Lesson 16: Ye Shall Be Called the Children of Christ

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 71–74


Purpose

To encourage class members to seek and maintain the “mighty change” of heart that comes through exercising faith in Jesus Christ.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Mosiah 4:1–12. King Benjamin’s people respond to his words by humbly seeking and receiving a remission of their sins.

    2. b.

      Mosiah 4:13–30. King Benjamin exhorts his people to teach the gospel to their children, impart of their substance to the poor, and obey the commandments of God.

    3. c.

      Mosiah 5–6. All King Benjamin’s people experience a “mighty change” and enter into a covenant to keep the commandments of God and do His will in all things. King Benjamin tells the people that because of the covenant they have made they will be called the children of Christ.

  2. 2.

    If the picture King Benjamin is available, prepare to use it during the lesson (62298; Gospel Art Picture Kit 307).

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Write the following headings on the chalkboard:

  • Left hand of God

  • Right hand of God

  • What does it mean to sit on the right hand of God? (To receive exaltation and live with God again.) What kind of people will be entitled to sit on the right hand of God? on the left hand of God? (See Matthew 25:33–46; D&C 29:27. List class members’ answers to these two questions under the appropriate headings on the chalkboard.)

Explain that at the end of his sermon, King Benjamin told his people what they needed to do to be entitled to sit on the right hand of God. We can learn from King Benjamin’s words because the requirements are the same for us.

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. King Benjamin’s people seek and receive a remission of their sins.

Read and discuss Mosiah 4:1–12. If you are using the picture of King Benjamin, display it throughout the lesson.

  • After King Benjamin taught his people about the mission of the Savior (see lesson 15), he saw that “they had fallen to the earth” (Mosiah 4:1). Why did the people fall to the earth? (See Mosiah 4:1–2.) How are we “less than the dust of the earth”? (See Helaman 12:4–8; Moses 1:9–10.) Why do you think King Benjamin emphasized his people’s “nothingness” and unworthiness? (See Mosiah 4:5–8, 11–12.) Why is it essential for us to recognize our dependence on the Lord?

  • What did understanding their “carnal state” lead King Benjamin’s people to do? (See Mosiah 4:2.) What caused them to become “filled with joy”? (See Mosiah 4:3.) What enabled them to be forgiven of their sins? How did they know they had been forgiven? How can we know that we are forgiven after we repent? (For help in answering this question, you may want to refer to the statement by President Harold B. Lee on page 63.)

  • What did King Benjamin teach about how we obtain a remission of our sins? (See Mosiah 4:9–10.) What did he teach about how we retain a remission of our sins? (See Mosiah 4:11–12, 26.) What does it mean to retain a remission of our sins?

  • How can King Benjamin’s words to his people give us hope when we are discouraged by our weaknesses?

2. King Benjamin teaches his people how to live Christlike lives.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 4:13–30. You may want to begin this discussion by dividing class members into three groups. Assign each group one of the scripture passages below, and ask them to read the passage together and summarize it in a single sentence. (One possible summary sentence is given after each reference; class members do not need to use these exact statements.)

When the three groups have finished reading and summarizing, write the heading King Benjamin’s Counsel on the chalkboard. Have one person from each group write the group’s summary sentence on the chalkboard under this heading.

  • According to King Benjamin, what obligations do parents have to their children? (See Mosiah 4:14–15.) What conditions in the world today make King Benjamin’s counsel to parents especially important? Why is it so important that parents teach the gospel to their children?

    President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find their roots in the teaching of children by fathers and mothers” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 79; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 60).

  • How can we teach children to love and serve one another? (Teachers of youth may want to discuss how class members’ examples can influence younger children.)

  • King Benjamin also instructed his people to care for the needy (Mosiah 4:16). According to King Benjamin, why do some people refuse to help the needy? (See Mosiah 4:17, 22.) Why do we have “great cause to repent” if we have this attitude? (See Mosiah 4:18–23.) In what sense are we all beggars? (See Mosiah 4:19–20.)

