Church News searched the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn what leaders have said about these chapters.
2 Nephi 1
“The words of Lehi are a clarion call to all men and boys of the priesthood. Said he with great conviction: ‘Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust’ (2 Nephi 1:23).
“There is not a man or boy in this vast congregation tonight who cannot improve his life. And that needs to happen. After all, we hold the priesthood of God. If we are boys who have received the Aaronic Priesthood, we are entitled to the ministering of angels to guide and direct, to bless and protect us. What a remarkable and wonderful thing that is. If we have had conferred upon us the Melchizedek Priesthood, we have been given the keys of the kingdom that carry with them eternal powers. These were spoken of by the Lord when He laid His hands upon the heads of His disciples.”
— President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2006 general conference, “Rise Up, O Men of God”
“The prophet Lehi pled with his rebellious sons, saying, ‘Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men’ (2 Nephi 1:21). By age, Laman and Lemuel were men, but in terms of character and spiritual maturity they were still as children. They murmured and complained if asked to do anything hard. They didn’t accept anyone’s authority to correct them. They didn’t value spiritual things. They easily resorted to violence, and they were good at playing the victim.
We see some of the same attitudes today. Some act as if a man’s highest goal should be his own pleasure. ... Dodging commitments is considered smart, but sacrificing for the good of others, naive. For some, a life of work and achievement is optional. ...
“We who hold the priesthood of God cannot afford to drift. We have work to do. We must arise from the dust of self-indulgence and be men. It is a wonderful aspiration for a boy to become a man — strong and capable; someone who can build and create things, run things; someone who makes a difference in the world. It is a wonderful aspiration for those of us who are older to make the vision of true manhood a reality in our lives and be models for those who look to us for an example.”
“Our families need the peace of God in their lives, and if we can’t or won’t invite the Lord into our lives, then our families become a reflection of our own turmoil. Women are asked to be nurturers to their families, but we must also be firm; we must be the hard-rock footings on which our homes can stand. Our families need us to speak peace to them, just as the Lord speaks peace to us. Our homes need to be places where our families and friends want to be, where all who enter our homes can draw strength and courage to face the challenges of living in an increasingly wicked world. Our children need to hear us ‘talk of Christ, … rejoice in Christ, [and] preach of Christ’ (2 Nephi 25:26) so that they may know to what source they can look for the peace that ‘passeth all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7).”
— Sister Kathleen H. Hughes, then the first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, October 2006 general conference, “Remembering the Lord’s Love”
“Father Lehi once described himself as a ‘trembling parent’ (2 Nephi 1:14). There are trembling parents and grandparents today. Some of today’s families already exist in a worse wilderness than did Father Lehi’s. ...
“There are no perfect families, either in the world or in the Church, but there are many good families. My spiritual applause also goes to those heroic parents — left alone by death or divorce — who are righteously and ‘anxiously engaged’ in nurturing and providing for their families, often against such heavy odds.”
— Elder Neal A. Maxwell, April 1994 general conference, “‘Take Especial Care of Your Family’”
“Lehi rebuked murmuring Laman and Lemuel for complaining over Nephi’s saying ‘hard things’ to them. (1 Nephi 16:3.) Lehi noted: ‘That which ye call anger was the truth’ (2 Nephi 1:26). How often you and I, brothers and sisters, can make that same mistake. Cutting truth does hurt, but its lancing can drain off pride.”
— Elder Neal A. Maxwell, October 1989 general conference, “‘Murmur Not’”
“As I have been rereading the Book of Mormon... I have been even more impressed with the counsel father Lehi gave his family shortly before his death. He pleads with his sons with these words:
“‘Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust’ (2 Nephi 1:23).”
“Those words apply to us today. Who among us hasn’t felt the chains of bad habits? These habits may have impeded our progress, may have made us forget who we are, may have destroyed our self-image, may have put our family life in jeopardy, and may have hindered our ability to serve our fellowmen and our God. So many of us tend to say, ‘This is the way I am. I can’t change. I can’t throw off the chains of habit.’ ...
“Righteous living is a shield, a protector, an insulation, a strength, a power, a joy, a Christlike trait. Yes, living a life of righteousness is a chainbreaker.”
— Elder Marvin J. Ashton, October 1986 general conference, “‘Shake Off the Chains with Which Ye Are Bound’”
“May I also say a word of comfort for the anguished parents of children who have lost their way and have turned a deaf ear to parental pleading and teaching. While much of the time most children follow in their parents’ footsteps — obedient to their teachings, reciprocating their love — a few turn their backs like the prodigal son and waste their lives. The great principle of free agency is essential in fostering development, growth and progress. It also permits the freedom to choose self-indulgence, wastefulness and degradation. Children have their agency and often express it when very young. They may or may not follow the teachings and wishes of their parents. Most parents do the best they know how, but also understand well the words of Lehi: ‘Hear the words of a trembling parent’ (2 Nephi 1:14). ...
“As caring parents we do the best we can. I am hopeful that in parenting God will judge at least partially by the intent of the parental hearts.”
— Then-Elder James E. Faust, October 1984 general conference, “The Works of God”
2 Nephi 2
“Significantly, the temptation to sin is not the only kind of opposition in mortality. Father Lehi taught that if the Fall had not taken place, Adam and Eve ‘would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery’ (2 Nephi 2:23). Without the experience of opposition in mortality, ‘all things must needs be a compound in one,’ in which there would be no happiness or misery (verse 11). Therefore, Father Lehi continued, after God had created all things, ‘to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, … it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter’ (verse 15). ...
“Opposition in the form of difficult circumstances we face in mortality is also part of the plan that furthers our growth in mortality.”
“Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying and stop making excuses for why you may not be fully striving to be obedient. Accept that you are ‘free according to the flesh’ and ‘free to choose liberty and eternal life’ (2 Nephi 2:27). The Lord knows your circumstances perfectly, but He also knows perfectly well whether you simply choose not to fully live the gospel. If that is the case, be honest enough to admit it, and strive to be perfect within your own sphere of circumstances. Spiritual confidence increases when you take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily.”
“Satan has many reasons for doing what he does. Perhaps the most powerful is the motive of revenge, but he also wants to make men and women miserable like he is miserable. None of us should ever underestimate how driven Satan is to succeed. His role in God’s eternal plan creates ‘opposition in all things’ (2 Nephi 2:11) and tests our agency. Each choice you and I make is a test of our agency — whether we choose to be obedient or disobedient to the commandments of God is actually a choice between ‘liberty and eternal life’ and ‘captivity and death.’
“This fundamental doctrine is clearly taught in 2 Nephi, the second chapter: ‘Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself’ (2 Nephi 2:27).”
— Elder L. Tom Perry, April 2013 general conference, “Obedience to Law is Liberty”
“Throughout the world and among the membership of the Church, there is great joy and great pain. Both are part of the plan. Without one, we cannot know the other. ‘Men are, that they might have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25) and ‘for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things’ (2 Nephi 2:11) are not contradictory; they are complementary.”
— Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, April 2010 general conference, “Turn to the Lord”
“Enduring to the end is not just a matter of passively tolerating life’s difficult circumstances or ‘hanging in there.’ Ours is an active religion, helping God’s children along the strait and narrow path to develop their full potential during this life and return to Him one day. Viewed from this perspective, enduring to the end is exalting and glorious, not grim and gloomy. This is a joyful religion, one of hope, strength and deliverance. ‘Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25).”
“A basic purpose of your life, as Lehi taught, is ‘[to] have joy’ (2 Nephi 2:25). In order to have joy, you need to understand that, as a child of your Heavenly Father, you inherited divine traits and spiritual needs — and just like a fish needs water, you need the gospel and the companionship of the Holy Ghost to be truly, deeply happy. Because you are the offspring of God, it is incompatible with your eternal nature to do wrong and feel right. It cannot be done. It is part of your spiritual DNA, as it were, that peace, joy and happiness will be yours only to the degree you live the gospel.”
“Whatever the outcome and no matter how difficult your experiences, you have the promise that you will not be denied the blessings of eternal family relationships if you love the Lord, keep His commandments and just do the best you can. When young Jacob ‘suffered afflictions and much sorrow’ from the actions of other family members, Father Lehi assured him, ‘Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain’ (2 Nephi 2:1–2).”