Book of Mormon
“Repent and Return unto the Lord”
Samuel warns the Nephites that they will be destroyed unless they repent.
Samuel prophesies of the signs that will precede the birth and death of
the Savior. He continues to call the people to repentance.
Some believe Samuel and are baptized. Others harden their hearts
and try to kill Samuel.
A study of this lesson will remind us of the importance of repenting, turning to
the Lord, and following the prophets.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 35 Handout (PDF)
As the time of the Savior's birth approached, the Nephite people became
The Lord chastised the people with a famine, but they rapidly fell back
into their sinful ways.
"And in the eighty and second
year they began again to forget the Lord their God. And in the eighty
and third year they began to wax strong in iniquity. And in the eighty
and fourth year they did not mend their ways. And it came to pass
in the eighty and fifth year they did wax stronger and stronger in their
pride, and in their wickedness; and thus they were ripening
again for destruction." (Helaman 11:36-37)
The Lord never destroys a people without giving them sufficient opportunities to repent.
This was the role of Samuel, a prophet sent by the Lord. His mission
was to cry repentance to the people and warn them of the inevitable consequences
if they refused to heed the warning.
Samuel the Lamanite.
We know little about this man.
Came to Zarahemla to preach the word of God.
He was rejected by the people.
He was returning to his home country when he was commanded to return to
"But behold, the voice of the Lord
came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people
whatsoever things should come into his heart." (Helaman 13:3)
Samuel's return to Zarahemla.
When Samuel returned to the city, the wicked Nephites would not let him
"And it came to pass that they would not suffer
that he should enter into the city; therefore he went and got upon the
wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice,
and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his
heart" (Helaman 13:4).
Helaman 13 - The Sins of the Nephites
Samuel speaks from the wall.
The power of the righteous.
The Book of Mormon is a study in national survival.
Brother Douglas Brinley: "The metaphor of
'ripening' occurs frequently in the Book of Mormon. Bananas, for example, as
they ripen, do not return to a condition of green or unripe; rather they
continue to ripen until they are overripe and finally rotten. Such is the term
as it applies to the level of wickedness among the inhabitants. The term
'ripening' is also connected to casting out of the righteous (Hel 13:14). The
Lord's servants raise the warning voice to the inhabitants of the land, but the
wicked do not tolerate what they consider to be a 'self-righteous' judgment of
their actions by the prophets. Mormon recorded, 'And thus we see that they were
in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction' (Hel 6:40)."
(Helaman through 3 Nephi 8: According to Thy Word, pp58-59)
- This verse brings to mind the account of Abraham "bargaining" with the Lord
over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (see
Genesis 18:16-33). Thus
it appears that when wickedness rises to a certain level and there are few, if
any, righteous left in a society the Lord can no longer stay his hand.
- HOW ARE WE DOING IN OUR MODERN SOCIETIES?
In past lessons we have discussed some of the things we can do to influence the
course of a nation we see in degeneration.
- WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE CAN DO TO HELP OUR NATION?
We know the Lord will protect a city or nation because of it righteous inhabitants.
Although America may approach the brink of destruction, if we (the Latter-day
Saints) are righteous, the Lord will preserve this nation.
Joseph Smith: "Even this nation will be on the
verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution
is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the Staff upon which the
Nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very
verge of destruction." (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.304)
Riches and Gratitude.
WHAT WAS THE SIN OF THE NEPHITES ACCORDING TO SAMUEL?
They had set their hearts upon their riches.
They did not express gratitude to the Lord for their blessings.
Having set their hearts upon riches, they were also guilty of:
All manner of iniquities.
WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE INVEST MORE TIME AND INTEREST IN WORLDLY CONCERNS THAN
IN SPIRITUAL CONCERNS?
HOW CAN WE ASSESS WHETHER WE ARE GIVING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO OUR SPIRITUAL
Are we falling into the pattern as noted in verse 22?
Are we expressing gratitude to the Lord and counseling with him?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "In our day we are experiencing
an explosion of knowledge about the world and its people. But the
people of the world are not experiencing a comparable expansion of knowledge
about God and his plan for his children. On that subject, what the
world needs is not more scholarship and technology but more righteousness
"I long for the day prophesied
by Isaiah when 'the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.' In an inspired utterance, the Prophet Joseph Smith described the Lord's
'pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.' This will not happen for those whose 'hearts are set so much upon the things
of this world, and aspire to the honors of men'." (Ensign, May
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOW GRATITUDE TO THE LORD FOR OUR BLESSINGS?
"And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness
shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto
him, even an hundred fold, yea, more" (D&C 78:19).
Prophets and Blind Guides.
Samuel went on to chastise the Nephites for failing to heed the prophets,
to cast them out, to mock them, to stone them, slay them and do all manner
of iniquity to them.
HOW MIGHT WE ALLOW OURSELVES "TO BE LED BY FOOLISH AND BLIND GUIDES"?
