Through the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, Nephi encouraged his people to remember the Lord. We too are encouraged to remember the Lord, for we are among His people. At this time in our lives upon the earth, it is of particular importance that we continually remember Him and prepare ourselves for the days to come.
As we read this week in Helaman 7–12 let us think about how we remember the Lord. How can we help each other and our families focus on remembering Him?
History and Background
Helaman 7–9 Following the missionary efforts of Nephi and Lehi, the Lamanites increased in their righteousness. Unfortunately, during this same time, the Nephites became wicked and supported the Gadianton robbers, resulting in the Spirit of the Lord being withdrawn from them. The prophet Nephi prophesied that if the Nephites continued to live in wickedness, they would perish. In response, corrupt judges stirred many of the people up to anger against Nephi, while some people boldly defended the prophet. As a testament that his words would be fulfilled, Nephi revealed that the chief judge had been murdered by his brother. When Nephi’s words were verified, some of the people accepted him as a prophet.
Helaman 10 After the trial concluded for the murder of the chief judge, Nephi began to return to his own house. He pondered what the Lord had shown him and also worried about the wickedness of the people. In Nephi’s moment of discouragement, the Lord spoke to him and blessed him forever with the sealing power. The Lord commanded Nephi to continue preaching repentance to the people, a command that Nephi immediately obeyed.
Helaman 11–12 covers 14 years of Nephite history and shows the people going through a cycle of righteousness and wickedness. Because of their pride, the people refused to repent of their wickedness. Nephi sealed the heavens, causing a drought and famine. The drought and famine humbled the people, and they repented and turned to the Lord. Because they did not choose to be humble, the people began to easily forget the Lord their God until they were brought to a realization of how much they needed His help. In His mercy, God chastens His people to bring them unto repentance and salvation.
Part 1: Helaman 7–11 Prophets reveal the will of God to the people.
Now more than ever, we are in need of a prophet, and gratefully we have one. Through the past couple of years, President Russell M Nelson has shown that he is truly led by God and does reveal His will. If you have been following President Nelson and his guidance and instruction then you know that this is a true statement and Helaman 7–11 helps us better understand the roles and responsibilities of prophets, as the Lord has set forth for them to do.
In the Guide to the Scriptures (Prophet scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). it states the following concerning a Prophet: “A person who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of His dealings with them. A prophet denounces sin and foretells its consequences. He is a preacher of righteousness. On occasion, prophets may be inspired to foretell the future for the benefit of mankind. His primary responsibility, however, is to bear witness of Christ. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s prophet on earth today. Members of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators.”
In this quote what are the defined roles of the prophet?
In Helaman 7–11 look for how Nephi fulfilled the roles listed in this definition: Helaman 7: The prophet Nephi served as a missionary in the land northward for six years. He returned to his own home after trying to teach the Nephites, who had rejected his words and remained in their wicked state. He was very discouraged. After the people gathered to hear Nephi praying upon the tower in his garden, Nephi began teaching them Helaman 7:12–29. He warned them of the consequences of their decisions teaching them that if we refuse to repent of our sins, we will lose the Lord’s protection and the blessings of eternal life.
How does this fulfill the role of a prophet? Looking at Helaman 8. what was the judge’s main message to the people? Helaman 8:1–6,
1 And now it came to pass that when Nephi had said these words, behold, there were men who were judges, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, and they were angry, and they cried out against him, saying unto the people: Why do ye not seize upon this man and bring him forth, that he may be condemned according to the crime which he has done?
2 Why seest thou this man, and hearest him revile against this people and against our law?
3 For behold, Nephi had spoken unto them concerning the corruptness of their law; yea, many things did Nephi speak which cannot be written; and nothing did he speak which was contrary to the commandments of God.
4 And those judges were angry with him because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness; nevertheless, they durst not lay their own hands upon him, for they feared the people lest they should cry out against them.
5 Therefore they did cry unto the people, saying: Why do you suffer this man to revile against us? For behold he doth condemn all this people, even unto destruction; yea, and also that these our great cities shall be taken from us, that we shall have no place in them.
6 And now we know that this is impossible, for behold, we are powerful, and our cities great, therefore our enemies can have no power over us.
What you would do if someone tried to persuade you to disregard what prophets have taught?
Nephi reminded the people of prophet after prophet who had testified of Jesus Christ. He taught the Nephites that as we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and are obedient, we will receive eternal life. Despite the multitude of prophets whose teachings confirmed Nephi’s words, the people rejected Nephi and his message.
Why do prophets sometimes have to speak with boldness like Nephi did? The consequences the Nephites faced if they continued to reject the testimonies of prophets would be tremendous, it is the same for us in our day.
Why do you think those who consistently deny the truth and rebel against God face such serious consequences?
What prophetic warnings have inspired us to repent and come to the Lord? Elder Neil L. Andersen shared the following experience: “Those who choose to serve the Lord will always listen attentively and specifically to the Prophet… Let me illustrate with an experience. Our family lived for many years in the state of Florida. Because Florida has a high concentration of sand, lawns there are planted with a large broadleaf grass we call Saint Augustine. A formidable enemy of a Florida lawn is a small, brown insect called a mole cricket. One evening as my neighbor and I stood on the front steps, he noticed a little bug crossing my sidewalk. ‘You better spray your lawn,’ he warned. ‘There goes a mole cricket.’ I had sprayed the lawn with insecticide not too many weeks previously, and I hardly felt that I had the time or money to do it again so soon. In the light of the next morning, I examined my lawn closely. It was lush and beautifully green. I looked down into the grass to see if I could see any of the little bugs. I could see none. I remember thinking, ‘Well, maybe that little mole cricket was just passing through my yard on the way to my neighbor’s yard.’ The story, however, has a sad ending. I came out the front door one morning, about 10 days after the conversation with my neighbor. Shockingly, as if it had happened overnight, brown spots covered my lawn. I ran to the garden store, bought the insecticide, and sprayed immediately, but it was too late. The lawn was ruined, and to return it to its former state required a new crop of sod, long hours of work, and large expense. My neighbor’s warning was central to my lawn’s welfare. He saw things I could not see. He knew something I did not know. He knew that mole crickets live underground and are active only at night, making my daytime examinations ineffective. He knew that mole crickets did not eat the leaves of the grass but rather found nourishment in the roots. He knew that these little inch-long creatures could eat a lot of roots before I would ever see the effect above the ground. I paid a dear price for my smug independence. .. There are spiritual mole crickets that burrow under our protective walls and invade our delicate roots. Many of these insects of wickedness appear small, at times almost invisible. …Let us not follow the pattern I showed in dealing with my Florida mole crickets. Let us never ignore the warnings. Let us never be smug in our independence. Let us always be listening and learning in humility and faith, anxious to repent should it be necessary” (“Prophets and Spiritual Mole Crickets,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 16–18).
How do our living prophets and apostles fulfill the roles of a prophet like Nephi? How can we sustain them in their responsibilities?
Part 2: Helaman 9:1–20; 10:1, 11–15 Faith must be built on more than signs and miracles.
As proof that the people were in a sinful state and that what he told them about their destruction would be fulfilled, Nephi revealed that the Nephites’ chief judge had been murdered. Nephi also declared that both the murdered man and his brother were members of the Gadianton robbers. Imagine you are investigating the murder of the chief judge. What do you find for answers to the following questions?
When five people investigated Nephi’s claims, what did they find? Why did they fall to the ground? Helaman 9:1–5
1 Behold, now it came to pass that when Nephi had spoken these words, certain men who were among them ran to the judgment-seat; yea, even there were five who went, and they said among themselves, as they went:
2 Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true.
3 And it came to pass that they ran in their might, and came in unto the judgment-seat; and behold, the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and did lie in his blood.
4 And now behold, when they saw this they were astonished exceedingly, insomuch that they fell to the earth; for they had not believed the words which Nephi had spoken concerning the chief judge.
5 But now, when they saw they believed, and fear came upon them lest all the judgments which Nephi had spoken should come upon the people; therefore they did quake, and had fallen to the earth.
Who did the people suspect were the murderers? Helaman 9:7–8
7 And behold the people did gather themselves together unto the place of the judgment-seat—and behold, to their astonishment they saw those five men who had fallen to the earth.
8 And now behold, the people knew nothing concerning the multitude who had gathered together at the garden of Nephi; therefore they said among themselves: These men are they who have murdered the judge, and God has smitten them that they could not flee from us.
Who was proven innocent? Helaman 9:10–14, 18
10 And it came to pass that on the morrow the people did assemble themselves together to mourn and to fast, at the burial of the great chief judge who had been slain.
11 And thus also those judges who were at the garden of Nephi, and heard his words, were also gathered together at the burial.
12 And it came to pass that they inquired among the people, saying: Where are the five who were sent to inquire concerning the chief judge whether he was dead? And they answered and said: Concerning this five whom ye say ye have sent, we know not; but there are five who are the murderers, whom we have cast into prison.
13 And it came to pass that the judges desired that they should be brought; and they were brought, and behold they were the five who were sent; and behold the judges inquired of them to know concerning the matter, and they told them all that they had done, saying:
14 We ran and came to the place of the judgment-seat, and when we saw all things even as Nephi had testified, we were astonished insomuch that we fell to the earth; and when we were recovered from our astonishment, behold they cast us into prison.
Who was accused? Helaman 9:16, 19
16 And now it came to pass that the judges did expound the matter unto the people, and did cry out against Nephi, saying: Behold, we know that this Nephi must have agreed with some one to slay the judge, and then he might declare it unto us, that he might convert us unto his faith, that he might raise himself to be a great man, chosen of God, and a prophet.
17 And now behold, we will detect this man, and he shall confess his fault and make known unto us the true murderer of this judge.
18 And it came to pass that the five were liberated on the day of the burial. Nevertheless, they did rebuke the judges in the words which they had spoken against Nephi, and did contend with them one by one, insomuch that they did confound them.
19 Nevertheless, they caused that Nephi should be taken and bound and brought before the multitude, and they began to question him in divers ways that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death
What evidence of his innocence did Nephi give? Helaman 9:25–36
25 And now behold, I will show unto you another sign, and see if ye will in this thing seek to destroy me.
26 Behold I say unto you: Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him—
27 Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?
28 And behold, he shall say unto you, Nay.
29 And ye shall say unto him: Have ye murdered your brother?
30 And he shall stand with fear, and wist not what to say. And behold, he shall deny unto you; and he shall make as if he were astonished; nevertheless, he shall declare unto you that he is innocent.
31 But behold, ye shall examine him, and ye shall find blood upon the skirts of his cloak.
32 And when ye have seen this, ye shall say: From whence cometh this blood? Do we not know that it is the blood of your brother?
33 And then shall he tremble, and shall look pale, even as if death had come upon him.
34 And then shall ye say: Because of this fear and this paleness which has come upon your face, behold, we know that thou art guilty.
35 And then shall greater fear come upon him; and then shall he confess unto you, and deny no more that he has done this murder.
36 And then shall he say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God. And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God.
Who was the murderer? Helaman 9:37–3837 And it came to pass that they went and did, even according as Nephi had said unto them. And behold, the words which he had said were true; for according to the words he did deny; and also according to the words he did confess.
38 And he was brought to prove that he himself was the very murderer, insomuch that the five were set at liberty, and also was Nephi.
What might these people have felt? 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.
What may have influenced each group to respond differently to the same miraculous prophecy?
How can we ensure that miracles build our testimonies but do not become the only basis for them?
How can we determine whether the prophet’s words in our day are true?
Mose taught that one test of a true prophet is whether his words come to pass. Nephi’s words did come to pass and the people saw. Have you seen the words of President Nelson come to pass, as well as other prophets who have led the church? If you have then you know they are true and you should, regardless of your political or personal choices, follow the direction of the prophet every whit.
Part 3: Helaman 10:1–12 The Lord gives power to those who seek His will and keep His commandments.
The account of the Lord blessing Nephi in Helaman 10 can inspire each of us to be more diligent in seeking and doing the Lord’s will.
1 And it came to pass that there arose a division among the people, insomuch that they divided hither and thither and went their ways, leaving Nephi alone, as he was standing in the midst of them.
2 And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, pondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him.
3 And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying:
4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
5 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.
6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.
7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.
8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.
9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done.
10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.
11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Except ye repent ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction.
12 And behold, now it came to pass that when the Lord had spoken these words unto Nephi, he did stop and did not go unto his own house, but did return unto the multitudes who were scattered about upon the face of the land, and began to declare unto them the word of the Lord which had been spoken unto him, concerning their destruction if they did not repent.
What did Nephi dd to gain the Lord’s trust blessings? Helaman 10:4 for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word
How did the Lord bless these people with power to “cast down” figurative mountains in their lives? Helaman 10:9
Think of a time when you tried your best to do what was right but the reaction you received from others or the results you achieved were different than you expected. This can be considered a mountain by the way it makes us feel, it can be painful and we struggle.
We are given help and direction in casting down those mountains in Helaman 10:1–3, which teaches that by pondering the things of the Lord we become prepared to receive revelation and help.
After being cleared of the murder of the chief judge, Nephi found that the people did not respond in faith and repent after they witnessed the dramatic events covered in Helaman 9. Nephi started to return home feeling discouraged, his mountain was heavy. How did he receive help to cast it down?
Think about the following questions:
What was Nephi pondering about?
Why was he feeling “cast down,” or sad?
What happened as he was pondering?
For Nephi, he pondered on things his father, Lehi, had taught and learned of their truthfulness. Young Joseph Smith “reflected … again and again” on James 1:5 and had truth revealed to him Joseph Smith—History 1:11–19; and President Joseph F. Smith pondered and reflected on scriptures dealing with the redemption of the dead and had truth revealed to him D&C 138:1–6, 11. Pondering righteous thoughts and questions brings inspiration and revelation that helps us cast down our mountain. However, most revelation people receive when pondering the things of the Lord does not come through hearing voices, seeing visions, or other such dramatic ways.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “Revelations are conveyed in a variety of ways, including, for example, dreams, visions, conversations with heavenly messengers, and inspiration. Some revelations are received immediately and intensely; some are recognized gradually and subtly. …
“… Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation. Such communications from Heavenly Father gradually and gently ‘distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven’ (D&C 121:45). This pattern of revelation tends to be more common than rare and is evident in the experiences of Nephi as he tried several different approaches before successfully obtaining the plates of brass from Laban (see 1 Nephi 3–4). …
“… The fundamental truths of the restored gospel were not delivered to the Prophet Joseph Smith all at once in the Sacred Grove. These priceless treasures were revealed as circumstances warranted and as the timing was right.
“President Joseph F. Smith explained how this pattern of revelation occurred in his life: ‘As a boy … I would frequently … ask the Lord to show me some marvelous thing, in order that I might receive a testimony. But the Lord withheld marvels from me, and showed me the truth, line upon line … , until He made me to know the truth from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and until doubt and fear had been absolutely purged from me. …’ (in Conference Report, Apr. 1900, 40–41).
“We as members of the Church tend to emphasize marvelous and dramatic spiritual manifestations so much that we may fail to appreciate and may even overlook the customary pattern by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work” (“The Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 88).
Can you remember a time when you felt you received personal revelation? What were the circumstances that brought about the revelation? How did pondering help you receive revelation? Remember that revelation can come in many ways. It may involve sudden or gradual moments of enlightenment and understanding or feelings of peace and assurance. The Lord gives each of us the power to defeat that which troubles us by pondering, obeying, and seeking His will.
Part 4: Helaman 12 The Lord wants us to remember Him.
Each one of us as members of the church has made covenants to always remember Jesus Christ both in times of prosperity and times of difficulty. In Helaman 12 for many reasons, people tend to forget the Lord.
What did Mormon want us to see in Helaman 12:1?
1 And thus 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.
What did he want us to learn from Helaman 12:2–3?
2 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.
3 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.
Why do you think it is so easy for those who are prospering to forget the Lord?
What examples of ease and prosperity in our day might lead a person to forget God?
Some of the lessons Mormon wanted his readers to learn are: If we are not careful, our prosperity can lead us to forget the Lord, and the Lord chastens His people to stir them up in remembrance of Him.Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught about why the Lord chastens us: “Though it is difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct. 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).
What are personal attitudes that prevent individuals from remembering God? Helaman 12:4–64
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!
5 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!
6 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.
Why did Mormon say “the children of men … are less than the dust of the earth”?
What does the dust do that people are sometimes unwilling to do? Helaman 12:7–137
O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.8 For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.
9 Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake.
10 And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley.
11 Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake;
12 Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center.
13 Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “Now this prophet [Mormon] 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” (Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 55).
Mormon understood that people who would have God be their guide are greater than the dust of the earth. His comparison was to draw attention to those who are prideful and reject the Lord’s voice and who have unsteady hearts.
How can we overcome the tendencies described in this chapter?
How has adversity helped us remember God? Helaman 11:4–7
4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee.
5 And so it was done, according to the words of Nephi. And there was a great famine upon the land, among all the people of Nephi. And thus in the seventy and fourth year the famine did continue, and the work of destruction did cease by the sword but became sore by famine.
6 And this work of destruction did also continue in the seventy and fifth year. For the earth was smitten that it was dry, and did not yield forth grain in the season of grain; and the whole earth was smitten, even among the Lamanites as well as among the Nephites, so that they were smitten that they did perish by thousands in the more wicked parts of the land.
7 And it came to pass that the people saw that they were about to perish by famine, and they began to remember the Lord their God; and they began to remember the words of Nephi.
Find a verse or a phrase from Helaman 12 you could display in your homes or memorize to remind you to remember the goodness and power of God. Make a note in your journal!
Mormon reminded us of the Lord’s great power over physical elements—they all move at His command. Take a moment to ponder your own degree of obedience to the Lord’s commandments. How does your willingness to obey His commandments demonstrate humility? How does using our agency to disobey His words demonstrate pride?
By following His prophet and having faith even when there are not miracles and wonders we remember the Lord, hearken to His voice and repent, we show our humility and our faith in Him. In turn, He keeps His promise to bless and prosper us, eventually granting us eternal life.
Book of Mormon Student Manual
Book of Mormon Seminary Manual
Guide to the scriptures ChruchofJesusChrist.org