Soon after the people saw the signs of Jesus Christ’s birth, they began to forget the witnesses they had received, and they hardened their hearts. Many of the Nephites and Lamanites rejected further signs and wonders and increased in wickedness. As a result, the Gadianton robbers grew in strength and threatened to destroy the Nephites. The Nephites’ chief judge, Lachoneus, gathered all the righteous Nephites and Lamanites together and called on the people to repent and prepare for battle. Because of their unity and faith in the Lord, they triumphed over their enemies. Following their deliverance, the righteous Nephites and Lamanites acknowledged the power of God in their preservation.
Think about a few significant spiritual experiences you have had in your life. (Remember that spiritual experiences need not be dramatic or unusual to be meaningful.) Why do you think it might be important to remember these spiritual experiences?
Read 3 Nephi 2:1–3, looking for what happened among the people when they began to forget the signs related to the Savior’s birth. What can you learn from this account about the danger of forgetting spiritual experiences?
One of the principles we can learn from what happened to the Nephites is that if we forget previous spiritual experiences, we become more vulnerable to Satan’s temptations and deceptions. You might want to write this principle in your scriptures next to 3 Nephi 2:1–3. As you do, think about why forgetting spiritual experiences can make us more vulnerable to Satan.
Ponder what you can do to help you recognize and remember spiritual experiences. List a few ideas you think would be of most help:
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency related how recording his spiritual experiences in a journal helped him. As you read about his experience, underline some blessings that can come from recording spiritual experiences:
“I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
“More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened” (“O Remember, Remember,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 67).
In your scripture study journal describe how remembering spiritual experiences has helped you stay faithful despite Satan’s attempts to tempt or deceive you. (This may include remembering spiritual experiences by recording them in a journal.)
As recorded in 3 Nephi 2:4–19, many of the Nephites continued in wickedness and the Gadianton robbers increased in numbers and in strength. They became more violently aggressive, leading the converted Lamanites to join forces with the Nephites to fight against them. Although they had some success in driving the Gadianton robbers out of their lands, the Nephites and Lamanites were still in perilous circumstances 15 years after the signs of Jesus Christ’s birth were given.
In 3 Nephi 3:1–10 we see an example of how the devil sometimes works through others to try to weaken our faith and lead us astray. Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, wrote a letter to Lachoneus, chief judge and governor of the combined Nephite and Lamanite peoples, to persuade him to surrender to the Gadianton robbers. Read 3 Nephi 3:2–10, looking for words or phrases that illustrate the tactics Giddianhi used to try to weaken Lachoneus’s faith and lead him astray. You may want to mark these words or phrases as you find them.
These verses teach that Satan and his followers often use flattery, false promises, and threats to lead people astray. It is important to realize that Satan’s tactics are often more subtle, and he may use our friends and people we like rather than obvious enemies to tempt us. Still, there are similarities between Giddianhi’s motives and tactics and the way Satan works today to lead people astray.
Pick one of Giddianhi’s tactics, and explain in your scripture study journal how the devil might use a similar tactic on youth today. Also write how you can resist this tactic.
Lachoneus was astonished by Giddianhi’s letter and determined to prepare his people for the impending attack. Read the following scripture passages, and identify at least four ways Lachoneus prepared his people spiritually and temporally (physically) to withstand the attack of the Gadianton robbers. (Hint: as you study these verses, be sure to differentiate between Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, and Gidgiddoni, the great prophet and chief captain among the Nephites.)
On a blank page in your scripture study journal, draw a line down the center of the page. Write the phrase Preparations of Lachoneus at the top of one side and the phrase Modern Parallels at the top of the opposite side. Under the heading “Preparations of Lachoneus,” write or draw the four ways you identified that Lachoneus and the Nephites prepared to withstand the attack. Under the heading “Modern Parallels,” write or draw several examples of modern parallels to what Lachoneus did to prepare the people. These parallels should depict the spiritual and temporal preparations we have been counseled to make in the latter days.
To help you think about how you can apply what you learned, answer two or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can you fortify your home against the attacks of the adversary?
How does gathering together in families, branches, or wards provide protection for us?
Why is daily scripture study a vital way to strengthen yourself?
When has prayer helped you gain spiritual strength against adversity or danger?
How can repentance be a form of preparation for the future?
Why do you think choosing to follow those who have the spirit of prophecy and revelation is especially important today?
To see what happened when the Gadianton robbers attacked Lachoneus and his people, read 3 Nephi 4:7–12. From this account we learn that as we prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally, we can overcome challenges through the strength of the Lord.
Lachoneus and his people were able to defeat the Gadianton robbers and destroy the robbers’ leaders. They were victorious because of their choice of leaders (see 3 Nephi 3:19; 4:17), their obedience (see 3 Nephi 3:21; 4:18), and their reliance upon God (see 3 Nephi 4:30–31). Read 3 Nephi 4:30–33, and look for how the people responded after their victory over the Gadianton robbers. What did the people acknowledge as the causes for their deliverance from the Gadianton robbers? One principle these verses illustrate is: Recognizing the goodness and mercy of God in our deliverance from difficulties helps us remain humble.
Think about how a personal spiritual experience has influenced your faith, your desires, or the way you acted after that spiritual experience. Read 3 Nephi 5:3–4, and look for what the Nephites did as a result of the help and blessings they received from the Lord. Notice that one of the ways the people responded was to preach the gospel to others.
In 3 Nephi 5:14–26, Mormon explained why he was making his abridged record. Read 3 Nephi 5:12–13, and look for what Mormon said about his responsibility in writing his abridgement of the Nephite records.
From these verses we learn that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to teach others the way to everlasting life. One of the most important ways we can show our gratitude to the Lord for what He does for us is by helping others come to Him and receive the blessings He has for them.
Write in your scripture study journal a few ways you could teach others the way to everlasting life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Also think of some situations when you would be able to teach this to others.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 2–5 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: