made covenants and (2) true believers in Jesus Christ who have made covenants with God

  1. ______ 2.

    House of Israel

  1. b.

    A promise to the faithful that included gospel blessings, priesthood authority, eternal families, and a land of inheritance

  1. ______ 3.

    Spurn

  1. c.

    Two meanings: (1) people of non-Israelite or non-Jewish lineage and (2) people without the gospel

  1. ______ 4.

    The Lord’s covenant with Israel

  1. d.

    Deep sadness and regret

  1. ______ 5.

    Wo

  1. e.

    To disregard or reject with disdain or contempt

Begin class by inviting students to match the words in the first column of the chart with their correct definitions in the second column (answers: 1-c, 2-a, 3-e, 4-b, 5-d). As students report their answers, make sure they understand each of the definitions. You might do this by inviting students to explain the definitions in their own words or by using each word or phrase in a sentence. Inform students that these definitions will help them better understand 3 Nephi 29–30.

Explain that after Mormon wrote about the Savior’s visit to the Nephites, he prophesied of the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises in the last days. Ask students if they have ever experienced the fulfillment of a divine promise, whether given in the scriptures, by a prophet, through the Holy Ghost, or through a priesthood blessing. Invite a few students to relate their experiences, but be sure to remind them that they should not share experiences that are too personal or private.

  • Why do you think some people might doubt that God will keep His promises?

  • How do you know that God keeps His promises?

Write the words When and Then on the board. Invite students to read 3 Nephi 29:1–3 silently, looking for the words on the board. Explain that these words will help them identify an event that will show that the Lord is keeping His promises to the house of Israel in the last days. (It may be helpful to explain that the phrase “these sayings” in 3 Nephi 29:1 refers to the writings of the Book of Mormon.)

  • How would you summarize the prophecy recorded in these verses? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a sign that the Lord is fulfilling His covenant to gather Israel in the latter days. You might want to encourage students to mark this truth in the chapter summary of 3 Nephi 29.)

Invite students to hold up their copies of the Book of Mormon. Explain that they have in their hands the fulfillment of Mormon’s prophecy and that they can be assured that the Lord is preparing His people for His coming. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“The Book of Mormon is a tangible sign that the Lord has commenced to gather His children of covenant Israel. …

“Indeed, the Lord has not forgotten! He has blessed us and others throughout the world with the Book of Mormon. … It helps us to make covenants with God. It invites us to remember Him and to know His Beloved Son. It is another testament of Jesus Christ” (“Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 88).

  • How is the fact that we have the Book of Mormon a witness that God will keep His promises?

Write the following question on the board: Why are Latter-day Saints interested in the Lord’s covenant with the house of Israel? Ask students to listen for answers to this question as you read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson, who lists promises that are part of the Lord’s covenant with His people. (You may want to provide each student with a copy of this statement.)

“The covenant God made with Abraham and later reaffirmed with Isaac and Jacob … contained several promises, including:

  • “•

    Jesus the Christ would be born through Abraham’s lineage.

  • “•

    Abraham’s posterity would be numerous, entitled to an eternal increase, and also entitled to bear the priesthood.

  • “•

    Abraham would become a father of many nations.

  • “•

    Certain lands would be inherited by his posterity.

  • “•

    All nations of the earth would be blessed by his seed.

  • “•

    And that covenant would be everlasting—even through ‘a thousand generations.’

“Some of these promises have been fulfilled; others are still pending. …

“Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction. Together we receive these promised blessings—if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments. …

“… Brigham Young said: ‘All Latter-day Saints enter the new and everlasting covenant when they enter this Church’” (“Covenants,” 87–88; quoting Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 62).

  • Using what you have learned from Elder Nelson’s statement, how might you answer the question on the board? (Students may give various answers, but make sure they identify the following truth: Latter-day Saints are part of the Lord’s covenant people, and we carry the responsibility to bless all nations.)

  • How do Latter-day Saints seek to bless the nations of the earth?

  • What role does the Book of Mormon play in these efforts?

Refer to the words spurn and wo from the matching activity. Explain that Mormon knew that in the last days there would be those who would spurn the Book of Mormon and other evidences of the fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant with His people. Ask students to read 3 Nephi 29:4–9 silently, looking for what will happen to those who spurn the Savior and His works. After students explain what they have found, you might want to suggest that they write the following truth in their scriptures: Sorrow will come to those who deny Jesus Christ and His works.

