“August 31–September 6. Helaman 13–16: ‘Glad Tidings of Great Joy,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Book of Mormon 2020 (2020)
“August 31–September 6,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2020
Record Your Impressions
The first time Samuel the Lamanite tried to share “glad tidings” in Zarahemla (Helaman 13:7), he was rejected and cast out by the hard-hearted Nephites. You might say it was as if they had built an impenetrable wall around their hearts that prevented them from receiving Samuel’s message. Samuel understood the importance of the message he bore and demonstrated faith by following God’s commandment “that he should return again, and prophesy” (Helaman 13:3). Just as Samuel did, we all encounter walls as we “prepare the way of the Lord” (Helaman 14:9) and strive to follow His prophets. And like Samuel, we too bear witness of Jesus Christ, “who surely shall come,” and invite all to “believe on his name” (Helaman 13:6; 14:13). Not everyone will listen, and some may actively oppose us. But those who believe in this message with faith in Christ find that it truly is “glad tidings of great joy” (Helaman 16:14).
President M. Russell Ballard taught: “Through the centuries, prophets have fulfilled their duty when they have warned people of the dangers before them. The Lord’s Apostles are duty bound to watch, warn, and reach out to help those seeking answers to life’s questions” (“God Is at the Helm,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 25).
As you study and ponder Helaman 13, you could mark the many warnings that Samuel gave. For example, what did he teach about repentance? about humility and wealth? How might these warnings apply to you? What warnings have modern prophets given recently, and what do you feel you should do about those warnings?
Originally, Samuel was sent to the Nephites to share the joyful news of the Savior’s coming (see Helaman 13:7). Because they rejected him, he returned with stern warnings of the judgments of God. But those warnings consistently included a merciful invitation to repent; look for these invitations throughout Helaman 13–15 (see especially Helaman 13:6, 11; 14:15–19; 15:7–8). How do these invitations apply to you? What do you learn from these verses about repentance? When have you experienced the mercy of God that comes from repentance?
In Helaman 14, Samuel explained the reason the Lord provided signs of the Savior’s birth and death: “To the intent that ye might believe on his name” (Helaman 14:12). As you study Helaman 14, note the signs of the Savior’s birth in verses 1–8 and the signs of His death in verses 20–28. Why do you think these signs would be effective ways to signify the birth and death of Jesus Christ?
Can you think of any signs the Lord has given to help you believe in Him? For instance, prophets have predicted signs that will appear before the Savior’s Second Coming (see “Signs of the Times,” Guide to the Scriptures, scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Have any of these signs been fulfilled in our day? Other signs that lead to faith in Jesus Christ may be more personal and less dramatic. Take a moment to ponder ways you have witnessed His hand in your life.
What caution is given about signs in Helaman 16:13–23? How can you avoid the attitude of the people described in these verses?
Elder Neil L. Andersen taught: “I have found that as I prayerfully study the words of the prophet of God and carefully, with patience, spiritually align my will with his inspired teachings, my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ always increases. If we choose to set his counsel aside and determine that we know better, our faith suffers and our eternal perspective is clouded” (“The Prophet of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 26–27). How do the words and actions of the Nephites in Helaman 16 confirm what Elder Andersen taught? What personal commitments do you feel you should make regarding the Lord’s prophets and their messages?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some ideas.
What inspires your family about Samuel’s response to the Lord’s command in Helaman 13:3–4? During your family study this week, perhaps you could encourage family members to share impressions that “come into [their] heart.”
The idea that happiness can be found “in doing iniquity” is common in our day. In what ways has living the gospel brought us true happiness?
How does God’s correction show His love for us? Invite family members to humbly ask the Lord what they can do to improve.
What do we learn about conversion from the Lamanites described in these verses? How can we follow their example?
Would your family enjoy acting out the story of Samuel the Lamanite? After reading the account, maybe family members could take turns standing on a chair and reading some of Samuel’s prophecies while other family members pretend to shoot arrows or throw stones. This could help your family understand how Samuel and the Nephites may have felt. Young children might also enjoy drawing pictures of the story. How can we be like Samuel and share the gospel with others despite our fears?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.