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Come, Follow Me — Study and Teaching Helps (2024)
Lesson 7, February 12-18: 2 Nephi 3-5
“We Lived after the Manner of Happiness”

Editor’s Note: Four years ago, Jonn Claybaugh began writing the Study and Teaching Helps series of articles for Interpreter. We now have these wonderful and useful posts for all four years of Come, Follow Me lessons. Beginning this year we will be reposting these articles, with dates, lesson numbers, and titles updated for the current year’s lessons. Jonn has graciously agreed to write new study aids for those lessons that do not directly correspond to 2020 lessons.

2 Nephi 3    Lehi’s Words to Joseph

To better understand this chapter, it is helpful to note two important things relating to format:

  1. The writer of this chapter is Nephi, who is quoting Lehi as he speaks to his son Joseph; and Lehi is quoting Joseph of Egypt, who was quoting the Lord’s words to him. So, Nephi is quoting Lehi, who is quoting Joseph, who is quoting the Lord.
  2. Additionally, there are four men named Joseph in this chapter: Joseph, son of Lehi (referenced in verses 1-3, 22-25); Joseph, son of Jacob/Israel (referenced or quoted in verses 4-22); Joseph Smith, Jr. (referenced in verses 6-9, 11-15, 18-19, 24); and Joseph Smith, Sr. (referenced in verse 15).

2 Nephi 3:5, 11-25    Joseph Smith and the Restoration

According to the prophecies in this chapter, what blessings would come in the latter days through the inspired work of the “choice seer” (verse 6), the Prophet Joseph Smith? Consider the following:

  • The Messiah and His covenants will be made manifest to the seed of Joseph of Egypt (verses 5, 12, 21, 23).
  • The Book of Mormon would be brought forth and convince many of the truth of the Bible (verses 11-12).
  • The Lord’s word in the Bible and the Book of Mormon will grow together and confound false doctrines, lay down contentions, and establish peace (verse 12).
  • The House of Israel will be restored and the Lord will bring His people unto salvation (verses 13, 15).
  • The seed of Joseph of Egypt will be preserved forever (verse 16).
  • Joseph Smith would do much good, work mighty wonders, and bring to pass much restoration (verse 24).

2 Nephi 4:15-35    Nephi is Like Us

After his father died, Nephi became introspective and recorded his deep, personal feelings, including his inadequacies, prayers, and testimony. It can be a powerful experience to carefully read verses 15-35 and identify verses that apply to ourselves; things we feel we also could have written, and why. Especially, note the things Nephi expressed about the Lord, and think about how the Lord has blessed you in similar ways:

  • Nephi could trust in the Lord (verse 19).
  • The Lord supported and led Nephi through afflictions (verse 20).
  • The Lord filled Nephi with His love (verse 21).
  • He confounded Nephi’s enemies (verse 22).
  • He heard Nephi’s prayers and gave him revelations (verses 23-25).
  • Nephi felt that he could praise and rejoice in the Lord forever (verse 30).

It is always enlightening to read or hear the prayers of prophets and take them for our examples. What did Nephi pray for in verses 31-33? What did Nephi promise the Lord in verses 34-35?

2 Nephi 5    The Family Divides

Nephi was compelled to leave the land of their “first inheritance” (Mosiah 10:13) and led his followers—those who “believed in the warnings and the revelations of God” (verse 6)—to a land they called Nephi (verse 8). It is notable that in their anger, murmurings, and threats, Laman and Lemuel accused Nephi of causing them “much trial” and afflicting them “because of his words.” Yet their true concern comes out in their assertion, “We will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us … to rule over this people” (verse 3). But Nephi, with his life again threatened (verses 2, 4, 19) and the additional burdens of leading his people to a new land, still affirms, “And the Lord was with us” (verse 11).

The people of Nephi were happy (verse 27), and enjoyed blessings such as:

  • They were led by a prophet and in company with others who chose to follow God (verses 6, 10).
  • They labored to support themselves and they prospered and multiplied (verses 11, 13, 15, 17).
  • They had the scriptures (verse 12).
  • They had means for defense from their enemies (verse 14; see also verse 34; Jarom 1:8-9).
  • They had a temple (verse 16).

Perhaps the Nephites’ blessings can help us recognize “how good we have it,” despite our individual trials.

2 Nephi 5:20-24    What Is the Curse?

These verses support the following conclusions:

  1. The definition of the curse is that those who refused to hearken to the Lord were cut off from the Lord’s presence, or the influence of His spirit (verse 20; see also Alma 3:11).
  2. The curse came as a natural result after many years of iniquity and hard-heartedness (verse 21; see also Alma 3:18-19).
  3. The skin of blackness was not the curse, but rather the “mark” of the curse (verse 21; see also Alma 3:6-7, 10).
  4. The Lord left open the opportunity for repentance and reversal of the curse (verse 22; see also Alma 3:14; 23:18; 3 Nephi 2:15).
  5. The reason for the curse was to prevent the followers of God from uniting with those who were cursed and perhaps turning from their righteousness (verses 22-23; see also Alma 3:8-9, 15).
  6. Some of the results of being cut off from the Lord were idleness, mischief, subtlety, and failure to labor for their sustenance (verse 24; Alma 3:8 adds incorrect traditions and spiritual destruction).
  7. It is also important to point out that this form of the curse was unique to the Book of Mormon and has no connection to other times or places, in or out of the scriptures.

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