The Resurrection of Christ Redeemeth Mankind from the Fall of Adam

Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, teaches important truths about Christ’s Resurrection:

  • Christ’s death was a necessary part His working out salvation for mankind.
  • The salvation Christ extends is not only spiritual. It also overcomes the death that came into the world through Adam and Eve’s fall providing physical salvation as well (preparing the way for the Resurrection of all who ever lived).
  • The Resurrection ensured that no person will be held responsible for the “original sin” of Adam and Eve and, thereby, laid the groundwork for repentance to be meaningful—each individual only being responsible for his or her own sins that are not repented of.
  • There is an important link between physical resurrection and being brought back into the presence of the Lord for the Final Judgment.

“…[Christ] surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord. Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual. But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord. Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.” (Helaman 14:15-18)

Questions:

-How did Christ’s Resurrection overcome the first death or “original sin” for all?

-Why will all be physically resurrected before they are brought to the Last Judgment?

If Ye Believe on His Name Ye Will Repent of All Your Sins

Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, teaches that true belief in Jesus Christ leads one to change his or her life comprehensively. All sins are unacceptable for the person who does not take for granted the escape Christ has prepared. Those who truly believe in the power of Christ’s Atonement do not take the opportunity to repent lightly.

“…Whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life…And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.” (Helaman 14:8,13)

Questions:

-How does James 2:17 relate to the above verses?

Ye Have Sought for Happiness in Doing Iniquity Which Is Contrary to God’s Righteousness

The Lamanite prophet, Samuel, teaches the Nephites that seeking for happiness outside of the commandments of God is fruitless.

“…Ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.” (Helaman 13:38)

Questions:

-Can temporary happiness be found separate from God’s will and influence?

-Will the happiness mentioned in the above question be inevitably interrupted?

-Will the happiness that comes from aligning oneself with God’s will and influence ever be interrupted?

Cursed Be They Who Hide Not Their Treasures unto Me

Treasures secured for any other reason than to serve God are cursed (and a curse upon those who secure the treasure without deference to God).

“…I will, saith the Lord, that they hide up their treasures unto me; and cursed be they who hide not their treasures unto me; for none hideth up their treasures unto me save it be the righteous; and he that hideth not up his treasures unto me, cursed is he, and also the treasure…” (Helaman 13:19)

Questions:

-Is the following statement true? Part of the reason why those who, outside the intent to serve God, amass great wealth are cursed is because their tainted wealth also affects others negatively (often on a large scale due to the wide-ranging influence of their ungodly power and riches).

-Do the sophisticated, atheistic, and agnostic wealthy (i.e. those who have no deference to God) tend to see themselves as filling in for a God that they see as missing or non-existent?

-Is playing God with the lives of others, where the will of a few overrides the will and agency of the many, ever end up being a good thing?

-What does it look like when a righteous person amasses wealth to serve God?

-How likely is the above-mentioned righteous person to be a well-known influence peddler and high-profile benefactor rather than an anonymous or low-profile benefactor?    

Blessed Are They Who Will Repent and Turn unto Me

Repentance, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, makes or breaks the soul of one who understands who Christ is and what He has done to prepare the way for each individual person spiritually and eternally.

“…Thus saith the Lord, blessed are they who will repent and turn unto me, but wo unto him that repenteth not.” (Helaman 13:11)  

Questions:

-Will everyone who ever lived have a chance to receive or reject Christ’s Atonement before the Last Judgment?

They That Have Done Good Shall Have Everlasting Life and They That Have Done Evil Shall Have Everlasting Damnation

Mormon reinforces that there are real and eternal consequences when it comes to one’s thoughts, intents and actions.

“…In the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.” (Helaman 12:25-26)

Questions:

-If the Lord has revealed that there are three degrees of glory (and outer darkness) and that all souls will inhabit one of these degrees for all eternity after the Judgment: Why does Mormon use such stark contrast in describing only those who choose evil and those who choose good?

-Is he intentionally drawing attention to the worst and the best case in terms of the different degrees (i.e. focusing on outer darkness and the Celestial Kingdom)?  

At the Power of God’s Voice Do the Foundations Rock Even to the Very Center

Mormon teaches how nature gives way in obedience to God’s voice and that His voice will irrevocably remove the wicked from His presence.

“…At [God’s] voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley. Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake; Yea, by the power of his voice do the foundations rock, even to the very center. Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved. Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done; And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep—be thou dried up—it is done. Behold, if he say unto this mountain—Be thou raised up, and come over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up—behold it is done. And behold, if a man hide up a treasure in the earth, and the Lord shall say—Let it be accursed, because of the iniquity of him who hath hid it up—behold, it shall be accursed. And if the Lord shall say—Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever—behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever. (Helaman 12:9-19)

And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man—Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed forever—it shall be done. And if the Lord shall say—Because of thine iniquities thou shalt be cut off from my presence—he will cause that it shall be so. And wo unto him to whom he shall say this, for it shall be unto him that will do iniquity, and he cannot be saved; therefore, for this cause, that men might be saved, hath repentance been declared. Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved. (Helaman 12:20-23)

Questions:

-How did God’s voice impact the formation of the DNA that exists in, and guides the form of, all living things?

-Did the foundations of biology rock to the very center at the sound of God’s voice?

They Will Not That the Lord Should Be Their Guide

While abridging Nephite history, and giving yet another account of the Nephites falling into a state of wickedness, Mormon pauses to lament the general spiritual fecklessness of the Nephites (and humanity more broadly).   

“O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!” (Helaman 12:4-5)

“Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.” (Helaman 12:6-8)

Questions:

-Do you ever feel spiritually unstable? Are you ever taken aback by dark corners in your soul that have somehow formed and festered?

-Why is it often difficult to let God guide (rather than letting evil influences creep in and take control)?

-Are repentance, obedience to God’s commandments, and gratitude powerful spiritual stabilizers?

At the Very Time When God Doth Prosper His People They Do Harden Their Hearts and Do Forget Him

While recording the history of the Nephite people on the Gold Plates, Mormon pauses to describe the tragic tendency for people to take God for granted, forget Him, and discount His power at the very time of their greatest prosperity under his care.

“…We can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him. Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.” (Helaman 12:1-3)

Questions:

-Why does prosperity tempt people to turn away from God?

-Is it possible to avoid this temptation? How does one do so?

-How important is it to remember God?

Looking to the Son of God with Faith and a Contrite Spirit Prepares One for Eternal Life

The raising of the brass serpent by Moses portended the raising of Christ upon the cross and His glorious resurrection. Having risen from the grave, He prepared the way for us all

“…As [Moses] lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, so shall [the Messiah] be lifted up who should come. And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.” (Helaman 8:15)

Questions:

-Is it possible to “look” to Christ without faith and without a contrite spirit?

-Do different Christian faiths (and their individual congregations) influence their adherents, either negatively or positively, toward having a contrite spirit and having faith when looking to Christ?