3 Nephi 11–14

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 217–224


Introduction

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote that the appearance of the resurrected Lord to the Nephites and His declaration of His messiahship “constituted the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon. It was the manifestation and the decree that had informed and inspired every Nephite prophet for the previous six hundred years, to say nothing of their Israelite and Jaredite forefathers for thousands of years before that.

“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! The God who turns every dark night into morning light had arrived” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 250–51).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 116–19.

Suggestions for Teaching

weekly icon3 Nephi 11:1–19. Jesus Christ has appeared on the earth and will appear again to give people a personal witness of His Resurrection. (20–25 minutes)

As students enter class, have music or a recorded speech playing very quietly. Stop the recording to have the opening prayer, and then ask students how many of them heard the recording. Discuss the following questions:

  • Did you pay attention to the music or speech? Why or why not?

  • What other sounds or noises did you focus on before class began?

  • Would it have been possible to listen to the music or speech?

  • What could have motivated you to pay special attention to it?

Read 3 Nephi 11:1–6 and ask:

  • How is what these verses describe similar to the recording at the beginning of class?

  • Why do you think the people didn’t understand the voice the first two times?

  • What do you think it means that they “did open their ears”? (v. 5).

  • How can we “open our ears” to understand God’s words?

Read 3 Nephi 11:7–11 and ask students to list some important truths from these verses. (Answers might include that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings, Jesus is Heavenly Father’s Son, God can appear to man, man is formed in the image of God.) Ask:

  • How do these truths clear up misunderstandings about the Godhead that exist in the world today?

  • How is the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites similar to His appearance to Joseph Smith? (see Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17).

  • What do you imagine it would be like to be in the presence of Jesus Christ?

Share the following account by Elder Melvin J. Ballard, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“On this occasion I had sought the Lord, … and that night I received a wonderful manifestation and impression which has never left me. I was carried to this place [the Salt Lake Temple]—into this room. … I was told there was another privilege that was to be mine; and I was led into a room where I was informed I was to meet someone. As I entered the room I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken forward to be introduced to Him. As I approached He smiled, called my name, and stretched out His hands toward me. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that smile. He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled. As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling through my whole being, I felt that I was in heaven indeed. The feeling that came to my heart then was: Oh! if I could live worthy … so that in the end when I have finished I could go into His presence and receive the feeling that I then had in His presence, I would give everything that I am and ever hope to be!” (in Melvin J. Ballard … Crusader for Righteousness [1966], 66).

Invite students to read the sacred account of the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites from 3 Nephi 11:12–19. Discuss the following questions:

  • What did the people do to show their love and respect for the Savior?

  • How did the Savior show His love for each of the 2,500 people present?

  • What most impresses you about this experience?

  • How has the Savior shown individual attention to you?

  • How do you know He loves you?

3 Nephi 11:20–27, 31–41. Baptism is a priesthood ordinance that is essential to salvation. To be acceptable to God, it must be performed in the proper way by those who have received the proper priesthood authority. (20–25 minutes)

Give students the following true-false quiz:

  1. 1.

    Baptism must be performed by someone with proper priesthood authority. (True; see 3 Nephi 11:21–22.)

  2. 2.

    In our day, the person baptizing calls the candidate by name and says, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” (True; see v. 25; D&C 20:73.)

  3. 3.

    The person being baptized must be completely immersed in the water. (True; see 3 Nephi 11:26.)

  4. 4.

    The ordinance of baptism is essential to inherit the celestial kingdom. (True; see v. 33.)

  5. 5.

    The prerequisites for baptism include desiring to be baptized and repenting of sins. (True; see vv. 37–38.)

  6. 6.

    At baptism we covenant, among other things, to take upon us the Lord’s name, serve Him, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. He in turn promises to give us the gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion as long as we remain worthy. (True; see Mosiah 18:8–13; D&C 20:37.)

