The appearance of Jesus Christ in the ancient Americas is evidence that God fulfills His promises and that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:
“The Son spoke, with a voice that penetrated to the marrow, saying simply, ‘I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.’ [3 Nephi 11:10.]
“That appearance and that declaration constituted the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon. …
“Everyone had talked of him, sung of him, dreamed of him, and prayed for his appearance—but here he actually was. The day of days!” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon , 250–51).
Through a study of this scripture block, students can see that prophets’ statements are fulfilled. They can vicariously experience the Savior’s visit to the people at Bountiful, growing in their testimony of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Some Doctrines and Principles
All the prophecies God communicates through His prophets will be fulfilled (see 3 Nephi 8).
The Lord will receive all those who come unto Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (see 3 Nephi 9:13–22).
The appearance of Jesus Christ in the Americas testifies of His active ministry and the reality of His Resurrection (see 3 Nephi 11:1–17).
Suggestions for Teaching
3 Nephi 8. All the Prophecies God Communicates through His Prophets Will Be Fulfilled
Before reviewing the details of the destruction in 3 Nephi 8, point out that Samuel the Lamanite prophesied about the devastation that would take place in the Americas at the time of the Savior’s death in Jerusalem. You may want to have students look for the importance Mormon placed on documenting the fulfillment of these prophecies (see 3 Nephi 10:14) and the emphasis the Lord Himself gave to the fulfillment of the prophecies when He said, “The scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled” (3 Nephi 9:16).
Why do you think some people allowed “great doubtings and disputations” to replace the “great earnestness” with which they had looked for the sign?
How can this apply to us?
Note: If you discussed the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite in detail in chapter 38, you may want to cover them only briefly in this lesson.
Have students organize themselves into groups of three or four. Write the following on the board:
Invite the groups to read Helaman 14:20–27, looking for Samuel the Lamanite’s prophecies concerning Christ’s death. Then ask them to read 3 Nephi 8:5–23, looking for the ways the prophecies were fulfilled. You may want to suggest that students cross-reference these two scripture passages in the margins of their scriptures. Invite students to identify how many years passed between the announcement of the prophecies and their fulfillment (approximately 40 years).
After the students have had time to compare the scripture blocks, ask each group to write one or two principles we can learn from these events. Ask each group to share what they have written.
To help students find application in these scripture passages, ask the following questions:
As Latter-day Saints, what are some prophecies we believe that other people reject? (List answers on the board. Answers may include prophecies about the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days, the building up of New Jerusalem, the gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman, and the preaching of the gospel in all the world.)
Why do you think some people reject these prophecies?
Invite a student to read D&C 1:38 . Testify that all the prophecies contained in the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets will be fulfilled.
Conclude this activity by asking the following questions:
In what ways can reading about these experiences help us prepare for the Second Coming?
What can we do to keep our faith strong while we wait for prophecies to be fulfilled?
3 Nephi 9:5–12. God Will Hold the Wicked Accountable
Sometimes people question whether God remembers the atrocities the wicked inflict on the righteous. For example, when King Noah ordered Abinadi to be burned (see Mosiah 17) and when prophets were stoned to death (see 3 Nephi 7:19), people might have expected God to immediately punish the wicked. God does hold the wicked accountable for their actions, but He does so in His own time and manner. Invite students to quickly scan 3 Nephi 9:5–12, identifying phrases that describe the destruction of the wicked.
How did the Lord vindicate the words of the prophets?
3 Nephi 9:13–22. The Lord Will Receive All Those Who Come unto Him with a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit
Ask students to imagine that they are part of the group hearing the Savior’s voice in 3 Nephi 9. Then invite them to read verses 13–22 silently. Have them look for how many times the Lord invited the people to come unto Him.
What can we learn from the Lord’s repetition of this invitation?
Review 3 Nephi 9:14. In what ways have you felt the Lord extend His arm of mercy toward you?
How has the Lord blessed you as you have come unto Him?
Explain that Jesus Christ made it very clear that animal sacrifice should be “done away” and that His followers should offer a sacrifice of “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (see 3 Nephi 9:19–20).
Before discussing the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit, you may want to briefly review the purpose of animal sacrifices and why the Savior said, “I will accept none of your [animal] sacrifices and your burnt offerings” (3 Nephi 9:19). Explain that the law of Moses required the offering of animal sacrifices. These offerings were a type and shadow of the Atonement (see Moses 5:5–8; see also 2 Nephi 25:24). After the Atonement of Jesus Christ, animal sacrifice was no longer required. Amulek had taught this truth years earlier, saying that the blood shed by the Lamb of God would be the “great and last sacrifice,” which would be “infinite and eternal” (Alma 34:10). He said, “It is expedient that there should be … a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled” (Alma 34:13). The righteous were expecting an end to animal sacrifices after the Son of God had offered His blood.
What do you think it means to offer a sacrifice of “a broken heart and a contrite spirit”?
As students discuss these questions, you may want to have them read the statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson on page 297 in the student manual. This statement is also available on the companion DVD A. Invite the students to think about what they will do to more fully offer God “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” You might suggest that students write down their thoughts.
How can we more fully offer this sacrifice to the Lord?
Refer students back to 3 Nephi 9:20.
What does the Lord promise us in return for our offering a broken heart and contrite spirit?
“As you submit your wills to God, you are giving Him the only thing you can actually give Him that is really yours to give. Don’t wait too long to find the altar or to begin to place the gift of your wills upon it!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 48; or
Invite students to ponder how they might submit their wills to God.
3 Nephi 11:1–17. The Appearance of Jesus Christ in the Americas Testifies of His Active Ministry and the Reality of His Resurrection
In order to invite greater reverence when discussing the Savior’s visit to the Americas, you may want to invite the class to sing or review the lyrics to “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136), “I Believe in Christ” (Hymns, no. 134), or another favorite hymn about the Savior.
Invite students to imagine themselves as one of those who met Jesus Christ in the Americas as you read 3 Nephi 11:1–17. Then ask some or all of the following questions:
How did the people react to the Savior’s appearance?
What were your thoughts and feelings as you listened to this account?
How do you think you would have felt if you had been there?
How did the Savior describe His suffering?
In what ways can we show our appreciation for the Savior’s suffering for us?
Have a student reread 3 Nephi 11:14–15.
What insights can we gain from these verses about the extent of the Savior’s mission? What can we learn about the Savior’s concern for individuals?
Explain that even though we have not yet had the experience of physically touching the Savior’s hands and feet, we can feel of His reality and bear personal testimony of Him. Invite students to share their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Bear your testimony of the Savior’s active ministry in our lives today and the reality of His Resurrection.
3 Nephi 11:29. “The Spirit of Contention … Is of the Devil”
Have students read 3 Nephi 11:29 . You may also want to encourage them to mark the passage and take time to memorize it.
What are some situations when contention is likely to occur in our lives?
What have you found that helps overcome contention?
Consider sharing the story told by President Thomas S. Monson on pages 300–301 in the student manual.
What are the dangers of allowing contention and disputations to go unchecked or unresolved?
3 Nephi 11:31–41. The Doctrine of Christ Includes Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Invite a student to recite the fourth article of faith. While he or she is reciting, write the following on the board:
Faith in Jesus Christ
Gift of the Holy Ghost
Inform students that the Savior emphasized these principles and ordinances when He taught what He called “my doctrine” (3 Nephi 11:31–32, 39). Write Doctrine of Christ above the list on the board. Have students read 3 Nephi 11:31–41, looking for the Savior’s doctrine.
According to 3 Nephi 11:39–41, what does the Savior promise us when we build on His doctrine?
Have students quickly read 3 Nephi 11:21–28 and count how may times the Savior uses the words baptize or baptized in these verses (nine times).
Why did the people need to be taught about baptism? (See 3 Nephi 11:28.)
What questions about baptism are answered in these verses?
Share your testimony about the importance of continually developing our faith in the Savior, repenting, and renewing our baptismal covenants by taking the sacrament so that we can receive the Holy Ghost and build our lives on the sure foundation of the gospel.