Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, March 2, 2018

Living Righteously in a Wicked World

**Scripture references have been highlighted in red and hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window. Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue.  All References and videos have been hyperlinked at the end of the blog.  Just click and it will take you there.

We are surrounded by unrighteous influences, can you name a few? 

At our present time in the world bad has become good and good has become bad.  You don't even have to try to find examples for they flow all around us.  I bet you didn't even have to think, when I asked you to name a few, they just came instantly without thinking. 

But here is another question, are you complacent?  Do you rationalize your choices or the choices of others.  Are you politically correct?  Do you serve, if so how do you serve, is it begrudgingly, or willingly.  Do you care for the fatherless and widows, or turn your head away, are you heading the words of the prophets or do you say we have plenty of time the world is not yet ripe.  

Over and over again we read in the Scriptures of bad becoming good and good bad, we read of complacency and rationalization and we read of the outcomes which have been lessons from God that are plain and easy to understand, and have great meaning and guidance for us in our day.  That guidance is being righteous, even when wicked is all around us, and it is of the utmost importance.  

Abraham, found in the book of Genesis and the Pearl of Great Price, is an excellent example of how to be righteous even when surrounded by wicked. A proper study of his history not only gives us great insight and instruction, but also a greater understanding of the stories or accounts of the Old Testament, which can seem hard to understand and sometimes one can get lost.  In taking an in depth look at Abraham and his life we get a much clearer picture of the important things God has intended for us to learn.  

Abraham, originally known as Abram,  (Genesis 17:5 tells of the Lord changing Abram’s name to Abraham), was born into a wicked environment, (Abraham Histroy) yet sought righteousness. And as commanded left his home and family to worship freely.  He was raised in Ur of Chaldea, then was led by the Lord to settle in Haran, he lived there until age 75.   (Genesis 11:31; Abraham 2:1–5)  

The Lord then led him from Haran to the land of Canaan and promised "Unto thy seed will I give this land"  (Genesis 12:7).  However because of famine in Canaan, Abraham and his family went to Egypt for a time. (Genesis 12:10)

After living in Egypt for a time to be spared from the famine, Abraham and his family were instructed to return to Canaan and he settles in Hebron with his nephew Lot, who settles near Sodom.  

Who was Lot? Lot was Abraham's nephew, son of his brother Haran who died in the famine.  

Lot (veil or covering), the son of Haran, and therefore the nephew of Abraham. Genesis 11:27, 31; (B.C. before 1926-1898.) His sisters were Milcah the wife of Nahor, and Iscah, by some identified with Sarah. haran died before the emigration of Terah and his family from Ur of the Chaldees, ver. 28, and Lot was therefore born there. He removed with the rest of his kindred to Charran, and again subsequently with Abraham and Sarai to Canaan. ch. Genesis 12:4, 5; With them he took refuge in Egypt from a famine,a nd with them returned, first to the "south," ch. Genesis 13:1; and then to their original settlement between Bethel and Ai. vs. Genesis 13:3, 4; But the pastures of the hills of Bethel, which had with ease contained the two strangers on their first arrival, were not able any longer to bear them, so much had their possessions of sheep, goats and cattle increased. Accordingly they separated, Lot choosing the fertile plain of the Jordan, and advancing as far as Sodom. Genesis 13:10-14; The next occurrence in the life of Lot is his capture by the four kings of the east and his rescue by Abram. ch. Genesis 13:14; The last scene preserved to us in the history of Lot is too well known to need repetition. He was still living in Sodom, Genesis 19:1;... from which he was rescued by some angels on the day of its final overthrow. he fled first to Zoar, in which he found a temporary refuge during the destruction of the other cities of the plain. Where this place was situated is not known with certainty. [ZOAR] The end of Lot's wife is commonly treated as one of the difficulties of the Bible; but it surely need not be so. It cannot be necessary to create the details of the story where none are given. On these points the record is silent. The value and the significance of the story to us are contained in the allusion of Christ. Luke 17:32; Later ages have not been satisfied so to leave the matter, but have insisted on identifying the "pillar" with some one of the fleeting forms which the perishable rock of the south end of the Dead Sea is constantly assuming in its process of decomposition and liquefaction.  (Dictionary of the Bible, Smith's Bible Dictionary, William Smith)

1. Abraham and his family settle in Hebron, and Lot and his family settle near Sodom.  Genesis 13.

After returning to Canaan and settling in, Abraham and Lot along with their families could not live together in the same place.  Why couldn’t Abraham and Lot and their families live together when they returned to Canaan from Egypt?  Genesis 13:5–7

