BOOK OF MORMON - LESSON 12
"Seek Ye For The Kingdom Of God"
A study of this lesson will help us feel a greater desire to magnify our
callings, be chaste, and invite others to come unto Christ..
Jacob magnifies his calling from the Lord.
Jacob warns against the love of riches, pride, and unchastity.
Jacob testifies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT JACOB?
Nephi's commission to Jacob.
The elder of the two sons of Lehi and Sariah born in the wilderness.
Born sometime between 600 & 590 BC.
Jacob was probably between the ages of 44 and 54 when Nephi charged him
to care for the plates.
Lehi in speaking to Jacob said: "In thy childhood
thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness
of thy brethren" (2 Ne. 2:1).
Because of his righteousness Jacob had seen the Lord.
After the death of Lehi, Jacob fled with Nephi and others into the wilderness.
Jacob and his brother, Joseph, were consecrated priests over the people.
Jacob said regarding his life: "...the time passed
away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a
dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from
Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren,
which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days"
READ JACOB 1:1-4.
Nephi's commission: To write upon the plates a "few
of the things which I considered to be most precious".
WHAT INSIGHT DOES NEPHI'S INSTRUCTION GIVE US FOR KEEPING OUR OWN JOURNALS
Might we have both large and small plates? Certainly we need to keep
a record of events within our lives and within our families.
Might we consider "small plates" and write upon that, those things we consider
Jacob wrote on just over 18 pages that which he considered of greatest
Here is an interesting challenge to consider: Glean through your "large
plates", consider your life and thoughts, and write in approximately 18
pages that which you consider of most value to your children and their
In verses 13 and 14 Jacob distinguishes between the people of Nephi and
the people of Laman.
In verse 9 Nephi anointed a man to be king and ruler over his people "according
to the reigns of the kings."
Jacob does not say who was annointed king. It seems unlikely that
Jacob or Joseph were chosen as king due to their calling as priests and
teachers to the people.
Verse 12: Nephi dies and thus passes one of the great characters
and heroes of scriptural history.
Jacob to speaks to the people of Nephi.
He calls them Nephites and Lamanites.
Jacob 1:15-16: "And now it came to pass
that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to
grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices,
such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and
also Solomon, his son.
"Yea, and they also began
to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride."
READ JACOB 1:19, 2:2-3.
HOW SERIOUSLY DO WE TAKE OUR CALLINGS?
Hugh B. Brown: "President John Taylor said on
one occasion...'If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you
responsible for those you might have saved, had you done your duty.'
This is a challenging statement. If by reason of sins of commission
or omission lose what I might have had in the hereafter, I myself must
suffer and doubtless, my loved ones with me. But...if any of us fail
to teach, lead, direct, and help to save those under our direction...,
then the Lord will hold us responsible if they are lost as a result of
our failure." (The Abundant Life, p37)
Jacob's Temple Sermon - Jacob 2 & 3
READ JACOB 2:4-6. The solemnity of Jacob's purpose.
Riches & Pride.
It is not an easy task to speak to the people regarding their sins.
Jacob deeply loves his people. We might assume that they were close
friends, family and associates. He is so close to these people that
when he goes before the Lord he says that "it
grieveth my soul and causeth me to shrink with shame before the presence
of my Maker, that I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of
your hearts" (v6).
HOW DOES SIN BEGIN IN OUR LIVES?
Jacob said that he could tell concerning their "thoughts" and the "wickedness
of their hearts". Apparently, Jacob was so in tune with the Spirit,
he could perceive the thoughts and intents of the people.
Recall that Lehi in his dream beheld a "large and spacious building"
which Nephi learned represented the "vain imaginations and the pride
of the children of men" (1 Nephi 12:18).
Sin does not begin with an action, but in our thoughts, hearts, and imaginations.
The power of thoughts and imaginations are great. If given fertile
ground they can grow until they manifest themselves in physical deeds.
Denis Waitley, in his book Seeds of Greatness, makes this observation:
"Recent studies conducted by a Stanford University
research team have revealed that 'what we watch' does have an effect on
our imaginations, our learning patterns, and our behaviors. First, we are
exposed to new behaviors and characters. Next, we learn or acquire these
new behaviors. The last and most crucial step is that we adopt these behaviors
as our own. One of the most critical aspects of human development that
we need to understand is the influence of 'repeated viewing' and 'repeated
verbalizing' in shaping our future. The information goes in, 'harmlessly,
almost unnoticed,' on a daily basis, but we don't react to it until later,
when we aren't able to realize the basis for our reactions. In other words,
our value system is being formed without any conscious awareness on our
part of what is happening!" (Seeds of Greatness, p55)
HOW DO WE CONTROL THOSE THOUGHTS?
Mr. Waitley indicates above that our thoughts are being affected in a subtle
manner. Mr. Waitley continues, "What if
you and I could switch TV channels to one inside of our own head, in which
our minds were cameras instead of receivers? What if we scripted, produced,
casted, rehearsed, and broadcast our own programs...?" (Seeds
of Greatness, p55)
Mr. Waitley is telling us that we need to take an positive approach to
directing our thoughts. There are so many influences in the world
that are negatively affecting our thoughts and imaginations. What
things can we do to script positive thoughts?
Hold to the rod: Become familiar with the teachings of the Lord through
his prophets and then do them.
Prayer: What better way to script our thoughts than through He whom
we are trying to become.
Good works: When we are actively involved in doing good, vain imaginations
are not being given the space to flourish.
President Ezra Taft Benson said that people who are "captained
by Christ will be consumed in Christ.... Enter their homes, and the pictures
on their walls, the books on their shelves, the music in the air, their
words and acts reveal them as Christians." (Ensign, Nov 1985,
WHAT HAPPENED TO SOME OF THE NEPHITES AS A RESULT OF THE WEALTH THEY OBTAINED?
Jacob 2:13: "And the hand of providence
hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches;
and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your
brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks
and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute
your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they."
Lifted up in the pride of their hearts.
Wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of their apparel.
Persecuted their brethren because they felt that they were better.
One of the cyclic aspects of the Book of Mormon story is that righteous
President David O. McKay: "Gold does not corrupt
man, it is in the motive of acquiring that gold that corruption lies."
HOW CAN WE TEMPER THE UNRIGHTEOUS DESIRES CONCERNING THE OBTAINING OF MATERIAL
WEALTH AND ITS UNRIGHTEOUS USE ONCE IT IS OBTAINED?
READ JACOB 2:18-19. Seek first for the kingdom, then
use your riches with the intent to do good.
D&C 56:16-18: "Wo unto you rich men, that
will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your
souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and
of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and my soul is not saved!
"Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken,
whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and
whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose
eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
"But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart,
whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall
see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance;
for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs."
Remember the source of our riches: "For behold,
are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being,
even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment,
and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every
kind?" (Mosiah 4:19)
President N. Eldon Tanner: "We find examples...so
often where a person, forgetting who he is, wants to be popular with his
peers and wants their praise. So often athletes get so carried away
with their success and desire for praise that they forget their duty to
God and the importance of his approval and as a result lose their way.
This applies equally to politicians, members of fraternal organizations,
professions, and business. This craving for praise and popularity
too often controls actions, and as they succumb they find themselves bending
their character when they think they are only taking a bow....
"How much more satisfying
it is when we receive the praise of God, knowing that it is fully justified
and that his love and respect for us will persist, when usually the praise
of men is fleeting and most disappointing."
President Ezra Taft Benson: "In the scriptures
there is no such thing as righteous pride. It is always considered
a sin. We are not speaking of a wholesome view of self-worth, which
is best established by a close relationship with God. But we are
speaking of pride as the universal sin.... Especially, pride is a
'my will' rather than 'thy will' approach to life." (CR, Apr
President Benson: "...as we cleanse the inner
vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in
our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve,
but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change,
and it takes a humble person to change. But we can do it."
(CR, Apr 1986)
ARE WE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO MAKE THE CHANGES?
Jacob concludes his teaching against pride and says, "And
were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart
would rejoice exceedingly because of you" (Jacob 2:22).
WHAT IS THE GROSSER CRIME THAT JACOB SPEAKS OF?
WHAT WAS THEIR RATIONALIZATION FOR INDULGING IN SUCH SIN?
"...they seek to excuse themselves in committing
whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and
Solomon his son" (Jacob 2:23).
WHAT DID JACOB TEACH AND PRONOUNCE AS THE WORD OF THE LORD?
Jacob 2:26-27: "Wherefore, I the Lord God
will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
"Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken
to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save
it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none".
Jacob did not mince words. Pure and simple: the acts they were indulging
in are adultery and considered whoredoms.
Jacob 2:30: "For
if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command
my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things."
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE CHASTE?
Certainly because the Lord commanded it.
BUT WHY IS IT A COMMANDMENT?
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MIND AND HEART THAT INDULGES
IN SUCH SIN?
It leads one away from doing that which is good.
It betrays the trust in marriage.
One's thoughts do not dwell on righteousness.
"And verily I say unto you, as I have said before,
he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery
in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith
and shall fear." (D&C: Section 63:16)
HOW CAN IMMORALITY AFFECT THE SINNER'S FAMILY &
Jacob 2:35: "Ye have
broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your
children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of
their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness
of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced
with deep wounds."
Jacob 3:10: "Wherefore,
ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts
because of the example that ye have set before them; and also, remember
that ye may, because of your filthiness, bring your children unto destruction,
and their sins be heaped upon your heads at the last day."
WHAT IS THE LORD'S PROMISE TO THOSE WHO ARE MORALLY
READ JACOB 3:5-7.
According to Jacob, the Lamanites would not be destroyed
and would, one day, become a blessed people.
There is great love in their families.
READ JACOB 4:10. Seek not to counsel the Lord.
READ JACOB 4:14. Blindness comes from looking beyond
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COUNSEL THE LORD?
HOW MIGHT WE SOMETIMES ATTEMPT TO COUNSEL THE LORD?
HOW CAN WE BECOME MORE WILLING AND ABLE TO RELY ON HIS COUNSEL?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LOOK BEYOND THE MARK?
Elder Dean L. Larsen: "Jacob speaks of people
who placed themselves in serious jeopardy in spiritual things because they
were unwilling to accept simple, basic principles of truth. They
entertained and intrigued themselves with 'things that they could not understand.'
They...obviously failed to stay within the circle of fundamental gospel
truths which provide a basis for faith. They must have reveled in
speculative and theoretical matters that obscured for them the fundamental
"There are other ways in
which many of us often look beyond the mark. Sometimes we focus too
much of our attention and energy upon our temporal wants.... Too
often we permit the narrow demands of our daily routine to dull our appreciation
of the beauty of God's creations and the refining influences that are all
about us. We fail to experience the fulfillment that comes from developing
the gifts and talents with which we have been endowed. We do not
draw close enough to the Lord to know him and feel of his redeeming love."
(Ensign, Nov 1987, pp11-12)
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