To help students understand how the Atonement enables each of us to overcome the natural man and become the sons and daughters of Christ.
Note: King Benjamin taught the concept of the nothingness of man. Teaching this concept without the benefit of an understanding of the goodness of God and the Atonement could leave some students troubled. Therefore, teach both concepts the same day, even though this scripture block may take several days to complete.
Before the Video
To provide a perspective for the study of King Benjamin’s address, turn with the class to Mosiah 4:7–8 and refer to the first phrase of each verse. Discuss what students think the “man who receiveth salvation” is like and what the “means whereby salvation cometh” is. Read Mosiah 4:5–8 to discover what a person needs to know to be saved. You may wish to write the following headings on the board:
The Goodness of God
The Nothingness of Man
Salvation Is in Christ through the Atonement
Trust in the Lord
Suggest to your class that as they study King Benjamin’s address they look for ways these principles relate to each other. List aspects of these principles with each heading as you read King Benjamin’s address with the class.
Discuss the importance of reading King Benjamin’s message with the same preparation he asked of his own people: Do not trifle with his words. “Open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view” (Mosiah 2:9).
Help students discover King Benjamin’s example of service and leadership by studying the following verses from Mosiah 2:
Verses 10–19: Why was King Benjamin so willing to serve his fellowman? (He understood he was also serving God [see vv. 16–19].) Ask your students to share a time when they served somebody because they wanted to serve God.
Verses 20–25: Why did King Benjamin spend his days in the service of God and his people? (He loved the Savior and understood the goodness of God and the nothingness of man.) Why will we always be indebted to Heavenly Father and the Savior? (We owe everything we are and have to Them.)
Verse 34: How do we show our gratitude for God’s goodness? (We should render all that we have and are to Him.) What might it mean for a student to give all that he or she has and is? (Student response.) As we come to understand the goodness of God and our indebtedness to Him, should we serve Him out of duty or gratitude?
Using the Video
“Look For” Activity
Suggest that your students try to discover the meaning of the term “natural man.”
Show Segment 1
Segment 1 (3:29) shows Linda and Susan, two young women from
An understanding of the concept of the natural man is crucial in order to understand the mission of the Savior and our indebtedness to Him. Read Mosiah 3:19 with the class. What is the natural man? (The part of us that sins and wants to follow the world.) Why would the natural man be an enemy to God? (Because sin and worldliness keep us from being worthy to be in His presence.) What is the condition of the natural man? (see Mosiah 16:3–5). Help the class identify the following doctrinal points:
The Fall of Adam provided the general conditions of mortality. Our personal fall occurs when we commit sin (see Mosiah 16:3).
All individuals, except the Savior, commit sin. Thus, to one degree or another, all are fallen or natural (see Mosiah 16:3).
Because all sin, all are lost. The Savior’s Atonement provides the only way for us to be redeemed from this fallen or natural state (see Mosiah 16:4).
If the natural man remains in his fallen state and does not undergo a spiritual rebirth through the Atonement, he will remain an enemy to God forever (see Mosiah 16:5).
If the concept of the natural man is properly taught, your students should recognize the “nothingness” of man, or his inability to redeem himself from his fallen condition, and the need to access the goodness of God through the Atonement. This is done by humbly trusting in God enough to turn our lives over to Him.
“Look For” Activity
Suggest that as your students view segment 2 they look for ways to overcome the natural man and become children of Christ.
Show Segment 2
In segment 2 (8:00) Susan’s brother Andy and Linda’s bishop help them learn how to put off the natural man and become children of Christ.
After the Video
Refer again to Mosiah 3:19. Help the class understand the doctrinal meaning of each of the following phrases:
“Yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.” Yielding to the Spirit can lead us to do what is right or good (see D&C 11:12). The Spirit can also change our nature so that the desire to sin is replaced with a desire to follow Christ.
“Putteth off the natural man.” The ways of the “natural man” are filled with pride, selfishness, and rebellion against God (see Mosiah 16:5). In order to put off this nature, an individual must repent of his or her sins (see Mosiah 26:29) and submit to the will of God (see Mosiah 24:15).
“Becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” As we humbly accept the Atonement of the Savior, He can remove the effects of sin from us (see Alma 34:8–16) and we can experience a “mighty change . . . in our hearts” (Mosiah 5:2) as we change from our fallen state to a state of righteousness (see Mosiah 27:25).
“Becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love.” We are not asked to be childish, but to become like a child—willing to submit to a righteous Father, doing His will instead of our own (see 3 Nephi 11:37–38).
Suggest that the class recall and discuss ways the video illustrates Mosiah 3:19.
Suggest that your students search the following verses in Mosiah 4 to discover what happened to King Benjamin’s people:
Verses 1–2: What was the reaction of King Benjamin’s people, who were “active” members, when they finally understood the concept of their own nothingness? (The fear of the Lord came upon them.) How did the people put their trust in God? (They begged for God’s mercy and for Him to apply His atoning blood to them.) Note how the goodness of God and the Atonement is taught hand in hand with the concept of the natural man.
Verse 3: What happened to the people when they called upon the Lord in humility? (They were filled with joy and peace and received a remission of their sins.) How is this experience an example of Mosiah 3:19?
Verse 11: If we trust in God, what are we expected to do? (Always remember His goodness and our nothingness, calling upon Him daily and standing steadfast in faith.)
Verses 12–30: What changes come to Saints who rely upon God and put their trust in Him? (They are “filled with the love of God,” “always retain a remission of [their] sins,” and “grow in the knowledge” of Christ [v. 12]. They do “not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably” [v. 13]. They use their means to help the poor [see vv. 14–25]. They return things they borrow [see v. 28].)
Help students understand the following verses in Mosiah 5:
Verses 2–4: How is the mighty change of heart brought about? (Through the Holy Spirit. We prepare ourselves and call upon the Lord in humility, but He is the one who brings about the change.) What is the condition that results? (We have no more desire to sin, but to do good continually.) How is the experience of King Benjamin’s people an example of Mosiah 3:19?
Verse 5: How do we make a commitment to the Lord that we will follow Him? (We make, or renew, our covenant to keep His commandments.)
Verse 7: What is the name that King Benjamin gave his people? Why? (The children of Christ, because they were spiritually begotten by Him.) What might it mean to be spiritually begotten of the Lord? (To have the Lord change our heart through His Spirit, and thus be spiritually born of Him.)
Verses 8–9: What does it mean to be free? (Free from the consequences of sin and free to follow the Savior.)
Read Mosiah 27:25–26 with the class. As students think about this scripture, suggest they ask themselves questions like the following: Do I understand why everyone needs to experience the mighty change of heart? Do I desire the mighty change of heart? Am I putting off the natural man? Am I doing those things that would bring about the mighty change of heart? Do I know how to evaluate whether I am experiencing the mighty change? Have I taken upon me the name of Christ? Am I becoming a child of Christ?
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