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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 35

Book of Mormon Lesson #35: “Repent and Return Unto the Lord”
Helaman 13-16

1. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Helaman 13:3 – whatsoever things should come into his heart] This phrase is an appropriate description of the spirit of revelation. The Lord told Oliver Cowdery that he would be told things in his mind and in his heart (D&C 8:2), while Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were directed by the Lord to lift up their voices and “speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts.” With this direction came the promise that they would not be confounded. Such was the nature of the revelation Joseph Smith had that led him to the Sacred Grove. Describing the feelings that he experienced when he read James 1:5, he said “Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again.” (JS-H 1:12). Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, pp. 399-400.

2. Ezra Taft Benson: [Helaman 13:11] Repentance means more than simply a reformation of behavior. Many men and women in the world demonstrate great willpower and self-discipline in overcoming bad habits and the weaknesses of the flesh. Yet at the same time they give no thought to the Master, sometimes even openly rejecting Him. Such changes of behavior, even in a positive direction, do not constitute true repentance. … True repentance is based on and flows from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other way. True repentance involves a change of heart and not just a change of behavior. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 71.

3. Wilford Woodruff: [Helaman 13:8 – withdrawal of the Holy Ghost] Joseph Smith visited me a great deal after his death, and taught me many important principles. … Among other things, he told me to get the Spirit of God; that all of us needed it. … He said, “I want you to teach the people to get the Spirit of God. You cannot build up the Kingdom of God without that.” … But how is it with the Holy Ghost? The Holy Ghost does not leave me if I do my duty. It does not leave any man who does his duty. Deseret News, 7 Nov. 1896.

4. LeGrand Richards: The gift of the Holy Ghost is as important to man as sunshine and water are to the plants. You take them away, and the plants would die. You take the Holy Ghost out of this Church, and this Church would not be any different than any other church. General Conference, October 1979.

5. Dallin H. Oaks: A newly baptized member told me what she felt when she received that gift [of the Holy Ghost]. … She recalled, “I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity than I had ever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me in the past but now had come to stay.” … A member once asked me why he felt so good about the talks and music in a sacrament meeting, while a guest he had invited that day apparently experienced no such feeling. This is but one illustration of the contrast between one who has the gift of the Holy Ghost and is in tune with his promptings and one who has not and is not. … A family having daily prayers and seeking to keep the commandments of God and honor his name and speak lovingly to one another will have a spiritual feeling in their home that will be discernable to all who enter it. I know this, because I have felt the presence or absence of that feeling in many LDS homes. It is important to remember that the illumination and revelation that come to an individual as a result of the gift of the Holy Ghost do not come suddenly or without seeking. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that the Holy Ghost “comes a little at a time as you merit it. And as your life is in harmony, you gradually receive the Holy Ghost in a great measure”. The blessings available through the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon worthiness. General Conference, October 1996.

6. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Helaman 13:27-28] False prophets say what the people want to hear. Their counsel is colored by their constituency, their warnings watered down by the demands of the audience. Paul warned of a day when wicked people would “not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves” the kind of teachers and preachers and prophets who tickle the ears, false witnesses who crave acceptance and popularity more than righteousness. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 405.

7. Boyd K. Packer: [Helaman 13:37 – encircled about by angels of the devil] Satan, with his angels, will try to capture your thoughts and control what you do. If he can, he will corrupt anything that is good. To him the Internet is just that – a net to ensnare you into a wicked addiction with pornography. Unhappiness will follow. Gen. Conference, Oct. 2003.

8. David O. McKay: Your weakest point will be the point at which the devil tries to tempt you. … Resist him and you will gain in strength. He will tempt you in another point. Resist him and he becomes weaker and you become stronger, until you can say, no matter what your surroundings may be, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Luke 4:8). … You are in the midst of temptation, but you, as Christ on the Mount of Temptation, can rise above it. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, pp. 84-86.

9. Bruce R. McConkie: [Helaman 14:8 – believe on the Son of God] Belief brings salvation and belief brings damnation. Men are saved or damned, depending upon what they believe. If they believe in Christ and his saving truths, they are heirs of salvation. If they believe in a false system of salvation, they will be damned. It is one thing to worship the living Lord and quite another to worship dead deities that have been graven by art and man’s device. New Witness, p. 23.

10. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Helaman 14:11-12] Samuel here sets forth at least four dimensions to his prophetic call, four reasons why he has been sent to prophesy to the Nephites: (1) that the wicked Nephites might know of the judgments of God which should surely come upon the unrepentant; (2) that the Nephites might know the “conditions of repentance”; (3) that Samuel might testify of the divine sonship of Jesus Christ; and (4) that the Nephites might know of the signs of the Lord’s coming to the earth. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 411.

11. David O. McKay: I ask tonight that every father in the Church see to it that in all sincerity he impress his children with the reality of the existence of God and with the reality that God will guide and protect his children. You carry that responsibility. … That the prayer night and morning should be offered up in sincerity; that the children daily would realize that we desire in our home the presence of God. If we can invite the Savior there, we may know that the angels will be not only willing but eager to protect our boys and girls. … Parents, if you do not do anything else, kneel down in the morning with your children. I know your mornings are usually busy, … but have some time when you can kneel and invite God into your home. Prayer is a potent force. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, pp. 274-76.

12. Harold B. Lee: Now the only safety we have as members of this Church is to do exactly what the Lord said. … We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet. … There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if it came from the mouth of the Lord himself, … “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory” (D&C 21:6). General Conference, April 1970.

Next week: 3 Nephi 1-7 “On the Morrow Come I Into the World”

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