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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book of Mormon Class ~ Helaman Chapter 13

Taught by Sue G.

Who was Samuel the Lamanite and why was he sent?

Samuel was one of the Lamanites who did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God.  He may have come from among the Ammononites (Anti-Nephi_Lehies) a righteous people who never did in their entire history turn away from the Lord or his gospel. He may have come from among the righteous Lamanities converted by the preaching of Nephi and Lehi when the Lamanites became more righteous than the Nephites and sent missionaries among them to call them to repentance. Where ever he came from we know he came to Zarahemla commissioned by an angel to proclaim God's word to the wicked Nephites there.

We might wonder why was a Laminte sent to teach repentance to the Nephites  The Nephites already had prophets among them - Nephi and Lehi in particular. There is great irony in this -- that a Lamanite would be sent to call Nephites to repentance.  It demonstrates a the righteousness reversal that these two people had experienced.

Samuel did not take it upon himself to decide what to preach to the Nephites.  He taught "what-so-ever things so should come into his heart". Concerning this revelatory process, President Boyd K. Packer described how the voice of the Lord often comes. "Revelation" comes as words we FEEL more than HEAR. Nephi told his wayward brothers who were visited by an angel, "Ye were past feeling that ye could not feel his words". (1 Nephi 17:45)

The scriptures are full of such expressions as "the veil was taken from our minds and the eyes of our understanding were opened" (D&C 110:11)  or "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart" (D&C 8:2) or "I did enlighten the mind" (D&C 6:5) or "speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts" (D&C 100:5) There are hundreds of verses which teach of revelation (Helaman 13:11-16). There have been times when the wicked were spared from terrible destruction because there were righteous people living among them.

The wicked people of Zarahemla had the righteous people to thank for their preservation from destruction though, of coarse, they did not know it.  In a few years Zarahemla lost the silent and unappreciated protection. Samuel's words were fulfilled (3 Nephi 9:3).  Even Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared if only 10 righteous people had lived there.

How we live really does make a difference.  The personal righteousness of a few can become a great blessing to others especially to those in our own family and local community.

Helaman 13:17-21

The Nephites had a practice of burying their wealth and most treasured possessions in the earth to hide them from others and protect them from the elements.  The Lord here pronounces through Samuel the Lamanite a "curse upon the Land" with the result that whoso shall hide up treasures in the earth shall find them again no more unless he were a righteous man who sought to "hide it up unto the Lord. (as Mormon and Moroni did with the plates)"  In addition when they sought to flee from their enemies "in that day they be smitten, saith the Lord."

Elder Dallin H Oaks of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles described the relationship between materialism and spirituality, "Materialism, which gives PRIORITY to material needs and objects is obviously the opposite of spirituality." The Savior taught that we should not lay up treasures upon the earth (Matt 6:19) where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal. We should lay up treasures in heaven (Matt 6:21)

There is nothing inherently evil about money.  The good Samaritan used the same coinage to serve his fellow man that Judas used to betray the Master.  It is the LOVE of money which is the root of all evil.  (1 Tim 6:10)  The critical difference is the degree of spirituality we exercise in viewing evaluating and managing the things of the world and our experiences in it.  If allowed to become an object of worship or priority, money can make us selfish and prideful (Alma 5:37).  In contrast, if used for fulfilling our legal obligations and for paying our tithes and offerings, money can demonstrate integrity and develop unselfishness.  The spiritually enlightened use of property can help us for the higher law of a celestial glory.

To what did Samuel attribute the Nephites' curse?  What did they remember and what did they forget?  Why is this important in your life?

Elder M Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles taught the importance of following living prophets and apostles. " Now my dear brothers and sisters, please pay attention to those things that the leaders of the Church have taught. Apply the teaching. That will help you and your family. Let all of us regardless of our family circumstances bring into our homes the teachings of the prophets and the apostles to strengths our relationships with each other, with our Father in Heaven and with the Lord Jesus. I promise you in the name of the Lord that if you will listen not just with your ears but also with your heart, the Holy ghost will Manifest the truth unto you of the messages delivered by the President of the Church his counselors, the Apostles, and other leaders of the Church..The Spirit will prompt you to know what you should do as individuals and as families to follow our counsel, that your missionaries might have peace and joy."

Samuel warned the Nephites that they had been seeking happiness in doing iniquity which is contrary to the nature of happiness. Speaking of this problem and how true happiness comes Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles pointed out that happiness only comes with righteousness. "Have you noticed how Satan works to capture the mind and emotions...with flashing images blaring music and the stimulation of every physical senses to excess?  He diligently strives to fill life with action, entertainment and stimulation so that one cannot ponder the consequences of his tempting invitation. Think of it; some are tempted to violate the most basic commandments of God because of seductive actions portrayed as acceptable. They are made to seem attractive even desirable. There seems to be no serious consequences but rather apparent lasting joy and happiness but recognize that those performances are controlled by scripts and actors.  The outcome of decisions made is like wise manipulated to be whatever the producer wants. Life is not that way. Yes, moral agency allows you to choose what you will, but you cannot control the outcome of those choices. Unlike the false creations of many, our Father in Heaven determines the consequences of your choices. Obedience will yield happiness, while violation of his commandments will not.

In what ways does Alma 41:10-11 relate to Helaman 13:28? Why is it impossible to find happiness in sin?

Elder Marion G. Romney said, "Satan is evil ... totally and always.  He seeks to defeat the gospel plan and destroy the souls of men Satan is irrevocably committed to cornering and overcoming the influence of the Spirit of Christ upon men.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Happiness is the object and design of our existence and will be the end thereof, if we purse the path that leads to it, and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of god."

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