  • Why is charitable service an important characteristic of members of Christ’s Church?

  • How can we follow Heavenly Father’s example as we give to the needy? (See Mosiah 4:16, 20–21.) How can we ensure that when we give to the needy, we give the right assistance in the right way?

    You may want to explain that there is no single right approach to helping the needy. We should remember the principles taught by King Benjamin and seek the guidance of the Spirit in each situation. You may also want to point out that the Lord has established ways in which we can help the needy. When we give fast offerings or donate money, goods, time, or other service to the Church, we can be confident that our contributions are being used wisely.

  • What counsel did King Benjamin give to the poor who could not impart of their substance? (See Mosiah 4:24–25.) How can we develop a generous heart regardless of our financial situation?

  • Why do you think serving others helps us retain a remission of our sins? (See Mosiah 4:26.)

  • Have a class member read Mosiah 4:27 aloud. What does it mean to do all things “in wisdom and order”? How can you be helped by this counsel?

  • King Benjamin taught his people that to avoid sin and maintain their commitment to God, they must watch their thoughts, words, and deeds (Mosiah 4:29–30). How are our thoughts, words, and deeds related? How will our words and deeds be affected when we watch our thoughts?

3. King Benjamin’s people experience a “mighty change” and covenant to do God’s will in all things.

Discuss Mosiah 5–6. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud.

  • How did the people know that King Benjamin’s words were true? (See Mosiah 5:2.) What effect did the Spirit of the Lord have on the people? (See Mosiah 5:2–5.) How might our lives and relationships be affected if we “had no more disposition to do evil”?

  • Why is it important for us to know that the people who heard King Benjamin’s sermons and experienced a mighty change of heart were already members of the Church?

  • Once we have experienced a “mighty change … in our hearts” (Mosiah 5:2), what challenges do we face in maintaining this change? How can we meet these challenges?

  • What does it mean to become children of Christ? (See Mosiah 5:2, 5–7.) What does it mean to “take upon [ourselves] the name of Christ”? (See Mosiah 5:8–11; see also the quotation on the next page.) What can we do each day to help us keep Christ’s name written in our hearts? (See Mosiah 5:11–15.)

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “Our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ affirms our commitment to do all that we can to be counted among those whom he will choose to stand at his right hand and be called by his name at the last day. In this sacred sense, our witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ constitutes our declaration of candidacy for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Exaltation is eternal life, ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1985, 105; or Ensign, May 1985, 83).

  • How is the covenant made by King Benjamin’s people similar to the covenant we made at baptism and renew each time we take the sacrament? (See Mosiah 5:5, 7–8; D&C 20:37, 77, 79.) Why is it important that we renew this covenant frequently?

  • King Benjamin saw that all his people (except those who were too young) had entered into the covenant to obey God’s commandments (Mosiah 6:1–2). Why was it important to record their names?

  • Why was it important to appoint teachers and priests over the people? (See Mosiah 6:3.) How do our teachers and Church leaders help us remember the covenants and promises we have made?

Conclusion

Read or have a class member read Mosiah 5:15, the final words of King Benjamin’s address. Point out that these blessings are available to each of us. Encourage class members to seek and maintain that “mighty change” of heart that will enable them to be children of Christ.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

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

1. “Under this head ye are made free” (Mosiah 5:8)

  • In calling his people the children of Christ, King Benjamin said, “Under this head ye are made free” (Mosiah 5:8). How does obedience to the Lord bring freedom?

    The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “in obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness, … He never has—He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 256–57).

  • How have you seen obedience to God’s commandments bring happiness to your life and the lives of those around you?

2. “How knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?” (Mosiah 5:13)

  • King Benjamin asked, “How knoweth a man the master whom he has not served?” (Mosiah 5:13). How have you come to know Christ better through serving Him?