Chapter 7: 2 Nephi 1–3

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 25–28


Introduction

This scripture block contains some of Lehi’s final counsel to his children before he died. The principles Lehi taught are vital to us today. He taught of the blessings God promises the obedient. He testified of the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a way that can help us see how they relate to each other. He also included a prophecy given by Joseph in Egypt, bearing testimony of the calling and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith. As you discuss these teachings, you can help students see how they relate to their lives.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • The righteous in the land of promise receive blessings (see 2 Nephi 1:5–12).

  • The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement are essential in Heavenly Father’s plan of redemption (see 2 Nephi 2).

  • The Restoration of the gospel fulfilled ancient prophecy (see 2 Nephi 3).

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Nephi 1:5–12. The Righteous in the Land of Promise Receive Blessings

Write on the board Land of Promise. Begin your discussion by asking some of the following questions:

  • What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “land of promise”?

Invite a student to read Hebrews 11:8–9.

  • Where was the land of promise for Abraham?

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 1:5.

  • On what continent is the land of promise in this prophecy?

Help students understand the Lord has designated different lands of promise for His people based on their circumstances and needs.

Explain that Lehi told his children of the blessings and cursings that were associated with their land of promise. On the board, make a chart with two columns. Label one column Blessings and the other column Cursings. Invite students to study 2 Nephi 1:7–12, looking for blessings and cursings to complete the chart. After a few minutes, invite them to share what they have learned. Write their insights on the board briefly. Students’ answers may be similar to those in the following chart:

Blessings

(2 Nephi 1:7–9)

Cursings

(2 Nephi 1:10–12)

land of liberty (verse 7)

judgments of God to rest upon them (verse 10)

never brought down into captivity (verse 7)

bring other nations that will have power to take away lands of their possessions (verse 11)

kept from knowledge of other nations for a while (verse 8)

scattered and smitten (verse 11)

prosper upon the face of the land (verse 9)

bloodshed (verse 12)

none to take away the land of their inheritance (verse 9)

 

dwell safely forever (verse 9)

 

Explain that in the latter days, it was necessary for a nation to be established that would allow for the blessings of the gospel to be restored. Once the gospel had been established there, the kingdom of God could expand throughout the world. Discuss with students the blessings relating to the land of promise that can also apply to other countries where Church members live.

Share your feelings about how the gospel has blessed you personally and your country generally.

2 Nephi 2. The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement Are Essential in Heavenly Father’s Plan of Redemption

Explain that through Lehi’s teachings in chapter 2, we can learn about the relationship between the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement.

Write on the board Creation—Fall—Atonement. Share the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also available on the companion DVD A). Look for how the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement relate to each other.

“The plan required the Creation, and that in turn required both the Fall and the Atonement. These are the three fundamental components of the plan. The creation of a paradisiacal planet came from God. Mortality and death came into the world through the Fall of Adam. Immortality and the possibility of eternal life were provided by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement were planned long before the actual work of the Creation began” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2000, 105; or Ensign, May 2000, 84).

Write the following scripture references on the board:

Ask students to read each of these passages and tell which aspect of the plan of salvation it discusses. Then lead a discussion about each aspect of the plan, using some of the following suggestions:

The Creation (2 Nephi 2:11–16)

  • What are the purposes of the Creation, as expressed in this passage?

  • Why was the Creation a necessary step before the Fall and the Atonement?

  • What are some examples of “opposition in all things”? Why do we need opposition?

The Fall (2 Nephi 2:17–25)

  • What conditions existed before the Fall? What conditions existed after the Fall?

As you conduct this discussion, you may want to list these conditions on the board in two columns. Some examples are shown in the following chart:

Before the Fall

After the Fall

Adam and Eve would not have had children.

They had children.

Adam and Eve would not have known joy or misery.

They could experience both joy and misery.

They would not have done good or evil.

They could do good, and they could also sin.

They would have remained in the Garden of Eden forever.

They were cast out of the Lord’s presence and out of the Garden of Eden. They became fallen and mortal—subject to physical death (see also Moses 6:48).

  • Why was the Fall necessary in the plan of happiness? (See Moses 5:11–12.)

Many people feel that the Fall of Adam and Eve was a terrible mistake. Share with the students the following explanation given by Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy (also available on the companion DVD B):

“The Fall was not a disaster. It wasn’t a mistake or an accident. It was a deliberate part of the plan of salvation. We are God’s spirit ‘offspring,’ sent to earth ‘innocent’ of Adam’s transgression. Yet our Father’s plan subjects us to temptation and misery in this fallen world as the price to comprehend authentic joy. Without tasting the bitter, we actually cannot understand the sweet. We require mortality’s discipline and refinement as the ‘next step in [our] development’ toward becoming like our Father. But growth means growing pains. It also means learning from our mistakes in a continual process made possible by the Savior’s grace, which He extends both during and ‘after all we can do’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 100; or Ensign, May 2004, 97; in this statement, Elder Hafen quotes the following sources: Acts 17:28; D&C 93:38; Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 207; 2 Nephi 25:23 with italics added).

Invite students to take a moment and memorize 2 Nephi 2:25 . Ask for volunteers to recite it to the class.

The Atonement (2 Nephi 2:6–10, 26–29)

  • According to these verses, why was the Atonement necessary?

  • According to 2 Nephi 2:7, what must we do to fully take advantage of the sacrifice Jesus Christ offered us? (For an explanation of the phrase “a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” see the information about 3 Nephi 9:19–20 on pages 296–97 in the student manual.)

  • What can we do to “make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth”? (2 Nephi 2:8).

Ask a student to recite or read the third article of faith. Remind students that the Atonement of Christ overcomes the effects of the Fall of Adam for all people. We will all be resurrected—saved from physical death. We will also be saved from the spiritual death brought about by the Fall—we will return to God’s presence to be judged. (See Helaman 14:15–17.) In order to receive all the blessings of the Atonement—in order to receive exaltation—we must be concerned with our individual “fall” due to our personal sins. We must qualify for all the blessings of the Atonement “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

If hymnbooks are available, consider inviting students to sing or read “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193).

Conclude by sharing your testimony about Heavenly Father’s love for us in providing His plan for our salvation.

2 Nephi 2:26–27. We Have the Freedom to Choose Liberty and Eternal Life or Captivity and Death

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 2:26–27 silently.

  • What do you think it means to “act for [our]selves and not to be acted upon”?

  • Why is agency such a critical element in the plan of salvation?

  • According to verse 27 , what are we free to choose?

Invite students to describe a person (without revealing the person’s identity) who has become captive because of unrighteous choices. Then invite students to describe someone who demonstrates liberty through righteous choices.

Share your testimony of the blessings that come from using agency righteously.

2 Nephi 3. The Restoration of the Gospel Fulfilled Ancient Prophecy

The Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith fulfilled a prophecy by the Old Testament prophet Joseph, son of Jacob. Have students read 2 Nephi 3:6–18, taking turns reading verses. Invite them to identify the four Josephs mentioned.

Divide students into small groups. Invite students to identify the different prophecies mentioned in verses 6–18 regarding the Prophet Joseph Smith. When they have finished, you may want to invite them to compare their lists with the list on pages 56–57 in the student manual.

Read the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“The Lord foreordained … Joseph Smith, Sr., who is spoken of in the holy scriptures, to be one of the earthly parents of the Prophet. Joseph of Egypt prophesied that the latter-day seer whom God would raise up to do his work would be ‘called Joseph’ (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:33), and his name would ‘be after the name of his father’ (2 Nephi 3:15). The heavenly messenger Moroni admonished young Joseph to go to his father following a glorious night of sacred instruction. In Joseph’s words, this messenger ‘commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received. I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger’ (Joseph Smith—History 1:49–50)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 4; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 5–6).

Ask a student to read 2 Nephi 3:12. Then ask how this prophecy has been fulfilled. To further answer this question, share the statement by President Boyd K. Packer on page 57 in the student manual.

Ask students to read 2 Nephi 3:15, 18, 24. To help them better understand the important role of the Prophet Joseph Smith, you could share the insights about him on pages 55–56 in the student manual.

Invite students to share their testimonies of the Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.