After Jesus Christ’s visit and ministry in the Americas, the people applied His teachings and enjoyed 200 years of unity, prosperity, and happiness. Eventually, however, the people began to be prideful and became increasingly wicked. Soon they became divided into Nephites and Lamanites again, and after 300 years, both the Nephites and Lamanites had become wicked, with only a few righteous people remaining.
What helps you be truly happy?
What do you think is the difference between things that bring you temporary happiness and things that can lead to lasting happiness? Read 4 Nephi 1:16 to find what Mormon wrote about the people after the Savior visited them. You might want to mark the phrase “surely there could not be a happier people.”
Write the heading There Could Not Be a Happier People in your scripture study journal, and draw a circle underneath it, as shown in the following diagram. (You will be writing things inside and around the circle.) Read 4 Nephi 1:1–2, and look for what the people did that made their happiness possible. List your findings in the circle.
Because the people applied the Savior’s teachings, they “were all converted unto the Lord” (4 Nephi 1:2) and enjoyed great happiness.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how conversion and happiness are linked together. As you read his words, underline what it means to be converted:
“Your happiness now and forever is conditioned on your degree of conversion and the transformation that it brings to your life. How then can you become truly converted? President [Marion G.] Romney describes the steps you must follow:
“‘Membership in the Church and conversion are not necessarily synonymous. Being converted and having a testimony are not necessarily the same thing either. A testimony comes when the Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth. A moving testimony vitalizes faith. That is, it induces repentance and obedience to the commandments. Conversion is the fruit or the reward for repentance and obedience’ [in Conference Report, Guatemala Area Conference 1977, 8–9].
“Stated simply, true conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. …
“True conversion yields the fruit of enduring happiness that can be enjoyed even when the world is in turmoil and most are anything but happy” (“Full Conversion Brings Happiness,” Ensign, May 2002, 25–26).
Read 4 Nephi 1:2–3, 5, 7, 10–13, 15–18, and look for words and phrases that describe what the people experienced because everyone was converted to the Lord. In your scripture study journal, write some of these words and phrases around the outside of the circle you drew in the previous assignment.
We can learn from this period of unprecedented happiness and prosperity among the Nephites that when a group of people is converted to the Lord, it brings unity and happiness. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures near 4 Nephi 1:16 or in your scripture study journal.
Ponder what you think it would be like if everyone around you were truly converted to the Lord.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What benefits do you think would come to your family if everyone in your family lived like the people in 4 Nephi?
Think about a time in your life when you have been blessed by being a part of a group that was unified in righteousness—such as in your family, quorum or class, or group of friends. What do you think helped this group to be unified in righteousness? What blessings did you and those who were with you receive?
What do you think could destroy a happy society like the people described in 4 Nephi had?
Write the heading “Destruction of a Happy Society” in your scripture study journal, and draw a circle underneath, similar to your diagram in the first assignment. Read 4 Nephi 1:20, 23–24, and look for what began to destroy the happiness and peace of the people. Write your findings in the circle.
You may want to write the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency in your scriptures next to 4 Nephi 1:24 or in your scripture study journal: “Pride is the great enemy of unity” (“Our Hearts Knit as One,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 70). In what ways do you think pride is the enemy of unity?
The following statement from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency gives insight into pride. Underline phrases that explain why pride is so destructive.
“Pride is sinful … because it breeds hatred or hostility and places us in opposition to God and our fellowmen. At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with ‘Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,’ it always seems to end with ‘Therefore, I am better than you.’
“When our hearts are filled with pride, we commit a grave sin, for we violate the two great commandments [see Matthew 22:36–40]. Instead of worshipping God and loving our neighbor, we reveal the real object of our worship and love—the image we see in the mirror” (“Pride and the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 56).
Read 4 Nephi 1:25–27, 30–35, 38–45, and look for words and phrases that describe the effects of pride among the people. Write these words and phrases around the outside of the circle in your scripture study journal for assignment 4.
One truth we can learn from these events is that the sin of pride creates division and leads to greater wickedness. You may want to write this phrase in your scriptures. How can the pride of one or two people affect the happiness of the entire group?
Consider who in the following scenarios might be negatively affected by an individual’s pride:
A member of a class in Young Women does not want to listen to the lesson her teacher has prepared about the blessings that come from obeying the Word of Wisdom. She feels she does not need to be lectured again about the Word of Wisdom and becomes disruptive and refuses to participate in class.
A friend consistently teases or belittles another member of the group because the way that person dresses shows he or she does not have much money.
Ponder whether or not there are elements of pride in your own life. It may be helpful to review President Uchtdorf’s statement as you ponder. Think of what you can do to resist pride and to seek help in increasing unity and righteousness in your family, quorum, class, or group of friends. Write your thoughts and goals in your scripture study journal.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 4 Nephi 1 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: