“Lesson 23: 2 Nephi 2 (Part 1)” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 23,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
2 Nephi 2 contains a continuation of Lehi’s teachings just before he died. Speaking directly to his son Jacob, Lehi testified of the Lord’s ability to consecrate our afflictions for our gain. Speaking to all his sons, he taught about the Fall of Adam—why it was necessary and how it affects mankind—and about the need for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Lehi also taught about the doctrine of agency. This doctrine will be addressed in the next lesson.)
To help students see that 2 Nephi 2 is relevant in their lives, ask them to think of someone they know who has faced significant difficulties or afflictions. Invite them to ponder what they might say to encourage that person. Ask them to prepare to share their thoughts with the class.
Explain that 2 Nephi 2 contains a record of Lehi speaking to a son who had experienced difficulties. Invite students to read 2 Nephi 2:1 silently. Ask them to identify which son Lehi taught (Jacob) and what had caused this son’s suffering (the rudeness of his brothers). Then have students read 2 Nephi 2:2–3 silently. You may want to suggest that they mark words and phrases that describe what the Lord would do for Jacob.
Ask students to share the phrases they have found. Then ask the following questions to help them understand that the Lord can consecrate our afflictions for our gain:
What does the phrase “consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain” mean to you? (You may need to explain that consecrate means to dedicate or make holy.)
When have you seen that the Lord can consecrate our afflictions for our gain?
Explain that Lehi taught Jacob and his other sons about the Fall of Adam and Eve. You may need to explain that the phrase “the Fall” refers to the conditions that came to Adam and Eve and their descendants because of Adam and Eve’s choice to partake of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
What choice did the Lord give to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? (He allowed them to choose whether or not to eat the forbidden fruit.)
According to 2 Nephi 2:15, why did the Lord give them this choice? (“To bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man.” You may want to encourage students to mark this phrase.)
What are God’s eternal purposes for us? (To give us the opportunity to receive eternal life and become like Him. You may want to encourage students to make a note of this in their scriptures next to the phrase “eternal purposes.” You may also want to have them read Moses 1:39.)
Copy the following chart on the board, leaving the two lower boxes blank. (You may want to suggest that students copy this chart in their scripture study journals or class notebooks.)
Without the Fall
Because of the Fall
All things would have remained as they were when they were created (see 2 Nephi 2:22).
Adam and Eve would have had no children (see 2 Nephi 2:23).
Adam and Eve would have remained in a state of innocence, unable to know joy or misery, good or sin (see 2 Nephi 2:23).
Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden to till the earth (see 2 Nephi 2:19).
Adam and Eve brought forth children—the family of all the earth (see 2 Nephi 2:20).
Adam and Eve and their descendants would experience mortal life, including misery, joy, and the ability to do good and to sin (see 2 Nephi 2:23, 25).
Invite a student to come to the board and be a scribe for the class. Ask students to search 2 Nephi 2:19–25 silently, identifying (1) the consequences that would have resulted if Adam and Eve had not eaten the forbidden fruit and fallen and (2) the consequences that resulted from the Fall. Ask the scribe to write students’ answers in the chart. Answers should include those listed above (except for the information about physical and spiritual death, which will be added later).
Invite students to review their responses under the heading “Without the Fall.”
How would conditions in the Garden of Eden have prevented Adam and Eve from progressing in Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation? (See 2 Nephi 2:22–23.)
Invite students to review the list under the heading “Because of the Fall.” Make sure they understand that because we are descendants of Adam and Eve, we are subject to the conditions that came to them after the Fall (see 2 Nephi 2:21).
The phrase “till the earth” means that after Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, they had to work to obtain food. How do you think work helps us progress in Heavenly Father’s plan?
How would having children help Adam and Eve become more like Heavenly Father? In what ways are families important in Heavenly Father’s plan?
How can the opportunity to experience joy and misery help us progress in Heavenly Father’s plan?
After discussing these questions, emphasize that the Fall of Adam and Eve is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.
Point out that 2 Nephi 2:25 is a scripture mastery passage. You might encourage students to mark it. Because it is short, you may want to take time to help students memorize it.
Explain that although the Fall opened the way for us to progress, it also introduced pain, suffering, sin, and death into the world. To help students expand their understanding of this truth, ask a student to read 2 Nephi 9:6 aloud. Then ask another student to read Helaman 14:15–17 aloud. Ask the class to look for consequences of the Fall described in these verses.
What do these verses teach about the Fall? (It brought physical death, which is the death of the body, and spiritual death, which is the state of being cut off from the presence of God. Write We are subject to physical and spiritual death on the board under “Because of the Fall.”)
To help students think about how they have experienced the consequences of the Fall that are listed on the board, encourage them to silently ponder the following questions. (Read the questions slowly and pause between them to give students enough time to think.)
What are some causes of misery in this life?
Why is death a necessary part of the plan of salvation?
How can troubles and sorrows help us learn and grow?
Explain that as we understand how the Fall affects us, we realize that we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:
“Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.
“No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon” (“The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987, 85).
After students have had sufficient time to ponder these questions, display a picture of the Savior. Share your testimony that through the Atonement, Jesus Christ redeems us from the effects of the Fall and offers redemption from our sins.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 2 Nephi 2:5–10, 21 and Alma 7:11–13. Ask the class to identify phrases in these verses that show what the Savior has done to redeem us from the effects of the Fall and from our individual sins. (In connection with verse 9, you may need to explain that the phrase “make intercession” means to plead on behalf of another person or to act in another person’s place.) To help students analyze the phrases they have identified, ask:
Which phrases in these verses indicate that through the Atonement, the Savior will redeem us from physical death?
Which phrases indicate that the Savior will redeem us from spiritual death (being cut off from the presence of God)?
Which phrases indicate that the Savior can redeem us from our sins?
Which phrases indicate that the Savior can help us through times of trial such as sickness and pain?
According to 2 Nephi 2:7–9, 21, what must we do to receive all the blessings available through the Atonement? (In connection with verse 7, you may need to explain that a person who has “a broken heart and a contrite spirit” is humble and ready to follow the will of God. Such a person feels deep sorrow for sin and sincerely desires to repent.)
After discussing these questions, have students examine the assigned verses silently, looking for phrases that are particularly meaningful to them. Ask students to divide into pairs and share the phrases they have chosen with each other. Invite them to share why these phrases are meaningful to them.
Invite one or two students to summarize for the class why the Fall is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation. Then ask them to share their feelings about how the Atonement of Jesus Christ redeems us from the Fall.