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle, and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land...
Lot and Abraham were ranchers with substantial amounts of animals, this requires a significant amount of acreage to adequately provide for the maintenance of their stock. It would seem that there was not enough quality grazing acreage in the region around Bethel to support the herds of both men.  This caused a big strife between the families which had to be dealt with.  
 What do we learn about Abraham from his actions in dealing with this conflict? Genesis 13:8–9
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
In this scripture account, what is the lesson for us?  Life is basically the same, then and now.  We have families we raise them, we try our best to live righteously.  Though we do all these things conflicts will arise, some that may be very hard.  Abraham, rather than worry about who is right or who is wrong, or what belongs to whom.  Rather than worry about his pride, he puts his own interests aside to preserve family peace and unity.  For Abraham it was the Lord and family first.  He followed the example of Christ even in difficult times with those he loved.  
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "We see generosity of spirit in the life of Abraham when he and Lot, who was his nephew, found their cattle grazing on the same land. There was strife between the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and of Lot's cattle. It is Abraham who took the initiative and said unto Lot, 'Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.' (Genesis 13:7-9.) The complete, genuine willingness of Abraham to adjust to whatever Lot's decision was is the mark of a generosity of spirit of that remarkable patriarch." (That My Family Should Partake, pp92-93)
After the conflict where did Lot choose to live?  Genesis 13:10–12
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Lot found land that was good and chose the plain of Jordan, however rather than stay in the land of Canaan he lived in the cities surrounding Sodom, pitching his tent toward Sodom. The land was appealing to him, it was well watered and beautiful and he found it more desirable. Genesis 13:10.   Eventually, he moved into Sodom and found that the city was extremely wicked Genesis 13:13, yet he still, even after seeing the wickedness, chose to stay, pitching his tent toward Sodom.  
What is interesting is that at first, Lot “lived in the cities of the plain,” outside Sodom,  he only “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12).  But after pitching his tent toward Sodom and living this way for a time; he became acclimated to the environment, or complacent to the ways of the wicked and then moved into the city of Sodom itself, it became appealing to him and so he overlooked the wickedness. (Genesis 14:12)
What things might we do that are the spiritual equivalent of pitching our tents toward Sodom?  We may associate with evil things instead of shunning them, such as accepting worldly things like undesirable television, movies, or literature.  We might have an attitude of attraction towards the behaviors or things of the world; or in our hearts we may find ourselves desiring things that are sinful.  We may allow ourselves to commit small sins without thinking that they may lead to bigger ones.  

How can we change our behavior before little problems or sins become big ones?  By choosing to "Pitch our Tents" toward the gospel, making necessary changes, and repenting daily, we can avoid disaster.  Like Lot, the people of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon also pitched their tents facing a specific direction. What did their tents face? The Temple.  If we, in our lives, can choose the same, all the difference will be made.  One can pitch a tent entrance in only one direction. Which way will we pitch our tents? Towards Sodom or the temple? 

“Abraham’s desire to do God’s will in all things led him to preside over his family in righteousness. Despite all his other responsibilities, he knew that if he failed to teach and exemplify the gospel to his children he would have failed to fulfill the most important stewardship he had received.” (“The Example of Abraham,”Ensign, June 1975, p. 5.)

2. Abraham rescues Lot, pays tithes to Melchizedek, and refuses to accept the spoils of war from the king of Sodom. Genesis 14:1–2, 8–24.

While Lot lived in Sodom, the kings of several city-states, including Sodom and Gomorrah, began warring with one another.  During this war, Lot and his possessions were taken captive by Chedorlaomer, king of Elam (Genesis 14:12).  One of the prisoners of the king of Elam escaped and fled to Canaan and informed Abraham of Lot's capture (Genesis 14:13).  Abraham formed an army of 318 men and pursued Lot's captors, smote them, and rescued Lot and his household (Genesis 14:15-16)

Whom did Abraham meet with after rescuing Lot?  The king of Sodom and Melchizedek (Genesis 14:17-18)

Who was Melchizedek?   Genesis 14:18 D&C 107:1–2   King of Salem, the priest of the most high God.  According to Alma, the people of Salem "had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination."  He preached repentance to the people, they repented, and lived righteously. Melchizedek established peace in the land and was called "the prince of peace." Alma said that there were no greater priests than Melchizedek. Alma 13:17-19  

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

D&C 107  Melchizedek is thought to be Shem. Although it is a proper name, the word Melchizedek also means "king of righteousness." 

1 There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.
2 Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.

Let us examine first what we know about Shem. Although the Bible names Shem as the eldest son of Noah (Gen. 5:32), modern-day revelation places Japheth as the eldest (Moses 8:12). Both reports, however, are harmonious in naming Shem as the progenitor of Israel and in the fact that the priesthood descended through Shem to all the great patriarchs after Noah. (1 Chr. 1:24–27.) In this patriarchal order of priesthood, Shem stands next to Noah. He held the keys to the priesthood and was the great high priest of his day.*

Living contemporary with Shem was a man known as Melchizedek, who was also known as the great high priest.** The scriptures give us the details of Shem’s birth and ancestry but are silent as to his ministry and later life. Of Melchizedek, however, the opposite is true. Nothing is recorded about his birth or ancestry, even though the Book of Mormon states that he did have a father. (Alma 13:17–18.) Concerning his ministry and life we have several interesting and important facts. (Gen. 14:18–20; Heb. 7:1–4; Alma 13:17–18.)

All of this provokes some questions and calls for answers. Were there two high priests presiding at the same time? Why is the record silent concerning Shem’s ministry? Why is nothing known concerning Melchizedek’s ancestry?

Because of this state of knowledge on our part, many Saints and gospel scholars have wondered if these men were the same person. The truth is, we do not know the answer. But an examination of the scriptures is fascinating, because it seems to indicate that these men may have been one and the same. For example, here is the case for their oneness:

1. The inheritance given to Shem included the land of Salem. Melchizedek appears in scripture as the king of Salem, who reigns over this area.

2. Shem, according to later revelation, reigned in righteousness and the priesthood came through him. Melchizedek appears on the scene with a title that means “king of righteousness.”

3. Shem was the great high priest of his day. Abraham honored the high priest Melchizedek by seeking a blessing at his hands and paying him tithes.

4. Abraham stands next to Shem in the patriarchal order of the priesthood and would surely have received the priesthood from Shem; but D&C 84:5–17 says Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek.

5. Jewish tradition identifies Shem as Melchizedek.***

6. President Joseph F. Smith’s remarkable vision names Shem among the great patriarchs, but no mention is made of Melchizedek.

7. Times and Seasons (vol. 6, p. 746) speaks of “Shem, who was Melchizedek.”

On the other hand, there is a case for their being two distinct personalities. Many persons believe D&C 84:14 is proof that there are perhaps several generations between Melchizedek and Noah. The scripture says, “Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah.”

If it does turn out that Shem and Melchizedek are the same person, this scripture should prove no stumbling block, because it could be interpreted to mean that priesthood authority commenced with Adam and came through the fathers, even till Noah, and then to Shem.


* Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Deseret Book Co., 1919) p. 474.

** D&C 107:2; Heb. 7:4; Alma 13:17; Gen. 14:18–20.

*** When Abraham returned from the war, Shem, or, as he is sometimes called, Melchizedek, the king of righteousness, priest of the Most High God. …” (Ginsberg, Legends of the Jews, p. 233.) “Jewish tradition pronounces Melchizedek to be a survivor of the Deluge, the patriarch Shem.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 393.) “And Adonizedek king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem. …
(Book of Jasher 16:11.)
("I Have a Question," Ensign, November 1973)

What did Abraham give to Melchizedek?   Genesis 14:20    Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:36–40

20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.
37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;
38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.
39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.
40 And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.
In this part of the account what is our lesson?  Tithing is extremely important, it is an offering of faith, and obedience and we are greatly blessed, cared for and protected when adhering to this commandment.    
Elder John A. Widtsoe: "Tithing has been instituted in the Church in every dispensation when the United Order has not been established. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. In Malachi, one who neglects this law is said to rob God. The Savior sanctions it. In our present dispensation, tithing, the lesser law, exists in place of the United Order." (Priesthood and Church Government, p60)
At the time of Abraham's return he also met with the kind of Sodom.  The King in gratitude for Abraham's victory offered him up all the spoils of war, but Abraham refused to accept even a thread.  Genesis 14:21–24
Why did Abraham refuse? He did not want to receive anything from an unrighteous king.  
What might be considered a “thread” of immorality in today’s world? What might be a “thread” of dishonesty?
How do we sometimes compromise in the amount of unrighteousness we are willing to accept in the entertainment we seek?
Why is it important that we try not to let even a small amount of worldly ways into our lives? 2 Nephi 28:20–21
20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
3. The Lord destroys Sodom and Gomorrah Genesis 18:16–33; 19:1–29
After the rescue of lot Abraham returned home, shortly thereafter he received a visit from "the Lord" and "three men" They told him that Because of the iniquity of the people in Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord would destroy these cities.  Genesis 18:20–21
20 And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
In the Genesis account it is clear that the people of these two cities had become extremely immoral, engaging in homosexuality and other abuses.  But the prophet Ezekiel gave great insight when he said:  49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.  Ezekiel 16: 49-50
James said that the pure religion was to visits the fatherless and widows in their afflictions and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.  Sodom and Gomorrah not only had partakers of the filthiness of sexual immorality but had rejected their fellow men in need.  (Old Testament Teacher Manual) 
What did Abraham ask of the Lord after learning of this plan?  Genesis 18:23–32
23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
26 And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.
32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
What can we learn from the fact that the Lord was willing to spare the cities if righteous people could be found within them?  "It is not uncommon to hear a person say, 'Can one person really make a difference?' The answer is a definite yes. Alma told the people of Ammonihah that 'if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction' (Alma 10:22). He then warned them, 'If ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand' (Alma 10:23). Like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, the people of Ammonihah refused to repent or recognize the few righteous among them were their only protection, so they killed them and cast them out. Therefore, a short time later the entire city was destroyed." (Old Testament Student Manual, p76)
Lot Visited By Angels - Genesis 19
While Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom, he was visited by two angels.  The angels accepted the hospitality of Lot and remained with him.  
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
What happened while these messengers were with Lot? 
4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Lot responded to these men:
7 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
JST Genesis 19:11, 13 reads:  "Wherefore they said unto the man, We will have the men, and thy daughters also; and we will do with them as seemeth us good.... And Lot said, Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, plead with my brethren that I may not bring them out unto you; and ye shall not do unto them as seemeth good in your eyes."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell:  "A word of clarification concerning Lots daughters:  In the King James version of the Old Testament (Genesis 19:8), Lot is portrayed as offering to substitute his two daughters to the mob of marauding men who surrounded Lot's house, demanding that Lot deliver to the mob his two divine male visitors. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Inspired Translation shows us a Lot equally determined to protect his two daughters and the divine visitors. Peter could scarcely have described Lot as a 'just man' if it were otherwise." (Look Back at Sodom, Footnotes)
What Happened Next?  
9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
Lot was then instructed to take his family and leave the city:  
12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:
13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.
Why was Lot instructed to leave Sodom?  Genesis 19:12–13, 15
15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
How did Lot’s sons-in-law react when he urged them to leave? Genesis 19:14 
14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
Why do some people refuse to remove themselves from bad influences even when they are aware of the danger?  complacent?  rationalize choices or the choices of others?  Politically correct?  Easier to live the crocked road?  Wish to keep your sins?   Listen to the whisperings of Satan? 
What counsel did the angels give as Lot and his family left the city? Genesis 19:17 
17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
The Savior has given similar counsel to his followers (Luke 9:62; 17:29–32; D&C 133:14–15). What does “looking back” represent?  Reluctance to give up what is asked of us; a less than complete commitment to following Christ.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
14 Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.
15 But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him.
How might we sometimes “look back”?   Record your thoughts in your journal or gospel doctrine notebook! 
What happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back at Sodom? Genesis 19:26
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

Lot’s Wife and the Pillar of Salt

The account of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt has puzzled many commentators. Was this event a literal thing, or was it figurative? There are two indications in the scriptures that the phrase “looked back” was an idiomatic way of saying “she turned back” or “returned to Sodom.” When warning the disciples of the destruction which was going to come upon Jerusalem, the Savior warned them to flee without delay, not even going into the house to get their possessions. Jesus said, “And he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:31–32; emphasis added). He then admonished them that he who seeks to save his life will lose it, and he who loses his life will find it. Elder Bruce R. McConkie paraphrased those verses in these words:
“Look not back to Sodom and the wealth and luxury you are leaving. Stay not in the burning house, in the hope of salvaging your treasures, lest the flame destroy you; but flee, flee to the mountains.
“Seek temporal things and lose eternal life; sacrifice the things of this life and gain eternal life.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:645.)
The implication is that Lot’s wife started back to Sodom, perhaps to save some possessions, and was caught in the destruction.
In the Doctrine and Covenants is a scripture that uses the same terminology as Genesis 19:26. After warning the Saints to flee spiritual Babylon, which is wickedness, the Lord says, “He that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him” (D&C 133:15; emphasis added). Again, the implication is that of a return to wickedness.
Most scholars agree that the most probable site of Sodom is now covered by the southern part of the Dead Sea, a body of water with a high salt content. If Lot’s wife returned to Sodom, she would have been caught in the destruction. Her becoming a pillar of salt could be a figurative way of expressing this outcome.
But whatever it was that happened to Lot’s wife, it is clear that she perished.  (Old Testament Student Manual)
What can the story of Lot’s wife teach us about repentance?  To repent we must change our hearts and our behavior. To do this we must sometimes choose a new environment and new associates, we must sometimes choose a new life...
What did Lot lose because he “pitched his tent toward Sodom”?  He lost everything...
How are we affected when we allow ourselves to be surrounded by evil, even if we are not directly participating in sinful acts?  It is like dust and has the tendency to collect.  If we leave it long enough it will collect and cause large amounts of dirt to accumulate causing the need for a deep clean.  If we don't clean, the dirt eventually will eat everything away causing great troubles.  
What does Genesis 19:29 suggest was the reason Lot was spared when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed?  The Lord remembered the righteousness of Abraham, and spared Lot at the request of Abraham who loved him.  

President Spencer W. Kimball:  "Our world is now much the same as it was in the days of the Nephite prophet who said: '...if it were not for the prayers of the would even now be visited with utter destruction....' Of course, there are many many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction" (Ensign, June 1971, p16)
The importance of keeping ourselves free from sin, even when evil is all around us is vital.  We need to strive to be a righteous influence in the world instead of letting worldly things influence us.

Elder M. Russell Ballard:  “In the Church, we often state the couplet, ‘Be in the world but not of the world.’ As we observe television shows that make profanity, violence, and infidelity commonplace and even glamorous, we often wish we could lock out the world in some way and isolate our families from it all. …
“Perhaps we should state the couplet previously mentioned as two separate admonitions. First, ‘Be in the world.’ Be involved; be informed. Try to be understanding and tolerant and to appreciate diversity. Make meaningful contributions to society through service and involvement. Second, ‘Be not of the world.’ Do not follow wrong paths or bend to accommodate or accept what is not right. …
“Members of the Church need to influence more than we are influenced. We should work to stem the tide of sin and evil instead of passively being swept along by it. We each need to help solve the problem rather than avoid or ignore it” (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 100–101; or Ensign, May 1989, 80).
Elder D Todd Christofferson:  Not long ago, a friend recounted to me an experience he had while serving as a mission president. He had undergone a surgery that required several weeks of recuperation. During his recovery, he devoted time to searching the scriptures. One afternoon as he pondered the Savior’s words in the 27th chapter of 3 Nephi, he drifted off to sleep. He subsequently related: 
“I fell into a dream in which I was given a vivid, panoramic view of my life. I was shown my sins, poor choices, the times … I had treated people with impatience, plus the omissions of good things I should have said or done. … [A] comprehensive … [review of] my life was shown to me in just a few minutes, but it seemed much longer. I awoke, startled, and … instantly dropped to my knees beside the bed and began to pray, to plead for forgiveness, pouring out the feelings of my heart like I had never done previously.
“Prior to the dream, I didn’t know that I [had] such great need to repent. My faults and weaknesses suddenly became so plainly clear to me that the gap between the person I was and the holiness and goodness of God seemed [like] millions of miles. In my prayer that late afternoon, I expressed my deepest gratitude to Heavenly Father and to the Savior with my whole heart for what They had done for me and for the relationships I treasured with my wife and children. While on my knees I also felt God’s love and mercy that was so palpable, despite my feeling so unworthy. …
“I can say I haven’t been the same since that day. … My heart changed. … What followed is that I developed more empathy toward others, with a greater capacity to love, coupled with a sense of urgency to preach the gospel. … I could relate to the messages of faith, hope, and the gift of repentance found in the Book of Mormon [as] never before.”19

It is important to recognize that this good man’s vivid revelation of his sins and shortcomings did not discourage him or lead him to despair. Yes, he felt shock and remorse. He felt keenly his need to repent. He had been humbled, yet he felt gratitude, peace, and hope—real hope—because of Jesus Christ...The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven

Dictionary of the Bible, Smith's Bible Dictionary, William Smith
That My Family Should Partake, pp92-93

The Example of Abraham,”Ensign, June 1975 

"I Have a Question," Ensign, November 1973
Priesthood and Church Government, p60
Look Back at Sodom, Footnotes
Old Testament Student Manual
Old Testament Teacher Manual
Conference Report 1989
Ensign June 1971
The Gospel Doctrine Class

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The Fall of Adam and Eve

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