FAIR Resources for Come, Follow Me – Book of Mormon

1 Nephi 11–15

Week 4: January 22-28, 2024

“You are among ‘the saints of the church of the Lamb’ […]”

“You are among ‘the saints of the church of the Lamb’ […]”

FAIR Faithful Resources for Come, Follow Me 2024 January 22-28. 1 Nephi 11–15: “Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God”. These trusted sources can help you find answers to difficult questions and help you in your learning and teaching.

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Main Points to Ponder

The lesson invites us to remember a time when we felt like we were not receiving personal revelation – a time when it felt that God was distant and not talking to us. Nephi gave some important counsel to his brothers when they were feeling that way. As you read and ponder 1 Nephi 15:1–11, think of how you could apply Nephi’s counsel in your own life.

Faithful Answers to Difficult Questions

Among the changes Joseph Smith made are these four in 1 Nephi 11 and 13

The earliest edition of the Book of Mormon referred to Jesus as “God.” Joseph Smith later changed some, but not all, of these to “the Son of God.” It is claimed by some that this is evidence that Joseph Smith changed the Book of Mormon to conform to his changing beliefs about the Trinity, claiming that Joseph was originally a solid Trinitarian (perhaps even a Modalist), and as he later began to teach that the Father and Son were two separate beings, he had to change the Book of Mormon to support his new doctrine. However, this change was a deliberate editorial insertion by Joseph Smith to clarify four verses in 1 Nephi.

The second edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 1837 at Kirtland, Ohio. The typesetting and printing were done during the winter of 1836–37, with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery taking an active part in the editing process.

In this edition numerous corrections were made to the text of the 1830 (first) edition to bring it back to the reading in the original and printer’s manuscripts. Joseph Smith also made a number of editorial changes to the text, as was his right as the translator of the text.

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These changes were made for the purpose of clarification, not doctrinal modification

These changes are clarifications that the passages are speaking of Jesus, not God the Father.

The terms “God,” “Everlasting God,” and “Eternal Father” are ambiguous since they could properly refer to either the Father or the Son. For example, “Eternal Father” refers to God the Father in Moroni 4:3, Moroni 5:2, and Moroni 10:4, but to God the Son in Mosiah 16:15 and Alma 11:38-39.

The addition of “the Son of” to four passages in 1 Nephi does not change the Book of Mormon’s teaching that Jesus Christ is the God of Old Testament Israel. This concept is taught in more than a dozen other passages whose readings remain unchanged from the original manuscripts. For example:

    • “And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself…as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up…and to be crucified…and to be buried in a sepulchre….” (1 Nephi 19:10)
    • “…he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth.” (Mosiah 7:27)
    • “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.” (Mosiah 16:15)
    • “Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Alma 11:38-39)

(See also 2 Nephi 25:12; Mosiah 3:8; Mosiah 13:28,33-34; Mosiah 15:1; Helaman 8:22-23; Helaman 14:12; Helaman 16:18; 3 Nephi 11:10,14; Mormon 9:12; Ether 3:14; Ether 4:7; Ether 4:12.)

It is simply illogical to conclude that Joseph Smith changed the four passages in 1 Nephi to conform to his supposed changing theological beliefs, but somehow forgot to change all the others.[1]


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According to the Book of Mormon, the “great and abominable church” and “whore of all the earth” refers to any organization that opposes the true Church of Jesus Christ

The Church does not teach or endorse the idea that these terms refer to any specific religion or organization. It is clear that in cases where past church authorities have modified this definition through speculation, that the First Presidency has firmly declared those speculations to be in error.

The criticism is based upon references in the Book of Mormon to the “church of the devil,” which is referred to as the “whore of all the earth.” For example:

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)

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Christ specifically mentioned to His followers that they were the “salt of the earth”

No matter how many member of the Church there may be at any time in history, it appears that being the smaller number among a larger population has long been the problem of the Gospel. This may be why Christ specifically mentioned to His followers that they were the “salt of the earth.” To modern English speakers, that idiom is used to mean good, average people, but that wasn’t what Christ meant. He was speaking to very few who believed him. Those who believed were to do for the earth what salt does to a pot of stew or soup. A little seasoning nevertheless plays an important part.

Luke 13:20-21:

And again he said, Wherefore unto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

Christ never answered the specific question of why there were so few believers, but he did tell those few believers that they played an important role and that few would find his true path to salvation (Matthew 7:14; 1 Nephi 8:20 (19-24); 3 Nephi 27: 33; D&C 22:4 (1-4); 43:7)

An angel showed Nephi a vision of the last days and the Church numbers were described as few in comparison to the rest of the world

In 1 Nephi 14:12, an angel shows Nephi a vision of the last days and the Church numbers were described as few in comparison to the rest of the world.There’s no reason to believe that Latter-day Saints will ever outnumber the largest religions based on this vision. Remember that when the gospel is finally preached in all the world, the Second Coming will occur and the end of the current condition will follow. Latter-day Saints believe that all mankind will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel but that most of the population of the Earth will hear it in the Spirit World. Those who had no opportunity to hear it in mortality will have that opportunity then. When you consider the small minority of the earth’s population throughout all of history that even knew about Jesus Christ, it should not surprise us that many in our day will not hear about Him either. Latter-day Saints believe that God is just and is concerned about all of His children. He will see to it that all mankind are taught and judged justly.

Many of the goals of the Plan of Salvation are achieved even without being a member of the Church

Among the most important “purposes of life” according to the Plan of Salvation are the following:

    • Receiving a physical body.
    • Experiencing trials, pain, and other challenges, and having the opportunity to try to overcome them.
    • Experiencing joy and happiness.
    • Developing Christlike attributes.

Developing Christ-like attributes is vital to our eternal happiness and development, and living a mortal life accelerates us along that path. All of these experiences are perfectly and regularly attainable without being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, they are perfectly attainable without even being a Christian. For some, they are even attainable without believing in God.

That being said, there are tangible and extremely advantageous benefits to being a member of the LDS Church, and more specifically of knowing and understanding why we are here. Those advantages, though, are not necessary for a successful experience in mortality. The saving ordinances and covenants we make through proper priesthood authority accelerate and magnify our purposes for being here, and eventually they will be available to all people whether in mortality or post-mortality. In the meantime, billions of people are here living out the plan of salvation with a bit of ignorance about it, but happily and successfully nonetheless.

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Some changes may have been made to eliminate the Catholic-sounding phrase “the mother of God”

Another reason “the Son of” was introduced into 1 Nephi 11:18 could have been to eliminate the Catholic-sounding phrase “the mother of God” that had been objected to by early critics of the Book of Mormon. Oliver Cowdery, responding to an article by Alexander Campbell in the Baptist newspaper The Pioneer, wrote in 1835:

Again, this writer [Campbell] says: “The name of Jesus Christ, was declared to Nephi, 545 years before it was announced to Mary, and she, in true Roman phraseology, is called ‘the mother of God.'”

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This “friend of truth” says that Mary was “called the mother of God.”—The reader will please turn to the 25th page of the book of Mormon, and read: “And he [the angel] said unto me, behold, the virgin which thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.”

Now, every man knows, who has read the New Testament, that Mary was called the Lord’s mother; and beside we remember to have read a word or two of Paul’s writings, where he says: “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now, the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.”—See Gal. 1. Here we have it—the Lord Jesus was born of a woman, had a brother, and yet had no mother according to the flesh!![3]

Since this criticism of the Book of Mormon was fresh on Oliver’s mind, and he was involved in the editing of the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon, it is possible that the change in 1 Nephi 11:18 was inserted at his prompting.

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Lesson Devotional

Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God

By Lyndie Jackson, Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation Public Relations Manager
“The armies of God are larger than the armies of Lucifer,” Elder Larry R. Lawrence said. “You may look around and think to yourself, ‘The world is becoming more and more wicked. Satan must be winning the war.’ Don’t be fooled. The truth is, we outnumber the enemy.”1

It’s easy to feel like evil is stronger, or at least more prevalent, than good. Though evil will always be around us, we can be armed with righteousness and be strengthened against trials and temptations.

After hearing their father’s account of his vision of the Tree of Life, Nephi’s brothers were confused by the symbolism and asked Nephi about the rod of iron. He responded “that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction” (1 Nephi 15:24).

When we hold to the iron rod, we cannot be overpowered. As a youth growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I remember learning several tactics to resist and overcome temptation. Singing hymns and primary songs in my mind, praying, and memorizing scriptures all have helped me as I have tried to withstand the attacks of the adversary. These tools can be our spiritual armor as we face the trials and temptations of mortality. They give us access to God’s power.

Wilford Woodruff spoke beautifully about the strengthening power of God. “We have been sustained by the power of God from the beginning to this day, and nothing short of the power of God could have saved us and brought us through; and nothing but the power of God can preserve us, and nothing but His wisdom can pilot us safe to the high destiny that awaits us.”2
1 Larry R. Lawrence, “The War Goes On,” Ensign, April 2017, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
2 Discourse by Wilford Woodruff, April 3, 1881, p. 1, The Wilford Woodruff Papers, wilfordwoodruffpapers.org/discourse/1881-04-03.

Lyndie Jackson

Lyndie is working toward a degree in Public Relations at Brigham Young University. Originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, she enjoys running, spending time with her husband and family, and reading. Lyndie served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hermosillo, Mexico, where she developed a love for the Spanish language and the people there. She was drawn to the Wilford Woodruff Papers out of a desire to learn more about Church history and enjoys being part of the organization’s efforts to touch lives with Wilford Woodruff’s words.

Lesson devotionals are provided by the Wilford Woodruff Papers Foundation. Its mission is to digitally preserve and publish Wilford Woodruff’s eyewitness account of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ from 1833 to 1898. It seeks to make Wilford Woodruff’s records universally accessible to inspire all people, especially the rising generation, to study and to increase their faith in Jesus Christ. See wilfordwoodruffpapers.org.