Do we do it in economics, politics, morality, or even within the Church?
President Harold B. Lee: "Now the only safety
we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to
the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn
to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through
his prophet, 'as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;...as
if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.' There will be
some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes
from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political
views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere
with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things,
as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the
promise is that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea,
and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you,
and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory'."
(CR, Oct 1970)
Happiness and Iniquity.
Samuel said, "ye have sought all the
days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought
for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature
of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head." (v38)
WHY DO MANY PEOPLE SEEK "HAPPINESS IN DOING INIQUITY"?
HOW CAN WE HELP OUR CHILDREN LEARN THAT THEY CANNOT FIND HAPPINESS IN INIQUITY?
Let them see the joy that comes from righteousness.
Explain that the negative feelings they feel when doing something wrong,
comes because of the error of their ways.
Teach this doctrine from the scriptures: Happiness cannot be found in doing
Helaman 14 - Samuel Prophecies of Christ
Samuel prophesied that the Savior would come into the world five years hence
WHAT WAS TO BE THE SIGN OF HIS BIRTH INTO THE WORLD?
There shall be a day, a night, and a day as one day. No darkness
in the night (v4).
There shall be a new star arise (v5).
There shall be many signs and wonders in heaven (v6).
Samuel speaks of the death of Christ and its importance to
mankind, especially those who listen and repent.
He prophecies of the signs attending the death of the Savior: the
darkness and destruction that will take place.
Samuel speaks about the great principle of agency.
- WHAT DID SAMUEL MEAN WHEN HE SAID, "WHOSOEVER PERISHETH, PERISHETH UNTO
HIMSELF; AND WHOSOEVER DOETH INIQUITY, DOETH IT UNTO HIMSELF"?
- We choose our actions, and thus we will receive the compensation (consequences)
for our actions.
- The death and atonement of Christ invokes this agency. The death
of the Savior makes repentance and the resulting forgiveness possible;
without Christ's sacrifice we would not have that choice.
Helaman 15 - The Lamanite Example of True Repentance
Samuel taught that the Lord chastened the Nephites "in the days
of their iniquities...because he loveth them" (v3).
HOW DOES THE LORD CHASTEN US?
He allows us to feel the consequences of our sins. As loving parents
we allow our children to experience the consequences of their actions. We do not do it because we are vindictive, but because they can learn and
grow from the experience. Is it any different with a loving Heavenly Father?
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM GOD'S CHASTENINGS?
HOW HAVE YOU FELT HIS LOVE WHEN HE HAS CHASTENED YOU?
Prophecy regarding the Lamanites.
President Spencer W. Kimball says that this is the day of the Lamanite:
"But to these children of the prophets, God has made
lavish promises. Today is the brighter day--the day of the Lamanite.
"They shall become fair, clean,
and worthy. They shall become physically sound, mentally alert, economically
secure. They shall plant and harvest and build and inhabit. They shall
take their rightful place as peers with us in industry, in business and
professions. They shall know their history and believe the truth; they
shall know and worship the true and living God. 'For the eternal purposes
of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.'
"May God help us to recognize
our duty toward these our brothers and sisters, and help us show our love
for him by our devotion to the work of bringing all blessings which we
enjoy to these our kinsmen." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p239)
HOW ARE WE SEEING THIS PROPHECY FULFILLED?
Helaman 16 - The Result of Samuel's Message
WHY DO YOU THINK MANY OF THE PEOPLE DID NOT BELIEVE SAMUEL, EVEN WHEN THEY SAW THAT HE WAS MIRACULOUSLY PROTECTED?
Their wickedness was so great, that they could not be touched by light.
HELAMAN 16:13-16, 22-23.
WHAT EFFECTS DO SIGNS AND MIRACLES SEEM TO HAVE ON THE FAITHLESS?
It causes the people to harden their hearts (v15).
These are people that depend on their own strength and wisdom.
ON THE FAITHFUL?
It reinforces the faith of the righteous.
WHAT SIMILARITIES EXIST BETWEEN PEOPLE TODAY AND THE NEPHITES WHO LIVED
JUST BEFORE CHRIST'S BIRTH?
There is a great loss of faith, even to the ridicule of believers.
Many are foolish and vain.
Many are stirred up to do much iniquity.
There are rumors and contentions upon "all the face of the land."
WHAT IS THE WARNING TO US?
President Ezra Taft Benson: "In the Book
of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major
portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ's coming
to America. By careful study of that time period we can determine why some
were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what
brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust
their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet....
"Can anyone doubt that
this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort,
and great protection?" (Ensign, Nov 1986, p6-7)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings and prophecies of
Samuel. What principles taught by Samuel can you more fully implement in your
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith compiled by Alma P. Burton.
Helaman through 3 Nephi 8: According to Thy Word edited by Monte S. Nyman and
Charles D. Tate, Jr.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
27 July 2016