Correct the quiz by reading 3 Nephi 11:20–27, 31–41. Each time you find a verse that pertains to one of the quiz questions, stop and discuss the answer as a class. Share the following statement about baptism by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the Kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain; then you have the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 198).

Testify that today the authority to perform proper baptisms is found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

scripture mastery icon3 Nephi 11:29 (Scripture Mastery). We are commanded not to argue with others over points of doctrine. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students to recall the last time they watched or participated in an argument. Ask:

  • What feelings did you have during the argument?

  • What was the mood after the argument was over?

  • How did the people on both sides handle themselves?

  • Have you ever witnessed a debate or argument over religion?

  • How strong was the Spirit during the debate?

  • Were either of the people convinced or converted to the other view? Why or why not?

  • How do you think the Lord feels about debates over religion?

Read 3 Nephi 11:28–30 and look for what the Lord taught about contention. Read John 17:20–23 and ask:

  • What do these verses add to our understanding of the Savior’s teaching concerning contention?

  • Who is the author of contention? (see D&C 10:63).

  • Read 3 Nephi 11:27. What does the teaching about the Godhead in this verse add to our understanding of why we must avoid contention?

Share the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“Divine doctrine of the Church is the prime target of attack by the spiritually contentious. …

“Dissecting doctrine in a controversial way in order to draw attention to oneself is not pleasing to the Lord. …

“Contention fosters disunity. …

“What can we do to combat this canker of contention? What steps may each of us take to supplant the spirit of contention with a spirit of personal peace?

“To begin, show compassionate concern for others. Control the tongue, the pen, and the word processor. Whenever tempted to dispute, remember this proverb: ‘He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace’ (Proverbs 11:12; see also 17:28). …

“Through love of God, the pain caused by the fiery canker of contention will be extinguished from the soul. … This commitment will then spread to family and friends and will bring peace to neighborhoods and nations” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 87–88; or Ensign, May 1989, 70–71).

Encourage students to avoid contention.

weekly icon3 Nephi 12:3–16. The Lord blesses those who are good examples of His teachings. (15–20 minutes)

Share the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith without revealing the author: “Happiness is the object and design of our existence.” Ask students if they believe this statement is true. Ask: How many of you desire to be happy?

Tell students the statement comes from Joseph Smith, and share the rest of it with them: “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 255).

Discuss the following questions:

  • What is the path that leads to happiness?

  • What would it take for you to gain the kind of happiness Joseph Smith spoke of?

  • What are some events that could happen in a seminary student’s life over the next five years that could bring happiness?

  • Have you ever thought something would make you happy, only to find out later that it didn’t? If so, what was it?

  • Why do you think it failed to bring happiness?

Ask students if they have ever seen or used a set of blueprints. Ask:

  • Why are they useful?

  • What could happen if the builder didn’t use the blueprints?

Ask students if they would be interested in a “blueprint” or plan for a perfect life. Explain that President Harold B. Lee told us where we could find one:

“In his Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of his own character, which was perfect, or what might be said to be ‘an autobiography, every syllable of which he had written down in deeds,’ and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives. …

“Each of his declarations is begun by the word ‘Blessed.’ … ‘Blessedness is an inward fountain of joy in the soul itself, which no outward circumstances can seriously affect’ [in A Commentary on the Holy Bible, ed. J. R. Dummelow (1909), 639]. These declarations of the Master are known in the literature of the Christian world as the Beatitudes and have been referred to by Bible commentators as the preparation necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. … May I speak of them as something more than that as they are applied to you and me. They embody in fact THE CONSTITUTION FOR A PERFECT LIFE” (Decisions for Successful Living [1973], 56–57).

Have a student read aloud Matthew 5:1–12 while the rest of the class follows along in 3 Nephi 12:1–12. Invite students to look for differences in the two accounts. Pause after each beatitude to discuss the following questions:

  • What do you think is the message of this beatitude? (For example for verse 3 you could ask what it means to be “poor in spirit.”)

  • What does the Book of Mormon account add to our understanding of this beatitude?

  • How would living by this teaching help you find joy and happiness?

The following insight into the Beatitudes may be helpful:

“These choice, brief statements are not separate, disjointed platitudes; each has a relationship to the others. Let us look at them from the more complete list given in the Nephite sermon and in the Joseph Smith Translation. The Beatitudes deal first with a person’s relationship to God. They speak of such things as faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, forgiveness of sins, and receiving the Holy Ghost. (These particular features are missing from the King James Version.) The emphasis then shifts to a person’s feelings about himself, or of those feelings that spring from within. For example: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Then the emphasis shifts to a person’s attitude toward others. For example: Blessed are the peacemakers. And finally a fourth emphasis appears—how a person should handle other people’s attitudes toward himself. Thus, blessed are all they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake or who are reviled and persecuted falsely” (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [1990], 240).

Share the following statement by Elder Royden G. Derrick, then a member of the Seventy:

“The Savior concluded His sermon by encouraging us to become perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect. While these steps follow one another in a natural sequence, we should always be striving to perfect ourselves in each of these virtues” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 97; or Ensign, May 1989, 77).

Encourage class members to strive to become perfect by living in harmony with the divine principles of the Beatitudes.

3 Nephi 12:13–16. The Savior taught us to serve others and be good examples to them. (15–20 minutes)

Hold up some salt. Ask students what salt is good for, and list responses on the board. (Include that it enhances flavor, that it preserves food, that it can be used as a medicine, and that it is an essential nutrient.) Explain that under the law of Moses, offerings to the Lord were seasoned with salt (see Leviticus 2:13). Salt was used to symbolize the making of covenants in ancient Israel (see 2 Chronicles 13:5).

Invite students to read 3 Nephi 12:13, and ask: Who is to become the “salt of the earth”? Use questions like the following to help students relate the qualities of salt listed on the board to the qualities the Savior wants us to develop:

  • How could a member of the Church “add savor” to the lives of other people? (By serving them and sharing the gospel with them.)

  • How can our knowledge of gospel truths help “preserve” the lives of others? (By our leading them to receive gospel ordinances, and by our doing temple work for the dead.)

  • What are some ways we can offer “healing” to nonmembers?

  • In what ways is the gospel an “essential nutrient” in our lives?

Ask students to read 3 Nephi 12:13 again and mark the phrase: “But if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted?” Ask:

  • What does this question mean?

  • How can salt lose its savor? (Through contamination.)

  • What are some ways we might lose our savor, or become contaminated, so that we cannot bless others?

Show students a candle (do not light it). Read 3 Nephi 12:14–16 and list the qualities of light. (It provides warmth, it allows us to see in darkness, and so on.) Ask:

  • What spiritual attributes can these qualities of light symbolize?

  • How could your “light” grow brighter and brighter?

  • Why is it important to be an example to others and let them see your light?

  • Read 3 Nephi 18:24. What does this verse add to our understanding of letting our light shine?

  • Why is it important that our examples “glorify [our] Father who is in heaven” (3 Nephi 12:16) rather than ourselves?

Invite students to share some examples of how others have blessed their lives. Encourage students to keep the covenants they have made with Heavenly Father so they can be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of this people” throughout their lives.

3 Nephi 12:17–47. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law of Moses through His atoning sacrifice and revealed again the fulness of the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a higher law than the law of Moses. (20–30 minutes)

Make three platforms of different heights and arrange them in descending order in the front of the classroom. (Use large, sturdy boxes or other objects that students can safely stand on.) Make a poster with the words No Law, another with Law of Moses, and another with Law of Jesus Christ. Give the posters to three students, and invite them to stand on the platform they think best represents their poster. Ask:

  • Why did you choose the platform you did?

  • Why do you think the law of Moses is higher than no law?

  • Why do you think the law of Christ is higher than the law of Moses?

Read 3 Nephi 12:17–18 and explain that Jesus Christ fulfilled the law of Moses and added a higher law. Read verses 19–20, 46–48 and look for what the law of Christ would help the people achieve. Read verses 21–45 and look for examples of the higher law of Christ. Discuss the importance of this higher law and how it applies to our lives. If desired, write the information from the accompanying chart on the three posters as the students find the “old” and “new” laws.

No Law

Law of Moses

Law of Jesus Christ

You can do anything you want to others, and they can do anything they want to you.

Don’t kill (see 3 Nephi 12:21; see also Exodus 20:13).

Don’t get angry (see 3 Nephi 12:22–26).

Don’t commit adultery (see 3 Nephi 12:27; see also Exodus 20:14).

Don’t have lustful thoughts (see 3 Nephi 12:28–30).

Don’t break oaths made to or by the name of the Lord (see 3 Nephi 12:33; see also Numbers 30:2).

You should not need oaths; your word should be enough (see 3 Nephi 12:34–37).

Justice—take an eye for an eye (see 3 Nephi 12:38; see also Leviticus 24:20).

Mercy—turn the other cheek (see 3 Nephi 12:39–42).

Love your neighbor (see 3 Nephi 12:43; see also Leviticus 19:18).

Love your enemy (see 3 Nephi 12:44–45).

Testify of the blessings that come from following God’s laws. Encourage students to live by the laws and commandments of the gospel.

weekly icon3 Nephi 12:48. Jesus Christ commanded us to be perfect. (15–20 minutes)

Tell students that you are going to take a survey. After you read each of the following questions, have students raise their hand if they believe the answer to that question is yes:

  1. 1.

    Does Heavenly Father really expect us to be perfect?

  2. 2.

    Do we need to attain perfection in this life to enter the celestial kingdom?

  3. 3.

    Can we ever be perfect?

  4. 4.

    Is there a difference between perfection in this life and eternal perfection?

Briefly discuss the survey. Divide students into four groups. Assign each group one of the questions, and have them read the scriptures and statements given for their question below. Have them select a spokesperson to present their findings to the rest of the class.

  1. 1.

    Does Heavenly Father really expect us to be perfect?

    Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 5:50; 2 Nephi 25:23. We are commanded to be perfect. Jesus Christ’s Atonement saves and perfects us after all we can do.

    “In both His Old and New World ministries, the Savior commanded, ‘Be ye therefore perfect’ [Matthew 5:48; see also 3 Nephi 12:48]. A footnote explains that the Greek word translated as perfect means ‘complete, finished, fully developed’ [Matthew 5:48, footnote b]. Our Heavenly Father wants us to use this mortal probation to ‘fully develop’ ourselves, to make the most of our talents and abilities. If we do so, when final judgment comes we will experience the joy of standing before our Father in Heaven as ‘complete’ and ‘finished’ sons and daughters, polished by obedience and worthy of the inheritance that He has promised to the faithful” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 15; or Ensign, May 1998, 14).

  2. 2.

    Do we need to attain perfection in this life to enter the celestial kingdom?

    Doctrine and Covenants 14:7; 67:13; 93:11–14, 19–20. One does not need to attain perfection in this life to inherit the celestial kingdom.

    “Everyone in the Church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though is far from perfect in this life; if he passes out of this life while he’s on the straight and narrow, he’s going to go on to eternal reward in his Father’s kingdom.

    “We don’t need to get a complex or get a feeling that you have to be perfect to be saved. You don’t. There’s only been one perfect person, and that’s the Lord Jesus, but in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God and in order to pass the test of mortality, what you have to do is get on the straight and narrow path—thus charting a course leading to eternal life—and then, being on that path, pass out of this life in full fellowship. I’m not saying that you don’t have to keep the commandments. I’m saying you don’t have to be perfect to be saved” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Probationary Test of Mortality [address delivered at University of Utah institute of religion, 10 Jan. 1982], 12).

    “When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 6:306–7).

  3. 3.

    Can we ever be perfect?

