Prior to His departure, Jesus Christ asked each of His twelve disciples what they desired of Him. Nine of them requested to speedily return to Him when their ministry on the earth was complete. Three asked to remain on the earth to continue working to bring souls to Christ until He returns. The Lord honored both of these righteous desires. Mormon provided some details concerning the Three Nephites’ ministry upon the earth.
As Mormon concluded his account of the Savior’s visit among the Nephites, he explained that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon would be a sign that the Lord was fulfilling His covenant with the house of Israel. Concluding 3 Nephi, Mormon recorded the words of Jesus Christ, inviting all people to repent and be numbered with the house of Israel.
Ponder how you would respond if Jesus Christ appeared to you and asked, “What is it that ye desire of me?”
Briefly write which of your righteous desires you would share with Him.
Read 3 Nephi 28:1–3, and look for how nine of the Nephite disciples responded when the Lord asked them, “What is it that ye desire of me?” Notice how the Savior felt about their desire.
Read 3 Nephi 28:4–7, and look for what the remaining three disciples desired of the Savior. Notice how Jesus Christ felt about the desire of these three disciples. Ponder why you think the Lord said they were “more blessed” because of their desire.
Read 3 Nephi 28:8–10 to see how the Savior described the blessings the Three Nephites would receive because of their desires to labor among mortal men. Consider writing the following truth in the margin of your scriptures or in your scripture study journal: The Lord blesses us according to our righteous desires. Read the following statement from Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to see the importance of righteous desires:
“What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity. …
“Righteous desires need to be relentless, therefore, because, said President Brigham Young, ‘the men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle every day’ (in Journal of Discourses, 11:14)” (“According to the Desire of [Our] Hearts,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 21–22).
Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you felt blessed by the Lord as you acted on your righteous desires?
What will you start doing today to nurture righteous desires in your own life so you can qualify for the Lord’s blessings?
Many people have heard legends, myths, and rumors about supposed visits of the Three Nephites. Rather than rely on fables, find out what the scriptures say their mission is and how they are able to minister with power “as the angels of God” (3 Nephi 28:30).
Read 3 Nephi 28:18–23, looking for how the Lord blessed the Three Nephites so they could carry out their righteous desires. Think of what these verses teach us about the Lord’s willingness to bless us as we live according to our righteous desires.
Study 3 Nephi 28:25–31, and identify who has benefitted and will yet benefit from the ministry of the Three Nephites. You may want to mark what you find.
Think of a time you had a question about the gospel or a challenge that you were facing. Read 3 Nephi 28:36, and look for what Mormon did not understand about the physical condition of the Three Nephites after the change they experienced. Ponder your answer to the following question: Who do you normally turn to when you have a question about the gospel? Read 3 Nephi 28:36–37 to learn what Mormon did to find the answer to his question.
Study 3 Nephi 28:37–40, and look for what Mormon learned about the change that occurred to the bodies of the Three Nephites. The state or condition enjoyed by the Three Nephites is called “translation,” which is like transfiguration (see 3 Nephi 28:17) only longer in duration. Translated beings are still mortal, but, as the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, their physical bodies have been changed from a telestial condition to a terrestrial condition; they are freed from the physical sufferings of their mortal bodies (see History of the Church, 4:210). Translated beings can appear and disappear as they choose and according to God’s will (see 3 Nephi 28:27–30). They assist in bringing souls to salvation, and they remain in a translated state until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when they will undergo another change to become resurrected, glorified personages (see 3 Nephi 28:7–8, 39–40).
From Mormon’s experience, we learn that if we inquire of the Lord for understanding, we will receive revelation. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures or scripture study journal.
In your scripture study journal, record an experience in which you or someone you know sought the Lord for answers through heartfelt prayer.
After Mormon wrote about the Savior’s visit to the people of the Book of Mormon, he prophesied of the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises in the last days. Ponder your answer to the following question: When have you learned of or witnessed the fulfillment of one of God’s promises?
Consider marking the words when and then as you study 3 Nephi 29:1–3. These words will help you identify an event that signifies the Lord is keeping His promises to the house of Israel in the last days. (The phrase “these sayings” in 3 Nephi 29:1 refers to the writings of the Book of Mormon.)
We learn from 3 Nephi 29:1–3 that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a sign that the Lord is fulfilling His covenant with the house of Israel.
The Book of Mormon assures us that the Lord is preparing His people for His coming (see 3 Nephi 29:2). As you read the following statement from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, mark how the Book of Mormon helps us prepare for the Savior’s coming:
“The Book of Mormon is a tangible sign that the Lord has commenced to gather His children of covenant Israel. …
“Indeed, the Lord has not forgotten! He has blessed us and others throughout the world with the Book of Mormon. … It helps us to make covenants with God. It invites us to remember Him and to know His Beloved Son. It is another testament of Jesus Christ” (“Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 88).
Read 3 Nephi 29:4–6, and do one or both of the following activities in your scripture study journal:
Identify three specific Book of Mormon passages that you think can help someone come unto Jesus Christ. For each passage, write a sentence or two explaining why you chose that passage.
Write a paragraph about how you think the Book of Mormon could help someone understand and accept the gifts of revelation, prophecy, and tongues or the power of the Holy Ghost.
Mormon concluded his record of the Savior’s ministry by writing some specific instructions he received from Jesus Christ concerning the Gentiles. Read 3 Nephi 30:1–2, and consider marking as many of the Savior’s instructions to the Gentiles as you can find. Consider also marking the blessings available to the Gentiles if they will come unto Christ. Although 3 Nephi 30:2 is addressed to those outside of the Church, we can use Jesus Christ’s invitation to measure our own willingness to live the requirements of His covenant.
Write the following principle in your scripture study journal: If we come unto Christ, we can be numbered among His people. Write in your scripture study journal why it is a blessing of the Lord to be “numbered with [His] people who are of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 30:2).
Write the following note at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 3 Nephi 28–30 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: