Helaman 13-16

Helaman 13-16: Introduction

The gospel of Jesus Christ‍ offers all people the opportunity to change. Throughout much of the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites’ “deeds [had] been evil”; however, “the preaching of the Nephites” (Helaman 15:4) led “the more part of them” to receive the gospel (Helaman 6:1) and experience a mighty change of heart. Here in the book of Helaman is an obvious reversal of roles—a people who had once been taught became the teachers. Many Nephites, on the other hand, had become prideful and ignored their own prophets, so the Lord sent a Lamanite prophet to warn them to repent and prepare for the coming of the Lord. Look for the Nephites’ collective and individual response to the Lord’s Lamanite messenger. Samuel’s words were important enough to the Savior that He endorsed them during His personal ministry in the Americas and testified they had all been fulfilled (see 3 Nephi 23:9–13).

Helaman 13 – Jeffrey R Holland – “The degree to which social and religious disorder had come to the Nephites is evidenced by the appearance of a Lamanite … to call the Nephite people to repentance. Openly rejected in the land of Zarahemla, Samuel responded to the voice of the Lord, climbed upon the wall surrounding the city, and ‘prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart’ (Helaman 13:4). “One of the things the Lord put into his heart was to warn the people of a ‘heavy destruction’ that awaited them if they did not change their ways (see Helaman 13:6)” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, 131).

Note: This is the only time in the Book of Mormon where a Lamanite preaches repentance to Nephites.

VS3 – “Whatsoever things should come into his heart” -The prophet Samuel did not take it upon himself to decide what to preach to the Nephites. We read in Helaman 13:3‍ that he taught “whatsoever things should come into his heart.”

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how such revelation most often comes to us: “Revelation comes as words we feel‍ more than hear.‍ Nephi told his wayward brothers, who were visited by an angel, ‘Ye were past feeling,‍ that ye could not feel‍ his words.’ [1 Nephi 17:45; emphasis added.] “The scriptures are full of such expressions as ‘The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened,’ [D&C 110:1] or ‘I will tell you in your mind and in your heart,’ [D&C 8:2] or ‘I did enlighten thy mind,’ [D&C 6:15] or ‘Speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts.’ [D&C 100:5.] There are hundreds of verses which teach of revelation” (“Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise,” Ensign,‍ Nov. 1994, 60).

VS11–16 -Spared Because of a Few Righteous People

There have been times when the wicked were spared from terrible destructions because there were righteous people living among them. The wicked people of Zarahemla had the righteous people to thank for their preservation from destruction, though, of course, they did not know it. In a few years Zarahemla lost this silent and unappreciated protection, and Samuel’s words were fulfilled (see 3 Nephi 9:3). Even Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared if only 10 righteous people had lived there (see Genesis 18:23–33).How we live really does make a difference. The personal righteousness of a few can become a great blessing to others, especially to those in our own family and local community.

VS19–22 – Riches and Spirituality

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the relationship between materialism and spirituality: “Materialism, which gives priority to material needs and objects, is obviously the opposite of spirituality. The Savior taught that we should not lay up ‘treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal’ (Matthew 6:19). We should lay up treasures in heaven: ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matthew 6:21). … “There is nothing inherently evil about money. The Good Samaritan used the same coinage to serve his fellowman that Judas used to betray the Master. It is ‘the love of money [which] is the root of all evil’ (1 Timothy 6:10; italics added). The critical difference is the degree of spirituality we exercise in viewing, evaluating, and managing the things of this world and our experiences in it. “If allowed to become an object of worship or priority, money can make us selfish and prideful, ‘puffed up in the vain things of the world’ (Alma 5:37). In contrast, if used for fulfilling our legal obligations and for paying our tithes and offerings, money can demonstrate integrity and develop unselfishness. The spiritually enlightened use of property can help prepare us for the higher law of a celestial glory” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 78; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 62–63).

VS23–29 – Following the living prophet

  1. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized the importance of following living prophets and apostles: “My dear brothers and sisters, please pay attention to those things that the leaders of the Church have taught. … Apply the teachings that will help you and your family. Let all of us, regardless of our family circumstances, bring into our homes the teachings of the prophets and the apostles to strengthen our relationships with each other and with our Father in Heaven and with the Lord Jesus Christ. I promise you in the name of the Lord that if you will listen not just with your ears but also with your heart, the Holy Ghost‍ will manifest the truth unto you of the messages delivered by [the President of the Church], his counselors, the Apostles, and other leaders of the Church. The Spirit will prompt you to know what you should do as individuals and as families in order to follow our counsel, that your testimonies might be strengthened and that you might have peace and joy” (“His Word Ye Shall Receive,” Ensign,‍ May 2001, 67).
  2. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “A message given by a General Authority at a general conference—a message prepared under the influence of the Spirit to further the work of the Lord—is not given to be enjoyed. It is given to inspire, to edify, to challenge, or to correct. It is given to be heard under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, with the intended result that the listener learns from the talk and from the Spirit what he or she should do‍ about it” (“The Dedication of a Lifetime” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, May 1, 2005], 1, org; italics in original).
  3. President Ezra Taft Benson: “How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our faithfulness” (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” [BYU devotional address, Feb. 26, 1980], 3–4, byu.edu).

Q – What have you done to respond to the counsel and warnings of the living prophet? How have you been blessed as you have followed his counsel? What could you do to improve?

VS38 – Happiness cannot be found in doing iniquity -Samuel warned the Nephites that if they persisted in seeking happiness in doing iniquity, they would be destroyed.

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that happiness comes only through righteousness: “Have you noticed how Satan works to capture the mind and emotions with flashing images, blaring music, and the stimulation of every physical sense to excess? He diligently strives to fill life with action, entertainment, and stimulation so that one cannot ponder the consequences of his tempting invitations. Think of it. Some are tempted to violate the most basic commandments of God because of seductive actions portrayed as acceptable. They are made to seem attractive, even desirable. There seems to be no serious consequence, rather apparent lasting joy and happiness. But recognize that those performances are controlled by scripts and actors. The outcome of decisions made is likewise manipulated to be whatever the producer wants. “Life is not that way. Yes, moral agency allows you to choose what you will, but you cannot control the outcome of those choices. Unlike the false creations of man, our Father in Heaven determines the consequences of your choices. Obedience will yield happiness, while violation of His commandments will not” (“How to Live Well amid Increasing Evil,” Ensign‍ or Liahona,‍ May 2004, 102).

VS38 – “Everlastingly too late”

  1. President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “It is true that the great principle of repentance is always available, but for the wicked and rebellious there are serious reservations to this statement. For instance, sin is intensely habit-forming and sometimes moves men to the tragic point of no return. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness, and without forgiveness‍ all the blessings of eternity hang in jeopardy. As the transgressor moves deeper and deeper in his sin, and the error is entrenched more deeply and the will to change is weakened, it becomes increasingly near-hopeless, and he skids down and down until either he does not want to climb back or he has lost the power to do so” (The Miracle of Forgiveness‍ [1969], 117).
  2. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. “Those who are now in serious sin will have a thought delivered to their minds that goes something like this: ‘Well, if it is that difficult to repent, I might as well go on in sin. Later, when I need forgiveness, I’ll just go through that once.’ “That is so unwise. Let me tell you why. First, people who postpone repentance may run out of time. And second, they will find more misery in more sin, not the happiness they hope for but can’t find. Remember the warning from Samuel the Lamanite [see Helaman 13:38]” (To Draw Closer to God: A Collection of Discourses‍ [1997], 65).
  3. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20)
  4. Alma 34:32-34 – 32 For behold, this alife is the time for men to bprepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of cthis life is the day for men to perform their dlabors. 33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many awitnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not bprocrastinate the day of your crepentance until the end; for after this day      of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the dnight of edarkness wherein there can be no labor performed.  34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful acrisis, that I will repent, that I will return   to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth bpossess your bodies at the  time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

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Helaman 14 – Samuel prophesies the signs of the Savior’s birth and death, as well as the blessings that will come from Christ’s sacrifice.

Samuel’s Prophecy of the Savior’s Coming

One of the most specific prophecies in scripture is the one by Samuel concerning the birth and death of Jesus Christ. The following charts outline Samuel’s teachings, including the birth and death of Christ with their recorded fulfillment and Samuel’s teachings to direct the people:

Prophecy of the Savior’s Birth Fulfillment
Helaman 14:2 Birth in five years 3 Nephi 1:13
Helaman 14:3–4 No darkness the night before the birth 3 Nephi 1:15
Helaman 14:5 New star 3 Nephi 1:21
Helaman 14:6 Many signs and wonders in heaven Helaman 16:13; 3 Nephi 2:1
Helaman 14:7 All people amazed and fall to the earth 3 Nephi 1:16–17

 

Samuel Taught Them to Prepare for the Savior (Helaman 14:8–13) Teaching
Helaman 14:8 Believe in God
Helaman 14:9, 13 Repent and be forgiven through Christ
Helaman 14:30 You are free to act for yourself

 

Prophecy of the Savior’s Death Fulfillment
Helaman 14:20, 27 Sun darkened for three days 3 Nephi 8:19–23
Helaman 14:21 Thunder, lightning, earthquakes 3 Nephi 8:6–7
Helaman 14:22 Earth broken up 3 Nephi 8:12, 17–18
Helaman 14:23 Great tempests; mountains laid low and valleys become mountains 3 Nephi 8:5–6
Helaman 14:24 Highways and cities destroyed 3 Nephi 8:8–11, 13–14
Helaman 14:25 Graves open and resurrected Saints minister to people 3 Nephi 23:9–13

VS1–13  -Samuel prophesies of signs related to the Savior’s birth

Q- What does the Savior’s birth mean to you?

VS8 – Believe on the Son of God and have everlasting, or eternal life.

VS13 – If you believe, you will repent, and then you will be forgiven through your merits.

Merits are qualities or actions that make a person deserving of a reward. To be worthy to receive a remission of our sins, we must do certain things, such as sincerely repent, be baptized and confirmed, and keep the commandments. However, we receive the gift of forgiveness‍ because of the Savior’s merits, not ours. 2 Nephi 25:23 says: “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” See Alma 22:14‍ and Alma 24:10–11.

Q -How has gaining knowledge of the Savior increased your belief in Him? How has your belief in the Savior led you to repent and strive to be more like Him?

VS11–12. Samuel’s Purpose in Teaching

Samuel listed four truths he wanted the people to know from his teachings:

Know the judgments of God

Know the conditions of repentance

Know of the coming of Jesus Christ

Know of the signs of His coming

VS11 -“That Ye Might Know the Conditions of Repentance”

1. Elder Richard G. Scott taught about the conditions of repentance:

“In The Miracle of Forgiveness, Spencer W. Kimball gives a superb guide to forgiveness through repentance. It has helped many find their way back. He identifies five essential elements of repentance:

“Sorrow for sin. Study and ponder to determine how serious the Lord defines your transgression to be. That will bring healing sorrow and remorse. It will also bring a sincere desire for change and a willingness to submit to every requirement for forgiveness. …

“Abandonment of sin. This is an unyielding, permanent resolve to not repeat the transgression. By keeping this commitment, the bitter aftertaste of that sin need not be experienced again. …

“Confession of sin. You always need to confess your sins to the Lord. If they are serious transgressions, such as immorality, they need to be confessed to a bishop or stake president. Please understand that confession is not repentance. It is an essential step but is not of itself adequate. Partial confession by mentioning lesser mistakes will not help you resolve a more serious, undisclosed transgression. …

“Restitution for sin. You must restore as far as possible all that which is stolen, damaged, or defiled. Willing restitution is concrete evidence to the Lord that you are committed to do all you can to repent.

“Obedience to all the commandments. Full obedience brings the complete power of the gospel into your life with strength to focus on the abandonment of specific sins. It includes things you might not initially consider part of repentance, such as attending meetings, paying tithing, giving service, and forgiving others. …

“I would add a sixth step: Recognition of the Savior. Of all the necessary steps to repentance, I testify that the most critically important is for you to have a conviction that forgiveness comes because of the Redeemer. It is essential to know that only on His terms can you be forgiven” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 102; or Ensign, May 1995, 76).

2. In addition to the important elements taught above by President Kimball and Elder Scott, repentance must also include change. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “We must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. … We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with Their divine assistance. Certainly not everything we struggle with is a result of our actions. Often it is the result of the actions of others or just the mortal events of life. But anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior’s Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2006, 70–71; or Ensign, May 2006, 70).

VS12-14 – To prepare for Christ’s birth, Samuel told the people to believe on His name and repent.

Q – What have we been taught about how to prepare for Christ’s second coming?

VS15–19 -Jesus Christ Redeems Us from Physical and Spiritual Death

  1. Two types of death – physical and spiritual
  2. President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) explained that both of these deaths are the result of the Fall of Adam and Eve: “Our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God. By eating the forbidden fruit, they became mortal. Consequently, they and all of their descendants became subject to both mortal and spiritual death (mortal death, the separation of body and spirit; and spiritual death, the separation of the spirit from the presence of God and death as pertaining to the things of the spirit)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, 7; or Ensign, May 1978, 6).
  3. All are saved from physical death – 1Corinthians 15:20-22: 20 But now is aChrist brisen from the dead, and become the cfirstfruits of them that slept.  21 For since by man came adeath, by man came also the bresurrection of the dead. 22 For as in aAdam all bdie, even so in cChrist shall all be made dalive.
  4. There are two spiritual deaths.
  5. The first is our separation from God by leaving his presence. All people have this first spiritual death because of the fall. Everyone will overcome the first spiritual death because all will be resurrected and brought back to God’s presence to be judged. (2 Nephi 2:9–10; 9:15, 22, 38; Alma 11:43–44)
  6. The second spiritual death occurs as a result of sin. It can only be overcome through repentance and receiving the ordinances of salvation.
  7. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described this condition: “If physical death should strike before moral wrongs have been made right, opportunity for repentance will have been forfeited. Thus, ‘the [real] sting of death is sin’ (1 Corinthians 15:56).“Even the Savior cannot save us in our sins. He will redeem us from our sins, but only upon condition of our repentance. We are responsible for our own spiritual survival or death (see Romans 8:13–14; Helaman 14:18; D&C 29:41–45)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 102; or Ensign, May 1992, 73).
  8. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified of the joy that comes through repentance: “I gratefully acknowledge and testify that the incomprehensible suffering, death, and Resurrection‍ of our Lord ‘bringeth to pass the condition of repentance’ (Helaman 14:18). The divine gift of repentance is the key to happiness here and hereafter. In the Savior’s words and in deep humility and love, I invite all to ‘repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 4:17). I know that in accepting this invitation, you will find joy both now and forever” (“The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign‍ or Liahona,)

VS14–31  – Samuel prophesies of signs related to the Savior’s death.

VS28-29 – The Lord provides signs and wonders to help people believe in Him.

Q – Has the Lord given you any signs or evidences to help you believe in Him?

Note – There is a difference between recognizing signs of God’s love and seeking signs for selfish reasons (see Jacob 7:9–14; Alma 30:43–50; D&C 46:9; 63:7–11). When prophets warn against seeking signs, they refer to people who refuse to believe unless they are shown signs, not to people who exercise faith in seeking miracles according to the Lord’s will.

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Helaman 15 – Samuel the Lamanite warned the Nephites that unless they repented, they would be destroyed. He declared that the Lord would prolong the days of the Lamanites, who had become more righteous than the Nephites.

VS3–4 – God’s Divine Love

  1. The Lord loves all people but cannot tolerate sin. Although Helaman 15:4 states that the Lord hated the Lamanites “because their deeds have been evil continually,” Samuel is an example of the many Lamanites who were taught the gospel message and gained God’s favor once they were converted.
  2. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified of the Savior’s love for all people and taught that the full blessings of the Lord’s divine love come only to those who strive to keep His commandments and repent of their sins: Divine love is infinite and universal. The Savior loves both saints and sinners. The Apostle John affirmed, ‘We love him, because he first loved us.’ [1 John 4:19.] And Nephi, upon seeing in vision the Lord’s mortal ministry, declared: ‘The world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness‍ and his long-suffering towards the children of men.’ [1 Nephi 19:9; italics added.] We know the expansiveness of the Redeemer’s love because He died that all‍ who die might live again. …“… The full flower of divine love and our greatest blessings from that love are conditional—predicated upon our obedience to eternal law” (“Divine Love,” Ensign,‍ Feb. 2003, 24–25).

Q – How is chastening a sign of love? Chasten means correct someone through punishment or suffering of some kind.

VS5 – To do something circumspectly means to act with great care.

VS7–8 – A Lasting Change of Heart

  1. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) understood the power of the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, to change our lives. He emphasized the importance of having the doctrines taught in our latter-day scripture deep in our hearts if we are to stay “firm and steadfast in the faith” (Helaman 15:8). President Benson taught, “Social, ethical, cultural, or educational converts will not survive under the heat of the day unless their taproots go down to the fulness of the gospel which the Book of Mormon contains” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 96; or Ensign, May 1975, 65).
  2. When people know the truth and believe the scriptures, they are led to faith and repentance, which brings a change of heart.

Q – How has studying the scriptures increased your faith in Jesus Christ? What can you do to help you experience a change of heart?

VS9-17 – Promises to the Lamanites because of their steadfastness and firmness after accepting the gospel

If people become unbelieving after having received the fulness of the gospel, they will receive greater condemnation. Samuel’s teachings do not excuse a new member of the Church in committing sin. Neither do they imply that we can escape accountability and condemnation by refusing to learn about the gospel. While it is true that having gospel knowledge leads to increased accountability if we do something wrong, it also leads to greater strength in our efforts to do what is right. And when we follow God’s will and help others do the same, He blesses us with peace and happiness that we cannot receive any other way.

Q – Do you have “weapons of war” that you need to bury? How can you increase your faith to the point where you “fear to sin”?

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Helaman 16 – Some Nephites believed Samuel’s teachings and were baptized by Nephi. Those who did not believe Samuel attempted to kill him. But Samuel was protected by the power of God, and he returned to his own land.

VS2–3, 6–8 – Divine Protection

  1. The protection Samuel received while he delivered his message of repentance is not unusual. The scriptures include several examples of prophets who were threatened but whose lives were miraculously guarded so they could complete their missions. Consider the following examples and recall how they were able to present the Lord’s words while under the threat of injury or death: Noah (see Moses 8:18), Abraham (see Abraham 1:5, 12, 15–19), Lehi (see 1 Nephi 1:19–20; 2:1–4), Nephi (see 1 Nephi 17:48–55), and Abinadi (see Mosiah 13:1–5). Sometimes the Lord’s servants eventually lose their life, but not until, as Abinadi declared, they have “delivered the message which the Lord sent [them] to deliver” (Mosiah 13:3).
  2. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Prophets of all dispensations have willingly put their lives on the line and, with courage, have done the will and proclaimed the word of God. …“… Let us follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and His prophets, past and present. It may not be required of us to give our lives as martyrs, as did many of the prophets. What is required is our obedience to the Lord’s commandments and our faithfulness to the covenants we have made with Him” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 49; or Ensign, May 1996, 35).

VS2–20 -Reactions to the Prophet

Some reasons why the people in Helaman 16:2–21 refused to heed the words of the prophet:

  1. Personal anger (see verse 2)
  2. People trust more in their own strength and abilities (see verse 15)
  3. Prophets just guess right occasionally with their prophecies (see verse 16)
  4. Teachings are often not reasonable (see verse 18)
  5. Teachings of the prophets are confused traditions and cannot be proved (see verse 20)
  6. Prophets trick and deceive us rather than doing real miracles (see verse 21)

President Ezra Taft Benson spoke of how the wicked react to prophets of our day: “The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly. “As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world, the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out. As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming, you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them” (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1981], 29; see also The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 133).

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency – “When we reject the counsel which comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving, all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven, whose whole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred. We have moral agency as a gift of God. Rather than the right to choose to be free of influence, it is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose” (“Finding Safety in Counsel,” Ensign,‍ May 1997, 25).

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “My experience is that once you stop putting question marks behind the prophet’s statements and put exclamation points instead, and do it,‍ the blessings just pour” (in Lane Johnson, “Russell M. Nelson: A Study in Obedience,” Ensign,‍ Aug. 1982, 24; italics in original).

Doctrine and Covenants 21:4–5 –  4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give aheed unto all his words and bcommandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all choliness before me; 5 For his aword ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

Q- What can we do to receive the prophet’s word “in all patience and faith”?

VS16:15, 18, 20 -Depending on One’s Own Strength and Wisdom

  1. Elder Dallin H. Oaks cautioned us against relying solely upon personal study and reason to determine spiritual truths: “The Book of Mormon describes [an] attitude among a people who depended solely ‘upon their own strength and upon their own wisdom’ and upon what they could ‘witness with [their] own eyes.’ ( 16:15, 20.) Upon the basis of reason, these persons rejected the prophecies, saying, ‘It is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come.’ (Vs. 18.) Applying that same attitude, a prominent professor dismissed the Book of Mormon with the assertion, ‘You don’t get books from angels. It is just that simple.’ “Those who seek gospel knowledge only by study and reason are particularly susceptible to the self-sufficiency and self-importance that sometimes characterize academic pursuits. As the apostle Paul observed in his day, ‘Knowledge puffeth up.’ He cautioned the learned: ‘Take heed lest by any means this liberty [knowledge] of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. … And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?’ (1 Cor. 8:1, 9, 11.)” (The Lord’s Way [1991], 46–47).

VS22 – Satan Spreads Contention

Why is it important to avoid contention with others? Elder Russell M. Nelson explained that the answer reaches back into premortal life:

“To understand why the Lord has commanded us not to ‘contend one with another,’ we must know the true source of contention. A Book of Mormon prophet revealed this important knowledge even before the birth of Christ. … [See Helaman 16:22.] …

“Contention existed before the earth was formed. When God’s plan for creation and mortal life on the earth was first announced, sons and daughters of God shouted for joy. The plan was dependent on man’s agency, his subsequent fall from the presence of God, and the merciful provision of a Savior to redeem mankind. Scriptures reveal that Lucifer sought vigorously to amend the plan by destroying the agency of man. …

“Satan’s selfish efforts to alter the plan of God resulted in great contention in heaven. …

“This war in heaven was not a war of bloodshed. It was a war of conflicting ideas—the beginning of contention.

“Scriptures repeatedly warn that the father of contention opposes the plan of our Heavenly Father. Satan’s method relies on the infectious canker of contention. Satan’s motive: to gain personal acclaim even over God Himself” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 85–86; or Ensign, May 1989, 68–69).

Q – What have you found to be the most helpful tool to keep peace and harmony with your family and those you associate with?

Q – What have you found helpful to keep Satan from getting hold of your heart? How is a broken heart different from a hard heart?

Book of Helaman – What has been some knowledge you have gained to increase your testimony from the book of Helaman?

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