Helaman 9 – At the end of chapter 8, Nephi prophesies that the chief judge has been murdered by his brother who wanted the judgment seat. In Chapter 9, five men go to verify this information. The true murderer is identified. Some identify Nephi as a prophet, or even a God.
Day One of the Investigation:
- When five people investigated Nephi’s claims, what did they find? What did they believe and fear? (See Helaman 9:1–5.)
- Who did the people suspect were the murderers? (See Helaman 9:7–9.)
Day Two of the Investigation:
- Who was set free? (See Helaman 9:10–13, 18.)
- Who was accused? (See Helaman 9:16–17, 19.)
- What additional information did Nephi share? What would Seantum say after confessing his guilt? (See Helaman 9:25–36.)
- Who was the murderer? (See Helaman 9:37–38.)
VS36–41. The Omniscience of God
1. Upon seeing Nephi’s knowledge of secret and hidden things, there were those who wanted to proclaim him to be God. This is understandable given the universal acknowledgment of certain characteristics of God. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught that omniscience is one of the characteristics of God:
“The Lord in a revelation for John Whitmer spoke of that which was in the latter’s heart, which only the Lord and John Whitmer knew, witnessing that God was omniscient concerning the needs of that individual. (D&C 15:3.)
“Paul said to the saints at Corinth, ‘And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.’ (1 Corinthians 3:20.) In the period just before the flood God saw not only the wickedness of man in the earth, but he saw also ‘every imagination of the thoughts’ of men’s hearts. (Genesis 6:5.) He knows ‘the things that come into your mind.’ (Ezekiel 11:5.) Jesus himself said before we pray, ‘Your father knoweth what things ye have need of.’ (Matthew 6:8.) Indeed, as Nephi said, ‘God … knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows.’ (2 Nephi 9:20.)
“Hence omniscience is one of the characteristics of the living God. As we read in Helaman 9:41, ‘Except he was a God he could not know of all things.’ ‘And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I have told you things which no man knoweth have you not received a witness?’ (D&C 6:24.)” (Things As They Really Are , 22).
2. The words of prophets will be fulfilled. Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–38:
37 aSearch these bcommandments, for they are true and cfaithful, and the prophecies and dpromises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. 38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my aword shall not pass away, but shall all be bfulfilled,whether by mine own cvoice or by the dvoice of my eservants, it is the fsame.
Q – What experiences have strengthened your testimony that we have true prophets on the earth today?
Helaman 10-12: Being completely trusted by God is a great honor. The Lectures on Faith teach that awareness of God’s approval is necessary for one’s faith: “An actual knowledge to any person, that the course of life which he pursues is according to the will of God, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God without which no person can obtain eternal life” (, 7).
Trust and approval come by obedience to all of God’s commandments. Helaman chapters 10–12 highlight how important it is to heed the promptings of the Spirit. Only by doing so can we be sure we are living according to God’s will. These chapters also highlight how important it is to want what God wants. The Lord knew Nephi would “not ask that which is contrary to [God’s] will” (Helaman 10:5). As we prove faithful in the small things, the Lord will trust us with the greater things.
Helaman 10 – The trial to determine who murdered the chief judge ended when Nephi’s revelation about the murderer was confirmed. Having escaped punishment from the false accusations that had been directed at him, Nephi began to walk home. He pondered what the Lord had shown him, feeling downcast because of the wickedness of the people. In this moment of reflection and sadness, he heard the voice of the Lord. The Lord blessed him with the sealing power and commanded him to continue preaching repentance to the people. Nephi immediately obeyed the Lord’s command.
VS1–3. Pondering – Pondering the things of the Lord prepares us to receive revelation.
- To ponder is to “meditate and think deeply, often upon the scriptures or other things of God. When combined with prayer, pondering … may bring revelation and understanding” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Ponder”). Nephi and other prophets received revelation while pondering. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “All of us would benefit from time to ponder and meditate. In the quiet moments of personal introspection, the Spirit can teach us much” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 4; or Ensign, 1995, 6).
- Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggested that a quiet place is conducive to pondering: “Find a retreat of peace and quiet where periodically you can ponder and let the Lord establish the direction of your life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 8; or Ensign, May 2001, 9).
- **Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared with us the benefits of pondering: “As you ponder and pray about doctrinal principles, the Holy Ghost will speak to your mind and your heart [see D&C 8:2]. From events portrayed in the scriptures, new insights will come and principles relevant to your situation will distill upon your heart” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 19; or Ensign, 2000, 18).
- **Neal A Maxwell: “Pondering, for most of us, is not something we do easily. It is much more than drifting or daydreaming, for it focuses and stirs us, not lulls us. We must set aside time, circumstances, and attitude in order to achieve it. In Alma’s words, we must ‘give place’ (Alma 32:27). The length of time involved in pondering is not as important as the intensity given to it. Reflection cannot be achieved in the midst of distraction” (That Ye May Believe , 183).
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:“We … need quiet time and prayerful pondering as we seek to develop information into knowledge and mature knowledge into wisdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 107; or Ensign, May 2001, 83).
- Other accounts in the scriptures or Church history when people received revelation as a result of pondering the things of the Lord: Lehi’s son Nephi, who received a vision after desiring to behold the things his father saw and “pondering in [his] heart” [see 1 Nephi 10:17; 11:1]; Joseph Smith, whose First Vision came after he “reflected … again and again” on James 1:5 [see Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17]; and Joseph F. Smith, who received the vision of the redemption of the dead after pondering and reflecting on the words of the Lord [see D&C 138:1–6, 11].)
Q – When has pondering helped you receive personal revelation?
VS4 – Unwearyingness in the Lord’s Work Brings Great Blessings
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “If we are focused on Jesus and His work, both our joys and our staying capacity are increased. … Nephi had not selfishly sought his ‘own life,’ but rather had sought to do God’s will. This gave him the extra and undivided energy which made his striving with unwearied diligence possible. Nephi knew in which direction he faced: toward God” (If Thou Endure It Well , 116).
Q – What can we do to be unwearying in the Lord’s work?
VS4–5. “Thou Shalt Not Ask That Which Is Contrary to My Will”
1. Like Nephi, if we learn to ask “in the Spirit” (Helaman 10:17) and according to God’s will, then “it is done even as” we ask (see D&C 46:30; 50:29–30). President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency shared some necessary aspects of proper petitions: “When we pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus for specific personal things, we should feel in the very depths of our souls that we are willing to subject our petitions to the will of our Father in heaven. … “The time will come when we shall know the will of God before we ask. Then everything for which we pray will be ‘expedient.’ Everything for which we ask will be ‘right.’ That will be when as a result of righteous living, we shall so enjoy the companionship of the spirit that he will dictate what we ask” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1944, 55–56).
2. President Romney had an experience in which the Lord gave him a promise similar to Nephi’s. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about it:
“In 1967 Sister Ida Romney suffered a serious stroke. The doctors told then-Elder Romney that the damage from the hemorrhage was severe. They offered to keep her alive by artificial means but did not recommend it. The family braced for the worst. Brother Romney confided to those closest to him that in spite of his anguished, personal yearning for Ida’s restored health and continued companionship, above all he wanted ‘the Lord’s will to be done and to take what he needed to take without whimpering.’
“As the days wore on, Sister Romney became less responsive. She had, of course, been administered to, but Elder Romney was ‘reluctant to counsel the Lord about the matter.’ Because of his earlier unsuccessful experience of praying that he and Ida might have children, he knew that he could never ask in prayer for something that was not in harmony with the will of the Lord. He fasted that he might know how to show the Lord he had faith and would accept God’s will in their lives. He wanted to make sure he had done all he could do. But she continued to fail.
“One evening in a particularly depressed state, with Ida unable to speak or recognize him, Brother Romney went home and turned, as he always had, to the scriptures in an effort to commune with the Lord. He picked up the Book of Mormon and continued where he had left off the night before. He had been reading in Helaman about the prophet Nephi, who had been falsely accused and unfairly charged with sedition. Following a miraculous deliverance from his accusers, Nephi returned home pondering the things he had experienced. As he did so he heard a voice.
“Although Marion Romney had read that story many times before, it now struck him this night as a personal revelation. The words of the scripture so touched his heart that for the first time in weeks he felt he had tangible peace. It seemed as if the Lord were speaking directly to him. The scripture read: ‘Blessed art thou, … for those things which thou hast done; … thou hast not … sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments. And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.’ (Helaman 10:4–5.)
“There was the answer. He had sought only to know and obey the will of the Lord, and the Lord had spoken. He fell to his knees and poured out his heart, and as he concluded his prayer with the phrase ‘Thy will be done,’ he either felt or actually heard a voice that said, ‘It is not contrary to my will that Ida be healed.’
“Brother Romney rose to his feet quickly. It was past two o’clock in the morning, but he knew what he must do. Quickly he put on his tie and coat, then went out into the night to visit Ida in the hospital. He arrived shortly before three o’clock. His wife’s condition was unchanged. She did not stir as he placed his hands upon her pale forehead. With undeviating faith, he invoked the power of the priesthood in her behalf. He pronounced a simple blessing and then uttered the incredible promise that she would recover her health and her mental powers and would yet perform ‘a great mission’ upon the earth.
“Even though he did not doubt, Elder Romney was astonished to see Ida’s eyes open as he concluded the blessing. Somewhat stunned by all that had happened, he sat down on the edge of the bed only to hear his wife’s frail voice for the first time in months. She said, ‘For goodness’ sake, Marion, what are you doing here?’ He didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. He said, ‘Ida, how are you?’ With that flash of humor so characteristic of both of them, she replied, ‘Compared to what, Marion? Compared to what?’
“Ida Romney began her recovery from that very moment, soon left her hospital bed, and lived to see her husband sustained as a member of the First Presidency of the Church, ‘a great mission upon the earth’ indeed. (F. Burton Howard, Marion G. Romney: His Life and Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], pp. 137–42.)” (Jeffrey R. Holland and Patricia T. Holland, On Earth As It Is in Heaven , 133–35).
3. Elder Neal A. Maxwell: “So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. …“When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us, as was the case with Nephi, the son of Helaman” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience , 93–94).
VS7 – The Sealing Power
1. Nephi served with such diligence that the Lord bestowed upon him great power. He was given power over the people and the elements of the earth. He was also granted a sacred bestowal of the sealing power, the same power held by Elijah the prophet: “The power of Elijah is the sealing power of the priesthood by which things that are bound or loosed on earth are bound or loosed in heaven (D&C 128:8–18)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Elijah”).
2. **President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught about the sealing power given to various prophets:
“The Lord conferred authority on some of his chosen servants and gave them exceptional powers. … In this manner Elijah obtained the keys of power in the priesthood to raise the dead, heal the sick, close the heavens that it did not rain only by his word, and for more than three years there was no rain, and moreover he had the power to call down fire from heaven to destroy the enemies of the Church. …
“The Lord gave similar authority to Nephi, son of Helaman, who likewise had authority to close the heavens and perform other mighty works, simply by his faith and the commandment from the Lord [see Helaman 10:7]. This wonderful power has been bestowed on but a few of the servants of the Lord” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:95).
3. Elder Russell M. Nelson: “In preparing to receive the endowment and other ordinances of the temple, we should understand the sealing authority of the priesthood. Jesus referred to this authority long ago when He taught His Apostles, ‘Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.’ [Matthew 16:19.] That same authority has been restored in these latter days. Just as priesthood is eternal—without beginning or end—so is the effect of priesthood ordinances that bind families together forever” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 40; or Ensign, May 2001, 33).
4. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:“Temples, ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings have been restored, precisely as prophesied. Ordinances of the temple provide for reconciliation with the Lord and seal families together forever. Obedience to the sacred covenants made in temples qualifies us for eternal life—the greatest gift of God to man” (“Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010, 42).
VS12 – Nephi immediately returned to the multitudes after the Lord commanded him to go back and declare repentance.
Q – What do we show the Lord when we respond quickly to His counsel and commandments?
VS13–15 – “Notwithstanding That Great Miracle”
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “miracles are the fruits of faith” (History of the Church, 5:355). Some people seek faith through miracles; however, that is contrary to the order of heaven. Faith precedes the miracle—it does not follow it. Nephi’s miraculous identification of Seantum as the murderer of the chief judge came as a result of the prophet’s faith. Sadly, the majority of the people who witnessed this miracle were living without faith. The miracle failed to convert them because “faith cometh not by signs [or miracles], but signs follow those that believe” (D&C 63:9). The necessary change in their lives had to begin with “faith unto repentance” (Alma 34:15–17). Unfortunately, these people who had witnessed a great miracle continued to harden their hearts, and instead of repenting, they persecuted Nephi.
Helaman 11 – Helaman prays for a famine to replace the war, in hopes his people would repent. When they do, he prays for the famine to be removed. There is prosperity, then wickedness and the Gadianton robbers come back.
Helaman 11:1–16. Prophets Pray for the People – Helaman prays for a famine to replace the war. When the people repent, he prays for rain to come.
- Nephi’s prayer on behalf of his people illustrates the concern of a prophet for the people. As well as representing God to the people, at times prophets also seek to intervene on behalf of their people. When plagued by poisonous serpents, the children of Israel went to Moses and pled, “pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people” (Numbers 21:7). In the Americas, Nephi, the son of Lehi, wrote: “I pray continually for [my people] by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith” (2 Nephi 33:3)
- Our current prophets continue to pray for us. In the general conference following the tragic terrorist events on September 11, 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) prayed:
“O God, our Eternal Father, … whose children we are, we look to Thee in faith in this dark and solemn time. Please, dear Father, bless us with faith. Bless us with love. Bless us with charity in our hearts. Bless us with a spirit of perseverance to root out the terrible evils that are in this world. Give protection and guidance to those who are engaged actively in carrying forth the things of battle. Bless them; preserve their lives; save them from harm and evil. Hear the prayers of their loved ones for their safety. …
“O Father, look with mercy upon this, our own nation, and its friends in this time of need. Spare us and help us to walk with faith ever in Thee and ever in Thy Beloved Son, on whose mercy we count and to whom we look as our Savior and our Lord. Bless the cause of peace and bring it quickly to us again, we humbly plead with Thee, asking that Thou wilt forgive our arrogance, pass by our sins, be kind and gracious to us, and cause our hearts to turn with love toward Thee. We humbly pray in the name of Him who loves us all, even the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior, amen” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 112; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 90).
VS4–5. The Lord Sometimes Uses Nature to Correct His Children
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) explained that “the Lord uses the weather sometimes to discipline his people for the violation of his laws” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1977, 4; or Ensign, May 1977, 4; see also D&C 43:21–25).
VS22–23 – “Points of Doctrine”
1. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “The true doctrine of Christ is that all men must come unto him, gain faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure in faith to the end in order to gain salvation. (2 Ne. 31:17–21; 3 Ne. 11:29–41; &C. 10:67; 68:25.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 204).
2. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,: “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. … That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 20; or Ensign, 1986, 17).
VS21–38 – Wickedness Returned
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God” (History of the Church, 6:364). Whenever the Savior’s Church is established or strengthened, the adversary seeks to create resistance in one form or another to battle the progress made by the Saints of God. We see an example of Satan’s opposition emerge in Helaman 11. The Gadianton robbers had been swept off the land. The righteous Nephite and Lamanite members of the Church had great peace (see Helaman 11:21). Only a few years passed, however, before Satan’s influence on the people led them to return to iniquity and allowed the Gadianton robbers to regain their power and influence.
Helaman 11 – The Nephites pass through a cycle of righteousness and wickedness.
1 is Righteousness and Prosperity.
2 is Pride and Wickedness.
3 is Suffering and Destruction.
4 is Humility and Repentance
|Years of the reign of the judges||Verses in Helaman 11||Description of the people’s condition||Stage(s) in the cycle|
|72–73||1–2||Contention and wars increase, and the secret band of robbers carries on the work of destruction.||2, 3|
|73–75||3–6||Because of Nephi’s request to the Lord, famine replaces war, and thousands begin to perish with hunger.||2, 3|
|75||7–11||The people begin to remember the Lord and humble themselves, and they sweep the band of Gadianton from among them.||3, 4|
|76||17–20||The people rejoice and glorify God. They are righteous, and they begin to prosper again.||4, 1|
|77–79||21–23||Prosperity and peace are restored. Contentions are small, and they are resolved by revelations and gospel teaching.||1|
|80||24–26||The people become prideful, angry, and wicked again. A wicked band of robbers develops again among the people, with their murders and secret plans.||2, 3|
|80–81||27–35||The robbers cause havoc and destruction, and the armies of the Nephites and Lamanites are unable to destroy the wicked band. The robbers kill many people and carry some people, including women and children, captive into the wilderness. The trials lead the people to remember the Lord.||3, 4|
Through humility and repentance, we can avoid pride and destruction. The Nephites could have skipped the second and third stages of the cycle. They could have lived righteously and humbly always, repenting without delay whenever they sinned. If they had lived this way, they still would have experienced some trials, but they would not have needed to endure the terrible suffering and destruction that came as a result of their wickedness.
Helaman 12 – Explanation of pride cycle and power of God.
VS1–3 – The Unsteadiness of Men
1. Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explored some possible reasons for spiritual unsteadiness:
“Is it simply unintended forgetfulness? Or is it a failure of intellectual integrity by our refusing to review and to acknowledge past blessings? Or is it a lack of meekness which requires the repetition of such stern lessons, because we neglect the milder and gentler signs beckoning us to ‘remember Him’? …
“… We need the Spirit daily to help us remember daily. Otherwise memory lapses will occur when we are most vulnerable. It is not natural to the natural man to remember yesterday’s blessings gratefully, especially when today’s needs of the flesh press steadily upon him” (Lord, Increase Our Faith , 101–2).
2. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency: “Dependence upon God can fade quickly when prayers are answered. And when the trouble lessens, so do the prayers. The Book of Mormon repeats that sad story over and over again” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 15; or Ensign, 2001, 15).
VS2 – When God Prospers His People, They Forget Him
- **President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) described the difficulty that can come with prosperity: “Ours then seems to be the toughest test of all for the evils are more subtle, more clever. It all seems less menacing and it is harder to detect. While every test of righteousness represents a struggle, this particular test seems like no test at all, no struggle and so could be the most deceiving of all tests. Do you know what peace and prosperity can do to a people—it can put them to sleep” (Larry E. Dahl, “Fit for the Kingdom,” in Studies in Scripture, Volume Five: The Gospels, edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet , 5:369).
- President Harold B. Lee (1899–1973) compared the test of “luxury” with other tests of life: “We’re tested and we’re tried. Perhaps we don’t realize the severity of the tests we’re going through. In the early days of the Church, there were murders committed, there were mobbings. The Saints were driven out into the desert. They were starving, they were unclad, and they were cold. We’re the inheritors of what they gave to us. But what are we doing with it? Today we’re basking in the lap of luxury, the like of which we’ve never seen before in the history of the world. It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any we’ve ever had in the history of this Church” (Dahl, “Fit for the Kingdom,” in Studies in Scripture, 5:369).
VS3 – “The Lord doth chasten his people”
- Chasten means to correct someone through punishment or suffering of some kind.
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:“Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path” (“As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 98).
- Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy:“The whole world seems to be in commotion. Today’s news is filled with accounts of large‑scale famine, civil unrest, and natural disasters. Even more devastating in the long run is the spiritually destructive hurricane of disobedience to God’s commandments that is engulfing the world. This horrible storm is blowing the moral fiber out of the nations of the earth and leaving the land in moral desolation. Many people seem to be oblivious to this hurricane and have become so desensitized they don’t even feel a breeze.“We are following a cycle which was repeated over and over again in the Book of Mormon. As the Lord tells us, ‘In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me’ (D&C 101:8).“We shouldn’t be too surprised, therefore, that the Lord is allowing some wake‑up calls to jar us loose from apathy just as he has done in previous dispensations” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 13; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 12).
- D&C 95:1 – 1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I alove I also chasten that their sins may be bforgiven, for with the cchastisement I prepare a way for their ddeliverance in all things out of etemptation, and I have loved you—
Q – How is the Lord’s chastening evidence of His love?
VS4 – “Set Their Hearts upon the Vain Things of the World!”
Mormon emphasized the foolishness of those who set their hearts upon the vain or worthless, empty, and valueless things of the world. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles remarked: “The ‘vain things of [the] world’ include every combination of that worldly quartet of property, pride, prominence, and power. As to all of these, the scriptures remind us that ‘you cannot carry them with you’ (Alma 39:14). We should be seeking the kind of treasures the scriptures promise the faithful: ‘great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures’ (D&C 89:19)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 109; or Ensign, May 2001, 84).
VS5–6 – “Quick to Be Lifted Up in Pride”
1. **In his classic discourse on pride, President Ezra Taft Benson characterized the many facets of pride:
“Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’ …
“The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives (see Helaman 12:6). They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.
“… The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s. …
“Pride results in secret combinations which are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world (see Helaman 7:5; Ether 8:9, 16, 22–23; Moses 5:31). This fruit of the sin of pride, namely secret combinations, brought down both the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations and has been and will yet be the cause of the fall of many nations (see Ether 8:18–25)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 4–5; or Ensign, May 1989, 4, 6).
2. Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Seventy taught that pride leads to unrighteous comparisons and also may lead to our downfall:
“Pride causes us to become overly concerned, as we compare ourselves with others, about how intelligent we think we are, the brand of our jeans or other clothing—the ‘costly apparel’ we wear, to what organizations we belong, on which side of town we live, how much money we have, what our race or nationality is, what kind of car we drive, even to what church we belong, how much education we have been privileged to acquire, and on and on and on.
“In the scriptures there are many indications that pride has risen to destroy individuals, nations, and in some cases even the Church itself. …
“It has been calculated that no fewer than thirty times throughout the Book of Mormon the cycles of prosperity and peace were destroyed, principally by the effects of human pride” (One Step at a Time: Building a Better Marriage, Family, and You , 138–39). (See diagram “The Cycle of Righteousness and Wickedness” in the appendix, page 414.)
VS7–19 – The Nothingness of Man and the Greatness of God
President Joseph Fielding Smith helped us understand that the phrase “the nothingness of the children of men” (Helaman 12:7) is not a reflection of man’s worth: “Now this prophet did not mean to say that the Lord has greater concern for and loves the dust of the earth more than he does his children. … The point he is making is that the dust of the earth is obedient. It moveth hither and thither at the command of the Lord. All things are in harmony with his laws. Everything in the universe obeys the law given unto it, so far as I know, except man. Everywhere you look you find law and order, the elements obeying the law given to them, true to their calling. But man rebels, and in this thing man is less than the dust of the earth because he rejects the counsels of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 55).
Q – How can remembering God’s greatness help us avoid pride? What else can we do to be humble instead of prideful?
VS15 – Knowledge of Astronomy
Helaman 12:14–15 shows that Mormon had a basic understanding of the physical laws of the universe: “Reference is here made to the biblical account that shows Joshua commanding the sun and the moon to stand still so that his army might complete their rout of the Amorites (Joshua 10:12–14). Here a corrective note is added to that account, which supposed the sun to rotate around a stationery earth. (See also Isaiah 38:7–8; 2 Kings 20:8–11.) These verses provide a subtle but certain assurance that the prophet-editor Mormon, like many of the ancient spiritual leaders, was anything but primitive in his understanding concerning God, man, and the universe” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. [1987–91], 3:397).
VS23–24 – Repentance Leads Us to Christ’s Grace
1. **The phrase “grace for grace” suggests an exchange. For example, as we seek to serve others, repent, and do other good works, the Lord gives us spiritual strength and power to improve in exchange for our efforts (see D&C 93:12, 20). “Grace for grace” also implies a developmental process. For each grace we receive and worthily use, we receive another grace in our progress toward perfection.
2. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expounded on the power of God’s grace:
“In the Bible Dictionary we learn that the word grace frequently is used in the scriptures to connote a strengthening or enabling power:
“‘The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
“‘… It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts’ (p. 697).
“Thus, the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us to see and to do and to become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity. I testify and witness that the enabling power of the Savior’s Atonement is real” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2004, 79; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 76–77; see also D&C 93:20, 27–28).
3. **Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy discussed the personal nature of the Savior’s grace:
“The grace of the Lord through the Atonement can both cleanse us of sin and assist us in perfecting ourselves through our trials, sicknesses, and even character defects. … Christ can repair our flaws and failings that otherwise are not repairable (see Genesis 18:14; Mark 9:23–24).
“That great truth ought to fill us all with hope, as long as we are quick to remember that the effect of grace in our lives is conditioned upon repenting of our sins. …
“A repentant heart and good works are the very conditions required to have grace restored to us. When someone pleads fervently in prayer for an answer, the answer may be more conditioned on repentance of personal sins than on any other factor (see D&C 101:7–8; Mosiah 11:23–24).
“To obtain grace, one does not have to be perfect, but he does have to be trying to keep the commandments the best that he can. Then the Lord will allow him to receive that power” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 99–100; or Ensign, May 1993, 80–81).