Old Testament
Lesson 11
“How Can I Do This Great Wickedness?”

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us (1) learn how to make all experiences and circumstances work together for our good and (2) strengthen our commitment to obey the Lord’s standard of sexual morality.

Scripture references for study:  Genesis 34; Genesis 37–39
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.

Lesson 11 Handout (PDF)



The moral behavior of society often differs from the moral standards that the Lord has established. While the standards of society can change, the Lord's standards are constant.

Joseph - Sold Into Slavery

As you recall from Lesson 10, Jacob went to Padan-Aram in search of a suitable wife. There he married Leah and Rachel, daughters of his mother's brother Laban. He also married their handmaids, Zilpah and Bilhah. These wives bore Jacob twelve sons who became the beginnings of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob's name was changed: "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel" (Genesis 32:28).

Joseph, Eleventh Son of Jacob

Joseph's Dreams

Joseph & His Brothers

Joseph Refuses To "Sin Against God"

Joseph Sold In Egypt.

Joseph - A Man of Integrity

Shechem, Reuben, & Judah Commit Serious Moral Sins

Not all of Joseph's family members and acquaintances were as valiant as Joseph when facing temptation.

Shechem's temptation (Genesis 34): Reuben's temptation: Judah's temptation (Genesis 38): When Jacob blessed each of his sons at the end of his life, he referred to Reuben's moral transgression and described Reuben as "unstable as water" (Genesis 49:3-4). WHAT ARE THE SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL SIN TODAY?

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Joseph, like his great-grandfather Abraham, is a great example and an ideal man. He was absolutely true to the principles of righteousness. When sold by his brothers as a slave, he remained faithful and became the chief overseer of his master's possessions. Joseph refused to give into Potipher's wife. Was he tempted? I think not. He ran from the house when she attempted to seduce him. Joseph saw the big picture. He was not about to give up his destiny for the sake of a few moments of temporary pleasure.

We need to be like Joseph. We need to be true to the principles we have been taught. We must look at the big picture and remember that adversity is temporary and makes us better people. We need to be constantly vigilant in not allowing our standards to be lowered by the media, associates, or other negative influences. We need to teach our children to be like Joseph and not his brethren.

Record your thoughts on the integrity of Joseph and his steadfastness in remaining true to himself, those who depended on him, and his Heavenly Father. Compare his faithfulness to the weakness of his brothers. What does this mean in your life?

Resources Used In This Lesson

Answers To Gospel Question, Volume 5, by Joseph Fielding Smith.

Conference Reports (CR).

Counseling: A Guide To Helping Others edited by R. Lanier Britsch and Terrance D. Olson.


Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking by Robert H. Schuller.

Old Testament Student Manual - Religion 301.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven by Jeffrey R. & Patricia T. Holland.

Studies In Scripture, Volume 3, edited by Kent P. Jackson & Robert L. Millet.

The Be Happy Attitudes by Robert H. Schuller.

We Believe by Rulon T. Burton.

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Changes last made on:  05 December 2017