Lesson 53

Mosiah 3

“Lesson 53: Mosiah 3,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

Continuing his address to his people, King Benjamin conveyed the words an angel had spoken to him concerning the ministry and Atonement of Jesus Christ. King Benjamin testified that through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, those who have sinned can still receive salvation. He also taught that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, an individual who yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit “putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint” (Mosiah 3:19).

Suggestions for Teaching

Mosiah 3:1–15

King Benjamin delivers an angel’s words about the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Display an empty glass and a container of water. Invite a student to demonstrate how much water he or she would pour into the glass for someone who wants only a taste of the water. Then have the student demonstrate how much he or she would pour for someone who wants to be filled. Ask students to ponder the following question:

  • If the water represents joy, how much would you want in your glass?

As students study Mosiah 3 today, invite them to look for truths that can help them be filled with greater joy in their lives.

King Benjamin Addresses His People

Consider displaying the picture King Benjamin Addresses His People (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 74; see also lds.org/media-library). Explain that Mosiah 3 records that King Benjamin continued to speak to his people, relating what an angel of the Lord had communicated to him. Invite a student to read Mosiah 3:2–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the purpose of the angel’s visit.

  • According to verses 3 and 4, why did the angel visit King Benjamin? (To declare tidings of joy and to tell King Benjamin and his people that they could rejoice and be filled with joy.)

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 3:5–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the glad tidings that the angel declared to King Benjamin.

  • What were the glad tidings that the angel declared to King Benjamin? (The Savior’s life and mission, including His Atonement.)

  • What does Mosiah 3:7 help you understand about the Savior’s mission? (Help students identify the following truth: As part of His Atonement, Jesus Christ suffered more than man can suffer. Invite students to consider marking the phrases in verse 7 that teach this truth.)

  • What do you think it means that Jesus Christ suffered “more than man can suffer, except it be unto death” (verse 7)? (The suffering Jesus Christ endured during His Atonement would have killed any other person.)

To help students deepen their understanding of the Savior’s suffering, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder James E. Talmage

“Christ’s agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. … He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. … In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ [John 14:30] could inflict. …

“In some manner, actual and terribly real though to man incomprehensible, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 613).

  • Why do you think that the angel would introduce the Savior’s life and Atonement as “glad tidings of great joy” (Mosiah 3:3)?

  • What are your feelings as you think about what the Savior has done for you?

Explain that as recorded in Mosiah 3:11–12, the angel contrasted those who sin ignorantly against those who knowingly rebel against God. Invite students to read these verses silently, looking for the consequence that can come to those who knowingly rebel against God.

  • What principle can we learn from verse 12 about the consequence that can come to those who knowingly rebel against God’s commandments? (Help students identify the following principle: If we knowingly rebel against God’s commandments, we will not be saved unless we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent.)

To help students understand the seriousness of knowingly rebelling against God’s commandments, invite a student to read aloud the following statement from the For the Strength of Youth booklet:

“Some people knowingly break God’s commandments, planning to repent later, such as before they go to the temple or serve a mission. Such deliberate sin mocks the Savior’s Atonement” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 29).

  • Considering King Benjamin’s words in verse 7, how does deliberate sin mock the Savior’s Atonement? (Among other reasons, it shows great ingratitude for the tremendous pain the Savior suffered for us.)

Divide students into pairs. Invite each pair to discuss how they could respond to a friend who uses the following excuse to justify unrighteous choices he or she is making: “It’s not a big deal. Besides, I can always repent.”

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent, then we can be saved from our sins and …

Invite a student to read Mosiah 3:13 aloud, looking for another blessing that we will receive if we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent of our sins. Ask students to report what they find, and then complete the principle on the board so that it reads as follows: If we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and repent, then we can be saved from our sins and rejoice with exceedingly great joy.

  • Why do you think forgiveness of sins brings exceedingly great joy?

Remind students that the angel speaking to King Benjamin began his message by declaring “glad tidings of great joy” (verse 3). Hold up the full glass of water from the beginning of the lesson, and testify that we can have greater joy in life through our faith in Jesus Christ and through repentance. Invite students to consider how their faith and repentance have brought them joy.

Mosiah 3:16–27

King Benjamin testifies that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can put off the natural man and become as little children

Display a picture of a small child.

  • What are some qualities of little children that you enjoy or appreciate? (You may want to mention some as well.)

Ask a student to read Mosiah 3:16–18 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what King Benjamin taught his people about little children and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

  • According to verse 16, what happens to little children because Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world? (After students respond, you may want to explain that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all children who die before the age of accountability will be saved in the celestial kingdom [see D&C 137:10].)

  • According to verses 17–18, why is it so important that we choose to believe in Jesus Christ?

Explain that as recorded in Mosiah 3:19, the angel taught King Benjamin how we can become as little children. Point out the first part of the verse, which reads, “For the natural man is an enemy to God.” To help students understand this phrase, invite a student to read aloud the following explanation from the Guide to the Scriptures:

“[A natural man is] a person who chooses to be influenced by the passions, desires, appetites, and senses of the flesh rather than by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Such a person can comprehend physical things but not spiritual things. All people are carnal, or mortal, because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. Each person must be born again through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cease being a natural man” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Natural Man,”scriptures.lds.org).

  • Based on this explanation, who is a natural man? (Help students understand that the phrase “natural man” refers to the fallen condition of mankind and that it applies to all of us whenever we allow our physical and worldly desires to overcome our desire to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and be born again through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

Invite a student to read Mosiah 3:19 aloud. Encourage the class to follow along, looking for what the angel said we need to do in order to put off, or overcome, the natural man within us.

  • What principle can we learn from this verse about what is required to put off the natural man? (Help students identify the following principle: Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome the natural man as we yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and become as a little child. Invite students to consider marking the phrases in this verse that teach this principle.)

  • What do you think it means to yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit? (You may want to explain that to yield means to submit, or comply with, and that in this context enticings are persuasions or promptings.)

  • According to verse 19, what are the childlike qualities we develop as we yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit?

  • Whom do you know who displays one or more of these qualities? (As students respond, you might ask them to explain why they admire those qualities.)

Invite students to respond to one of the following questions in their class notebooks or study journals. (You may want to write these questions on the board before class or prepare a handout with the questions on it.)

  • What can you do to more fully yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit? What will you do over the next week to improve in this area of your life?

  • What attribute of a child listed in Mosiah 3:19 do you most need to develop? What will you do over the next week to help you develop that attribute?

To help students gain a greater appreciation for the Savior’s Atonement, read Mosiah 3:23–26 to them. Explain that the phrase “cup of the wrath of God” in verse 26 refers to the eventual suffering of those who willfully sin and do not repent. Emphasize that Jesus Christ took upon Himself the punishment for our sins. If we truly repent, we will not have to suffer that punishment (see D&C 19:16).

Conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths discussed in this lesson.

Commentary and Background Information

Mosiah 3:5–11. Learning about the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that we should seek to understand all we can about the Atonement of Jesus Christ:

Elder Richard G. Scott

“None of us can ever adequately appreciate in mortality the full beneficial consequences of the Atonement.

“There is an imperative need for each of us to strengthen our understanding of the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that it will become an unshakable foundation upon which to build our lives. As the world becomes more devoid of foundational standards and as honor, virtue, and purity are increasingly cast aside in the pursuit of appetite, our understanding of and faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ will provide strength and capacity needed for a successful life. It will also bring confidence in times of trial and peace in moments of turmoil.

“I energetically encourage you to establish a personal study plan to better understand and appreciate the incomparable, eternal, infinite consequences of Jesus Christ’s perfect fulfillment of His divinely appointed calling as our Savior and Redeemer. Profound personal pondering of the scriptures accompanied by searching, heartfelt prayer will fortify your understanding of and appreciation for His priceless Atonement. Another powerful way to learn of Jesus Christ and His Atonement is through consistent temple attendance” (Richard G. Scott, “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 77).

Mosiah 3:19. The sacrament and becoming a Saint

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the link between the sacrament and our efforts to become “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (Mosiah 3:19):

Elder Quentin L. Cook

“Sacrament meeting is the most sacred and holy of all the meetings in the Church. After His Resurrection, the Savior instituted the sacrament among the Nephites [see 3 Nephi 18:1–11]. If we are to be His disciples and to be committed members of His Church, we must remember and reverence the sacrament. It allows each of us to express with broken hearts and contrite spirits our willingness to follow the Savior, to repent, and to become a Saint through the Atonement of Christ [see Mosiah 3:19]” (Quentin L. Cook, “We Follow Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 84).