Lesson 42

2 Nephi 33

“Lesson 42: 2 Nephi 33,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

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

2 Nephi 33:1–2

Nephi teaches about the power of the Holy Ghost to carry truth to our hearts

You may want to begin class by reminding students of the invitation to pray always given in the last lesson. Invite a few students to share their experience of seeking to pray always and how they felt blessed for doing so.

Ask students if they have ever given a copy of the Book of Mormon to someone who was not a member of the Church. Invite a few students to share their experiences with the class. You might ask them if they included a personal note or wrote their testimony in the book.

  • What feelings would you have if, after giving a copy of the Book of Mormon to your friend with your testimony written in it, you saw your friend throw the book in the trash when he or she thought you were not looking?

Explain that 2 Nephi 33 contains Nephi’s final testimony and his hopes concerning how people would receive his words. As students study 2 Nephi 33 today, invite them to look for truths concerning the importance of how we choose to respond to the teachings of Nephi and other prophets in the Book of Mormon.

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 33:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happens when someone speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost.

  • When someone speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost, what does the Holy Ghost do with the truth that is spoken? (Help students identify the following truth: The Holy Ghost carries truth to our hearts. Invite students to consider marking the phrases that teach this truth in verse 1.)

  • What does it mean that the Holy Ghost carries truth to our hearts? (By testifying of the truth, the Holy Ghost provides an opportunity for us to receive a spiritual witness and testimony of the truth that is taught.)

Invite students to think of a time when the Holy Ghost carried the truth of a message to their hearts. Invite a few of them to share their experiences with the class. As students share their experiences, consider asking questions such as the following to help the class further understand and feel the truth and importance of the doctrine they identified in verse 1:

  • How would you describe what it was like to have the Spirit carry truth to your heart?

  • What did you learn as a result of your experience?

Ask a student to read 2 Nephi 33:2 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for one reason why a person might not feel the Holy Ghost teaching or testifying of truth. (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.)

  • According to verse 2, why might a person not feel the Spirit even when someone is teaching truth by the power of the Holy Ghost?

  • What principle can we learn from verse 2 about what will happen if we harden our hearts against the Spirit? (Help students identify the following principle: If we harden our hearts against the Holy Spirit, we will not understand the value of the word of God. Write this principle on the board.)

  • What do you think it means to harden one’s heart against the Holy Spirit?

  • What are some reasons why people might harden their hearts against the Spirit?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Gerald N. Lund, who served as a member of the Seventy:

Elder Gerald N. Lund

“The heart is a tender place. It is sensitive to many influences, both positive and negative. It can be hurt by others. It can be deadened by sin. It can be softened by love. Early in our lives, we learn to guard our hearts. It is like we erect a fence around our hearts with a gate in it. No one can enter that gate unless we allow him or her to.

“In some cases the fence we erect around our hearts could be likened to a small picket fence with a Welcome sign on the gate. Other hearts have been so hurt or so deadened by sin that they have an eight-foot (2.5-m) chain-link fence topped with razor wire around them. The gate is padlocked and has a large No Trespassing sign on it. …

“… The condition of our hearts directly affects our sensitivity to spiritual things. Let us make it a part of our everyday striving to open our hearts to the Spirit. Since we are the guardians of our hearts, we can choose to do so” (Gerald N. Lund, “Opening Our Hearts,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 33, 34).

  • What are some things you have done to open your heart to receive truth from the Holy Ghost in Church meetings, in classes, or during personal scripture study?

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.

Encourage students to write in their class notebooks or study journals one thing they will do to better open their hearts to the Holy Ghost.

2 Nephi 33:3–15

Nephi explains the purpose of his record and his hope that his readers will believe in Christ

Remind students of the scenario presented at the beginning of this lesson. Invite them to imagine how Nephi might feel if he saw one of his own descendants treat the Book of Mormon the way your friend did in this scenario.

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 33:3–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Nephi felt about his people and about what he had written. Invite students to consider marking any words or phrases that stand out to them.

  • How did Nephi feel about his people?

  • How did he feel about what he had written?

  • According to 2 Nephi 33:4, what do Nephi’s words persuade us to do? (Help students identify the following truth: The Book of Mormon persuades people to do good, to believe in Jesus Christ, and to endure to the end. Invite students to consider marking the phrases that teach this truth in verse 4.)

Summarize 2 Nephi 33:8–9 by explaining that Nephi expressed charity for the Jews and the Gentiles, and he emphasized the need for all people to be reconciled to Jesus Christ and remain faithful to Him.

Explain that Nephi concluded his record with a warning to those who read his words. Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we do not respect the words of the Lord and His servants, then …

Invite five students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Nephi 33:10–15. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi warned would happen if we do not respect the words of the Lord and His servants.

  • Based on these verses, what can we do to respect Nephi’s words? (Hearken unto them, believe in Jesus Christ, and believe that the words Nephi recorded are the words of Christ.)

  • According to verse 11, what will happen to those who do not believe Nephi’s words?

  • Based on 2 Nephi 33:14, how would you complete the statement on the board? (Using students’ words, complete the statement on the board so it conveys the following principle: If we do not respect the words of the Lord and His servants, then their words will condemn us at the last day.)

Point out the phrase “you and I shall stand face to face” in 2 Nephi 33:11. Invite students to imagine what it will be like to meet Nephi.

  • What do you think it might be like to meet Nephi if you have cast away his words?

  • What might it feel like to meet Nephi if you have respected his words?

Point out Nephi’s words “I must obey” in 2 Nephi 33:15. Then give students a few minutes to look back through the chapter summaries of 1 and 2 Nephi, looking for examples of Nephi’s obedience. After a few minutes, ask students to report 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.

  • How can these examples of Nephi’s obedience help us to respect his words, believe in Jesus Christ, and do good?

To conclude the lesson, you might consider sharing your testimony of the truthfulness of Nephi’s words and how studying his words has blessed your life. Invite students to live according to the truths Nephi recorded.