    Moroni 10:32–33. The power to become perfected comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ as we make and keep sacred covenants with God.

    “No accountable individual can receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom without the ordinances of the temple. Endowments and sealings are for our personal perfection and are secured through our faithfulness.

    “This requirement also pertains to our ancestors. …

    “… Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love Him and keep His commandments” (Russell M. Nelson, in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 117–18; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 87–88).

  4. 4.

    Is there a difference between perfection in this life and eternal perfection?

    Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48. Note that Jesus Christ referred to Himself as perfect only after His Resurrection. There are two kinds of perfection: mortal perfection, which is mastering certain tasks in this life, and eternal perfection, which can only take place after the Resurrection.

    “In this life certain actions can be perfected. A baseball pitcher can throw a no-hit, no-run ball game. A surgeon can perform an operation without an error. A musician can render a selection without a mistake. One can likewise achieve perfection in being punctual, paying tithing, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and so on. …

    “Scriptures have described Noah, Seth, and Job as perfect men. …

    “This does not mean that these people never made mistakes or never had need of correction. The process of perfection includes challenges to overcome and steps to repentance that may be very painful. …

    “Mortal perfection can be achieved as we try to perform every duty, keep every law, and strive to be as perfect in our sphere as our Heavenly Father is in His. If we do the best we can, the Lord will bless us according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts.

    “But Jesus asked for more than mortal perfection. The moment He uttered the words ‘even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,’ He raised our sights beyond the bounds of mortality. Our Heavenly Father has eternal perfection. …

    “The perfection that the Savior envisions for us is much more than errorless performance. It is the eternal expectation as expressed by the Lord in His great intercessory prayer to His Father—that we might be made perfect and be able to dwell with them in the eternities ahead. …

    “Resurrection is requisite for eternal perfection. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ, our bodies, corruptible in mortality, will become incorruptible. Our physical frames, now subject to disease, death, and decay, will acquire immortal glory. Presently sustained by the blood of life and ever aging, our bodies will be sustained by spirit and become changeless and beyond the bounds of death.

    “Eternal perfection is reserved for those who overcome all things and inherit the fulness of the Father in His heavenly mansions. Perfection consists in gaining eternal life—the kind of life that God lives” (Russell M. Nelson, in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 115–16; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86–87).

3 Nephi 13:1–24. As we serve God and our fellowman, we should act out of love rather than to be seen by others. (25–35 minutes)

Show students the pictures Blessing the Sacrament (Gospel Art Picture Kit, no. 603) and Passing the Sacrament (no. 604). Ask: Why is it good to bless and take the sacrament? Read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“If a person performs a seemingly righteous act but does so for the wrong reasons, such as to achieve a selfish purpose, his hands may be clean but his heart is not ‘pure.’ His act will not be counted for righteousness. …

“We must not only do what is right. We must act for the right reasons. The modern term is good motive. The scriptures often signify this appropriate mental attitude with the words full purpose of heart or real intent.

“The scriptures make clear that God understands our motives and will judge our actions accordingly” (Pure in Heart [1988], 13, 15).

Ask students to think about how Elder Oaks’s statement applies to the pictures. Ask:

  • What are some proper motives for blessing or partaking of the sacrament?

  • How might the blessings we receive for taking the sacrament vary depending on our motives for doing so?

Have students read Matthew 6:1 footnote b to discover what alms are. Read 3 Nephi 13:1–4 and discuss the following questions:

  • What do these verses teach about having proper motives?

  • What did the Savior warn against?

  • How would that apply to our payment of tithes or other acts of faith and worship?

Have students look at Matthew 6:2 footnote a to find the definition of a hypocrite. Read 3 Nephi 13:5–15 and ask:

  • What does the Savior warn against in these verses?

  • How can these teachings help you improve your prayers?

  • What should we avoid when praying?

