Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, January 24, 2020

“Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God”



Scripture links are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog


When God has a monumental work for His prophet to do, He often gives that prophet a monumental vision that helps him understand God’s purposes for His children. Moses saw a vision of “this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens” Moses 1:36. The Apostle John saw the history of the world and the Savior’s Second Coming (see the book of Revelation). Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son Joseph Smith—History 1:17–18. Lehi, as we have learned saw a vision that portrayed the journey we must make toward the Savior and His love.

As recorded in 1 Nephi 11–14, Nephi, as a prophet of God, saw the ministry of the Savior, the future of Lehi’s posterity in the promised land, and the latter-day destiny of God’s work. This vision helped to prepare Nephi for the work that lay ahead of him, and it can also help prepare us; for God has a work for you personally to do in His kingdom.  Each of us are among “the saints of the church of the Lamb” seen by Nephi, “who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” 1 Nephi 14:14. Thus it is important for us to understand why Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s love? That we may be ready and able to do and accomplish the work set forth.

History and Commentary
Nephi wrote to persuade men to come unto Jesus Christ. It is our job to seek to understand how Nephi's words fulfill this mission. The chapters 1 Nephi 11–15 contain principles that may help us as we share the gospel with others. They also teach us of the condescension of God, how to resist Satan's influence, how the Lord prepared for the restoration of the gospel after apostasy and just what the Book of Morman actally teaches. 

Some Doctrines and Principles to remember during study:

The devil founded a “great and abominable church” to “pervert the right ways of the Lord”  1 Nephi 13:1–9, 26–29; 14:9–13.

The Lord has restored plain and precious truths to help us come unto Him  1 Nephi 13:20–42.

Prayer leads to revelation  1 Nephi 15:1–11.

The Lord remembers His covenants with the house of Israel 1 Nephi 15:12–20.

Chapter Summaries 

Chapter 11
Nephi sees the Spirit of the Lord and is shown in vision the tree of life.  He sees the mother of the Son of God and learns of the condescension of God.  He sees the baptism, ministry, and crucifixion of the Lamb of God.  He sees also the call and ministry of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb. About 600–592 B.C.

Nephi sees in vision the land of promise; the righteousness, iniquity, and downfall of its inhabitants; the coming of the Lamb of God among them; how the Twelve Disciples and the Twelve Apostles will judge Israel; and the loathsome and filthy state of those who dwindle in unbelief. About 600–592 B.C.

Chapter 13
Nephi sees in vision the church of the devil set up among the Gentiles, the discovery and colonizing of America, the loss of many plain and precious parts of the Bible, the resultant state of gentile apostasy, the restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of latter-day scripture, and the building up of Zion. About 600–592 B.C.

Chapter 14
An angel tells Nephi of the blessings and cursings to fall upon the Gentiles.  There are only two churches: the Church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil.  The Saints of God in all nations are persecuted by the great and abominable church.  The Apostle John will write concerning the end of the world. About 600–592 B.C.

Nephi received a vision in which he saw the future of his people and the people of Laman and Lemuel. In this vision he saw “the formation of a great church”  The phrases “great and abominable church” and “church of the devil” do not really refer to a church. “In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 6:364).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles defined the great and abominable church: “The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all … organizations of whatever name or nature—whether political, philosophical, educational, economic, social, fraternal, civic, or religious—which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 137–38).

One commentator explained that the great and abominable church consists of more than one entity:
“Actually, no single known historical church, denomination, or set of believers meets all the requirements for the great and abominable church: it must have formed among the Gentiles; it must have edited and controlled the distribution of the scriptures; it must have slain the Saints of God, including the Apostles and prophets; it must be in league with civil governments and use their police power to enforce its religious views; it must have dominion over all the earth; it must pursue great wealth and sexual immorality; and it must last until close to the end of the world. No single denomination or system of beliefs fits the entire description. Rather, the role of Babylon has been played by many different agencies, ideologies, and churches in many different times. …
“Can we, then, identify the historical agency that acted as the great and abominable church in earliest Christianity? Such an agent would have had its origins in the second half of the first century and would have done much of its work by the middle of the second century.
“This period might be called the blind spot in Christian history, for it is here that the fewest primary historical sources have been preserved. We have good sources for New Testament Christianity; then the lights go out, so to speak, and we hear the muffled sounds of a great struggle. When the lights come on again a hundred or so years later, we find that someone has rearranged all the furniture and Christianity has become something very different from what it was in the beginning”
(Stephen E. Robinson, “Warring against the Saints of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 38–39).

Chapter 15
Lehi’s seed are to receive the gospel from the Gentiles in the latter days.  The gathering of Israel is likened unto an olive tree whose natural branches will be grafted in again.  Nephi interprets the vision of the tree of life and speaks of the justice of God in dividing the wicked from the righteous. About 600–592 B.C.

Some questions to consider during your study:  

What are the Apostasy and the Restoration?  During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ established His Church with priesthood authority. It was led by prophets and apostles who taught true doctrine and received revelation that was recorded as scripture. With the death of the apostles, priesthood authority was taken from the earth, revelation ceased, and essential doctrines were lost or corrupted. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Church that Jesus Christ established was restored. 


Why is the Book of Mormon necessary?  The Book of Mormon was written for our day. It testifies of Jesus Christ, contains the fulness of His gospel, and restores truths lost through the Apostasy. Joseph Smith taught that the Book of Mormon is “the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (introduction to the Book of Mormon).


How can I know the truths of God for myself?  The Truth of All Things


Part 1: 1 Nephi 11:1–5, 13–33 God sent Jesus Christ as an expression of His love.

An angel showed Nephi symbols and events from the Savior’s life that demonstrate the love of God.

1 For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.
2 And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?
3 And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.
4 And the Spirit said unto me: Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?

5 And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.

13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
22 And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.
24 And after he had said these words, he said unto me: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him.
25 And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God.
26 And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God!
27 And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.
28 And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them.
29 And I also beheld twelve others following him. And it came to pass that they were carried away in the Spirit from before my face, and I saw them not.
30 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the heavens open again, and I saw angels descending upon the children of men; and they did minister unto them.
31 And he spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.
32 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.


The word condescension in 1 Nephi 11:16, 26  may be defined as a voluntary descent from rank or dignity (see Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828)

How does this word describe the Savior’s mission?  “The condescension of God lies in the fact that he, an exalted Being, steps down from his eternal throne to become the Father of a mortal Son” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah [1979], 1:314).

The condescension of God also refers to the condescension of Jesus Christ. “Here was Jesus—a member of the Godhead, the Firstborn of the Father, the Creator, Jehovah of the Old Testament—now leaving His divine and holy station; divesting Himself of all that glory and majesty and entering the body of a tiny infant; helpless, completely dependent on His mother and earthly father. That He should not come to the finest of earthly palaces and be … showered with jewels but should come to a lowly stable is astonishing. Little wonder that the angel should say to Nephi, ‘Behold the condescension of God!’ (1 Ne. 11:26.)” (Gerald N. Lund, Jesus Christ, Key to the Plan of Salvation [1991], 16).

What did Nephi learn about how the Savior would spend His time in mortality?

18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
22 And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.

26 And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God!
27 And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove.

28 And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them.
29 And I also beheld twelve others following him. And it came to pass that they were carried away in the Spirit from before my face, and I saw them not.
30 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the heavens open again, and I saw angels descending upon the children of men; and they did minister unto them.
31 And he spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.


How can the Savior’s mortal ministry help us understand God’s love?

How do the Savior’s actions show His condescension?

What do these verses teach about the condescension of Jesus Christ.  1 Nephi 11:32–33  
32 And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

In what ways might the Savior’s suffering and Crucifixion provide the ultimate example of His condescension?

What does the Savior’s willingness to condescend to suffer and die for us demonstrate about His feelings for us?  The condescension of Jesus Christ demonstrates His love for us.

How does your knowledge of the birth, mortal ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ help you understand the love that He and Heavenly Father have for you?

How does knowing about the Savior’s condescension and love influence your feelings about Him?


Part 2: 1 Nephi 12–15 God will help us resist Satan’s influence
After Nephi saw the Savior’s mortal ministry and Atonement in vision, he saw that after four generations of righteousness, his posterity would be destroyed. He was also shown the iniquity of those who follow Satan in the great and abominable church. He saw that they would remove plain and precious truths from the Bible, causing many to stumble spiritually. In addition, Nephi saw that God would prepare the way for the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days. He also witnessed that the record of his people (the Book of Mormon) would come forth in the latter days to restore plain and precious truths that had been lost to the world.

These chapters help us to understand why we are armed with righteousness and that if we are “armed with righteousness and with the power of God” we will be able to resist Satan's influence.  


The people in Nephi’s vision who were wandering in mists of darkness or facing the scorn of those in the large and spacious building.

Why is the mists of darkness a good symbol for temptation? 1 Nephi 12:17
17 And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.

Why is the large and spacious building is a good symbol for the vain imaginations and pride of the world?  1 Nephi 12:18
18 And the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God, and the Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the Holy Ghost beareth record, from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and forever.

How do these verses teach how God will help us overcome temptation, vanity, and pride?   1 Nephi 13:34–40; 14:14.

34 And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father—wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.
35 For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.
36 And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.
37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
38 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.
39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.

40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.

What did Nephi learn about the power of God’s word?

How does Satan try to undermine the word of God? 1 Nephi 13:26–29

26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.
27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.
28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.
29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

What did the Lord and His prophets do to preserve His word?

How can you better study the scriptures to make the word of God a part of your daily life? 

Part 3: 1 Nephi 13 The Lord prepared the way for the Restoration of His Church

In the beginning of this chapter Nephi describes the great and abomnibal church.  As stated previously this is not referring to a church but rather anything that is designed to take men on a course away from God.  

What are some general characteristics associated with the great and abominable church?  

How can recognizing these help you avoid deception? 1 Nephi 13:4–9
4 And it came to pass that I saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church.
5 And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.
6 And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.
7 And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots.
8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.

9 And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity.

1 Nephi 13:12 describes a man among the Gentiles who is this refereeing to?  12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

 President Ezra Taft Benson identified this man among the Gentiles as Christopher Columbus: “God inspired ‘a man among the Gentiles’ (1 Nephi 13:12) who, by the Spirit of God was led to rediscover the land of America and bring this rich new land to the attention of the people in Europe. That man, of course, was Christopher Columbus, who testified that he was inspired in what he did.  Our Lord,’ said Columbus, ‘unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my enterprise called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?’ (Jacob Wasserman, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, pp. 19–20.)” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 577).
In 1 Nephi 13:12–19 President Joseph F. Smith  linked the establishment of the United States of America with the Restoration of the gospel: “This great American nation the Almighty raised up by the power of his omnipotent hand, that it might be possible in the latter days for the kingdom of God to be established in the earth. If the Lord had not prepared the way by laying the foundations of this glorious nation, it would have been impossible (under the stringent laws and bigotry of the monarchical governments of the world) to have laid the foundations for the coming of his great kingdom. The Lord has done this” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 409).

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of how God inspired the founders of America to establish a new nation with religious freedom for all in preparation for the Restoration of the gospel: “Over a century later [after the discovery of America] such religious feeling guided founders of a new nation on the American continent. Under God’s hand they secured religious freedom for every citizen with an inspired Bill of Rights. Fourteen years later, on December 23, 1805, the Prophet Joseph Smith was born. The preparation was nearing its completion for the Restoration” (Conference Report, Oct. 2005, 94; or Ensign, Nov. 2005, 90).

Nephi mentioned a book with parts taken out. What is the book? The Bible

What are some of the things that were removed? 1 Nephi 13:20–29
20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.
21 And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?
22 And I said unto him: I know not.
23 And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.
24 And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.
25 Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God.
26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.
27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.
28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.
29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained the meaning of “plain and precious”: “Elements … missing from the Bible were both ‘plain and most precious.’ They were plain in their simplicity and clarity, being easy to ‘the understanding of … men’; they were precious in their purity and profound worth, their saving significance and eternal importance to the children of God” (Christ and the New Covenant [1997], 5).

Why were plain and prescious truths removed? “Apparently the original manuscripts of the Bible disappeared very early. This seems particularly true of the New Testament. Sir Frederic Kenyon, one of the greatest textual scholars of the early twentieth century, commented thus: ‘The originals of the several books have long ago disappeared. They must have perished in the very infancy of the Church; for no allusion is ever made to them by any Christian writer.’ Kenyon’s statement is particularly important to us because it means that for centuries there has not been an original Bible manuscript to guide the reader. Even in the early decades of the original Christian church, the original texts seem to have been absent. …“The angel [in 1 Nephi 13:21–29] makes it clear that he is not talking about subtle accidents of hand and eye, resulting in a few misplaced letters or words—the unplanned errors of copyists. He pointedly ascribes these changes to the planned editorial work of designing men [see 1 Nephi 13:27–28]. …“As we read the words of the angel, we discover that the world never has had a complete Bible, for it was massively—even cataclysmically—corrupted before it was distributed. Of course, in addition to the major willful corruption of the Bible in the early Christian era, the manuscripts have also continued to suffer the gradual and relatively mild changes, due to errors of hand and eye, that the scholars talk about. Thus there have been two processes at work: (1) a major, sudden, and deliberate editorial corruption of the text and (2) a gradual promulgation of variants that has occurred as a natural consequence of copying and translation” (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [1990], 74–75).

Joseph Smith taught that “many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (History of the Church, 1:245). 

He also said that the Bible was correct as “it came from the pen of the original writers,” but that “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (History of the Church, 6:57.)

**What is meant by the term Gentiles in the Book of Mormon? Gentiles means “the nations.” It refers to (1) those who are not of the house of Israel, (2) those who do not believe in the God of Israel or who do not have the gospel, regardless of their lineage, and (3) people who are not from or do not live in the land of Judah. For example, pilgrims and colonists in the Americas are called Gentiles in 1 Nephi 13:3–13. Those who brought forth the Book of Mormon are called Gentiles in 1 Nephi 13:34. The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price were also brought forth by Gentiles (see 1 Nephi 13:39). (Book of Mormon Student Manual) 

How does 1 Nephi 13:32–40  explain that plain and precious things will be or were restored? 
32 Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen.
33 Wherefore saith the Lamb of God: I will be merciful unto the Gentiles, unto the visiting of the remnant of the house of Israel in great judgment.
34 And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father—wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.
35 For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.
36 And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.
37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
38 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.
39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.


President James E. Faust spoke of how the standard works of the Church have been the principal means of restoring lost truths:  “The Apostle John saw in vision the time when an angel would come to the earth as part of the Restoration of the gospel. That angel was Moroni, who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith. He directed Joseph to the place where golden plates containing ancient writings were deposited. Joseph Smith then translated these plates by the gift and power of God, and the Book of Mormon was published. This is a record of two groups of people who lived centuries ago on the American continent. Little was known about them before the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. But more importantly, the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ. It restored precious truths concerning the Fall, the Atonement, the Resurrection, and life after death.
“Prior to the Restoration, the heavens had been closed for centuries. But with prophets and apostles upon the earth once more, the heavens were opened once again with visions and revelations. Many of the revelations that came to the Prophet Joseph Smith were written down in a book that came to be known as the Doctrine and Covenants. This contains further insights about principles and ordinances and is a valuable source concerning the structure of the priesthood. In addition, we have another canon of scripture called the Pearl of Great Price. It contains the book of Moses, which came by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the book of Abraham, which he translated from a purchased Egyptian scroll. From these we learn not only a great deal more about Moses, Abraham, Enoch, and other prophets but also many more details about the Creation. We learn that the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught to all of the prophets from the beginning—even from the time of Adam”  (Conference Report, Apr. 2006, 68; or Ensign, May 2006, 67–68).


The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible also helps restore many plain and precious truths. The Joseph Smith Translation is “a revision or translation of the King James Version of the Bible in English, which the Prophet Joseph Smith began in June 1830. He was commanded by God to make the translation and regarded it as part of his calling as a prophet. …

The Joseph Smith Translation has restored some of the plain and precious things that have been lost from the Bible (1 Nephi 13). Although it is not the official Bible of the Church, this translation does offer many interesting insights and is very valuable in understanding the Bible. It is also a witness for the divine calling and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Joseph Smith Translation”; see also 2 Nephi 3:11; History of the Church, 1:238).
With continuing revelation in the Lord’s Church, the process of bringing the plain and precious doctrines and principles of the gospel to people throughout the world is an ongoing process. The conference reports and other inspired writings from the Lord’s apostles and prophets are vital for gospel understanding of the plain and precious truths.

Part 4: 1 Nephi 13:20–41 The Book of Mormon teaches plain and precious truths
 1 Nephi 13:20–41 teaches us about why we need the Book of Mormon.

20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.
21 And the angel said unto me: Knowest thou the meaning of the book?
22 And I said unto him: I know not.
23 And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.
24 And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.
25 Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God.
26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.
27 And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.
28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.
29 And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.
30 Nevertheless, thou beholdest that the Gentiles who have gone forth out of captivity, and have been lifted up by the power of God above all other nations, upon the face of the land which is choice above all other lands, which is the land that the Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance; wherefore, thou seest that the Lord God will not suffer that the Gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed, which are among thy brethren.
31 Neither will he suffer that the Gentiles shall destroy the seed of thy brethren.
32 Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness, which thou beholdest they are in, because of the plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, whose formation thou hast seen.
33 Wherefore saith the Lamb of God: I will be merciful unto the Gentiles, unto the visiting of the remnant of the house of Israel in great judgment.
34 And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father—wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb—I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.
35 For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.
36 And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.
37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.
38 And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren.
39 And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

41 And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.

What are some of the “plain and precious things” that were lost from the Bible and restored through the Book of Mormon?  verses 26 and 39The Book of Mormon refutes notions that:  

Revelation ended with the Bible.
Infants need to be baptized.
Happiness can be found in wickedness.
Individual goodness is adequate for exaltation (ordinances and covenants are needed).
The Fall of Adam tainted mankind with “original sin.”

How does the Book of Mormon restore or clarify these things?  The Book of Mormon clarifies understanding about:

Our premortal existence.
Death. It is a necessary component of God’s great plan of happiness.
Postmortal existence, which begins in paradise.
How the resurrection of the body, reunited with its spirit, becomes an immortal soul.
How our judgment by the Lord will be according to our deeds and the desires of our hearts.
How ordinances are properly performed: for example, baptism, sacrament, conferring the Holy Ghost.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection.
The important role of angels.
The eternal nature of priesthood.
How human behavior is influenced more by the power of the word than the power of the sword.

Why does the world need the Book of Mormon?  The Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures restore plain and precious truths that help us know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that we must come unto Him to be saved.

Elder Tad R. Callister taught:  “The Bible is one witness of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon is another. Why is this second witness so crucial? The following illustration may help: How many straight lines can you draw through a single point on a piece of paper? The answer is infinite. For a moment, suppose that single point represents the Bible and that hundreds of those straight lines drawn through that point represent different interpretations of the Bible and that each of those interpretations represents a different church.

“What happens, however, if on that piece of paper there is a second point representing the Book of Mormon? How many straight lines could you draw between these two reference points: the Bible and the Book of Mormon? Only one. Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses”
(“The Book of Mormon—a Book from God,” Ensign Nov. 2011, 75).

How have these restored “plain and precious things” helped you become closer to God? 

Conclusion
After Nephi learned the interpretation of the vision of the tree of life, he received a panoramic vision of the future. He saw the land of promise where his family would settle. He saw periods of contention, war, and sinfulness and periods of righteousness and peace among his descendants and the descendants of Laman and Lemuel. He saw the Savior’s ministry in the Americas. He also saw the Great Apostasy, the Restoration of the gospel, Satan’s continuing battle against truth, and the central role of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. As you read Nephi’s vision and read about the final triumph of God’s kingdom over Satan, you can find comfort in the knowledge that the Lord will remember His covenants with His Saints. You can be assured that despite threats from the devil and those in his kingdom, God is in control and will strengthen His faithful followers as they participate in His work.

Resources 
Book of Mormon Student Manual
Conference Reportrs
Ensign
Guide to the Scriptures
History of the Church
Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible!
Christ and the New Covenant
Gospel Doctrine 5th edition
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson
Mortal Messiah Bruce R McConknie
Gerald N. Lund, Jesus Christ, Key to the Plan of Salvation  
Mormon Doctrine 2nd Edition Bruce R McConkie
Pearl of Great Price
Joseph Smith Translation Bible
Holy Bible King James Version




The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...