Following the missionary efforts of Nephi and Lehi, the Lamanites increased in their righteousness. Unfortunately, during this same time the Nephites became wicked and supported the Gadianton robbers, resulting in the Spirit of the Lord being withdrawn from them. The prophet Nephi prophesied that if the Nephites continued to live in wickedness, they would perish. In response, corrupt judges stirred many of the people up to anger against Nephi, while some people boldly defended the prophet. As a testament that his words would be fulfilled, Nephi revealed that the chief judge had been murdered by his brother. When Nephi’s words were verified, some of the people accepted him as a prophet.
The Lamanites become righteous and fight against the Gadianton robbers, while the Nephites support the secret combinations
Draw the following in your scripture study journal, leaving room to write above and below the diagram:
As you have studied the book of Helaman, you have seen that the Nephites made choices that led the Spirit of the Lord to withdraw from their lives, while the Lamanites made choices that invited the Spirit to increase in their lives. Read Helaman 6:1–5, 16–17, 34–36; look for what the Lamanites did that caused the Spirit of the Lord to increase; and write them above the top arrow. In the same verses, look for what the Nephites did that caused the Spirit of the Lord to decrease, and write them below the bottom arrow.
An important principle we can learn from the Nephites and Lamanites is: As we believe in and obey the Lord’s words, He will pour out His Spirit upon us. The opposite of this principle is also true: If we are not willing to believe and obey the Lord’s words, the Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from us.
Look at what you have written on the diagram in your scripture study journal. Think about how those actions on the top half are examples of being willing to believe and obey the Lord’s words, while those on the bottom are examples of being hardhearted and unwilling to listen to the Lord.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Choose one of the positive actions (on the top half of your diagram) that you are doing or have done in your life. How has this action invited the Holy Spirit into your life?
Look at the actions on the bottom half of your diagram. Why do you want to avoid doing these things?
Choose one thing you can do to invite the Spirit of the Lord to increase in your life, and strive to work on that in the coming week.
Nephi preaches to the wicked Nephites and commands them to repent
The prophet Nephi served as a missionary in the land northward for six years. He returned to his own home after trying to teach the Nephites, who had rejected his words and remained in their wicked state. He was very discouraged. Read Helaman 7:6–11 to learn what Nephi did.
After the people gathered to hear Nephi praying upon the tower in his garden, Nephi began teaching them (see Helaman 7:12–29). He warned them of the consequences of their decisions and emphasized this principle: If we refuse to repent of our sins, we will lose the Lord’s protection and the blessings of eternal life.
Corrupt judges stir up the people to anger against Nephi
What are some influences that distract you from listening to the words of the prophets? As you study Helaman 8, look for insights into what you should do when faced with such influences.
Read Helaman 8:1–6, looking for how the Nephite judges (who were also Gadianton robbers) reacted to Nephi’s teaching. As you read, ponder the following questions: What was the judges’ main message to the people? According to Helaman 8:4, why wouldn’t the judges seize Nephi?
Think about what you would do if someone tried to persuade you to disregard what prophets have taught. In Helaman 8, some people spoke out against what the judges were saying about Nephi. Read Helaman 8:7–9, and consider highlighting what the people said to support Nephi.
Look at Helaman 8:10, and note the effect their words had on the situation. You may want to write the following principle next to Helaman 8:7–10: If we resist evil, we can prevent it from progressing.
In your scripture study journal, write a short paragraph explaining why you think the principle stated above is important in our day.
Answer one or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can you resist influences that try to persuade you to ignore or resist the prophet’s teachings?
What might be appropriate ways to speak out against such influences and support the Lord’s prophets?
When have you or someone you know stood up against such influences? What were the results?
As recorded in Helaman 8:11–23, Nephi reminded the people of prophet after prophet who had testified of Jesus Christ. He taught the Nephites this principle: As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and are obedient, we will receive eternal life. Despite the multitude of prophets whose teachings confirmed Nephi’s words, the people rejected Nephi and his message. Read Helaman 8:24–26, and identify the consequences the Nephites faced if they continued to reject the testimonies of prophets. Then ponder the following question: Why do you think those who consistently deny the truth and rebel against God face such serious consequences?
Nephi reveals that the chief judge was murdered by his brother
As proof that the people were in a sinful state and that what he told them about their destruction would be fulfilled, Nephi revealed that the Nephites’ chief judge had been murdered. Nephi also declared that both the murdered man and his brother were members of the Gadianton robbers. (See Helaman 8:27–28.)
In your scripture study journal, write the following principle: The words of the prophets will be fulfilled. Imagine you are a detective investigating the murder of the chief judge. Find the answers to the following questions by reading the verses in parentheses. Write your answers in your scripture study journal.
Day One of the Investigation:
Consider marking the answers to the following questions in your scriptures:
According to Helaman 9:5, what did the five men who discovered the murdered chief judge believe and fear?
According to Helaman 9:36, what did Nephi say that Seantum would testify of as he confessed to murdering his brother?
According to Helaman 9:39–41, why did some people believe Nephi?
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Helaman 6–9 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: