2 Nephi 1–5

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 47–54


Introduction

Nephi begins 2 Nephi with some of his father’s last words as a witness of Jesus Christ. Lehi, before his death, blessed and taught his children and their families. He warned Laman and Lemuel about rejecting “the true Messiah” (2 Nephi 1:10) and told them to accept Nephi’s righteous leadership. He taught Jacob about the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that he might know to whom he must turn to be saved. He spoke to his youngest son Joseph about Joseph in Egypt and of his prophecies concerning the latter days.

Soon after Lehi’s death, Nephi was warned to flee from Laman and Lemuel, who were plotting to kill him. “Those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God” (2 Nephi 5:6) followed Nephi into the wilderness, while the remainder of Lehi’s family stayed with Laman and Lemuel. This marked the beginning of the Nephite and Lamanite nations. Nephi wrote of his brothers: “Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence” (2 Nephi 5:20). One theme to look for in 2 Nephi 1–5 is the promise that those who keep God’s commandments will prosper.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Note: Prayerfully study each assigned scripture block and consider the principles in this section before preparing your lessons.

  • Those whom the Lord leads to the land of promise will prosper if they keep His commandments. If they do not keep the commandments, they will be cut off from His presence and swept off the land when their iniquity is full (see 2 Nephi 1:3–12, 20; 5:8–27; see also Ether 2:7–12).

  • God will consecrate the suffering and afflictions of the righteous for their gain (see 2 Nephi 2:1–3; see also 2 Corinthians 4:17; D&C 122:7).

  • Heavenly Father knew that no mortal could live His law perfectly, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for sin and bring salvation to those who repent (see 2 Nephi 2:3–10).

  • Agency is essential to progression. Our choices will eventually result in freedom, happiness, and eternal life with God or captivity and misery with the devil (see 2 Nephi 2:11–29; see also Helaman 14:30–31).

  • The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement are essential in Heavenly Father’s plan. Knowing about them helps us understand why we need the Savior (see 2 Nephi 2:14–26; see also 2 Nephi 9:6–15; Alma 18:36–39).

  • “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).

  • The Lord raised up the Prophet Joseph Smith to bring about the Restoration and bring forth the Book of Mormon. As we study the Book of Mormon we can come to know the covenants of the Lord and the power by which we may obtain salvation (see 2 Nephi 3:6–15; see also D&C 20:5–16).

  • The Lord holds parents accountable to teach their children the truth (see 2 Nephi 4:3–9; see also D&C 68:25–32).

  • A knowledge of our sins and shortcomings can lead us to despair, but as we recognize the Lord’s blessings in our lives and trust in His power, we can replace despair with hope (see 2 Nephi 4:17–5:5).

  • The wicked separate themselves from the Lord’s presence and His blessings through their evil actions (see 2 Nephi 5:1–27; see also 2 Nephi 7:1).

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 22–26.

Suggestions for Teaching

Note: Choose from the ideas in this section, or use some of your own, as you prepare to teach the assigned scripture block.

video iconBook of Mormon Video presentation 4, “Act for Themselves” (18:42), can be used in teaching 2 Nephi 2 (see Book of Mormon Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

2 Nephi 1:1–24. Individuals and nations are blessed or cursed according to their obedience to God’s commandments. (25–30 minutes)

Show students a family picture, a bowl of seeds, fruit that grows from that kind of seed, and some money. Have them write a definition for the word prosperity on a sheet of paper. Discuss what they write. Read 2 Nephi 5:10–13 and discuss the following questions:

  • According to Nephi’s description, what are some ways people can prosper?

  • How do the picture, seeds, fruit, and money relate to Nephi’s description?

  • Why do you think some people believe that prospering only has to do with gaining money?

  • In what other ways can we prosper?

Have students read 1 Nephi 4:14 and look for the promise the Lord gave Nephi and his posterity. Testify that the obedient prosper. Write the headings Nephites and Lamanites on the board. Have students read 2 Nephi 5:13–17, 20–24 looking for examples of prosperity or lack of prosperity among the two peoples. List their findings under the headings on the board. Have a student read the following statement by Elder Dean L. Larsen, then a member of the Presidency of the Seventy:

“When the lives of the people are in harmony with the Lord’s will, all of the essential factors that produce the blessings God deigns to give to his children seem to come into line. Love and harmony prevail. Even the weather, the climate, and the elements seem to respond. Peace and tranquillity endure. Industry and progress mark the lives of the people. It is as the Lord has promised” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 58; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 41).

Discuss how this principle applies today.

Tell students that both individuals and nations are blessed or cursed according to their obedience. Write two more headings on the board: Nations and Individuals. Divide students into two groups. Assign one to study 2 Nephi 1:1–12 and the other 2 Nephi 1:13–23. Have both groups look for answers to the following questions:

  • What blessings come to nations for obedience?

  • What blessings come to individuals?

  • In what ways will nations or individuals be cursed for their disobedience?

Invite students to share their answers, and list them on the board under the appropriate headings. Discuss the similarities and differences between nations and individuals.

Ask: Why does it sometimes seem that the wicked prosper as much as or even more than the righteous? Explain that this question has been asked since ancient times (see Jeremiah 12:1). Testify that eventually the wicked will be punished and all will be judged according to their works upon the earth. The following statements may be helpful as you discuss this principle. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote:

“Those who brood over the prosperity or seeming happiness of the wicked put too much emphasis on material things. …

“… The possession of wealth or the acquisition of significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor” (Pure in Heart [1988], 75).

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote:

“People who are concerned about the prosperity of the wicked are sometimes blinded to their own weaknesses yet magnify greatly the errors of others. … The wicked may prosper for a time, the rebellious may seem to profit by their transgressions, but the time is coming when, at the bar of justice, all men will be judged, ‘every man according to their works.’ (Rev. 20:13.) No one will ‘get by’ with anything. On that day no one will escape the penalty of his deeds, no one will fail to receive the blessings he has earned” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 304–5).

2 Nephi 2:1–3. God will consecrate the suffering and afflictions of the righteous for their gain. (10–15 minutes)

President Howard W. Hunter related the opposition we face to the friction that a racing boat encounters. He described watching the fautasi, or longboat, races in Apia Harbor in Samoa. Have a student read the following statement by President Hunter:

“We walked over to the place where the boats docked after the race had concluded. One of the oarsmen explained to us that the prow of the fautasi is so constructed that it cuts through and divides the water to help overcome the resistance that retards the speed of the boat. He further explained that the pulling of the oars against the resistance of the water creates the force that causes the boat to move forward. Resistance creates both the opposition and the forward movement.

“Friction, or resistance, is an interesting phenomenon. Without this force, a person or vehicle could not move about or, if already in motion, could not be stopped except by collision. Simple things like nails, screws, and bolts would not stay in place; a cork would not stay in a bottle; a light globe would drop from its socket; a lid would not stay on a jar.

“The law of friction or resistance that we think of as only applying to science seems to find application in our personal lives.”

Have students read 2 Nephi 2:1–3 and look for how the law of resistance applied in the life of Jacob. Consider the following questions:

  • What resistance did Jacob have in his life?

  • What promise did Jacob receive from his father Lehi?

  • In what ways will the Lord consecrate, or bless, our afflictions for our gain?

Have students read and cross-reference Doctrine and Covenants 122:7 and 2 Corinthians 4:17 as you discuss their answers.

President Hunter continued:

“We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy” (That We Might Have Joy [1994], 97–98).

weekly icon2 Nephi 2:3–10. Heavenly Father knew that no mortal could live His law perfectly, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for sin and bring salvation to those who repent. (15–20 minutes)

Tell students that you are going to write an instruction on the board that you want them to follow perfectly, regardless of what happens around them. Write on the board Think about nothing. While students try to follow this instruction, do things to distract them (for example, play a video, read to them from a book, or play a hymn on the piano). After about two minutes, ask:

  • How difficult was it for you to think about nothing? Why?

  • What would it take to follow this instruction perfectly?

Explain that in order to return to Heavenly Father, we must obey Heavenly Father’s commandments perfectly. Nephi taught, “There cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God” (1 Nephi 15:34). Ask: How difficult is it to obey all of Heavenly Father’s commandments perfectly?

Invite students to read 2 Nephi 2:5 and look for the words temporal law and spiritual law. Explain that the temporal law came into effect because of the Fall of Adam, which subjected all mankind to physical death. The spiritual law includes the commandments of God. All people suffer a spiritual death (separation from God) as a result of not keeping the spiritual law completely. Ask:

  • According to this verse, who will qualify for exaltation? (No one.)

  • What do these two laws have in common? (With one you are “cut off” and with the other you “perish.”)

  • Why is it that “by the law no flesh is justified” or approved before God? (Except for Christ, no one has lived the law perfectly.)

  • What kind of help do we need to fulfill the law? (The Atonement.)

Read 2 Nephi 2:6–7 and ask:

  • What did the Lord do to help us fulfill both of these laws?

  • What are “the ends of the law”? (Punishment; have students read 2 Nephi 2:10, 26 to find the answer to this question.)

Discuss the following questions:

  • How did Jesus Christ answer the ends of the law for us? (He suffered our punishment for breaking the law; see 2 Nephi 2:7.)

  • The Lord provided an atoning sacrifice for our sins. What are “the ends of the atonement”? (Happiness; see v. 10.)

  • Read 2 Nephi 2:8. According to these verses, who escapes the punishment inflicted by the temporal law (death)? (Everyone.)

  • According to verse 7, who receives the blessings of happiness and escapes the punishment inflicted by the spiritual law? (Only those who have “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”)

  • What does it mean to have “a broken heart and a contrite spirit”?

If necessary, point out that contrite means “repentant.” To further understand this phrase, invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“This absolute requisite of ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit’ prescribes the need to be submissive, compliant, humble (that is, teachable), and willingly obedient” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1997, 77; or Ensign, May 1997, 53).

Discuss the words that Elder Scott uses to describe “a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” and ask students how they can put these concepts into daily practice. Read 2 Nephi 2:8, and ask students to write on a piece of paper how they feel about the Savior’s great love for them and what they will do to be worthy of His sacrifice. Conclude by reading the following statement, also by Elder Scott:

“Please understand that the way back is not as hard as it seems to you now. Satan wants you to think that it is impossible. That is not true. The Savior gave His life so that you can completely overcome the challenges you face (see 2 Nephi 2:6–8)” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 1990, 95; or Ensign, May 1990, 74).

weekly icon2 Nephi 2:14–29. The Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement are essential in Heavenly Father’s plan. Knowing about them helps us understand why we need the Savior. (25–30 minutes)

Display a picture of the earth, the solar system, or vast numbers of stars (see Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 600). Ask:

  • How many planets do you think exist in the universe? (see Moses 1:33).

  • Of all the planets in the universe, why do you think we are here on earth?

After discussing their responses, have a student read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Why are you here on planet earth?

“One of the most important reasons is to receive a mortal body. Another is to be tested—to experience mortality—to determine what you will do with life’s challenging opportunities. Those opportunities require you to make choices, and choices depend on agency. A major reason for your mortal existence, therefore, is to test how you will exercise your agency (see 2 Nephi 2:15, 25)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 94–95; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 74).

Ask: According to Elder Nelson, what are two major reasons we are on the earth? Explain that these reasons are essential for us to progress in Heavenly Father’s plan. On another occasion Elder Nelson said:

“A great council in heaven was once convened, in which it seems that all of us participated. There our Heavenly Father announced His plan. …

“… The enabling essence of the plan is the atonement of Jesus Christ. As it is central to the plan, we should try to comprehend the meaning of the Atonement. Before we can comprehend it, though, we must understand the fall of Adam. And before we can fully appreciate the Fall, we must first comprehend the Creation. These three events—the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement—are three preeminent pillars of God’s plan, and they are doctrinally interrelated” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 45; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 33).

Ask: What are the three “pillars” or major elements of God’s plan?

To sum up, two major purposes of life are to receive a mortal body and to test how we will use our agency. Three pillars of Heavenly Father’s plan are the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. Ask: How do these three pillars of the plan help us achieve these two purposes of life?

To answer this question, write the accompanying chart on the board, but leave the answers in the two “Purpose” columns blank. Have the students read the scriptures in the “Pillars of God’s Plan” column looking for how each pillar fulfills each purpose. Have them work individually or in groups.

How Does God’s Plan Fulfill the Purposes of Our Coming to the Earth?

Pillars of God’s Plan

First Purpose: Receive Our Body

Second Purpose: Test How We Use Our Agency

The Creation (2 Nephi 2:14–16, 22–23, 25)

God created physical bodies for all His creatures (see 2 Nephi 2:14–15).

God created “things to act and things to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:14). He allowed opposition (see v. 15). He gave man the ability to act for himself (see v. 16).

The Fall (2 Nephi 2:16–25; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22)

Adam and Eve fell so that God’s children could receive mortal bodies and experience life and death (see 2 Nephi 2:19–23, 25; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).

We cannot exercise agency without being enticed (attracted or persuaded) by good and evil. The Lord invites us to do good, and the devil entices us to do evil (see 2 Nephi 2:16–18).

The Atonement (2 Nephi 2:26–29; Alma 11:42–43)

The Atonement redeems all mankind from the Fall and provides the Resurrection from the dead (see 2 Nephi 2:26; Alma 11:42–43).

Because of the Atonement we can choose a course that will lead to freedom and eternal life or captivity and spiritual death (see 2 Nephi 2:27–29).

Discuss students’ findings. Conclude by discussing the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“This life is a very brief part of our existence, but is the most critical, for it is in mortality where we are tried and figuratively placed in the fire and tested, proved to see what kind of material we are made of, whether we will be worthy of an exaltation in the kingdom of God or be assigned to some other kingdom” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:82).

scripture mastery icon2 Nephi 2:25 (Scripture Mastery). “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (5–10 minutes)

Relate the following fictional story: One day a student was walking across a university campus feeling the weight of school and family responsibility. On the same sidewalk, coming in the opposite direction, was an older man. He smiled at the student and asked, “Are you happy?” The question surprised the student who hesitantly answered, “Well, yes I am.” The older man then kindly asked, “Why don’t you tell your face?”

Have students read 2 Nephi 2:25 and explain how they think it relates to the story. Ask:

  • How would you define joy?

  • Why do some people lose joy in mortality?

  • What can we do to bring more joy into our lives?

  • How might we live our lives differently each day if we fully understood the doctrine taught in 2 Nephi 2:25?

Memorize the scripture as a class, and encourage students to live the principles that lead to joy.

scripture mastery icon2 Nephi 2:27 (Scripture Mastery). Agency is essential to progression. Our choices will eventually result in freedom, happiness, and eternal life with God or captivity and misery with the devil. (15–20 minutes)

Place an empty plate on a table and invite a student to stand next to it. Tell the student: “You can choose any candy bar from the plate.” Ask:

  • What is keeping you from choosing a candy bar?

  • What if I placed a single candy bar on the plate and asked you to choose your favorite. Then would you have a choice?

Read 2 Nephi 2:11 with the class and ask:

  • Why must we have more than one choice in order to exercise our agency?

  • What word in this verse expresses this principle? (“Opposition.”)

Have students read 2 Nephi 2:26–27 looking for the choices we have in this life. Ask:

  • How do the consequences of following the Lord compare with those of following Satan?

  • How do the Lord’s desires for us compare with Satan’s?

  • What does the Savior offer that is most appealing to you? (Answers might include the Atonement, eternal life.)

  • Given the consequences of sin, why do you think people choose to heed Satan’s enticements?

Read the following statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Avoid Satan’s territory of deceit. It will never lead to happiness. Evidence to the contrary, there are no successful sinners. All of us must one day stand before God and be judged according to our personal deeds done in the flesh. The burdens of the sinner will never be lighter than that of the saint” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 25; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 21).

2 Nephi 3:6–15. The Lord raised up the Prophet Joseph Smith to bring about the Restoration and bring forth the Book of Mormon. As we study the Book of Mormon we come to know the covenants of the Lord and the power by which we may obtain salvation. (25–30 minutes)

Display the pictures Joseph Is Sold by His Brothers (Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 109) and The Prophet Joseph Smith (no. 401). Have students read the chapter heading for 2 Nephi 3 to identify the two pictures and what they have in common. Explain that in 2 Nephi 3 Lehi tells his son Joseph about both of these great prophets who shared his name. Lehi recounts an ancient prophecy given by Joseph of old about the Joseph who would live in the last days.

