Lesson 5: “If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted”

Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 17–22


Purpose

To help class members understand that choices to follow Jesus Christ lead to liberty, happiness, and eternal life, while choices to follow Satan lead to misery and captivity.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study the following scriptures from the Pearl of Great Price:

    1. a.

      Moses 5:16–41. Cain loves Satan more than God and obeys Satan’s command to make an offering to the Lord (5:16–19). The Lord rejects Cain’s offering and commands Cain to repent (5:20–25). Cain covenants with Satan and kills Abel (5:26–33). The Lord curses Cain, and Cain is shut out from the presence of the Lord (5:34–41).

    2. b.

      Moses 6:26–63. Enoch, a fourth great-grandson of Adam, is called by the Lord to preach repentance to the people (Moses 6:26–36). Enoch obeys the Lord’s command and teaches the people (Moses 6:37–63).

    3. c.

      Moses 7:13, 17–21, 23–47, 68–69. The faith of Enoch is so great that mountains are removed, rivers change course, and all nations greatly fear (7:13, 17). The Lord and Enoch weep over the wickedness of the people on the earth (7:23–47). The people in the city of Enoch are of one heart and one mind with the Lord, and the entire city is taken to heaven (7:18–21, 68–69).

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Moses 5:42–55; 6:10–23; 7:14–16, 59–64; 2 Nephi 2:25–27; Genesis 4:1–16.

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

You may want to use the following activity (or one of your own) to begin the lesson.

Before class, write the following two sets of statements side by side on the chalkboard:

Set 1

Set 2

“Who is the Lord that I should know him?”

“He is my God, and your God.”

“I am free.”

“Why counsel ye yourselves, and deny the God of heaven?”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Ye are my brethren.”

Tell class members that the statements in these two lists were made by two men they will learn about in the lesson. Ask class members what they can determine about each man based on his set of statements. (You may want to have class members gather in small groups to discuss the statements. When the groups have discussed the statements for five or six minutes, have one person from each group summarize the group’s discussion for the rest of the class members.)

When class members have responded, explain that the statements in the first set were made by Cain, who chose to follow Satan. The statements in the second set were made by Enoch, who chose to follow the Lord. Each man’s statements reflect his attitude toward God.

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Cain covenants with Satan, kills Abel, and is cursed by the Lord.

Teach and discuss Moses 5:16–41.

  • Adam and Eve hoped their son Cain would follow the Lord as they did. But Cain “hearkened not” to his parents and the Lord and asked, “Who is the Lord that I should know him?” (Moses 5:16). What does this question show about Cain’s attitude toward God? What must we do to come to know God? (See Alma 22:17–18.)

  • Why did Cain make an offering unto the Lord? (See Moses 5:18.) What did Cain offer? (See Moses 5:19.) Why did the Lord accept Abel’s sacrifice but reject Cain’s offering? (See Moses 5:5, 20–23. The Lord had commanded Adam and Eve and their children to offer the firstlings of their flocks. Abel obeyed, but Cain heeded the words of Satan and offered the fruit of the ground.) Why was it important to make sacrifices in the way the Lord had commanded?

    The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith. … Shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man … was the plan of redemption; … and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised … ; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 58).

  • How did Cain react when the Lord rejected his sacrifice and called him to repentance? (See Moses 5:21, 26.) Why is it sometimes hard for us to be called to repentance? How can we develop more repentant hearts?

  • After killing his brother Abel, Cain said, “I am free” (Moses 5:33). What do you think Cain believed he was free of? How does disobeying God’s commandments actually decrease our freedom? How does obedience increase our freedom?

  • How did Cain respond when the Lord asked where Abel was? (See Moses 5:34.) What does it mean to be our brother’s keeper? (See 1 John 3:11, 17–18.) In what ways can we act as our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers?

    Bishop Robert L. Simpson said: “The world today tells you to leave your friend alone. He has the right to come and go as he pleases. The world tells you that persuasion to attend church or priesthood meeting or to discard a bad habit might lead to frustration and undue pressures; but again I repeat the word of the Lord: You are your brother’s keeper, and when you are converted, you have an obligation to strengthen your brother” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, 114; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, 103).

  • What happened to Cain as a result of choosing to follow Satan instead of God? (See Moses 5:23–25, 36–41.) How did Cain’s choices affect his descendants as well as himself? (See Moses 5:41–43, 49–52, 55.) How can our righteous or unrighteous choices affect our family members?

2. Enoch preaches repentance to the people.

Teach and discuss Moses 6:26–63.

  • How did Enoch react when he was called by the Lord to preach repentance to the people? (See Moses 6:31.) What did the Lord promise Enoch if he would go forth as commanded? (See Moses 6:32–34.) What can we learn from the story of Enoch about how the Lord chooses his leaders? (See also 1 Samuel 16:7.) What can we learn from Enoch about serving the Lord even when we do not feel capable?

  • Why do you think the people were offended when Enoch began to preach repentance? (See Moses 6:37; see also 1 Nephi 16:2; Mosiah 13:7.) Why did they continue to listen to him even though they were offended? (See Moses 6:38–39. At first they were just curious, but then they realized he was a man of God.) How can we gain a testimony that the living prophet is a man of God? How can this testimony help us follow the prophet even when his teachings are unpopular?

  • What doctrines of the gospel did Enoch teach as he called the people to repentance? (See Moses 6:47–63. If you discussed these verses in lesson 4, you may not need to review them again.)

