"This Is My Gospel"
Lesson 42 - 3 Nephi 27-30; 4 Nephi

Introduction

"Mormon Church". Consider your feelings about this nickname. President Boyd K. Packer said: "Others refer to us as Mormons. I do not mind if they use that title. However, sometimes we are prone ourselves to say ĎMormon Church.í I do not think it best for us to do so" ("The Peaceable Followers of Christ," Ensign, Apr. 1998, 64). Why is it best not to refer to ourselves as the "Mormon Church"? The First Presidency stated: "Keep in mind that this is the Church of Jesus Christ; please emphasize that fact in making contacts with others. ... We feel that some may be misled by the too frequent use of the term ĎMormon Churchí " ("Policies and Announcements," Ensign, Mar. 1983, 79). 3 Nephi 27 includes Jesusí instructions to His Nephite disciples concerning the name of His Church. Today's lesson is designed to help us understand the fundamental doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to teach that living the gospel is the only way to true and eternal happiness.

The Savior commanded His Nephite disciples to call the Church after His name. He expounded His gospel.

Jesusí Nephite disciples were "united in mighty prayer and fasting" when Jesus came to them and asked, "What will ye that I shall give unto you?" (3 Nephi 27:1-2).
3 Nephi 27:3 The disciples asked Him to settle the disputations that had arisen over what the name of the church should be.
3 Nephi 27:4-9 His answer was that the church should be named for Him, as taught in the scriptures.
D&C 115:4 The Lord has commanded that His restored Church, like His Church among the Nephites, be called after His name.
It is important for us to remember that the Church is called after the name of Jesus Christ because He leads it and it must proclaim His doctrines and teachings to be His.
3 Nephi 27:7 Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name" .
What are some things we do in the name of Christ? President Boyd K. Packer said: 'Every prayer we offer is in His name. Every ordinance performed is in His name. Every baptism, confirmation, blessing, ordination, every sermon, every testimony is concluded with the invocation of His sacred name. It is in His name that we heal the sick and perform other miracles of which we do not, cannot, speak. ...In the sacrament we take upon ourselves the name of Christ. We covenant to remember Him and keep His commandments. He is present in all that we believe" ("The Peaceable Followers of Christ," Ensign, Apr. 1998, 64).
Jesus taught that in addition to being called after His name, His Church must be "built upon [His] gospel." He said, "If it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it" (3 Nephi 27:10).
3 Nephi 21:1-9;3 Nephi 21:24-29; Moses 1:39 The works of the Father include making and fulfilling covenants with His children, revealing knowledge of the plan of Happiness, establishing His people in lands where they can worship Him, gathering His people when they repent and turn to Him, and making the gospel available to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
You have seen these works in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When Latter-day Saints bear their testimonies, they often say that they know the gospel is true. Consider how you would respond if, after saying "I know the gospel is true," you were asked, "What is the gospel?"
"This is my gospel". After Jesus said that His Church must be built on His gospel, He gave His disciples a concise, complete definition of His gospel.
3 Nephi 27:13-22 lists different aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
      a. Jesusí submission to the will of the Father (3 Nephi 27:13)
      b. The Atonement (3 Nephi 27:14)
      c. Resurrection (3 Nephi 27:14-15)
      d. Judgment (3 Nephi 27:14-15)
      e. Repentance (3 Nephi 27:16, 19-20)
      f.  Baptism (3 Nephi 27:16, 20)
      g. Faith in Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 27:19)
      h. The gift of the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 27:20)
      i.  Enduring to the end (3 Nephi 27:16-17, 19)
3 Nephi 27:21-22 The Savior promised those who live according to His gospel that they will be exalted for following in His footsteps.
Jesus asked His disciples, "What manner of men ought ye to be?" The answer was that they should be even as the Savior is. (See 3 Nephi 27:27).
Consider what you can do to be more like the Savior.

The Savior granted the desires of His twelve disciples. Three of the disciples chose to remain on the earth until His Second Coming.

3 Nephi 28:1-5 Before the Savior returned to His Father, He spoke to His disciples one by one and asked what each desired of Him. Nine asked that their ministries might end when they reached a certain age and that they might then go speedily to Him in His kingdom. The other three were hesitant to express their desire, but the Savior knew their thoughts.
3 Nephi 28:7-9 The desire of the last three Nephite disciples was to remain on earth and bring souls to Christ until the end of the world. Jesus said that these disciples were "more blessed" because of their desire. From this statement, we learn the principle taught in D&C 15:6; D&C 16:6; and D&C 18:10-16, that our joy will be increased as we bring repentant souls to Christ.
3 Nephi 28:13-15 In response to their request, the three disciples were transfigured, meaning that their bodies were changed so they "could behold the things of God". Then they were translated.
3 Nephi 28:7-40 The account in these verses teaches about characteristics of translated beings:
       a.  Translated beings never taste of death or endure the pains of death (3 Nephi 28:7-8, 38).
       b.  When the Savior comes in His glory, they will be "changed in the twinkling of an eye from
            mortality to immortality"
(3 Nephi 28:8).
       c.  Except for the sorrow they feel for the sins of the world, they do not experience pain or
            sorrow (3 Nephi 28:9, 38).
       d.  They help people become converted to the Lord (3 Nephi 28:9, 18, 23, 29-30).
       e.  They cannot be killed or harmed in any way (3 Nephi 28:19-22).
       f.   Satan cannot tempt them or have any power over them (3 Nephi 28:39).
       g.  They remain in a translated state until the Judgment Day, when they will be resurrected and received into the
             kingdom of God (3 Nephi 28:40).
Note: Stories often circulate about the three Nephites who were translated. Members of the Church should be careful about accepting or retelling these stories and such stories should not be discussed in the Sunday School class.

After many years of peace, the majority of the people dwindled in unbelief and rejected the gospel.

The short book of 4 Nephi contains Mormonís abridgment of about 300 years of history. The history was originally written by four men: Nephi, who was named after his father, one of the Saviorís twelve Nephite disciples; Nephiís son Amos; and Amosís sons Amos and Ammaron. The first part of the book describes a period of great righteousness and happiness, and the second part of the book tells of the peopleís decline into wickedness.
4 Nephi 1:1-18. Characteristics of the people described in these verses include: peace-loving, just, free, righteous, Christian, prosperous, industrious, numerous, strong, fair, delightsome, family-centered, blessed, obedient, humble, prayerful, faithful, loving, agreeable, moral, modest, truthful, honest, happy, united, and godly.
4 Nephi 1:2, 4, 13, 15-18 For many years after Jesusí visit, there was no contention among the people. There was no contention because the love of God dwelt in each individual's heart. (See 4 Nephi 1:15.)
How can we become like the righteous people described in 4 Nephi? What can we do so that the love of God will dwell in our hearts? President Gordon B. Hinckley said: "If the world is to be improved, the process of love must make a change in [our] hearts. ...It can do so when we look beyond self to give our love to God and others, and do so with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind" ("And the Greatest of These Is Love," Ensign, Mar. 1984, 5).
4 Nephi 1:17 During this period of peace, there was not "any manner of -ites".
4 Nephi 1:2-3, 15-17 This means that they were united and treated each other with love, not being divided or competitive with each other, not seeking distinction from each other, but only seeking the welfare of their brothers and sisters. Consider the problems that exist today because of distinctions between groups of people and think of ways the gospel helps us become united, despite our differences.
4 Nephi 1:20-46 These verses teach us the actions and attitudes that contributed to the end of this long era of peace.
      a. Division and the creation of classes (4 Nephi 1:20, 26, 35)
      b. Pride and greed because of riches (4 Nephi 1:23-25, 41, 43; see also 3 Nephi 27:32)
      c. Churches that professed to know Christ but denied most of His gospel (4 Nephi 1:26-29, 34)
      d. Churches built up to help people get gain (4 Nephi 1:26-29, 41)
      e.  Hard-heartedness (4 Nephi 1:31)
      f.   Persecution of Christís followers (4 Nephi 1:29-34)
      g.  Parents teaching children not to believe in Christ (4 Nephi 1:38)
      h.  Parents teaching children to hate (4 Nephi 1:39)
      i.   Secret combinations (4 Nephi 1:42, 46)
The attitudes and actions described in 4 Nephi 1:40-46 led to the Nephitesí destruction. It is important for us to examine this account to learn from and avoid those errors and sins.

Conclusion

3 Nephi 27:10, 22, 28-29 Review the Lordís promises in these verses. When the people remained faithful to the gospel, "there could not [have been] a happier people" (4 Nephi 1:16).