Following their miraculous deliverance from the Gadianton robbers, the Nephites and Lamanites enjoyed peace for three years. Pride, class distinctions, and persecutions then arose and led to great wickedness and the eventual overthrow of the Nephite government. The signs of Jesus Christ’s death in Jerusalem included great destructions that destroyed many Nephite cities, killing the wicked inhabitants. Darkness covered the land for three days. Amidst the darkness, the voice of the Savior invited the people to return to Him. When the darkness dispersed, the peoples’ mourning turned to joy and praise of Jesus Christ.
The Nephites become prideful, the Church is broken up, secret combinations destroy the government, and the people divide into tribes
Think about a time when you had to make a decision about whether or not you would follow the prophet. As recorded in 3 Nephi 6–7, some of the Nephites experienced the tragic results of rejecting the prophets, while others experienced the blessings that come from repenting and hearkening to the Lord’s chosen servants.
As you read in 3 Nephi 5, the Nephites repented and diligently served God and were divinely delivered from the Gadianton robbers. The Nephites then prospered for a short time. However, pride quickly entered the hearts of many, which caused divisions within the Church. Prophets were sent forth to preach against the wickedness of the people, but the judges took them and put them to death secretly (see 3 Nephi 6:4–23). Within approximately six years, the people yielded “themselves unto the power of Satan” (3 Nephi 7:5) and became so wicked that they fought against all righteousness. Secret combinations destroyed the government of the land and caused the people to be divided into tribes.
Despite the wickedness of the people, Nephi continued to testify against their sins and call them to repentance (see 3 Nephi 7:15–20). Read 3 Nephi 7:21–22, and mark a few examples of how the people were blessed for following Nephi. From these verses we learn that if we will repent and follow the Lord’s servants, we will enjoy the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives.
Write in your scripture study journal about a time when you chose to follow the counsel of the prophet or other priesthood leaders. How were you blessed for doing so?
Great destruction fulfills the sign of Jesus Christ’s death
Imagine the day when the Second Coming of Jesus Christ arrives. How do you think you might feel when that time comes? In a similar way, the Nephites had long been waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied of the signs that would occur at the death of Jesus Christ (see Helaman 14:20–27). Read 3 Nephi 8:3–4, and notice the differences in how some of the Nephites felt about the signs.
Read 3 Nephi 8:5–7, and look for what happened in the 34th year from the date of the sign of the Savior’s birth. Skim 3 Nephi 8:8–18, looking for what happened to the inhabitants of the cities that were affected by the storm and the accompanying earthquakes. Read 3 Nephi 10:11–12, and mark who was able to survive this destruction. Even though the survivors were the “more righteous part” of the Nephites, they still needed to repent and come unto Jesus Christ.
Use a page in your scripture study journal to create a newspaper article reporting the events in 3 Nephi 8:5–18. Include a headline, sketch a picture, and then write a report of the destruction.
Darkness covers the land for three days
Think of a time when you were in a totally dark place, such as a cave or a room without windows when someone shut off the lights (or imagine what it would be like). How did it feel to be in the dark and not be able to see? Read 3 Nephi 8:19–23, and look for what came after the storms and destructions ceased. (You may want to mark any words or phrases that indicate how severe the darkness was.)
Read 3 Nephi 8:24–25, looking for what the Nephites said would have prevented the death and destruction of so many of their people.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How are the effects of sin like being in darkness?
How is repentance like allowing light into a darkened room?
In the darkness, the voice of Jesus Christ invites those who survived the destruction to repent and come unto Him
During the three days of darkness, the voice of the Savior spoke to those who had been spared. Read 3 Nephi 9:1–2, 7, and look for why the Savior said this destruction occurred among the people. Then read 3 Nephi 9:13–14, and look for what the Savior said to comfort the people in their suffering. You may wish to mark the portions of these verses that are meaningful to you.
Elder C. Scott Grow of the Seventy testified that the Savior invites all of us to come unto Him and be healed:
“Jesus Christ is the Great Healer of our souls. With the exception of sins of perdition, there is no sin or transgression, pain or sorrow, which is outside the healing power of His Atonement.
“When we sin, Satan tells us we are lost. In contrast, our Redeemer offers redemption to all—no matter what we have done wrong—even to you and to me” (“The Miracle of the Atonement,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 109).
The Savior’s invitation in 3 Nephi 9:13 to come unto Him and receive His healing power applies to each of us. In order for the Savior to heal us, we must accept His invitation and come unto Him, repent of our sins, and be converted.
In your scripture study journal, write about an aspect of your life that could benefit from the Savior’s healing power. What do you need to do to invite Him to heal you?
The Savior’s voice proclaims that through His sacrifice the law of Moses is fulfilled
As part of the law of Moses, which the Nephites were living until this point, the Lord had commanded His people to offer animal sacrifices as a type and shadow of the ultimate sacrifice that He would eventually offer through His Atonement. Use the Savior’s words in 3 Nephi 9:17 to complete the following sentence: “By me redemption cometh, and in me is the ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.”
The Savior declared that all of the ceremonies, laws, rites, and symbols of the law of Moses, which had been given to point the people to Him, were fulfilled as He completed His atoning sacrifice. Read 3 Nephi 9:19, and identify what the Savior declared that the Nephites were no longer to offer. Then search 3 Nephi 9:20, and mark what they were to offer as a sacrifice instead.
What do you think it means to offer a sacrifice of “a broken heart and contrite spirit”? A contrite spirit is one that is humble, teachable, and repentant. To deepen your understanding of what it means to have a broken heart and contrite spirit, read the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and mark the words that he used to define “broken heart” and “contrite spirit”:
“In ancient times when people wanted to worship the Lord and seek His blessings, they often brought a gift. … As you seek the blessings of conversion, you can offer the Lord the gift of your broken, or repentant, heart and your contrite, or obedient, spirit. In reality, it is the gift of yourself—what you are and what you are becoming.
“Is there something in you or in your life that is impure or unworthy? When you get rid of it, that is a gift to the Savior. Is there a good habit or quality that is lacking in your life? When you adopt it and make it part of your character, you are giving a gift to the Lord” (“When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 12).
Read 3 Nephi 9:21–22, and look for what the Savior taught we need to be like in order to come unto Him.
Think of some young children that you know. In your scripture study journal describe characteristics little children have that we need in order to come to the Savior.
Complete the following principle with appropriate words or phrases that you see in 3 Nephi 9:13–14, 20–22: If we come unto Jesus Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit, He will ____________________________________________________________________________________________________. (There are multiple correct answers.)
To help you apply this truth, answer the following questions:
What attitudes might prevent us from offering our broken hearts and contrite spirits to the Lord?
How have you seen the Lord bless you as you have come unto Him with a repentant heart and obedient spirit?
How can you better offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit to the Lord?
The Lord promises to gather His people as a hen gathers her chicks
After hearing the voice of the Savior, the people were so astonished that there was silence in the land for many hours. Then the voice spoke again to the people (see 3 Nephi 10:1–3). Read 3 Nephi 10:4–6, and identify what the Savior said He tried to do to protect and nourish the people. Mark the promise the Savior extended in verse 6 to those who repent and come unto Him with full purpose of heart.
The Savior used the metaphor of a hen gathering her chickens under her wings to protect them from danger. Think about ways the Savior is like a hen who seeks to protect her chickens from danger. In addition, according to 3 Nephi 10:4–6, why wasn’t the entire house of Israel gathered?
Read 3 Nephi 10:8–10, and look for what happened after the people heard the Savior’s voice.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 6–10 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: