Book of Mormon Lesson #36: “On the Morrow Come I Into the World”
3 Nephi 1-7
1. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [3 Ne. 1:13 – On the morrow come I into the world] Does the spirit enter the body at the time of conception; at the time of quickening, when the mother first feels signs of life within her; or at the time of physical birth? Can it possibly come and go before the time of birth? We do not know. Such has not been made known to us in the latter days. We do know, however, that the words of God are often spoken through his servants by divine investiture of authority. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 6.
2. David J. Ridges: Many believed, based on the signs given, and were baptized, bringing peace to the land. However, Mormon has an immediate warning for us in verse 22, next, namely, that even at a point when strong testimony has been given, as to the truthfulness of the gospel, Satan cunningly plants seeds which can lead to future doubts and apostasy, perhaps far down the road. Certainly one lesson for us in this is that we can’t merely ride along through life basing our commitment to God on past testimony alone. We must keep intentionally living faithfully, in order that on-going testimony is borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon Made Easier, part 3, p. 92.
3. George Albert Smith: A man, traveling through the country, came to a large city, very rich and splendid; he looked at it and said to his guide, “This must be a very righteous people, for I can only see but one little devil in this great city.” The guide replied, “You do not understand, sir; this city is so perfectly given up to wickedness, corruption, degradation and abomination of every kind that it only requires one devil to keep them all in subjection.” Traveling a little further, he came to a rugged path and saw an old man trying to get up the hill side, surrounded by seven great, big, coarse looking devils. “Why,” says the traveler, “this must be a tremendously wicked old man, only see how many devils there are around him!” “This,” replied the guide, “is the only righteous man in the country, and there are seven of the biggest devils trying to turn him out of his path and they all cannot do it.” Deseret News, 11 November 1857.
4. Theodore M. Burton: [3 Ne. 1:24 – contention in preaching] Whenever you get red in the face, whenever you raise your voice, whenever you get “hot under the collar,” or angry, rebellious, or negative in spirit, then know that the Spirit of God is leaving you and the spirit of Satan is beginning to take over. At times we may feel justified in arguing or fighting for truth by contentious words and actions. Do not be deceived. Satan would rather have you contend for evil if he could, but he rejoices when we contend with one another even when we think we are doing it in the cause of righteousness. He knows and recognizes the self-destructive nature of contention under any guise. General Conference, Oct. 1974.
5. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [3 Ne. 2:2 – Satan did get possession of the hearts of the people again] While there is no particular reason to question Satan’s powers of originality, it would seem that he scarcely needs creative or novel approaches as long as we do not learn from the lessons of the past, as long as we continue to stumble over the same things that ensnared the ancients. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 11.
6. H. Verlan Andersen: Giddianhi accuses the Nephites of robbing his people of “their rights and government” (3 Ne. 3:10). This is the identical appeal which Communists make to the laboring class today. They appeal to their selfishness and tell them they are exploited and robbed under the capitalistic system and are denied their rights of government. The Communists propose the establishment of what they call the “dictatorship of proletariat” whereunder the workers are supposed to own all the property and run the government. One can hardly imagine a greater deception than this but it is the appeal made nonetheless. Giddianhi also speaks of the “everlasting hatred” (v. 4) of his people for the Nephites. V.I. Lenin, first Communist dictator in Russia and one of the chief theoreticians of Communism had this to say: “We must hate. Hatred is the basis of Communism. Children must be taught to hate their parents if they are not Communists.” Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, p. 61.
7. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: The secret society of Gadianton is directed by malevolent men, persons whose craving for power and profit is so great that they are unable to make the kind of reasoned judgments and the kind of far-reaching preparations which would stand them in good stead in the future. Despite their terrible appearance, the Gadianton warriors were no match for Jehovah-sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts. He who promises to fight the battles of the faithful, of those who hearken to his word and go at his call, even he defeated the secret society in this episode. Yes, the Nephites were properly prepared for war, but God was their general and he it was who brought the victory. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 19.
8. Gordon B. Hinckley: [3 Ne. 4 – preparation and food storage] Life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary. When I was a young man, my father counseled me to build a modest home, sufficient for the needs of my family, and make it beautiful and attractive and pleasant and secure. He counseled me to pay off the mortgage as quickly as I could, so that, come what may, there would be a roof over the heads of my wife and children. I was reared on that kind of doctrine. I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day. … As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. General Conference, Oct. 2001.
9. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [3 Ne. 5:13 – I am a disciple of Jesus Christ] The word disciple is closely associated with the word discipline, and it might be said that a disciple is a disciplined believer or adherent. The word literally means “a learner” and denotes one who follows the teachings of another. A disciple, however, is not merely a pupil but is an imitator of the teacher. In the Jewish culture of Jesus day, a disciple of a rabbi would leave his home and move in with his teacher. He served the teacher in the most servile ways, treating him as an absolute authority. He was expected not only to learn all that his rabbi knew but also to become like him in character and piety. In turn, the rabbi provided food and lodging and saw his own distinctive interpretations transmitted through his disciples to future generations. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 23.
10. Gordon B. Hinckley: [3 Ne. 6 – a class society] My brethren, what a wonderful thing is the priesthood of God. There is nothing to compare with it. … It is classless. Every worthy man, regardless of nationality, ethnic background, or any other factor, is eligible to receive the priesthood. His obedience to the commandments of God becomes the determining factor. Its bestowal is based only on worthiness before the Lord. … Such is the wonder of this priesthood. Wealth is not a factor. Education is not a factor. The honors of men are not a factor. The controlling factor is acceptability unto the Lord. General Conference, April 2000.
11. M. Russell Ballard: [3 Ne. 6:18 – willful rebellion] There is a big difference between an honest mistake made in a moment of spiritual weakness and a willful decision to disobey persistently the commandments of God. Those who deliberately choose to violate God’s commandments or ignore the standards of the Church, even when promising themselves and others that someday they will be strong enough to repent, are stepping onto a dangerously slippery slope upon which many have lost their spiritual footing. General Conference, Oct. 1977.
12. Sydney S. Reynolds: [3 Ne. 6:20 – men inspired from heaven] Sister Gayle Clegg of the Primary general presidency and her husband lived for a number of years in Brazil. Recently she had a Primary assignment in Japan. As she came into the chapel on Sunday, she noticed among the Japanese Saints a Brazilian family. "They just looked Brazilian," she said. She only had a minute to greet them and found the mother and children very enthusiastic but noticed that the father was rather quiet. "I'll have a chance to talk with them after the meeting," she thought as she was quickly ushered to the stand. She delivered her message in English, which was translated into Japanese, and then she felt impressed to bear her testimony in Portuguese as well. She hesitated as there were no translators for Portuguese, and 98 percent of the people would not understand what she said. After the meeting the Brazilian father came up to her and said, "Sister, the customs are so different here, and I have been lonely. It is difficult to come to church and not understand anything. Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off just reading my scriptures at home. I told my wife, 'I'll give it one more chance,' and I came today for what I thought would be the last time. When you bore your testimony in Portuguese, the Spirit touched my heart, and I knew that this was where I belonged. God knows I am here, and He will help me." And he joined the others in putting away the chairs. Was it a coincidence that the only Portuguese-speaking member of the Primary presidency was sent to Japan instead of to Portugal? Or was it because the Lord knew someone there needed what only she could give—and she had the courage to follow a prompting of the Spirit? One of the great blessings of having a calling in the Church is that the Lord, through His Spirit, will inspire us to help those we are called to serve. General Conference, Oct. 2003.
13. L. Tom Perry: The word inspiration is sometimes invested with a [significance] almost identical with that of revelation. … To inspire is literally to animate with the spirit. … Divine inspiration may be regarded as a lower or less directly intensive operation of spiritual influence upon a man than is … revelation. The difference therefore is rather one of degree than of kind. General Conference, Oct. 2003.
14. Joseph Smith: [3 Ne. 7:6 – government destroyed] Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction. Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, chap. 15.
Next week: 3 Nephi 8-11 “Whosoever Will Come, Him Will I Receive”