As you study the doctrines and principles in this chapter, you will become increasingly aware of the Lord’s willingness to share magnificent blessings with His faithful children. These blessings do not come by chance. One way to receive blessings from God is to ponder His truths. Pondering leads to revelation. As students study Nephi’s example of pondering and receiving revelation, they can be inspired to do the same. His example of power and faithfulness is juxtaposed with the weakness of the Nephites at the end of this scripture block.
As you teach Helaman 11–12, you may want to use “The Pride Cycle” (run time 15:10), a segment of Book of Mormon DVD Presentations (item number 54011). As you preview the presentation, refer to the suggestions in the Book of Mormon Video Guide (item number 34810; also available at ldsces.org).
Pondering the things of the Lord leads to revelation (see Helaman 10:1–4).
The sealing power binds and looses on earth and in heaven (see Helaman 10:4–10).
Forgetting God leads to destruction; repentance and good works lead to salvation (see Helaman 12).
Read Helaman 10:1–4 with the students. As you read together, direct students’ attention to the word pondering.
What does it mean to ponder?
Ask students to name other people in the scriptures who have had revelations as a result of pondering the Lord’s words. Some examples may include Lehi’s son Nephi (see 1 Nephi 11:1), the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon (see D&C 76:19), and President Joseph F. Smith (see D&C 138:1–11).
As Helaman’s son Nephi pondered the Lord’s revelation to him, he received additional revelation (see Helaman 10:2–11).
Why do you think pondering helps us receive revelation?
As students discuss this question, you may want to share the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about the process of pondering. You might consider putting it on an overhead or on the board so students can read it together.
“Pondering, for most of us, is not something we do easily. It is much more than drifting or daydreaming, for it focuses and stirs us, not lulls us. We must set aside time, circumstances, and attitude in order to achieve it. In Alma’s words, we must ‘give place’ (Alma 32:27). The length of time involved in pondering is not as important as the intensity given to it. Reflection cannot be achieved in the midst of distraction” (That Ye May Believe , 183).
Explain that when we take time to ponder, we open our minds to recognizing the will of our Heavenly Father in our lives.
Ask students to describe the difference between daydreaming and pondering. Write the following categories on the board: Career, Church Service, School, and Marriage. Ask students to think of a question, concern, or challenge they have in one of these categories and write it down. As they do so, write the following on the board: Assignment: Ponder this challenge at home, and write the impressions that come to your mind. Then follow through with actions that will lead to positive results.
After students have had a few minutes to write, direct their attention to the assignment you have written on the board. Encourage them to take this assignment seriously—to find a quiet setting and take time to ponder.
Share the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“We … need quiet time and prayerful pondering as we seek to develop information into knowledge and mature knowledge into wisdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 107; or Ensign, May 2001, 83).
Invite students to share experiences when their pondering has helped them receive guidance from the Lord.
What are some possible reasons for Nephi’s unwearyingness?
How can we develop this character trait?
Read the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell:
“If we are focused on Jesus and His work, both our joys and our staying capacity are increased. … Nephi had not selfishly sought his ‘own life,’ but rather had sought to do God’s will. This gave him the extra and undivided energy which made his striving with unwearied diligence possible. Nephi knew in which direction he faced: toward God” (If Thou Endure It Well , 116).
According to Elder Maxwell, what can we do to be unwearying in the Lord’s work?
Ask a student to read Helaman 10:4–5. Then read the story on pages 274–75 in the student manual, which tells of a time when President Marion G. Romney learned from these verses. After reading, share the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell as a summary of the verses:
“So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. …
“When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us, as was the case with Nephi, the son of Helaman” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience , 93–94).
What can we do to come to learn God’s will for us?
Write sealing power on the board. Explain that Nephi was given the sealing power. To help students understand this, invite them to read the Lord’s words in Helaman 10:7–10. Then ask them to turn to page 276 in the student manual and read the quotation from the Guide to the Scriptures and the statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith. Point out that in Nephi’s case, the sealing power included (1) the power to perform ordinances on earth that are binding in heaven and (2) power over the elements. Explain that power over the elements is not given to all those who receive the sealing power.
How did Nephi use the power over the elements? Why did he use this power? (See Helaman 11:1–4.)
The sealing power mentioned in verse 7 includes the keys to perform sealing ordinances that enable families, through their faithfulness, to be united eternally.
Share the following perspective from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also available on the companion DVD A):
“In preparing to receive the endowment and other ordinances of the temple, we should understand the sealing authority of the priesthood. Jesus referred to this authority long ago when He taught His Apostles, ‘Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’ [Matthew 16:19.] That same authority has been restored in these latter days. Just as priesthood is eternal—without beginning or end—so is the effect of priesthood ordinances that bind families together forever” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 40; or Ensign, May 2001, 33).
How does the sealing power influence your life?
Ask students to reflect on an occasion when a parent, teacher, or Church leader chastened them for a good reason.
How did the chastening make a difference in your behavior?
According to Doctrine and Covenants 95:1, whom does the Lord chasten and for what purpose?
Divide the class into two groups. Write the following scripture blocks on the board and assign one to each group. Ask each group to discuss their scripture block to discover reasons why the Lord chastened His people.
After students have had time to discuss their assigned scriptures, guide a discussion using the following questions:
What were the people doing that led to the Lord’s chastening?
What kind of chastening did the Lord use to get the people’s attention?
According to Helaman 12:3, many people do not remember the Lord if He does not chasten them. Why do you think this is so?
Help students recognize that the cycles of chastening they read about occurred within less than a decade (see Helaman 11:1, 35) and that the end of chapter 11 indicates that the people of Nephi fell into wickedness yet again (see Helaman 11:36–38).
What lessons can we learn from what we have read about the people of Nephi?
Share the following statement by Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy (also available on the companion DVD B):
“The whole world seems to be in commotion. Today’s news is filled with accounts of large‑scale famine, civil unrest, and natural disasters. Even more devastating in the long run is the spiritually destructive hurricane of disobedience to God’s commandments that is engulfing the world. This horrible storm is blowing the moral fiber out of the nations of the earth and leaving the land in moral desolation. Many people seem to be oblivious to this hurricane and have become so desensitized they don’t even feel a breeze.
“We are following a cycle which was repeated over and over again in the Book of Mormon. As the Lord tells us, ‘In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me’ (D&C 101:8).
“We shouldn’t be too surprised, therefore, that the Lord is allowing some wake‑up calls to jar us loose from apathy just as he has done in previous dispensations” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 13; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 12).
Explain that Helaman 12 teaches lessons that relate to the previous 11 chapters.
What elements of this cycle are found in verses 1–6?
How is this cycle evident in the previous chapters in the book of Helaman?
Why do you think people sometimes forget the Lord at the very time He is blessing them?
Read the first statement by President Ezra Taft Benson and the statement by President Harold B. Lee on page 278 in the student manual.
Why can luxury and prosperity be such severe tests?
Why is pride so destructive?
Invite students to read Helaman 12:7–19 silently, looking for examples of God’s greatness. After sufficient time, invite them to share what they have found.
How can remembering God’s greatness help us avoid pride? What else can we do to be humble instead of prideful?
As a class, read Helaman 12:20–26.
In these verses, what evidence do you see that the Lord does not want us to be “cut off from [His] presence”?
How can these verses help us understand some of the things we must do to receive salvation?
What can we do to remember the Lord during times when He is blessing us?
Testify of the blessings the Lord gives us as we repent and do good works.
Ask a student to read Helaman 12:23–24.
What do you think the phrase “grace for grace” means?
As students discuss this question, ask them to turn to the Bible Dictionary and look up the meaning of the word grace. Then invite them to read 2 Nephi 10:24 and 25:23 and Alma 24:11 and to cross-reference those verses with Helaman 12:23–24.
What phrases in 2 Nephi 10:24 and 25:23 and Alma 24:11 describe our efforts to receive the Lord’s grace? (Answers may include “reconcile yourselves to the will of God,” “believe in Christ,” and “after all we can do.”)
If students do not mention the following principle, you may want to explain it: The phrase “grace for grace” suggests an exchange. For example, as we seek to serve others, repent, and do other good works, the Lord gives us spiritual strength and power to improve in exchange for our efforts (see D&C 93:12, 20). “Grace for grace” also implies a developmental process. For each grace we receive and worthily use, we receive another grace in our progress toward perfection.
Refer to the explanation given by Elder David A. Bednar on pages 279–80 in the student manual. You may also want to read the explanation by Elder Gene R. Cook on page 280 in the student manual. These statements are also available on the companion DVD C D.
Encourage students to take time during the week to write about how the Lord has added grace to their lives as they have kept His commandments.