Tuesday, February 28, 2006

3 Nephi 3, 4 & 5 - The Fruits of Knowledge

Just as food provides nutrients to our bodies, knowledge provides strength to our soul. Today we covered the events of 3 Nephi 3-5.

We started off by discussing briefly the Nephite history as of the book of Helaman forward - how the Nephites had been so wicked that Nephi's startling pronouncement of the murdered chief judge had relatively little impact in the people's spiritual lives as a whole.

We discussed how the nation had deteriorated to such a great degree that a Lamanite had to come preach to them, yet the people rejected Samuel the Lamanite and insisted on continuing in their path of sin. The signs and wonders which were coming so frequently had no impact in the lives of the unbelievers.

Yet fast forward to 3 Nephi 5 and read the first three verses. What has happened to society as a whole? The answer is pretty remarkable. What could have brought about such a change of heart in such a large group of people. Signs and wonders hadn't.

I passed out a series of questions from the student's manual that I had selected from pages 159 and 160 (from the subject headings "Studying the Scriptures").

Additionally, I passed out a paper of four different kinds of fruit I had drawn and shared with the students that they got to add "fruit" to their spiritual feast sack. I had them write each response to each question on each fruit .

We finished up by talking about how the Nephites ended up in the extreme scenario described in Nephi 3:22-26 and Nephi 4. The reason the Gadianton army had swelled to such huge ranks is because so many Nephites had been seduced by their lifestyle. Why? How could a people who had prophets in their midst be attracted to the darkness lived by the Gadianton thieves?

To bring it full swing to personal application, we talked about how when we get closer and closer to the edge of what our leaders have asked us, we get closer and closer to sin.

The perfect example of how NOT to do is lies in the stripling warriors, youth who sought a different lifestyle - a lifestyle of joy and light. How did they arrive at this and such great protection from the Lord?

They obeyed every command with exactness. They knew, being taught by their mothers, that when we live accordingly to the Lord's commandments, we have strength to accomplish what we need to in this life.

So coming back to personal application, I gave the example of: when a girl starts letting her midriff show, or wears short skirts, or shirts that are too tight, what is happening there? Guys can have problems with dress, also. Or in any other category mentioned in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.

If the Nephites had listened to their spiritual leaders and had remained strong, chances are they would not have needed to go through such an extreme situation as what is mentioned in 3 Nephi 3-4. And thus we came full circle to 3 Nephi 5:1-3. It was the preceding events in 3 Nephi 3-4 which brought the Nephites to such a humbled state.

Perhaps at times we do need severe challenges to bring us back to the Lord. How much better, though, to seek out the spiritual fruits of the gospel and provide nourishment to our souls, so that we do not fall prey to the Gadianton lifestyle in existence in today's world. This is what I hoped the youth learned in our application activity today.

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Seminary Mom