Whosoever Looketh on a Woman, to Lust after Her, Hath Committed Adultery Already in His Heart

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses 27 and 30 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that they whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)

Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.” (3 Nephi 12:27-30)

Questions:

-Why did Christ not mention dismemberment to the descendants of Lehi when teaching of the evils of adultery (as he did when teaching the Jews in the Old World)?

This Is My Doctrine

Jesus Christ declares the core of His doctrine:

“…This is my doctrine, and it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me; and I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and I bear record that the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me. And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. Verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.” (3 Nephi 11:32-36)

“And again, I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things. And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them. Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.” (3 Nephi 11:37-41)

Questions:

-What is the significance of Christ using the word “verily” twice to emphasize the truth of what He was teaching?

One Man Shall Not Think Himself Above Another

After the Nephite people request a king, the man who the majority want to be their king (Alma) refuses. He explains why based on a specific commandment received from the Lord.

“Thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another or one man shall not think himself above another.” (Mosiah 23:7)

Questions:

-What causes people to think they are better than others?

-How tempting is it for a person to seek confirmation that he or she is better than others?

-Does any good come from thoughts and actions based on a sense of superiority (or from establishing positions in social structure that signal superiority)?

-Since we are only saved by the grace of God through Christ’s loving Atonement, what position do we put ourselves in when we aren’t careful to extend the same kind of love to others (in our thoughts and actions) as Christ has extended to us?

God Commandeth That There Shall Be No Priestcrafts

Nephi provides a key to distinguishing between those who are true servants in God’s kingdom and those who are not.

“He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (2 Nephi:26:29-30)

Questions:

-How powerful is the allure of self-aggrandizement and material security?

-Does the pure love of God (which Nephi refers to as charity in the passage above) need to be nurtured and sought after if one is to serve in a way that is pleasing to God?

Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:

“Let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They ‘set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion’ (2 Ne. 26:29)” (M. Russell Ballard, “Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 63).

God Commandeth That There Shall Be No Priestcrafts

Nephi provides a key to distinguishing between those who are true servants in God’s kingdom and those who are not.

“He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” (2 Nephi:26:29-30)

Questions:

-How powerful is the allure of self-aggrandizement and material security?

-Does the pure love of God (which Nephi refers to as charity in the passage above) need to be nurtured and sought after if one is to serve in a way that is pleasing to God?

Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:

“Let us beware of false prophets and false teachers, both men and women, who are self-appointed declarers of the doctrines of the Church and who seek to spread their false gospel and attract followers by sponsoring symposia, books, and journals whose contents challenge fundamental doctrines of the Church. Beware of those who speak and publish in opposition to God’s true prophets and who actively proselyte others with reckless disregard for the eternal well-being of those whom they seduce. Like Nehor and Korihor in the Book of Mormon, they rely on sophistry to deceive and entice others to their views. They ‘set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion’ (2 Ne. 26:29)” (M. Russell Ballard, “Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 63).