“Lesson 44: Jacob 2:12–35,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 44,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
True to his responsibility as a priesthood leader, Jacob called his people to repentance, warning them of the sins of pride and sexual immorality. He taught about the dangers and consequences of these two prevalent sins.
Write the following on the board: money, intelligence, friends, talents, gospel knowledge. Invite students to think about blessings the Lord has given them in these areas. Encourage them to contemplate how they feel about these blessings as they study Jacob 2.
Ask a student to read Jacob 2:12–13 aloud. Invite the rest of the class to follow along, identifying what many of the Nephites were seeking.
After students respond, point out that Jacob told his people that they had obtained riches through the “hand of providence.” You may want to explain that the word providence refers to God.
Why is it important for us to remember that all our blessings come from our Heavenly Father?
According to Jacob 2:13, why were many of the Nephites lifted up in pride?
Consider using this segment from the Book of Mormon Videos as you teach this part (see the Book of Mormon Videos: Seminary Teacher Instructions).
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. Ask the class to listen for insights about what it means to be lifted up in pride:
“At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with ‘Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,’ it always seems to end with ‘Therefore, I am better than you.’ …
“… This is the sin of ‘Thank God I am more special than you.’ At its core is the desire to be admired or envied. It is the sin of self-glorification” (“Pride and the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 56).
Encourage students to silently ponder whether they have ever been guilty of the sin of thinking they are better than someone else.
Invite a student to read Jacob 2:14–16 aloud. Ask the class to look for phrases that show the consequences of pride. Ask them to report what they find.
Why do you think pride has the power to “destroy [our] souls”? (Jacob 2:16).
Invite students to read Jacob 2:17–21 silently. Ask them to look for phrases that teach how we can overcome pride and inappropriate attitudes about material wealth. You might suggest that they mark the phrases they find. After they have studied these verses, invite them to choose one phrase they have found. Give several students the opportunity to explain how the phrases they have chosen can help us overcome pride or inappropriate attitudes toward material wealth. (As part of this activity, you might also suggest that students read the following scripture passages: 1 Kings 3:11–13; Mark 10:17–27, including the Joseph Smith Translation in footnote 27a; 2 Nephi 26:31; Alma 39:14; D&C 6:7.)
What do you think it means to seek the kingdom of God? What do you think it means to obtain a hope in Christ?
How can seeking the kingdom of God and obtaining a hope in Christ influence our attitudes toward wealth and material possessions?
Ask students to imagine how they would summarize the main point of Jacob 2:12–21 for a student who is not in class today. Give two or three students an opportunity to share what they would say. Students may state various true principles. Make sure they understand that we should seek the kingdom of God above all other interests. Give students time to write in their scripture study journals or class notebooks about one way they can use the blessings and opportunities the Lord has given them to build the kingdom of God and bless others’ lives.
Write on the board the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:
“The plaguing sin of this generation is …”
Invite students to think about how President Benson might have concluded this sentence. Then read the following statement:
“The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality. This, the Prophet Joseph said, would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 277).
Invite students to read Jacob 2:22–23, 28 silently, identifying words and phrases Jacob used to describe the seriousness of sexual immorality. (You may need to explain that the word whoredoms refers to sexual sins.) Ask students to share the words and phrases they discover.
To help students understand the law of chastity, read the following statement from the For the Strength of Youth booklet. Ask students to listen for actions they should avoid.
“The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage. …
“Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 35–36).
Point out that according to Jacob 2:23–24, some people in Jacob’s day tried to excuse their sexual sins.
How do people sometimes seek to excuse sexual immorality today?
What are some things youth can do to avoid being overcome by sexual temptations? (Answers may include praying for strength, associating with good friends, choosing wholesome entertainment, and avoiding situations and places where temptation is likely.)
You may want to point out that one of the sins of the Nephites appears to have been the unauthorized practice of plural marriage. Invite students to read Jacob 2:27–30 silently. Before they read, you may need to explain that the word concubine refers to a woman who was legally married to a man but who had a lower status than a wife.
According to Jacob 2:27, what is the “word of the Lord” regarding having more than one wife? (Make sure that it is clear that from the beginning, the Lord has commanded that a man should be married to one wife. See also D&C 49:15–16.)
Explain that unauthorized plural marriage is an example of a whoredom, or sexual sin. In God’s eyes, sexual sins are very serious.
According to Jacob 2:30, when are the Lord’s people authorized to practice plural marriage? (When the Lord commands it.)
Point out that at certain times in the history of the world, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. For example, plural marriage was practiced in Old Testament times by Abraham and Sarah (see Genesis 16:1–3; D&C 132:34–35, 37) and by their grandson Jacob (see D&C 132:37), and it was practiced for a time during the early days of the restored Church, beginning with Joseph Smith (see D&C 132:32–33, 53).
To emphasize that sexual immorality has a destructive influence on families, read Jacob 2:31–35 aloud. Ask students to read along, looking for some of the consequences of immorality. Point out that although Jacob speaks only to men, the law of chastity is equally important for women.
According to Jacob, how are families affected when a family member violates the law of chastity? How does this help explain why breaking the law of chastity is such a serious sin?
Some young people rationalize that they can break the law of chastity because their actions do not hurt anyone else. How might a person’s immorality affect other people?
To conclude this discussion about the consequences of sexual sins, consider reading the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to listen for consequences of sexual immorality.
“Those intimate acts are forbidden by the Lord outside the enduring commitment of marriage because they undermine His purposes. Within the sacred covenant of marriage, such relationships are according to His plan. When experienced any other way, they are against His will. They cause serious emotional and spiritual harm. Even though participants do not realize that is happening now, they will later. Sexual immorality creates a barrier to the influence of the Holy Spirit with all its uplifting, enlightening, and empowering capabilities. It causes powerful physical and emotional stimulation. In time that creates an unquenchable appetite that drives the offender to ever more serious sin” (“Making the Right Choices,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 38).
Invite students to review the beginning of Jacob 2:28 and identify what the Lord delights in. (You may want to suggest that students mark what they find. Make sure they understand that the Lord delights in chastity.)
Based on what we have discussed today, why do you think the Lord delights in chastity?
Consider showing a picture of your family. Testify of the blessings that have come to you and your family as you have lived the Lord’s law of chastity. Emphasize that the power to have children is a wonderful gift from our Father in Heaven when it is used within the bounds He has set. Encourage students to be pure and clean so the Lord can “delight in [their] chastity” (Jacob 2:28).
To help students share their testimonies about living the law of chastity, you may want to ask the following question:
What could you say to someone who claims that the law of chastity is outdated and unnecessary? (As students respond to this question, prompt them to testify of the blessings of keeping the law of chastity, not just of the dangers of disobeying it.)
Tell students that you have confidence that they can be morally clean. Emphasize that if they have sinned against the law of chastity, they should seek help from their bishop or branch president, who can help them repent and become clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.