Lesson 134: 3 Nephi 28

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

When Jesus Christ asked each of His twelve Nephite disciples what they desired of Him, nine requested to speedily return to Him when their ministry on the earth was complete. Three desired to remain on the earth to bring souls to Him until His Second Coming. The Lord honored both sets of righteous desires. Mormon provided some details of the Three Nephites’ ministry, and he also shared what the Lord had revealed to him about the physical change the Three Nephites experienced so they could remain on the earth.

Suggestions for Teaching

3 Nephi 28:1–11

Jesus Christ grants the desires of His Nephite disciples

Invite students to ponder how they would respond if Jesus Christ appeared to them and asked, “What is it that ye desire of me?” Ask them to write their responses in their class notebooks or study journals. Give them the opportunity to report what they have written if they feel comfortable doing so.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 28:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the response of nine Nephite disciples when the Lord asked them this question.

  • What did nine of the Nephite disciples desire?

  • What did the Savior say about the desire of these nine disciples?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 28:4–9. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the remaining three disciples desired of the Savior.

  • What did the remaining three disciples desire of the Savior? (It may be helpful to draw students’ attention to the following statement in 3 Nephi 28:9: “Ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me.”)

  • What did the Savior say about the desire of these three disciples?

  • According to 3 Nephi 28:8–9, what did the Savior promise the Three Nephites so their righteous desires could be fulfilled?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 28:10 aloud, and ask the class to look for the blessings the Lord said the Three Nephites would receive as a result of their desires.

  • What did the Lord say the Three Nephites would receive as a result of their desires?

  • What truths can we learn about the Lord from 3 Nephi 28:1–10? (Students’ responses to this question may include that the Lord blesses us according to our righteous desires and that the Lord is pleased when we desire to help others come unto Him. Write these truths on the board.)

  • What are some of the blessings we can receive as a result of having righteous desires?

  • When have you felt that the Lord has blessed you because of your righteous desires?

Point out that one righteous desire we can have is to help others come to the Savior.

  • How can we show the Lord that we desire to help others come to Him?

  • When have you felt that the Lord was pleased with you as you tried to help others come to Him?

Testify that the Lord will bless us as we cultivate and act on our righteous desires, including the desire to help others come to Him.

Refer students to the desires they wrote about at the beginning of class. Invite them to evaluate their desires based on the truths they have identified in 3 Nephi 28:1–10. Encourage students to act on their righteous desires, including their desire to help others come to the Savior.

3 Nephi 28:12–35

Mormon describes the ministry of the Three Nephites

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 28:12–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened to the Nephite disciples after the Savior departed from them. Explain that the three Nephite disciples who were “caught up into heaven” (verse 13) experienced transfiguration—a temporary change in their bodies.

  • According to 3 Nephi 28:15, what was one reason these three disciples needed to be transfigured? (So “they could behold the things of God.”)

Explain that beginning with 3 Nephi 28:17, we read Mormon’s description of the ministry of the Three Nephites. Invite students to read 3 Nephi 28:17 silently, looking for what Mormon did not know about the physical condition of the Three Nephites when he wrote this account. Ask students to report what they find. (You may want to tell students that later in the lesson, they will learn more about the change that the Three Nephites experienced.)

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 3 Nephi 28:18–23. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord blessed the Three Nephites so they could carry out their righteous desires.

  • What did the Three Nephites do to fulfill their desire to bring others to the Savior?

  • In what ways did the Lord bless them so they could fulfill their desire?

Divide students into pairs. Invite them to read 3 Nephi 28:25–32 aloud, looking for people who have benefited and will yet benefit from the ministry of the Three Nephites. You may want to suggest that students mark what they find. Invite students to discuss with their partners something they learned about the ministry of the Three Nephites.

3 Nephi 28:36–40

Mormon learns about the nature of translated beings

Remind students that when Mormon first wrote about the transfiguration of the Three Nephites, he said that he did not fully understand the change in their physical condition during their ministry on the earth (see 3 Nephi 28:17).

Ask students if they have ever had a question about the gospel or if they have ever read something in the scriptures that they did not understand.

  • Where do you normally turn when you have questions about the gospel or about scripture passages? Why?

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 28:36–37 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Mormon did to find the answer to his question.

  • What principle can we learn from Mormon about how to receive additional understanding? (Though students may answer this question in different ways, be sure they identify the following principle: When we lack understanding, we can inquire of Heavenly Father and receive knowledge from Him. Write this principle on the board. Invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures next to verses 36–37.)

  • What are some situations in which we might need to ask Heavenly Father for greater understanding?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement, in which President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) highlights a few circumstances in which we can pray for help:

President Spencer W. Kimball

“We each have so much need for his help as we seek to learn gospel truths and then live them, as we seek his help in the major decisions of our lives, decisions involving schooling, marriage, employment, place of residence, raising our families, serving with each other in the work of the Lord, and seeking his forgiveness and continual guidance and protection in all we do. Our list of needs is long and real and heartfelt. …

“After a lifetime of prayers, I know of the love and power and strength that comes from honest and heartfelt prayer. I know of the readiness of our Father to assist us in our mortal experience, to teach us, to lead us, to guide us. Thus, with great love, our Savior has said, ‘What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always.’ (D&C 93:49.)” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Pray Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1981, 3, 6).

  • When have you or your family received answers to your prayers? (Caution students not to share anything that is too personal or sacred.)

Testify of the blessings that have come into your life as you have taken your challenges and questions to Heavenly Father. Encourage students to go to Heavenly Father in prayer as they seek to understand the gospel and face life’s challenges.

Remind students that Mormon’s question was about the change that happened to the Three Nephites. Write Translated Beings on the board. Explain that the change experienced by the Three Nephites is called translation. As Mormon inquired about the Three Nephites, he learned about the nature of translated beings.

Divide the class into three groups. Invite one group to review 3 Nephi 28:7–9, another group to read 3 Nephi 28:37–38, and another group to read 3 Nephi 28:39–40. Invite each group to look for words and phrases that describe translated beings.

  • What can we learn from these verses about translated beings? (Ask a student to serve as a scribe and write the other students’ answers on the board under the heading Translated Beings. Answers should include that translated beings do not “taste of death,” do not feel pain, do not experience sorrow except for the sorrow they feel because of the sins of the world, cannot be tempted by Satan, are sanctified and holy, and cannot be held by “the powers of the earth.”)

  • Why were the changes that the Three Nephites experienced necessary? (The changes were necessary so the Three Nephites could fulfill their righteous desire to remain on the earth and continue to bring souls unto Christ until the Savior’s Second Coming.)

You may need to explain that although translated beings do not suffer the pains of death, they are not resurrected. They will not receive that “greater change” until the Judgment Day, when they will be changed from mortality to immortality quickly—“in the twinkling of an eye” (see 3 Nephi 28:8, 40).

Conclude by testifying of the principles and doctrines discussed in class. Invite students to act upon the promptings they have received from the Spirit.

Commentary and Background Information

3 Nephi 28. Transfiguration and translation

The Three Nephites were transfigured and translated.

Transfiguration, which is mentioned in 3 Nephi 28:13–17, is “the condition of persons who are temporarily changed in appearance and nature—that is, lifted to a higher spiritual level—so that they can endure the presence and glory of heavenly beings” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Transfiguration,” scriptures.lds.org; see also D&C 67:11; Moses 1:11). The scriptures tell of people who have been transfigured, including Moses (see Moses 1:9–11); Jesus Christ, Peter, James, and John (see Matthew 17:1–8); and Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith—History 1:14–20).

Translated beings are “persons who are changed so that they do not experience pain or death until their resurrection to immortality” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Translated Beings,” scriptures.lds.org; see also 3 Nephi 28:7–9, 20–22, 37–40). Their purpose is to bring souls to Christ (see 3 Nephi 28:9). The scriptures contain accounts of people who have been translated, including Enoch (see Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5), Moses (see Alma 45:19), Elijah (see 2 Kings 2:11), and John the Beloved (see John 21:22–23; D&C 7).