Book of Mormon
“This Is My Gospel”
The Savior commands His Nephite disciples to call the Church after His
name. He expounds His gospel.
The Savior grants the desires of His twelve disciples. Three of the
disciples choose to remain on the earth until His Second Coming.
After many years of peace, the majority of the people dwindle in unbelief
and reject the gospel.
A study of this lesson will help us understand the fundamental doctrines of the
gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach us that living the gospel is the only way to
true and eternal happiness.
Scripture references for study:
27–30, 4 Nephi
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 42 Handout (PDF)
Built Upon Christ's Gospel
The name of the Church.
After the ministry of the Savior to the Nephites, the twelve disciples
went through the land preaching the gospel and baptizing those who
The disciples gathered together and "were united
in mighty prayer and fasting" (3 Nephi 27:1).
"And Jesus again showed himself unto them, for
they were praying unto the Father in his name; and Jesus came and stood
in the midst of them, and said unto them: What will ye that I shall give
unto you?" (3 Nephi 27:2).
The disciples asked, "Lord, we will that thou
wouldst tell us the name whereby whereby we shall call the church; for
there are disputations among the people concerning the matter"
(3 Nephi 27:3).
HOW DID THE SAVIOR RESPOND TO THIS QUESTION?
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that
the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing? Have they not read the
scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is
my name?" (3 Nephi 27:4-5).
"Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do
it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name"
(3 Nephi 27:7).
"If it be called in my name then it is my church,
if it so be that they are built upon my gospel" (3 Nephi 27:8).
The Lord asked the disciples "why is it that the people should
murmur and dispute because of this thing?" (v4) and then he asked,
they not read the scriptures" (v5).
WHAT PRINCIPLE WAS THE LORD TEACHING
The Lord was teaching these twelve leaders that he had provided them with a guide,
a resource, a manual to assist them in matters of questions that may arise.
It was a gentle means of reminding his disciples, and all his followers,
that they must utilize the guidebook (the scriptures) in a more extensive manner.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT THE LORD'S CHURCH BEAR HIS NAME?
"Be it known unto you all, and to
all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this
man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which
was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation
in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12)
President Spencer W. Kimball: "This is not
a church. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. There are churches of men
all over the land and they have great cathedrals, synagogues, and other
houses of worship running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. They
are the churches of men. They teach the doctrines of men, combined with
the philosophies and ethics and other ideas and ideals that men have partly
developed and partly found in sacred places and interpreted for themselves.
But there is just one church which Jesus Christ, himself, organized by
direct revelation; just one church that teaches all of his doctrines; just
one church which has all of the keys and authorities which are necessary
to carry on the work of Jesus Christ. And you would, of course, expect
it to be the Church of Jesus Christ and not carry any other name."
(Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p421)
Neal A. Maxwell: "When the Lord used the
designation 'true,' he implied that the doctrines of the Church and its
authority are not just partially true, but true as measured by divine standards.
The Church is not, therefore, conceptually compromised by having been made
up from doctrinal debris left over from another age, nor is it comprised
of mere fragments of the true faith. It is based upon the fullness of the
gospel of him whose name it bears, thus passing the two tests for proving
his church that were given by Jesus during his visit to the Nephites. (3
Nephi 27:8)." (Things As They Really Are, p46)
In D&C 115:4 the Lord revealed the name of his latter-day church.
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "While there
can be no disgrace nor condemnation in being called 'Mormons,' and the
Church, the 'Mormon Church,' the fact remains, and this we should all emphasize,
that we belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the
name the Lord has given by which we are to be known and called."
(Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:175)
"And whoso taketh upon him
my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day."
(3 Nephi 27:6)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TAKE UPON OURSELVES THE NAME OF CHRIST?
"And it came to pass that he said
unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called)
and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called
his people, and are willing to bear one anther's burdens, that they may
"Yea, and are willing to
mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need
of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things,
and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed
of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may
have eternal life--
"Now I say unto you, if
this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized
in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into
a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments,
that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?" (Mosiah
"Behold, Jesus Christ is the
name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby
man can be saved; Wherefore, all men must
take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name
shall they be called at the last day; Wherefore, if they know
not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom
of my Father." (D&C 18:23-25)
HOW DO WE TAKE UPON US THE NAME OF CHRIST ON A DAILY
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "If
a man fully realized what it means when he partakes of the sacrament, that
he covenants to take upon him the name of Jesus Christ and to always remember
him and keep his commandments, and this vow is renewed week by week—do
you think such a man will fail to pay his tithing? Do you think such a
man will break the Sabbath day or disregard the Word of Wisdom? Do you
think he will fail to be prayerful, and that he will not attend his quorum
duties and other duties in the Church? It seems to me that such a thing
as a violation of these sacred principles and duties is impossible when
a man knows what it means to make such vows week by week unto the Lord
and before the saints." (Doctrines of
Nephi 27:6 the Savior said that we must both take
upon us the name of Christ and endure to the end.
HOW CAN WE BETTER ENDURE THE DIFFICULTIES OF MORTALITY?
Elder Neal A Maxwell: "Patient
endurance is to be distinguished from merely being 'acted upon.' Endurance is more than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance;
it is not only acceptance of the things allotted to us, [it is] to 'act
for ourselves' by magnifying what is allotted to us...
"Therefore, true enduring
represents not merely the passage of time, but the passage of soul....
To endure in faith and do God's will therefore involves much more than
putting up with a circumstance." (Men
and Women of Christ, p69)
This is a great thought, endurance is a principle
We are always in a better frame of mind when we are
We all know that when we are depressed or feeling
down that we need to busy ourselves. What better way to busy ourselves
than through Christlike service.
3 Nephi 27:30-32.
Brothers Kent P. Jackson and Darrell J. Matthews
commented on these verses: "Readers
should pay special attention to the fact that our personal actions can
cause Christ, the Father, and angels to rejoice or sorrow. Knowing
God's feeling for us and his intense concern for each of us as individuals,
we should conduct our lives so as to bring honor and joy to those heavenly
beings who care so much for our welfare."
(Studies in Scripture, 8:212)
The Three Nephites
The Lord asked the twelve Nephite disciples: "What
is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father."
(3 Nephi 28:1)
WHAT WAS THEIR RESPONSE?
Nine of them asked that when they had lived a full life, if they could
go speedily to the Lord in his kingdom (v2).
The Lord granted them their desire and said "after
that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom;
and with me ye shall find rest" (v3).
WHAT ABOUT THE REMAINING THREE?
According to Mormon, these three Nephites were not always well accepted,
but they were blessed.
The prophet Mormon wrote, "But behold, I have seen them,
and they have ministered unto me" (3 Nephi 28:26).
Mormon goes on to say that they will be among the Gentiles and they shall
not know them.
Mormon provides an explanation of the change that was made to the three
The Lesson Manual contains this caution regarding the three Nephites:
"Stories often circulate about the three Nephites
who were translated. Members of the Church should be careful about
accepting or retelling these stories. You should not discuss them
WHY THIS CAUTION?
of the Three Nephites comprise one of the most striking religious legend
cycles in the United States. Bearing some resemblance to stories of the
prophet Elijah in Jewish lore, or of the Christian saints in the Catholic
tradition, Three Nephite accounts are nevertheless distinctly Mormon. Part
of a much larger body of LDS traditional narratives (see Folklore), these
stories are not official doctrine and are not published in official literature."
(Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p1477)
Folklore and legends are speculation. Nothing of value can come from
speculation. There may be those who have had encounters with these
worthy Nephites. Since the Church does not publish such accounts,
it is safe to conclude that those sacred encounters were for the benefit
of such individuals. In a sense, such encounters may be like our
patriarchal blessings. These blessings are for the benefit of the
individual and to be kept sacred. They are not published nor become
part of Church doctrine.
Elder Richard L. Evans: "It is how we live,
how we serve, how we teach our children, what we do from day to day that
both indicate what we are and determine what we are; and all the theory
and all the speculation, all the quoting of scripture, all the searching
of the mysteries, and all the splitting of hairs, and all the knowledge
of the letter of the law don't in the final and saving sense amount to
very much unless we live the gospel, unless we keep the commandments, unless
we prove the principles, unless we live lives of effectiveness, sincerity,
and service." (CR, Apr 1966)
Mormon's Counsel to the Gentiles.
