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‘Come, Follow Me’ for Feb. 12–18: What have Church leaders said about 2 Nephi 3–5?

This week’s study guide includes Nephi’s writings about delighting in the scriptures and his lament about his weaknesses

This week’s “Come, Follow Me” study guide covers 2 Nephi 3–5, which includes Nephi’s writings about delighting in the scriptures and his lament about his weaknesses.

Following are a few quotes from past and present Church leaders about these chapters.

2 Nephi 3

“Early in the Restoration, by translation and revelation, numerous plain and precious truths appeared in fairly rapid succession. This occurred through Joseph Smith, the ‘choice seer.’ (2 Nephi 3:6). As when dinner guests arrive nearly all at once, Joseph, as host, received, welcomed and duly noted each truth. Only later was there time and matured perceptivity to see their relationships and the antiquity of their credentials.”

— Elder Neal A. Maxwell, October 1985 general conference, “Premortality, a Glorious Reality

“We read in the Book of Mormon that when Lehi was in the desert, he told his son Joseph that the Lord had promised Joseph who was sold into Egypt that in the latter days He would raise up a prophet from his loins like unto Moses. (See 2 Nephi 3:6–9.) ... He said his name should be Joseph, and his father’s name should be Joseph; and he said: ‘Unto him will I give power to bring forth my word’ (2 Nephi 3:11, 15). ...

“And the Lord said: ‘And not to the bringing forth my word only, … but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them’ (2 Nephi 3:11). What did he mean by that? That in the midst of these hundreds of churches of men ... that the Lord would give to this new prophet the ability to comprehend the scriptures that had already been sent forth among them. ...

“Then He adds, ‘And I will make him great in mine eyes’ (2 Nephi 3:8). Whatever the world may think of the Prophet Joseph Smith, there is the statement of the Lord that he would be great in His eyes.”

— Elder LeGrand Richards, April 1981 general conference, “Call of the Prophets

Nephi creates the gold plates in this scene from the Book of Mormon Videos.
Nephi creates the gold plates in this scene from the Book of Mormon Videos. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

2 Nephi 4

“It seems to me that Nephi was a student dedicated to the scriptures. We read that Nephi delighted in the scriptures, pondered them in his heart, and wrote them for the learning and profit of his children (see 2 Nephi 4:15–16). ...

“Delighting in the scriptures is more than hungering and thirsting for knowledge. Nephi experienced great joy during his life. However, he also faced difficulties and sadness (see 2 Nephi 4:12–13). ‘Nevertheless,’ he said, ‘I know in whom I have trusted’ (2 Nephi 4:19). As we study the scriptures, we will better understand God’s plan of salvation and exaltation, and we will trust in the promises that He has made to us in the scriptures, as well as in the promises and blessings of modern prophets.”

— Elder Arnulfo Valenzuela, October 2021 general conference, “Deepening Our Conversion to Jesus Christ

“In the Book of Mormon, Nephi speaks often of delight. He delights ‘in the things of the Lord,’ ‘in the scriptures,’ and ‘in the great and eternal plan’ of our Father in Heaven (see 2 Nephi 4:15–1611:2–8). Notably, Nephi often remembers his sources of delight in the midst of affliction, serving to lift and focus his spirit on eternal blessings.

“We too should delight in the things of the Lord for it will ‘lift’ our hearts and give us cause to ‘rejoice’ (2 Nephi 11:8). ...

“‘My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord’ (2 Nephi 4:16) — His law, His life, His love. To delight in Him is to acknowledge His hand in our lives. Our gospel duty is to do what is right and to love and delight in what is right. When we delight to serve Him, our Father in Heaven delights to bless us.”

— Sister Susan W. Tanner, then the recently released Young Women general president, April 2008 general conference, “My Soul Delighteth in the Things of the Lord

“[2 Nephi 4:15] teaches us how to read the Book of Mormon. It mentions three important ideas.

“First, ‘My soul delighteth.’ ... Joy fills my heart as I receive encouragement, direction, comfort, strength and answers to my needs. Life looks brighter, and the way opens before me. ...

“Second, ‘My heart pondereth them.’ ... The spirit of what I have read rests there to bring me peace and comfort. The knowledge I have gained gives me guidance and direction. I have the confidence born out of obedience. ...

“[Third], my heart ‘writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children.’

“I, of course, do not write scriptures as did Nephi, but when I read the scriptures and live the principles learned, those scriptures become written in my life. They govern my actions and are written there for my children to see and follow. I can build a legacy, a tradition of righteous living, based on the principles I learn in the scriptures.”

— Sister Cheryl C. Lant, then the Primary general president, October 2005 general conference, “My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures

“There is no neutral area between good and evil. If you are on the devil’s turf, get off it as fast as you can. As strong as Nephi was, I can’t forget his humble prayer: ‘O Lord, wilt thou … make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?’ (2 Nephi 4:31).”

— Elder W. Eugene Hansen, April 1996 general conference, “Spiritual Shepherds

Nephi kneels to pray in this picture from the Book of Mormon Videos.
Nephi kneels to pray in this picture from the Book of Mormon Videos. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“Being mortal, and despite our resolve and efforts, we will continue to fall short of perfection. However, with Nephi of old, conscious of our weaknesses, temptations and past mistakes, we may say, ‘Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted’ (2 Nephi 4:19). There follows a natural resolve to renew our efforts.”

— Elder Ronald E. Poelman, October 1993 general conference, “Divine Forgiveness

“How do we feel about the scriptures? Do we have the same love for the scriptures that was expressed by Nephi when he said: ‘For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them. …

“‘Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard’ (2 Nephi 4:15–16).

“We should show great respect and reverence for these sacred revelations. We should have feelings of gratitude for those who recorded and preserved these revelations for our research.”

— Elder L. Lionel Kendrick, April 1993 general conference, “Search the Scriptures

“A pattern of personal righteousness which includes prayer, scripture study and service is the answer to avoiding the dangers spoken of in the Book of Mormon. Nephi knew this when he asked the Lord, ‘O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness!’ (2 Nephi 4:33).”

— Sister Janette C. Hales, then the second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, April 1991 general conference, “A Pattern of Righteousness

“Trust the Lord. As Nephi of old said:

“‘O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

“‘Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh’ (2 Nephi 4:34–35).

“To turn to the Lord and to trust Him is to learn from His revelations. Spiritual security comes from revelation that unveils the true nature of Deity. The kind of God in whom we believe generally determines the kind of people we are and will become.”

— Elder Charles Didier, April 1987 general conference, “Spiritual Security

“Perhaps the most personal and encouraging expression of all, to me, comes from Nephi, sincere servant of God, who, bearing his witness of gratitude and delight in the Lord, is honest enough to say: ‘Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

“‘I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

“‘And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins’ (2 Nephi 4:17–19).

“And then he cried out to the Lord for help:

“‘Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?

“‘O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh’ (2 Nephi 4:31, 34).

“And Nephi gave his life to the Lord.”

— Elder Marion D. Hanks, April 1972 general conference, “Joy through Christ

Nephi and his family flee from Laman and Lemuel in this picture from the Book of Mormon Videos.
Nephi and his family flee from Laman and Lemuel in this picture from the Book of Mormon Videos. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

2 Nephi 5

“After [Nephi and his family] arrived in the promised land, great conflicts continued to arise between the people who centered their lives in Christ and the nonbelievers, who followed the examples of Laman and Lemuel. Ultimately, the risk of violence between the two groups was so great that Nephi and those who followed the teachings of the Lord separated themselves and fled into the wilderness for safety. At this point in time, some 30 years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, Nephi makes a well-documented and somewhat surprising statement, especially after recording in the scriptures the many afflictions and tribulations they had faced for so long. These are his words: ‘And it came to pass that we [did live] after the manner of happiness’ (2 Nephi 5:27). Despite their hardships, they were able to live after the manner of happiness because they were centered in Christ and His gospel.”

— Elder Richard J. Maynes, October 2015 general conference, “The Joy of Living a Christ-Centered Life

“A temple marriage for time and all eternity is worthy of your greatest efforts and highest priority. It was only after Nephi had completed the temple in the wilderness that he stated, ‘And … we lived after the manner of happiness’ (2 Nephi 5:27). The ‘manner of happiness’ is found in the temple. It is covenant keeping. Don’t let any influence come into your life or your home that would cause you to compromise your covenants or your commitment to your ... family.”

— Sister Elaine S. Dalton, then the Young Women general president, October 2011 general conference, “Love Her Mother

“The more we know of Jesus, the more we will love Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will trust Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will want to be like Him and to be with Him by becoming the manner of men and women that He wishes us to be, while living now ‘after the manner of happiness’ (2 Nephi 5:27).”

— Elder Neal A. Maxwell, April 2001 general conference, “‘Plow in Hope’

“Increases in technology, scientific inventions, and medical miracles have been marvelous and incredible. But we must use them properly to bring us joy, and that requires spiritual and moral leadership. Civilization has been around for a long time. While computers are a great convenience and wonderfully helpful in reducing drudgery, we are reminded that the Nephites ‘lived after the manner of happiness’ (2 Nephi 5:27) even without computers.”

— President James E. Faust, April 1999 general conference, “This Is Our Day

“When the people of Lehi arrived in the Americas from the old world, they felt a great dependence upon the Lord as they established their homes and worked to provide for themselves. Nephi makes this entry in his record:

“‘And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things. …

“‘And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.

“‘And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land’ (2 Nephi 5:10–11, 13).

“This kind of material prosperity has always been a fragile thing. It has proved to be one of the greatest tests with which a people can be confronted. ...

“Perhaps the greatest tragedies of all time have occurred when people have received the promised blessings of the Lord and then have forgotten the source of their good life.”

— Elder Dean L. Larsen, October 1992 general conference, “The Lord Will Prosper the Righteous

Nephites work in a field in this scene from the Book of Mormon Videos.
Nephites work in a field in this scene from the Book of Mormon Videos. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Related Story
‘Come, Follow Me’ for Feb. 5-11: What have Church leaders said about 2 Nephi 1-2?
‘Come, Follow Me’ for Jan. 29-Feb. 4: What have Church leaders said about 1 Nephi 16-22?
‘Come, Follow Me’ for Jan. 22-28: What have Church leaders said about 1 Nephi 11-15?
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