Lesson 117: 3 Nephi 2–5

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After the people saw the sign of Jesus Christ’s birth, they began to be less astonished by signs, and they hardened their hearts. Many of the people rejected signs and wonders and increased in wickedness. The Gadianton robbers grew so strong that Nephites and Lamanites were compelled to take up arms against them. The converted Lamanites joined with the Nephites and became known as Nephites. Lachoneus, the chief judge of the Nephites, called on the people to repent and prepared them for battle. Because of their repentance, their faith in the Lord, and their diligent preparations, the Nephites triumphed over the Gadianton robbers. Following their deliverance, the people acknowledged the power of God in their preservation.

Suggestions for Teaching

3 Nephi 2

Converted Lamanites unite with the Nephites to defend themselves against the Gadianton robbers

Invite students to take a few minutes to list in their class notebooks or study journals some spiritual experiences they have had. Remind them that spiritual experiences do not need to be dramatic or unusual to be meaningful. Suggest that they ponder times when they have felt the love of their Heavenly Father or the influence of the Holy Ghost. For example, they might write about experiences they have had when they have received answers to prayer, when they have received priesthood blessings, or when they have served others. When they have finished writing, ask them why they think it might be important to remember these spiritual experiences today and 10 or 20 years in the future.

As students study 3 Nephi 2–5 today, invite them to look for the danger of forgetting and rejecting the spiritual experiences they have had.

Remind students that we learn from 3 Nephi 1 that people witnessed the fulfillment of the miraculous sign of the Savior’s birth of which Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 2:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened when the people began to forget and reject the signs related to the Savior’s birth.

  • What truths does this account teach us about the danger of forgetting and rejecting spiritual experiences? (After students report the truths they have identified, write the following principle on the board: If we forget and reject previous spiritual experiences, we will become more vulnerable to Satan’s temptations and deceptions. You may also want to encourage students to write this principle under their lists of spiritual experiences.)

  • Why do you think forgetting spiritual experiences can make us vulnerable to Satan?

  • What can we do to ensure that we do not forget the spiritual experiences we have had? (Answers may include sharing experiences with others as appropriate, writing in a personal journal, or recording experiences from Duty to God or Personal Progress activities.)

Invite students to share how remembering spiritual experiences—through writing in a journal or other ways—has helped them stay faithful, despite Satan’s efforts to tempt or deceive them.

Ask students to review the spiritual experiences they wrote down at the beginning of class and to ponder what they can do to make sure they do not forget them. If students struggled to remember a spiritual experience, invite them to make a plan regarding what they will do to remember the next spiritual experience they have.

Summarize 3 Nephi 2:4–19 by explaining that as the people continued in wickedness, the Gadianton robbers increased in number and in strength. The Gadianton robbers became more violently aggressive, and the converted Lamanites joined forces with the Nephites against the robbers to defend their families and to maintain their liberty and religious freedom (see verses 11–12). Although they had some success in driving the Gadianton robbers out of their lands, the Nephites (along with the converted Lamanites, who were now called Nephites) were still in perilous circumstances 15 years after the sign of Jesus Christ’s birth.

3 Nephi 3:1–5:7

The leader of the Gadianton robbers demands that the Nephites surrender

Explain that in 3 Nephi 3:1–10, we learn that Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, wrote a letter to Lachoneus, the chief judge of the Nephites, to persuade him to surrender to the Gadianton robbers. In this letter he accused the Nephites of committing wrongs against those who had become Gadianton robbers and depriving them of their rights. He threatened the Nephites with destruction if they did not surrender.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 3:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Lachoneus responded to Giddianhi’s threatening letter.

  • How did Lachoneus respond to Giddianhi’s letter?

  • What stands out to you about Lachoneus as a leader?

Divide the class into four groups. Give each group a piece of paper. Have the groups divide their papers into two columns, one labeled Preparations of Lachoneus and the other labeled Modern Parallels. Write the following scripture passages on the board, and assign one to each group: 3 Nephi 3:12–15; 3 Nephi 3:16–21; 3 Nephi 3:22–26; 3 Nephi 4:1–4. Invite students to read their assigned verses, looking for ways Lachoneus prepared his people spiritually and physically to withstand the attack of the Gadianton robbers. Under Preparations of Lachoneus, have a student from each group write what the people did to prepare. (Note: As students study these verses, ensure that they differentiate between Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, and Gidgiddoni, the great prophet and chief captain among the Nephites.)

After students have had sufficient time to complete their lists under Preparations of Lachoneus, invite them to list under Modern Parallels some of the spiritual and temporal preparations we have been counseled to make in the latter days. When students have had sufficient time to complete this assignment, invite one student from each group to share with the class what his or her group learned.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 4:7–12. Ask the class to follow along, looking for ways the people were blessed because of their spiritual and temporal preparations.

  • How were the people blessed because of their spiritual and temporal preparations?

  • What truths have you learned from this account? (As students share their answers, emphasize the following principle: As we prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally, the Lord will strengthen us to overcome challenges.)

handout iconTo help students understand and feel the truth and importance of this principle, give a copy of the following handout to each of the four groups from the previous activity and invite them to read and discuss the questions. Ask them to assign a member of their group to report to the class what they discussed and to share an experience.

Spiritual and Temporal Preparation

  1. 1.

    How does gathering in families and in wards or branches provide protection for us? What is an example of a time when you felt protected from the attacks of the adversary because of your efforts to gather with your family, ward, or branch?

  2. 2.

    Why are temporal preparations—such as obtaining an education and home food storage—important in the last days? Whom do you know who has been blessed as a result of preparing temporally? How was this person blessed?

  3. 3.

    What blessings come as we follow the living prophets and apostles? How have you or someone you know been blessed for hearkening to living prophets and apostles?

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After sufficient time, invite the designated student from each group to share with the class what his or her group discussed. You may also want to share your testimony of this principle and a personal experience related to it.

Invite students to ponder what they can do to prepare themselves spiritually and temporally for the challenges they currently face or may face in the future. Encourage students to follow through on what they feel inspired to do.

Summarize 3 Nephi 4:13–29 by explaining that Lachoneus and his people defeated the Gadianton robbers and executed their leaders. Read 3 Nephi 4:30–33 aloud. Invite students to follow along, looking for how the people responded to this victory.

  • How did the people respond after God delivered them from their enemies?

  • What did the people acknowledge as the causes of their deliverance from the Gadianton robbers? (Their repentance and humility and the goodness of God.)

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 5:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Nephites did as a result of the help and blessings they received in their battle against the Gadianton robbers. As students share what they find, emphasize that one of the ways the people responded was to preach the gospel to others.

  • According to verse 4, what effect did hearing the word of God have on some of the imprisoned Gadianton robbers?

Summarize 3 Nephi 5:5–7 by explaining that the Nephites put an end to the secret combinations among them.

3 Nephi 5:8–26

Mormon explains his abridgment of the records

Tell students that the rest of 3 Nephi 5 includes Mormon’s introduction of himself and an explanation of why he was abridging this record. Invite students to read 3 Nephi 5:12–15 silently, looking for how Mormon introduced himself to those who read the Book of Mormon.

  • According to verse 13, how did Mormon identify himself?

  • What had Mormon been called to do as a disciple of Jesus Christ?

  • How can we liken this scripture to ourselves? (Though students may use different words, they should identify the following truth: As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to teach others the way to everlasting life. You may want to write this truth on the board.)

Point out that one of the most important ways we can show our gratitude to the Lord for the blessings He gives us is by helping others come to Him and receive those same blessings. Ask students to suggest a few ways they, as disciples of Jesus Christ, could teach others the way to everlasting life. Encourage students to choose one or two of these suggestions for sharing the gospel and to prayerfully seek the Lord’s help in carrying out what they choose to do.

Summarize 3 Nephi 5:16–26 by explaining that Mormon testified of the truth of the record he was compiling, expressed gratitude to Jesus Christ, and prophesied that the house of Israel would be gathered and brought to the knowledge of Jesus Christ in the latter days.

Consider concluding today’s lesson by testifying of the truthfulness of the record Mormon compiled.

Commentary and Background Information

3 Nephi 2:15. “Their curse was taken from them”

For help in understanding the curse that had been placed on the Lamanites, see the commentary and background information for 2 Nephi 5:20–25 at the end of lesson 27. Also see the commentary and background information for Alma 3:6–17 at the end of lesson 70.

3 Nephi 2:5–8. Nephite calendars

Throughout their history, the Nephites used three different points of reference for measuring time with their calendars: (1) the time when Lehi left Jerusalem; (2) the time when the government changed from kings to judges; and (3) the time when the sign of the birth of Jesus Christ was given. It is not known exactly when the Nephites began to reckon their calendar from the time of Jesus Christ’s birth, but Mormon acknowledges this change in 3 Nephi 2:7–8.

Reference Point

Approximately When Used

Scripture Block

From the time when Lehi left Jerusalem

600–92 BC

1 Nephi 1–Mosiah 29

From the time when the government changed from kings to judges

92 BC–AD 1

Mosiah 29–3 Nephi 1

From the time the sign of the birth of Jesus Christ was given

AD 1–421

3 Nephi 1–Moroni 10

Supplemental Teaching Idea

3 Nephi 3:2–12. Giddianhi tempts Lachoneus

Write Giddianhi tempts Lachoneus on the board. Ask half the class to read 3 Nephi 3:2–5 silently and the other half of the class to read 3 Nephi 3:6–10 silently. As students read, have them look for words or phrases that illustrate the tactics Giddianhi used to try to weaken Lachoneus’s faith and lead him astray. After students have finished reading, ask them to report what they have found. Invite a student to write their answers on the board.

To summarize the tactics that students identified in 3 Nephi 3:2–10, write the following truth on the board under the students’ list: Satan and his followers often use flattery, false promises, and threats to lead people astray. Invite students to pick one of Giddianhi’s tactics written on the board and explain how Satan and his followers might use a similar tactic on youth today. To help students explore some of these comparisons, you might ask questions such as the following:

  • What are some examples of how the adversary might use flattery (insincere or excessive praise) on youth today? What are some false promises or empty threats that the adversary might use? How do you think youth can resist these tactics?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 3:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Lachoneus responded to Giddianhi’s threatening letter.

  • What truths can we learn from the way Lachoneus responded to Giddianhi? (One truth students might identify is that righteous men and women need not fear the wicked and should not give in to their intimidation.)