In the last two chapters of 3rd Nephi, Mormon gives inspired counsel to future
readers, particularly the Gentiles.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COMING FORTH OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
AND THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LORD'S COVENANT WITH ISRAEL?
3 Nephi 30 is an invitation for the Gentiles to repent and turn from their
evil ways, be baptized, and be numbered among the House of Israel, thus
becoming inheritors of the covenant.
WHAT IMPRESSIONS HAVE YOU HAD WHILE READING 4TH NEPHI?
My personal impressions:
"...there were no contentions
and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich
and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of
the heavenly gift." (v2-3)
How does a society achieve what the Nephites achieved? How is it
that there can be no contentions or disputations? How can we achieve
a society where all are taken care of and there are no poor amongst us?
In a matter of days, those of us living in the United
States will go to the polls and elect a new president, new governors, judges
and representatives. Each of those running for office makes claims
about how they will work at making society a better place. The United
States is a wonderful place to live, but after more than two hundred years
of this political process, we have not achieved anything close to the Nephite
society. We still have "contentions and disputations." There
are still "poor" among us, while others live in extreme opulence.
Mormon goes on to say of Nephite society
that "there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms,
nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness" (v16). With
all the programs to end crime, with all the courts to administer justice,
with all the charities serving various needs, we have not been been able
to eliminate these evils in society.
Mormon continues on about this Nephite society,
"surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had
been created by the hand of God" (v16). Within our society we see the evidence
of unhappiness and stress exemplified by violence on the highways, high
levels of drug usage (even legal mood altering drugs), and seeking
for relief from the challenges of daily living when millions buy lottery
Clearly politics is not the answer. Drugs are
not the answer. Instant wealth is not the answer. What is the
answer? These Nephites gave us some clues:
The people "did truly repent of their sins, were
baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost"
"...the people were all converted unto the Lord,
upon all the face of the land" (v2).
"...every man did deal justly one with another"
(v2). The people did this because they were striving to live as the
Lord had taught. It did not require a government program, nor did
it require legions of lawyers arguing for justice.
"...they had all things common among them"
(v3). This did not require a government redistribution program. It may have been organized with such things as a bishop's storehouse. I suspect even beyond that, people simply cared enough about each other
to simply share with their neighbors.
"...they did walk after the commandments which
they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting
and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word
of the Lord" (v12).
I think the simplest statement that sums up the "why" of the success of
this society is "because of the love of God which
did dwell in the hearts of the people" (v15). This is
the KEY to truly changing society for the better.
This was a wonderful, near perfect society. I find it amazing how
quickly it began to fall apart. How could such a thing happen? The people abandoned
righteous principles. Mormon outlines a pattern
of decline which should be a solemn warning.
A group of Nephites revolted from the Church and called themselves Lamanites
The people became proud of their exceeding prosperity and began wearing
costly clothing and adornments (v24).
The law of consecration was abandoned (v25).
The people began to be divided into social classes (v26).
False churches were organized to get gain (v26-28).
Followers of the true church were persecuted (v29-34).
There was a great division among the people (v35-38).
The children were taught to reject the truths of the gospel (v38-39).
The wicked became more numerous than the righteous (v40).
Secret oaths and combinations were started again (v42).
The righteous people began to be proud and seek the things of the world
The Gadianton conspiracy overran the whole land (v46).
As individuals, and as families, we may not be able to create a perfect society
nor prevent its destruction. What we can do is to emulate the principles
of righteousness and love within our own lives and homes. If millions
of Church members were to truly follow these principles, our homes and
communities will become "a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place
of safety for the saints of the Most High God" (D&C 45:66).
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings discussed in this lesson. How can
you better take upon yourself the name of Christ and live in such a manner as
to assist the Lord in bringing about such a society as discussed in 4th Nephi.
Resources Used In This Lesson
Answers to Gospel Questions by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism edited by Daniel H. Ludlow.
Men and Women of Christ by Neal A. Maxwell.
Studies In Scripture, Volume 8, edited by Kent P. Jackson.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
Things As They Really Are by Neal A. Maxwell.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
12 September 2016