Helaman 14: Signs of Christ's Birth and Death

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 154–155


The Nephites were separated in distance from the Savior’s mortal ministry by many hundreds of miles. They knew of Jesus Christ and His gospel through their scriptures and the testimony of their prophets and by personal revelation. In Helaman 14 you will learn of some very specific signs promised to the Nephites that would mark the birth and death of Jesus Christ in Israel. As you continue your study through the rest of Helaman and into 3 Nephi, watch for the fulfillment of those signs. Notice also who believed those witnesses, who did not, and why.We are in a similar situation. We are separated in time from the Savior’s mortal ministry by many hundreds of years. We have the same witnesses and the same opportunity to receive personal revelation. We also have the testimony of modern prophets that Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God and that He will come again. We also have specific signs that have been promised regarding that Second Coming. As you read how completely the prophecies about the Savior’s first coming were fulfilled, ponder the similarities with the prophecies we have about His Second Coming (see also D&C 1:37–38).

Understanding the Scriptures

Helaman 14

Intent (vv. 11–12, 28–29)Purpose
Merits (v. 13)Atonement and character, attributes
Behooveth him (v. 15)Becomes necessary for him
Expedient (v. 15)Necessary, essential
Hewn (v. 18)Cut
Rent in twain (v. 22)Broken in two
Tempests (vv. 23, 27)Violent storms

Helaman 14:18–20—What Is “Spiritual Death” or “Second Death”?

For more information, see the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for Alma 12 (p. 106).

Helaman 14:29–31—We Can Choose Our Actions but Not the Consequences

Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught:

“When others give you advice, have you ever said, ‘I just don’t believe the way you do. Those are your standards and your principles. I have my own’? Please understand that no one can change truth. Rationalization, overpowering self-interest, all of the arguments of men, anger, or self-will cannot change truth. Satan knows that, so he tries to create an atmosphere where one unwittingly begins to feel that he can not only choose what to do, but can determine what is right to do. Satan strives to persuade us to live outside truth by rationalizing our actions as the right of choice.

Richard G. Scott

“But our Eternal Father defined truth and established what is right and wrong before the creation of this earth. He also fixed the consequences of obedience and disobedience to those truths. He defended our right to choose our path in life so that we would grow, develop, and be happy, but we do not have the right to choose the consequences of our acts. …

“Please understand, no one has the privilege to choose what is right. God reserved that prerogative to Himself. Our agency does allow us to choose among alternate paths, but then we are bound to the consequence God has decreed. Later, if we don’t like where the path takes us, the only out is through repentance” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 82–83; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 61).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study Helaman 14.

Activity A iconList the Signs

  1. 1.

    Make two columns in your notebook. Title one “Signs of Christ’s Birth” and title the other one “Signs of Christ’s Death.” List the signs Samuel gave the people in Helaman 14:2–7, 20–28; also list the verse where each sign is recorded.

  2. 2.

    According to Helaman 14:8–13, 28–31, what was the purpose of the signs?

Activity B iconWhy Did Jesus Have to Die?

Christ on cross

Det Nationalhistoriske Museum på Frederiksborg

Helaman 14:14 begins Samuel’s prophecies of the signs of Jesus Christ’s death. As a part of this prophecy he explained why it was necessary that Christ die. Summarize these important teachings by listing the reasons Samuel gave in Helaman 14:15–19.

Activity C iconAnswer Using the Scriptures

Suppose a young person said to you, “Everyone is driving me crazy! My parents, my leaders, my teachers—everyone keeps telling me what to do. Why are there so many commandments? Why can’t they just leave me alone and let me make my own decisions?” Use Helaman 14:29–31 and Elder Scott’s statement from the “Understanding the Scriptures” section to write a reply to that person’s questions. Be sure to include an explanation of the relationship between agency, consequences, and Heavenly Father’s commandments.