Read 3 Nephi 13:16–24 and look for how these verses apply to the discussion. Share the following statement by Bishop Robert D. Hales, who was then Presiding Bishop of the Church:

“We must examine our motives. A good check and balance in decision making is to look at our motives for making our decisions. We should ask ourselves, ‘Are my motives selfish, or is there charity in the decision I am about to make? Is this decision in keeping with the commandments, both in the spirit and the letter of the law? Is my decision basically right, honorable, and compatible with the golden rule? Have I considered the impact of my decision on others?’

“‘Let all your [decisions] be done with charity’ (1 Corinthians 16:14).

“Beware of fear and greed. Be aware of your true motives” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 12; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 11).

3 Nephi 13:25–34. Jesus asked the twelve Nephite disciples to devote their lives to the ministry. (10–15 minutes)

Ask students to think of the rules and expectations that full-time missionaries are required to follow that other Church members are not. (For example, missionaries are expected to spend full time in missionary labors, remain with their companions at all times, and hold companionship and personal study every day.) Give students two minutes to write down as many rules as they can think of, and then have them share what they wrote with the class. Discuss the following questions:

  • Why do missionaries have these additional rules?

  • How does obeying these rules help them succeed in their work?

Invite students to compare 3 Nephi 13:25 with Matthew 6:25, and ask how these passages are different. (3 Nephi 13:25 clarifies that these instructions were intended for the twelve disciples.) Read 3 Nephi 13:26–34 and ask:

  • How do you think these guidelines could help the twelve disciples in their ministry?

  • What are some of the responsibilities of the Twelve Apostles today? (see D&C 107:23, 33, 35).

  • How might the Savior’s instructions in 3 Nephi help us understand the calling of the Apostles today?

  • How can you apply these teachings in your life, even though you are not called to minister in the Church full-time?

Reread 3 Nephi 13:33 and testify of the blessings that come, not only to missionaries and Apostles, but to all who seek first the kingdom of God.

3 Nephi 14. The Lord will judge and forgive us according to the way we judge and forgive others. We should use good judgment to discern wickedness from righteousness. (45–50 minutes)

Invite a student to sit at the front of the classroom facing the other students. Proclaim that this student will serve as “judge for the day.” Ask the student: Would you feel comfortable judging:

  • Who you want to be your friends?

  • Which movies are appropriate to attend?

  • Whether to go on a date with a particular student?

  • Which members of the class are righteous or wicked?

Discuss with students the difference between these types of judgments. Explain that there are some decisions and issues we should make judgments about and others we should not. Ask: How can you tell the difference?

Read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:

“I have been puzzled that some scriptures command us not to judge and others instruct us that we should judge and even tell us how to do it. I am convinced that these seemingly contradictory directions are consistent when we view them with the perspective of eternity. The key is to understand that there are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles” (Judge Not and Judging [CES fireside for young adults, 1 Mar. 1998], 1).

To help students understand the difference between these two kinds of judgments, give them copies of “Final Judgment and Intermediate Judgment” from the appendix (p. 304) as a handout, or show it on an overhead projector. Read and discuss it as a class.

Read 3 Nephi 14:1–2 and the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 7:1–2. Ask how these verses correspond to Elder Oaks’s explanation of judging. Read 3 Nephi 14:3–5 and ask:

  • What judgment is required in these verses?

  • What could the beam represent? (Personal sin or weakness.)

  • Why is it important to make correct judgments about our own weaknesses and sins?

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:12. According to this verse, how does following the Spirit help us make righteous judgments?

  • Read 3 Nephi 14:6. What judgment is required in these verses?

  • Why would it be important to be careful about who you tell sacred things?

Tell students that 3 Nephi 14:7–11 teaches about prayer. Ask: Do we need to judge what to pray for? Why? Have students read verses 13–14 and look for how these verses relate to judging. Ask:

  • How can you judge which path in life to follow?

  • How does Elder Oaks’s message help in this decision?

Invite students to read verses 15–23, and ask what these verses teach about judging. Read to students verses 24–27. Testify that those who make righteous judgments and live by their decision to follow the Lord are building on a solid foundation.