Divide the class into two groups and assign both groups to read 2 Nephi 3:6–15. Have one group look for a description of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Have the other group identify what he would do in the last days. Invite each group to report what they learned. Read the following statement by President Brigham Young:

“It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was fore-ordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 108).

Read as a class 2 Nephi 3:11; Doctrine and Covenants 5:10; 135:3. Ask:

  • What are some of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s major accomplishments?

  • How did Joseph Smith bring forth the Lord’s words?

When students mention the Book of Mormon, testify of its truth and power. You could also have a student read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the First Presidency:

“Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, June 1988, 6).

Have students study 2 Nephi 3:12 and ask what they think it means that the Bible and the Book of Mormon will “grow together.” Have them identify and mark the five promises resulting from the combining of ancient scriptures. (False doctrines will be confounded, contentions will be laid down, peace will be established, the people will be brought to a knowledge of their fathers, and they will come to know the Lord’s covenants.) Ask students to share ways they have seen these five promises fulfilled.

If time permits, cross-reference 2 Nephi 3:12 with Ezekiel 37:15–17, and discuss how the Book of Mormon has fulfilled this ancient prophecy. Share the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The stick or record of Judah—the Old Testament and the New Testament—and the stick or record of Ephraim—the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ—are now woven together in such a way that as you pore over one you are drawn to the other; as you learn from one you are enlightened by the other. They are indeed one in our hands. Ezekiel’s prophecy now stands fulfilled” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 75; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 53).

Invite students to share how the Book of Mormon has made a difference in their lives.

2 Nephi 4:3–9. The Lord holds parents accountable to teach their children the truth. (20–25 minutes)

Ask students:

  • How would you respond if you were a parent and your eight-year-old son told you he didn’t want to be baptized?

  • How would you respond if your ten-year-old son refused to go to church because he thought it was boring?

  • How would you respond if your friend said, “I’m not going on a mission—I would never make a good missionary because my family isn’t religious”?

  • How would you respond if a friend said, “I can’t be like you Mormons because both my mom and dad are alcoholics”?

  • How would you respond if you were a bishop and a member of your ward said, “It’s my parents’ fault I left the Church—they never taught me about the scriptures or anything”?

  • How would you respond if a member of your ward said, “I don’t see a problem with what I’ve done—my dad does it all the time”?

Discuss these questions, and then ask:

  • When should parents share in the responsibility for their children’s actions?

  • When shouldn’t they be held responsible for their children’s actions?

Read the following statement by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).

Explain that just prior to his death Lehi gathered his children and their families to give blessings and warnings. Read 2 Nephi 4:3–9 and look for the counsel Lehi gave to the children of Laman and Lemuel. Ask:

  • What promise did the Lord give them?

  • What did Lehi believe about children who are “brought up in the way [they] should go”? (v. 5).

  • What blessing did Lehi leave for Laman’s children if they were to be cursed? (see v. 6).

  • Why would he say that the curse would be “answered upon the heads of [their] parents”? (v. 6).

Tell students that the children of Laman and Lemuel would become known as the Lamanites.

Divide the students into two groups. Have the first group read Mosiah 10:11–17 and list the teachings that the Lamanites had been taught to believe. Have the second group read Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–31 and list what the Lord has said parents should teach their children. Write their findings on the board under the headings What the Lamanites taught their children and What the Lord says parents should teach, and compare the two lists. Ask: What does the Lord say about parents who do not teach their children the gospel? (see D&C 68:25).

Encourage students to carefully study the gospel and prepare to be righteous parents in Zion who will bring up their children in the Lord’s way.

2 Nephi 4:17–5:5. A knowledge of our sins and shortcomings can lead us to despair, but as we recognize the Lord’s blessings in our lives and trust in His power, we can replace despair with hope. (20–25 minutes)

Sing “Count Your Blessings” (Hymns, no. 241) or take turns reading each verse. Ask:

  • What do you think is the message of this hymn?

  • Does this message have the power to change your life? Why?

Tell students that today they will study what is sometimes called the Psalm of Nephi. Nephi’s psalm can be divided into four parts. Write the accompanying chart on the board, but rearrange the descriptions in random order. Invite the students to read the verses and look for the correct descriptions. Have them work individually or in groups. When they finish, match the references and descriptions as a class.

The Psalm of Nephi

Reference

Description

2 Nephi 4:17–19

Nephi expresses sorrow for his sins.

2 Nephi 4:20–25

Nephi lists his blessings.

2 Nephi 4:26–29

Nephi, seeing his blessings, resolves to improve.

2 Nephi 4:30–35

Nephi trusts in the Lord and prays that the Lord will redeem him.

Ask some or all of the following questions:

  • Have you ever felt the way Nephi did? If so, what was it like?

  • What blessings did Nephi recognize in his life?

  • What was the source of those blessings?

  • What impact can recognizing God as the source of your blessings have on your life?

  • What can we learn from the kind of prayer Nephi offered to the Lord?

  • Read Alma 38:5. According to this verse, how can we be delivered from our afflictions?

  • How can we show the Lord that we trust in Him?

Tell students that many of Nephi’s trials came at the hands of his older brothers Laman and Lemuel. On several occasions they beat him or tried to take his life (see 1 Nephi 3:28; 7:16; 18:10–12). Still, Nephi trusted in the Lord. As a class, read 2 Nephi 5:1–11 and look for ways the Lord fulfilled His promise to deliver those who trust in Him. The following questions might be helpful as you study these verses:

  • How did Nephi’s brothers’ attitude toward him change? (see v. 2).

  • What did they try to do to him?

  • What did the Lord do for Nephi and those who believed him as a prophet?

  • Where did they go?

  • What role did trust play in their delivery from their enemies?

Encourage students to count their blessings and trust in the Lord to help them and deliver them from evil. Consider sharing the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott:

“We see such a limited part of the eternal plan He has fashioned for each one of us. Trust Him, even when in eternal perspective it temporarily hurts very much. Have patience when you are asked to wait when you want immediate action. He may ask you to do things which are powerfully against your will. Exercise faith and say, ‘Let Thy will be done.’ Such experiences, honorably met, prepare you and condition you for yet greater blessings. As your Father, His purpose is your eternal happiness, your continuing development, your increasing capacity. His desire is to share with you all that He has” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 86).

2 Nephi 5. The wicked separate themselves from the Lord’s presence and His blessings through their evil actions. (15–20 minutes)

Display a picture of a temple and ask:

  • Whose house is this?

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–16. What promise is made to those who enter the temple worthily?

  • What would you be willing to do to enjoy the presence of the Lord?

  • In what ways do we separate ourselves from the Lord?

Explain that the Lord loves us and wants us to dwell in His presence, but sometimes our actions make us unworthy to be there. Have students read 2 Nephi 5:20–24 and discuss the following questions:

  • What was the curse that came upon the Lamanites for their disobedience? (They were cut off from the presence of the Lord; see v. 20.)

  • Why were they cut off? (see v. 21).

  • Why did the Lord “cause a skin of blackness to come upon them”? (v. 21).

  • What warning did the Lord give to those who would mix with the Lamanites? (They would receive the same curse; see v. 23. Note: Be sure students understand that the curse was not the “skin of blackness” but being “cut off from the presence of the Lord.”)

  • What happens to a people who have separated themselves from the Lord? (see v. 24).

  • Read 2 Nephi 7:1. According to this verse, who is responsible to ensure that we are not separated from the Lord?

Discuss the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The Spirit of the Lord will not argue with men, nor abide in them, except they yield obedience to the Lord’s commandments.

“It is the duty of each member of the Church to live humbly, sincerely, and in strict obedience to the commandments that have been given. If this is done, a man will know the truth. Evidently there are many members of the Church who have not received a testimony simply because they do not make their lives conform to the requirements of the gospel. The Spirit of the Lord cannot dwell in unclean tabernacles, and because of this the knowledge which is promised is not received. Then again, there are members of the Church who take no time to inform themselves by study and faith, and all such are without the inspiration which the faithful are promised. When this is the case, those who are guilty are easily deceived and are in danger of turning away to false doctrines and theories of men” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:29–30).