  • The Lord has made us “agents unto [our]selves” (Moses 6:56). What does this mean? (We have the power to choose.) Why is agency necessary in God’s plan for our salvation? (We need agency so we are responsible for our choices.) What are the consequences of choosing to follow Satan? What are the consequences of choosing to follow the Lord? (See 2 Nephi 2:25–27.)

3. The people in the city of Enoch are of one heart and one mind with the Lord, and the entire city is taken to heaven.

Teach and discuss Moses 7:13, 17–21, 23–47, 68–69.

  • What miracles did the Lord perform because of Enoch’s great faith? (See Moses 7:13.) What miracles does the Lord perform in our day because of people’s faith?

  • How were the people who heard Enoch’s words and repented of their sins blessed? (See Moses 7:17–18.) Why was their city called Zion? (See Moses 7:18.) What does it mean to be “of one heart and one mind”? What can we do to become of one heart and one mind with the Lord? in our families? in the Church?

  • What ultimately happened to Enoch and the people of his city? (See Moses 7:19–21, 69.)

  • In Moses 7:28, Enoch saw the Lord weep. Why was the Lord weeping? Why did Enoch question the Lord’s weeping? (See Moses 7:29–31.) What did the Lord answer? (See Moses 7:32–33, 36–37.) How do you feel about the Lord as you read these verses?

  • When Enoch saw the wickedness of the people, he also wept (Moses 7:41, 44). How did the Lord comfort Enoch? (See Moses 7:44–47.)

You may want to tell class members that future lessons discuss the reestablishment of Zion in the latter days (including a New Jerusalem), the Second Coming of the Savior, and his millennial reign upon the earth, which Enoch saw in vision (Moses 7:62–65).

Conclusion

Point out that Cain chose to follow Satan and teach his evil practices to his children and followers. As a result, Cain’s descendants grew in wickedness and were cursed by God for their unrighteousness. In contrast, Enoch chose to follow the Lord. As a result of Enoch’s choice to be obedient and teach the gospel to all who would listen, an entire city became so righteous that they were removed from the earth to dwell with God.

Testify that the choices we make to follow Jesus Christ will help draw us closer to him and lead us to liberty, happiness, and eternal life.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. Keeping family records

  • Why was it important that Adam and Eve and their descendants keep a book of remembrance and a genealogy? (See Moses 6:5–8, 45–46.) Why is it important for us to keep such records today? How have written accounts of your ancestors’ lives helped you? How might a written account of your life and faith help your family members?

  • How can the scriptures be considered family records? How can parents and teachers effectively use the scriptures to teach children?

2. Enoch and Cain compared

On the chalkboard draw two sets of steps, one going up and one going down (see the illustration on page 21). Label the steps going up Attitudes that lead us to God, and write Enoch’s name on the first step. Label the steps going down Attitudes that lead us to destruction, and write Cain’s name on the first step.

Have class members read the first verse indicated on Enoch’s steps (Moses 7:59) and the first verse indicated on Cain’s steps (Moses 5:16). Then write a few key words on the appropriate steps on the chalkboard. Repeat for the remaining steps. When all the verses have been read, label the end of Enoch’s steps Dwelling with God, and label the end of Cain’s steps Spiritual destruction. Discuss how Enoch’s words and actions helped him grow closer to God, while Cain’s words and actions brought him closer to Satan.

  • In what ways can we follow Enoch’s example and grow closer to God?

steps closer to God

3. “Anoint thine eyes … and thou shalt see” (Moses 6:35)

Jesus Christ once healed a blind man by anointing the man’s eyes with clay (John 9:1–7). Enoch, who was not yet spiritually mature and thus was spiritually blind to some things, was also commanded to “anoint [his] eyes with clay, and wash them” (Moses 6:35).

  • What did Enoch see when he did this? (See Moses 6:36.) What does the symbolic act of washing off the clay teach us?

  • What can we do to more fully open our eyes to the things of God? How can we improve our study of the scriptures so that we see the treasures that are in them?

4. Loved ones who go astray

  • Even though Adam and Eve taught their children the gospel (Moses 5:12), Cain and others chose to live unrighteously. What can we do to help ourselves bear the pain when loved ones go astray? What can we do to help these loved ones?

    Elder Richard G. Scott counseled:

    “Many of you have heavy hearts because a son or daughter, husband or wife, has turned from righteousness to pursue evil. My message is for you.

    “Your life is filled with anguish, pain, and, at times, despair. I will tell you how you can be comforted by the Lord.

    “First, you must recognize two foundation principles:

    “1. While there are many things you can do to help a loved one in need, there are some things that must be done by the Lord.

    “2. Also, no enduring improvement can occur without righteous exercise of agency. Do not attempt to override agency. The Lord himself would not do that. Forced obedience yields no blessings (see D&C 58:26–33).

    “I will suggest seven ways you can help.

    “First, love without limitations. … Second, do not condone the transgressions, but extend every hope and support to the transgressor. … Third, teach truth. … Fourth, honestly forgive as often as is required. … Fifth, pray trustingly. ‘The … fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’ (James 5:16). …

    “Sixth, keep perspective. … When the things you realistically can do to help are done, leave the matter in the hands of the Lord and worry no more. Do not feel guilty because you cannot do more. Do not waste your energy on useless worry. … In time, you will feel impressions and know how to give further help. You will find more peace and happiness, will not neglect others that need you, and will be able to give greater help because of that eternal perspective. …

    “One last suggestion—Never give up on a loved one, never!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 69–71; or Ensign, May 1988, 60–61).