“Lesson 122: 3 Nephi 12,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 122,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
Jesus Christ taught the Nephites how to receive the blessings of His gospel and instructed them to influence others for good. He declared that He had fulfilled the law of Moses, and He gave the people a higher law to prepare them to become like Him and our Father in Heaven.
Before class, write the following questions on the board:
At the beginning of the lesson, invite students to ponder these questions. Ask them to consider the questions throughout the lesson.
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 12:48 aloud. Point out that this is a scripture mastery passage. You might want to suggest that students mark this passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.
Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about the commandment to be perfect:
“We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous [difficult] and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments” (“Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 88).
Why do you think perfection can come “only through the Lord”?
Review the three questions at the beginning of the lesson. Ask students if they might change their answers to those questions after reading 3 Nephi 12:48 and hearing Elder Nelson’s explanation. Help students understand that Heavenly Father does not expect us to become perfect during our mortal lives but that as we diligently strive to keep the commandments and as we rely upon the Atonement, we can ultimately be perfected.
Write the word blessed on the board. Invite students to read 3 Nephi 12:1–12 silently, looking for attributes the Savior urges us to develop and blessings He promises as a result.
What blessings have come into your life as a result of living the teachings of Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi 12:1–12?
Point out how often the word blessed appears in these verses. Share your testimony of how you have been blessed as you have lived according to the Savior’s teachings.
Ask students to write in notebooks or scripture study journals about a blessing they desire that is described in 3 Nephi 12:1–12. Have them write down the attribute they must develop to receive that blessing. Then invite them to write what they would like to do to develop that attribute. Invite a few students to share what they have written and why.
Display a container of salt. Ask the class to identify the benefits of salt. As students answer, be sure it is clear that salt seasons food and that it is a preservative used to prevent meat from spoiling. You may also want to explain that under the law of Moses, priests were commanded to offer salt with their sacrificial offerings (see Leviticus 2:13). Thus, salt was a symbol of the covenant between the Lord and His people.
Invite students to read 3 Nephi 12:13 silently and identify whom the Savior compared to salt. As students respond, explain that the Savior was referring not only to the multitude at the temple that day but to all those who are baptized into His Church and live His gospel.
In what ways can we, as followers of Jesus Christ, be like salt? (We are to help preserve or save people and to improve the world by influencing others for good.)
What do you think it means for salt to lose its savor?
As students discuss this question, you may want to read the following statement by Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy:
“Salt will not lose its savor with age. Savor is lost through mixture and contamination. … Flavor and quality flee a man when he contaminates his mind with unclean thoughts, desecrates his mouth by speaking less than the truth, and misapplies his strength in performing evil acts” (“Salt of the Earth: Savor of Men and Saviors of Men,” Ensign, May 1980, 42).
Why must we be pure in order to influence others for good?
Explain that the Savior used another symbol to teach how covenant members of His Church should influence others for good. Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 12:14–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior used light to teach about the role of His covenant people in the world. Before the student reads, you may want to explain that a bushel is a basket.
How might Church members be a light to others? What do you think it means to let our light shine? (As students answer this question, help them see how their examples of righteous living can help other people.)
In what ways might some Church members cover their light?
According to 3 Nephi 12:16, why does the Savior want us to let our light shine? (As we set a righteous example, we can help others glorify Heavenly Father. You may want to suggest that students write this principle in their own words in their scriptures.)
Whose righteous example has helped you to draw nearer to Heavenly Father and strengthened your desire to live the gospel?
Invite students to ponder the example they set for those around them. Encourage them to think of how they can better help others deepen their love for Heavenly Father and their desire to follow Him.
Explain that the Savior continued to teach the Nephites how to come unto Him and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 12:19–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a word that appears multiple times in these verses.
What important word does the Savior use three times as part of this invitation to come to Him? (Commandments.)
Explain that 3 Nephi 12:21–47 contains some specific commandments the Savior gave that will help us come to Him and become more like Him. When He taught these commandments to the Nephites, He referred to precepts that were part of the law of Moses and then taught a higher law. He referred to the traditional understanding of the law of Moses when He used phrases such as “it hath been said by them of old time” and “it is written.” When He said “but I say unto you,” He introduced the way He desires us to keep that commandment today.
To help students study these verses, copy the following chart on the board. Divide the class into four groups. Assign each group one row in the chart, and invite them to read the accompanying verses and answer the questions.
What was the traditional understanding in the law of Moses?
How did the Savior counsel us to live?
What might a young man or woman do to apply the Savior’s teaching?
For the benefit of students reading 3 Nephi 12:22, you may want to explain that Raca is a derogatory or mocking term that expresses contempt or derision (see Matthew 5:22, footnote d). You may also want to explain that Elder David E. Sorensen of the Seventy taught that the phrase “agree with thine adversary quickly” (3 Nephi 12:25) means to “resolve our differences early on, lest the passions of the moment escalate into physical or emotional cruelty, and we fall captive to our anger” (“Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2003, 11).
When students have finished studying their assigned verses, invite each group to report their answers. You may want to have them write their answers in the chart on the board.
What seemed to change between the law of Moses and the higher law taught by Jesus Christ?
You may want to point out that the higher law focuses more on our desires, thoughts, and motivations than on our outward actions.
As we strive to be perfected, why is it so important to focus on our desires, thoughts, and motivations?
Invite students to choose one of the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi 12 and write a paragraph about how they will make progress in that area.
Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 12:19–20 aloud. Help students understand that by repenting and diligently trying to keep the commandments the Savior taught, we can become perfected through the Atonement and “enter into the kingdom of heaven” (3 Nephi 12:20).
After students have completed these activities, invite them to share what was most meaningful to them. Summarize this chapter by writing the following principle on the board: As we come unto Christ and keep His commandments, we can become more like Him and our Father in Heaven, who are perfect. Remind students that in order to obtain any degree of perfection, we must rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Invite students to write about one or two ways they would like to apply the teachings of the Savior that they learned today. Conclude by sharing your testimony of the principle you wrote on the board.