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.

Resource notes: Click on links for expanded information.

Lesson 11 Handout (PDF format)


  2. 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

  1. 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).
  2. Joseph, Eleventh Son of Jacob.
  3. Joseph's Dreams.
  4. Joseph & His Brothers.

Joseph Refuses To "Sin Against God"

  1. Joseph Sold In Egypt.
  2. Joseph - A Man of Integrity

Shechem, Reuben, & Judah Commit Serious Moral Sins

  1. Not all of Joseph's family members and acquaintances were as valiant as Joseph when facing temptation.
  2. Shechem's temptation (Genesis 34):
  3. Reuben's temptation:
  4. Judah's temptation (Genesis 38):
  5. 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).
  7. Elder Melvin J. Ballard:  "Certainly our teachers were right when they held up an ideal that virtue was as sacred as life itself, and that we had better lose our lives than lose our virtue . . . . Next to the crime of murder itself is the crime of sexual impurity." (CR, Apr 1929)

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

  1. Joseph, like his great-grandfather Abraham, is a great example and 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.
  2. 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

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Changes last made on:  12 February 2014