Unit 23: Day 3, Helaman 13–14

Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, (2012), 231–34


Introduction

A few years before the Savior’s birth, the Lord sent a Lamanite prophet named Samuel to preach repentance to the Nephites at Zarahemla. The prophet Samuel was a second witness of Jesus Christ, along with the prophet Nephi. He forewarned the Nephites of their destruction if they did not repent. Samuel confronted them about their tendency to reject the prophets and their disposition to seek happiness in doing iniquity. He announced the signs that would mark the birth and death of Jesus Christ. He also taught that all mankind, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, will be brought back into God’s presence for judgment.

Helaman 13

Samuel warns the Nephites of their destruction if they do not repent
Samuel the Lamanite on the Wall

When you have done something wrong and needed to be corrected by a parent or other leader, how did you respond?

The account of a prophet calling a people to repentance recorded in Helaman 13–16 is unique because it is the first instance in the Book of Mormon of a Lamanite prophet calling Nephites to repentance.

Read Helaman 13:1–8, 11 to understand why Samuel preached to the Nephites and what the Lord directed him to say. These verses illustrate the principle: Prophets receive and speak the messages God puts into their hearts. What message did God put into Samuel’s heart? According to Helaman 13:7, what effect did Samuel hope his message would have on the Nephites?

  1. journal icon1.

    In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you felt that a parent or Church leader was inspired to give a particular message. How did that message affect you?

In the spaces provided, write answers to the questions in the following charts as you study Helaman 13:17–23 and Helaman 13:24–30.

Helaman 13:17–23

Principle: When we do not remember the Lord, we are more susceptible to pride and iniquity.

Which verses do you feel teach the above principle?

What curse did Samuel say would come upon the Nephites?

According to Samuel, what were the Nephites not doing when they set their hearts upon their riches?

What are ways youth today might set their hearts upon riches—possessions, practices, and desires—that can lead to pride and iniquity?

Why do you think it is essential to “remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you”? (verse 22).

Helaman 13:24–30

Principle: If we reject the words of the Lord’s prophets, we will experience regret and sorrow.

Which verses do you feel teach the above principle?

What excuses did Samuel say the Nephites used for rejecting the Lord’s prophets?

Why do you think people often accept false prophets in the way Samuel described?

Answer the next two questions by studying the most recent general conference talks in the Ensign or Liahona:

What are some of the specific teachings of our living prophets and apostles?

What are some specific problems prophets and apostles have warned us to avoid?

Review Helaman 13:26–28, looking for how the Nephites had been responding to false prophets. President Ezra Taft Benson declared: “How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our faithfulness” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 140).

  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What is an example of prophetic counsel you have chosen to obey?

    2. b.

      How have you been blessed for following this counsel?

    3. c.

      How can you improve in following the counsel of living prophets?

Samuel prophesied that the Nephites would be destroyed in 400 years if they did not repent (see Helaman 13:9–10), and he taught that the only reason they had not been destroyed already was because of the righteous people who lived among them (see Helaman 13:12–14).

Read Helaman 13:38 to discover how so many Nephites in Samuel’s day had become so wicked.

Samuel declared that we cannot obtain happiness in doing iniquity, which helps us understand that true happiness comes only as we keep the commandments of God. Which scripture mastery passage also teaches this truth? (See footnote c for Helaman 13:38.)

President Ezra Taft Benson

President Ezra Taft Benson helped us understand this principle when he said: “There is an old saying that states: It is better to prepare and prevent than it is to repair and repent. How true that is. … The first line of defense in keeping ourselves morally clean is to prepare ourselves to resist temptation and prevent ourselves from falling into sin” (“The Law of Chastity,” in Brigham Young University 1987–88 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1988], 51; speeches.byu.edu).

Samuel taught that the Nephites’ decision to delay repentance would result in their misery and destruction. Other accounts in the Book of Mormon teach that individuals can persist in rebellion and wickedness until the spirit of repentance may leave them. For example, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto God and became “past feeling” (1 Nephi 17:45). Such examples demonstrate why it is so important for us not to procrastinate our repentance. Through repentance you can make things right and prevent sin and temptation from overcoming your desire to follow God.

Read the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency to better understand that you can regain a correct course in life if you take a wrong course:

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“During my training to become an airline captain, I had to learn how to navigate an airplane over long distances. Flights over huge oceans, crossing extensive deserts, and connecting continents need careful planning to ensure a safe arrival at the planned destination. Some of these nonstop flights can last up to 14 hours and cover almost 9,000 miles.

“There is an important decision point during such long flights commonly known as the point of safe return. Up to this point the aircraft has enough fuel to turn around and return safely to the airport of departure. Having passed the point of safe return, the captain has lost this option and has to continue on. That is why this point is often referred to as the point of no return.

“… Satan wants us to think that when we have sinned we have gone past a ‘point of no return’—that it is too late to change our course. …

“… To make us lose hope, feel miserable like himself, and believe that we are beyond forgiveness, Satan might even misuse words from the scriptures that emphasize the justice of God, in order to imply that there is no mercy. …

“Christ came to save us. If we have taken a wrong course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can give us the assurance that sin is not a point of no return. A safe return is possible if we will follow God’s plan for our salvation” (“Point of Safe Return,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 99).

How might President Uchtdorf’s remarks give hope to those who feel they have sinned so much they have gone beyond the “point of no return”? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Helaman 14

Samuel prophesies of the signs of the Savior’s birth and death

Think about an event that recently occurred outside your country and received worldwide attention. How do people learn about events that occur in other parts of the world, such as natural disasters and wars? Why do people want to know about events that occur in other parts of the world?

Samuel prophesied about the Savior’s birth and death, events that would take place far away from Zarahemla. Study Helaman 14:3–6, and mark in your scriptures the signs that would accompany the birth of Jesus Christ. Study Helaman 14:20–27, and mark the signs that would accompany His death.

  1. journal icon3.

    In your scripture study journal, write about how you think you would have responded if you were there and had heard Samuel make these prophecies. Of all the signs given, which one do you think would most impress upon you the need to repent?

These signs are both instructive and symbolic. When Jesus Christ came into the world, light increased. When He died, darkness increased. The same happens in our lives when we either allow Him to enter our hearts or prevent Him from entering.

Read Helaman 14:11–13, and identify Samuel’s intent or purpose in preaching to the Nephites. You may want to number in your scriptures what Samuel wanted the Nephites to know and to do. (The phrase “through his merits” in verse 13 means through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.) From these verses we learn that belief in Jesus Christ leads to repentance and remission of sins.

Read Helaman 14:28–29, and look for why the Lord provides signs and wonders. One truth we learn is: The Lord provides signs and wonders to help people believe in Him. Ponder the signs (evidences) that you feel help you to believe in Jesus Christ.

As you learn about the signs prophesied by Samuel, it is important to remember that the Lord provides signs to help the righteous people believe and repent, while the wicked seek or demand signs for their own selfish reasons (see D&C 46:9). While the signs of the Lord’s death or the signs of His Second Coming are important to know, Samuel’s teachings regarding the significance of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are essential to know.

Carefully read Helaman 14:15–19, and then study the diagram below.

After reading Helaman 14:15–19 and studying the diagram, consider the following points:

  • Being born into mortality may be termed a spiritual death because we are separated from the presence of our Heavenly Father.

  • Through His death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ redeems all mankind from the Fall so we can return to God’s presence.

  • Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind are brought back into the presence of God to be judged.

  • At the Final Judgment, people who continue to refuse to repent will experience another spiritual death—being cut off from God’s presence forever.

  • Jesus Christ redeems us from a spiritual death on conditions of repentance.

Mark phrases in Helaman 14:15–19 that correspond to the bolded doctrines you just read. Conclude by reading Helaman 14:30–31.

  1. journal icon4.

    In your scripture study journal, write about how you would use Helaman 14:30–31 to explain to a friend why our choices in this life are so important.

  2. journal icon5.

    Write the following note at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Helaman 13–14 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: