Sometime following the great destruction and three days of darkness, about 2,500 men, women, and children gathered around the temple in the land of Bountiful (see 3 Nephi 17:25). They heard a voice, which they at first did not understand. As they tried to listen, they understood that it was the voice of Heavenly Father introducing His Son, Jesus Christ. The Savior of the world appeared. Jesus Christ invited the people to one by one personally witness that He had been slain for the sins of the world by feeling the wound in his side and the prints of the nails in His hands and feet.
Go outside with a pencil and this study guide, and listen for 60 seconds. Write down as many sounds as you can in the space provided: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now put a star next to each sound that you think would be difficult to identify or that you would be unlikely to notice without trying to listen. Then return inside.
Shortly after the great destruction and darkness signifying the death of Jesus Christ, the people gathered at the temple in the land of Bountiful. While they were discussing what had occurred, a marvelous experience took place that they at first could not understand. Read 3 Nephi 11:1–3, and look for what the people had difficulty understanding. You may wish to mark how God’s voice is described and the effect that voice had on those who heard it.
Take a moment to think about how characteristics of the voice the people heard are like the promptings we receive from the Holy Ghost. What truth can you learn from 3 Nephi 11:1–3 about how the Lord and the Holy Ghost often speak to us? One doctrine we can see illustrated in these verses is: The Holy Ghost often speaks to us in a still, small voice that we feel in our hearts.
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained how the voice of the Lord, through the Holy Ghost, operates on our mind and heart:
“Perhaps the single greatest thing I learned from reading the Book of Mormon is that the voice of the Spirit comes as a feeling rather than a sound. You will learn, as I have learned, to ‘listen’ for that voice that is felt rather than heard. …
“The gift of the Holy Ghost … will guide and protect you and even correct your actions. It is a spiritual voice that comes into the mind as a thought or a feeling put into your heart” (“Counsel to Youth,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 17–18).
Think about a time when you have felt the voice of the Lord or impressions of the Spirit come into your mind or heart. Write in your scripture study journal about your experience and what it felt like.
The Nephites heard the voice twice and did not understand it. Read 3 Nephi 11:4–7, and look for what the Nephites did differently the third time in order to understand the voice. What do you think it means that the people opened “their ears to hear” the voice? (3 Nephi 11:5).
President Boyd K. Packer gave the following counsel about what we need to do to listen to and understand the voice of the Lord through the Holy Ghost. Underline words or phrases that help you know what to do, or what to avoid, to better hear the Lord’s voice through the Holy Ghost.
“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting. It never shakes us with a heavy hand. The Spirit whispers. It caresses so gently, indeed, that if we are preoccupied, we can’t feel it at all.
“Occasionally, the Spirit will press just firmly enough or often enough for us to pay attention; but from my experience, most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, if we do not listen with those feelings, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening, in our manner and our expression” (“How Does the Spirit Speak to Us?” New Era, Feb. 2010, 3).
You may wish to write the following principle in your scriptures next to 3 Nephi 11:5–6 and in your scripture study journal: As we learn how to listen to the voice of the Lord through the Holy Ghost, we will be able to understand the communication He gives us.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What helps you to prepare your mind and heart to hear and understand the voice of the Lord?
When have you understood communication from the Lord that you might have missed had you not been striving to hear it?
When have you received a prompting from the Holy Ghost more than once before you understood and followed it?
Try to visualize the events of 3 Nephi 11:8–10 as you read them.
As you consider what it would have been like to witness the appearance of the resurrected Jesus Christ to the Book of Mormon people, write in your scripture study journal what thoughts and feelings you might have experienced if you had been there.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about the importance of the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites:
“That appearance and that declaration constituted the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon. It was the manifestation and the decree that had informed and inspired every Nephite prophet for the previous six hundred years, to say nothing of their Israelite and Jaredite forefathers for thousands of years before that.
“Everyone had talked of him, sung of him, dreamed of him, and prayed for his appearance—but here he actually was. The day of days! The God who turns every dark night into morning light had arrived” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon , 250–51).
Remember that the remaining Nephites and Lamanites had recently experienced terrible destruction and three days of total darkness. Read 3 Nephi 11:10–12, and look for what Jesus Christ wanted the people to know about Him and about what He had done during His mortal ministry. Which of the Savior’s statements do you think would be most comforting for you to hear if you had been there? Ponder why that statement would have meant so much to you. You may wish to mark the phrase that is most meaningful to you in your scriptures.
Read 3 Nephi 11:13–15, and mark what Jesus Christ invited the people to do to receive the personal knowledge He wanted them to have concerning Him. Think about the answers to the following questions: According to 3 Nephi 11:14, what did the Savior want the people to know from this experience? Considering there were about 2,500 people present at that time (see 3 Nephi 17:25), how long might this have taken? What does this teach you about the Savior?
In your scripture study journal, answer the following questions:
Why do you think the Lord wanted the people to see and touch Him “one by one”? (3 Nephi 11:15).
How would it affect you to touch the wounds the Savior received while atoning for your sins?
Consider writing the following truth in your scriptures near 3 Nephi 11:11–15 or in your scripture study journal: Jesus Christ invites me to receive a personal testimony that He is my Savior.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How strong do you feel your personal testimony of the Savior is? How has it grown and become stronger over the recent past?
What experiences have led you to gain your own personal testimony of the Savior, or what could you do to gain a stronger witness?
How can you know that the Savior is aware of you individually?
Read 3 Nephi 11:16–17, and look for what the people did after they had this personal experience with the Savior. It may be helpful to understand that “Hosanna” is an exclamation of praise to the Lord.
Take a closer look at 3 Nephi 11:15, and identify what the people did after they personally felt the Savior’s wounds. Since you were not there to personally feel the Savior’s wounds, as did the people written of in 3 Nephi, how can you know that Jesus is the Christ? (See John 20:30–31; Moroni 10:3–7; D&C 46:13–14 for some possible answers.)
To liken 3 Nephi 11:15 to yourself, complete the following statement: When I receive a personal testimony of Jesus Christ, I have a responsibility to ____________________________________________________________________________________________________.
Think about ways a person with a testimony of Jesus Christ can “bear record” of Him.
President Boyd K. Packer taught the following about testimonies: “You cannot force spiritual things. A testimony is not thrust upon you; it grows. And a testimony is a testimony, and it should be respected, whether it is small or large. We become taller in our testimony like we grow in physical stature and hardly know it is happening, because it comes by growth” (“How Does the Spirit Speak to Us?” 3).
Conclude this lesson by writing your testimony of Jesus Christ in your scripture study journal. You may want to include what you have done to gain your testimony or what you plan to do to strengthen it. If prompted by the Spirit, read it to someone else or invite someone to read it.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 11:1–17 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: