After the people who were at the temple in the land of Bountiful had individually felt the marks of the wounds in Jesus Christ’s side, hands, and feet, the Savior gave Nephi and others power to baptize. The Savior warned the people to avoid contention and promised that those who live the gospel will inherit the kingdom of God. He also taught them how to receive the blessings of His gospel and instructed them to influence others for good. The Savior declared that He had fulfilled the law of Moses, and He gave the people a higher law to prepare them to become like Him and our Father in Heaven.
Do you recall your thoughts and feelings as you prepared for your baptism, or have you watched a friend or family member prepare to be baptized? Many people have questions like “Who can baptize me?” and “How is the ordinance of baptism performed?” Consider how you would answer those questions.
While studying 3 Nephi 11:1–17, you learned about Jesus Christ’s appearance to “the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful” (3 Nephi 11:1). These people felt the marks of His wounds and became personal witnesses of His Resurrection and divinity. Immediately following this experience, the Savior taught them about baptism, including who can baptize and how baptisms should be performed.
Read 3 Nephi 11:18–22, 24–25, and write an answer to the question “Who can baptize me?” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
As recorded in 3 Nephi 11, from what the Savior said and did, we learn: Baptism must be performed by a person who holds proper authority. Modern revelation clarifies that baptism may only be performed by a person who holds the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 20:46) or who has the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 20:38–39; 107:10–11). Additionally, he must act under the direction of a priesthood leader who holds the priesthood keys necessary to authorize the ordinance (such as a bishop, branch president, mission president, or General Authority).
Read 3 Nephi 11:23–27, and write an answer to the question “How is the ordinance of baptism performed?” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
In your scripture study journal, write why you think baptism must be done in the manner set forth by the Lord. What happens if the words of the baptismal ordinance are not spoken correctly or if the person being baptized is not fully immersed under the water?
Answer one or more of the following sets of questions in your scripture study journal:
What do you remember about why you were baptized and about the baptismal service? Who baptized you? How old were you? What feelings did you have when you were baptized? What does it mean to you to have been baptized by a person holding the proper authority and in the manner set forth by the Lord?
Have you recently witnessed someone being baptized? What feelings did you have?
If you hold the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, how do you feel knowing that you have the authority to baptize? If you have had the opportunity to baptize someone, what did you feel and learn during the experience?
As recorded in 3 Nephi 11:28–30, the Lord counseled the people not to dispute or contend (argue) with each other about baptism or other points of doctrine. He taught that contention is of the devil and should be done away with.
Think of something you did today (an action) that resulted in a positive consequence. Write the action and the consequence on the appropriate sides of the following diagram. Then think of something you did today that resulted in a negative consequence.
The relationship of an action to a consequence is sometimes called the law of the harvest. Modern revelation describes it this way: “Whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward” (D&C 6:33).
Read 3 Nephi 11:31, and identify what Jesus Christ said He was going to declare unto the people.
As recorded in 3 Nephi 11:32–39, Jesus Christ declared His doctrine, “which the Father hath given unto [Him]” (3 Nephi 11:32). Copy the following chart into your scripture study journal. Read each scripture reference, and identify the actions and consequences that Jesus Christ taught were related to His doctrine. Record what you find in the chart in your scripture study journal.
According to your chart, what are the key actions Jesus Christ taught that all of Heavenly Father’s children must do to enter the kingdom of heaven?
You may have noticed that 3 Nephi 11:32 states the Holy Ghost testifies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Ponder the most recent time when the Holy Ghost testified to you of the reality and love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Complete the following true-false quiz by circling the answers below:
Heavenly Father wants us to be perfect.
We need to be perfect in this life in order to enter the celestial kingdom.
We can become perfect.
To help check your answers, first read 3 Nephi 12:48. (This is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it in the future.)
How is it possible to be perfect? Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said the following about the commandment to be perfect: “We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous [difficult] and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments” (“Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 88).
Ponder the following question: What do you think it means that perfection can come “only through the Lord”?
Look back at the true-false quiz you just took, and change any of your answers based on what you have learned from 3 Nephi 12:48 and Elder Nelson’s statement.
Jesus Christ’s teachings in 3 Nephi 12–14 are sometimes referred to as the “sermon at the temple” because they resemble and often increase our understanding of the Savior’s well-known Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5–7). President Harold B. Lee taught, “In his Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of his own character, which was perfect, or what might be said to be ‘an autobiography, every syllable of which he had written down in deeds,’ and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives” (Decisions for Successful Living , 56). As you study 3 Nephi 12–14, look for ways the Savior wants you to strive for perfection.
As in the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior began his sermon to the Nephites with several beatitudes—declarations of the blessed and joyful condition of those who are faithful (see 3 Nephi 12:1–12). As you read them, look for which attributes the Savior urges us to develop and what blessings He promises as a result of our doing so. As you read, you may want to mark these attributes and promised blessings. It might be helpful to know that poor in spirit (3 Nephi 12:3) means to be humble and dependent on the Lord, to mourn (3 Nephi 12:4) refers to feeling a sorrow for our sins that leads to repentance, and to be meek (3 Nephi 12:5) can mean to be humble and gentle, to be submissive to God’s will, or to be patient in enduring injury without resentment.
Identify one attribute you just read about that you are striving or will strive to gain. Record in your scripture study journal what blessings you are receiving or hope to receive as you develop that attribute.
From the many truths in 3 Nephi 12:1–12, we learn that if we live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, we will be blessed and prepared to enter the kingdom of heaven. As we do so, we will also be an example or light to the world (see 3 Nephi 12:14–16).
Jesus Christ taught the Nephites how to come unto Him by repenting and obeying His commandments (see 3 Nephi 12:19–20). In the remainder of 3 Nephi 12, He referred to parts of the law of Moses and then taught a higher law. He introduced parts of the law of Moses with phrases such as “it hath been said by them of old time” or “it is written.” Then He introduced the new and higher law, which He wants us to live today, with the phrase “I say unto you …”
Read the following scripture references, and write in your scripture study journal what behaviors the Savior said would lead to perfection:
3 Nephi 12:21–22. It may be helpful to understand that the word raca is a derogatory term expressing contempt, open dislike, or hatred.
3 Nephi 12:23–24. Use footnote 24a to help discover what it means to be reconciled to someone.
3 Nephi 12:25. It may be helpful to understand that to “agree with thine adversary quickly” refers to resolving conflicts with others quickly and not allowing them to fester and grow into bigger problems. Elder David E. Sorensen, while serving as a member of the Seventy, taught, “Nowhere does this principle apply more than in our families” (“Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 11).
3 Nephi 12:27–30. It may be helpful to understand that lust refers to an inappropriate, evil, and selfish desire.
One principle we can learn from these verses in 3 Nephi 12 is: As we come unto Christ and keep His commandments, we can become more like Him and our Father in Heaven, who are perfect.
While we will not reach perfection in this life, President James E. Faust of the First Presidency explained that we must strive to make progress toward perfection now in order to be able to attain it in the next life: “Perfection is an eternal goal. While we cannot be perfect in mortality, striving for it is a commandment, which ultimately, through the Atonement, we can keep” (“This Is Our Day,” Ensign, May 1999, 19).
Scripture Mastery—3 Nephi 12:48
See if you can memorize 3 Nephi 12:48 perfectly. Write out the passage in your scripture study journal when you think you have it memorized.
Remember, the Lord does not expect us to become perfect in all things during our mortal lives, but as we diligently strive to follow Him and partake of the blessings of the Atonement, we can ultimately become perfected.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 11:18–12:48 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: