Christ (shortly after his crucifixion and resurrection) visited a group of Lehi’s descendants living in the Americas. Below He succinctly reviews what he had taught them up to that point.
“…I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:19-20)
-How does one make the choice to believe in Jesus Christ?
-Is it possible to truly repent of one’s sins without having a broken heart and a contrite spirit?
-How does one come unto Christ as commanded?
Alma teaches those who have entered the baptismal covenant that they should be submissive to God and kind to their fellow mortals. He also instructs them to ask for God’s help when in need and that the key to abounding in good works is faith, hope, and charity.
“…Be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.” (Alma 7:23-24)
-Is it possible to be humble, submissive, gentle, easy to be entreated, temperate, and full of patience and long-suffering if the sin of pride has not been eradicated from one’s soul?
-Why will someone who has faith (in Christ), hope (in Christ) and charity (like Christ) abound in good works?
The Book of Mormon record reemphasizes the importance of the Ten Commandments given by God to the Israelite people. The Nephite prophets who taught their people and recorded scripture drew on a record called the Brass Plates (which were brought from Jerusalem) that contained most of writings of the prophets found in the Old Testament up to 600 B.C., including the book of Exodus containing the Ten Commandments.
The tenth of the Ten Commandments warns against the sin of always wanting more than one has (and envying those who seem to have more).
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s. (Mosiah 13:24 – Compare Exodus 20:17)
-Is runaway materialism more or less inevitable when this commandment is not kept?
-What does the Ten Commandments being repeated in the Book of Mormon say about God’s view of their importance (and their timeless application for His children as a baseline for righteous living)?
The fifth of the Ten Commandments addresses the respect God expects children to give to their parents.
“Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Mosiah 13:20 — Compare with Exodus 20:12)
-How does this commandment apply to children who have wicked (or in secular parlance, highly unethical) parents?
The ninth of the Ten Commandments focuses on being truthful with, and about, others.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” (Mosiah 13:23 – Compare Exodus 20:16)
-How does one’s dishonesty negatively affect those around him or her?
-What would lead someone to bear a false witness against another?
-How often do people say negative things about others that aren’t true (or that distort the truth)?
The seventh of the Ten Commandments relates to fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman.
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Mosiah 13:22 – Compare Exodus 20:14)
-Why did God make fidelity in marriage a foundational commandment?
-How much pain does infidelity cause to those who are betrayed (adults and children)?
-How serious of a sin is adultery? (see Alma 39:3-5)
The sixth of the Ten Commandments…
Thou shalt not kill. (Mosiah 13:21 – Compare Exodus 20:13)
-If the word “murder” is substituted for the word “kill,” is the meaning of this commandment clearer? Or, does the Lord wish to keep the meaning broader than murder?
The fourth of the Ten Commandments relates to the Lord’s will that His people treat one day out of seven as holy.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; But the seventh day, the sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Mosiah 13:16-19 – Compare with Exodus 20:8-11)
-How likely is it that a person will draw near to God, if he or she doesn’t stop to worship Him on a regular basis.
-Are there actually two commandments found in these verses? One to labor for six days and another to rest and keep the seventh day holy?
–What happens to a nation that does not keep the Sabbath Day holy?
Shortly before passing away, Lehi took the time to speak to the children of his two (rebellious) older sons. He teaches them that obedience to God’s counsel and direction is the only way toward lasting physical and spiritual prosperity.
“…The Lord God has said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” (2 Nephi 4:4)
-Even though the power of God’s grace cannot be overstated in its power to lift, heal, save, and exalt…Is it possible to undermine grace in our lives if we do not strive to live according to this foundational principle related to the commandments God has established?
-No matter how much God loves His children, would He ever make compromises in upholding the laws and consequences He has established for mortality (and we agreed to in the pre-mortal realm)?
Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:
“When we choose to do the will of our Heavenly Father, our agency is preserved, our opportunities increase, and we progress. … The opposite is also true: when we don’t keep the commandments or follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, our opportunities are reduced; our abilities to act and progress are diminished. … Obedience to the commandments ultimately protects our agency” (Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 25–26).
Lehi, in counseling his sons to choose Christ, also teaches about the most important choices all must make.
“…I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; and not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.” (2 Nephi 2:28-29)
-How can a person look to Jesus Christ in his or her day to day life?
-What does it mean to be faithful to His words?
-How is keeping God’s commandments a path to greater freedom away from captivity?
-What is the will of the Holy Spirit? Can one’s will become one with the Holy Spirit’s will?