  • Why is sorrow a natural consequence of spurning the Savior and His works?

  • How would you respond to someone who says that the Lord does not speak to man or perform miracles?

  • How can we better recognize and appreciate the Lord and His works in our lives?

3 Nephi 30

The Lord exhorts the Gentiles to repent and come unto Him

Refer to the word Gentiles from the matching activity. Inform students that in 3 Nephi 30, Mormon fulfilled a commandment from the Lord to record an invitation from Jesus Christ specifically to the Gentiles, or people without the gospel. Invite students to read 3 Nephi 30:1–2 silently, looking for as many invitations to the Gentiles as they can find. After they report what they have found, ask:

  • Which of these invitations do you think could be a summary of all the others? (The invitation to come unto Christ includes repentance, baptism, the reception of the Holy Ghost, and being numbered among the Lord’s people.)

  • What blessings does Jesus Christ promise to the Gentiles if they will come unto Him? (Remission of sins, being filled with the Holy Ghost, and being numbered among His people.)

  • Why is it a blessing to be numbered among the Lord’s people?

Write the following principle on the board: If we come unto Christ, we will be numbered among His people. Explain that even though 3 Nephi 30:2 is addressed to those who are not members of the Church, we can use Jesus Christ’s invitation to measure our own efforts to keep the covenants we have made with God. Testify of the blessings that come from keeping our covenants and the Lord’s commandments.

3 Nephi Review

Take some time to help students review the book of 3 Nephi. Ask them to think about what they have learned from this book, both in seminary and in their personal scripture study. If needed, invite them to briefly review some of the chapter summaries in 3 Nephi to help them remember. After sufficient time, invite several students to share something from 3 Nephi that was inspiring to them or that has helped them have greater faith in Jesus Christ.

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery Review

Give each student a blank piece of paper. Invite them to write a letter to a person (either imaginary or someone they know) who is not a member of the Church. Suggest that they search scripture mastery passages for truths they can use to invite the recipient of the letter to come unto Christ and be numbered among His people. Ask a few students to share what they wrote.

Note: The length of this lesson may allow time for this activity. For other scripture mastery review activities, see the appendix at the end of this manual.

Commentary and Background Information

3 Nephi 30:1–2. The gathering of Israel

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

“The gathering of Israel consists of joining the true church and their coming to a knowledge of the true God. … Any person, therefore, who has accepted the restored gospel, and who now seeks to worship the Lord in his own tongue and with the Saints in the nations where he lives, has complied with the law of the gathering of Israel and is heir to all of the blessings promised the Saints in these last days” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 439).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

3 Nephi 30:2. “Turn … from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings”

Invite students to use 3 Nephi 30:2 to evaluate their efforts to come unto Christ by turning from “evil doings.” Make a copy of the following chart for each student. (Or you could read the items on the chart slowly and have students copy them in notebooks or scripture study journals.) Explain that some of the actions listed on the chart represent serious sins. Students can use the material provided in parentheses to adapt each category to their own situations and to help them evaluate themselves regarding related but less serious actions.

Have students evaluate themselves silently and privately, and tell them it is not necessary to record their responses. Also remind them that sharing or exploring past transgressions publicly is inappropriate.

“Evil doings” mentioned in 3 Nephi 30:2

I do this often I never do this

Lying and deceiving (leading someone to believe something that is not true)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Secret abominations (private actions that are sinful or offensive to God)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Idolatries (giving priority to the things of the world over the things of God)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Priestcrafts (participating in religious activities to glorify oneself rather than to serve God and others)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Envyings (being jealous or resentful of what someone else has)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Strifes (contention, fighting, or quarreling)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Invite students to determine which “evil doings” they need to more fully turn away from in order to come unto Christ. Consider asking them to complete the following statement on a separate piece of paper: “I will come unto Christ by … , so I can receive the full blessings of the covenant.” Suggest that they carry the paper with them as they strive to accomplish their goals.

Invite students to share what it means to them to be numbered among the Lord’s covenant people. You may also want to share your feelings and testify of how you know that the Lord fulfills His promises to His people.