1. The Savior commands His Nephite disciples to call the Church after His name. He expounds His gospel.
3 Nephi 27:1 United in mighty prayer and fasting
“The greatest temporal and spiritual blessings…always come from faithfulness and concerted effort, [not from] individual exertion or enterprise.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 183)
3 Nephi 27:3 The name of the church
“The early Christians in the Mediterranean world took upon themselves the name of Christ. As you all recall, they were known generally as Christians. But as their numbers began to spread and become rather numerous in the Mediterranean world, and as the seeds of apostasy began to grow, about 185 A.D. the leaders decided to change the name to Catholic, meaning universal. Thus by choosing to call themselves ‘Universal’ they lost the name, or set aside the name, that God had decreed would be the only name given under heaven whereby mankind may be saved.” (Milton R Hunter, Conference Report, Oct. 1952, p. 38)
3 Nephi 27:5-6 Take upon you the name of Christ
“When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life. Yet sometimes we pass through that experience without having a full understanding.
“How many of our children—how many of us—really understand that when we were baptized, we took upon us not only the name of Christ but also the law of obedience?
“Each week in sacrament meeting we promise to remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior as we renew our baptismal covenant. We promise to do as the Savior did—to be obedient to the Father and always keep His commandments. The blessing we receive in return is to always have His Spirit to be with us” (Robert D Hales, in Conference Report, Oct. 2000).
3 Nephi 27:7 Call the church in my name
“This is not a church. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. There are churches of men all over the land and they have great cathedrals, synagogues, and other houses of worship running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. They are the churches of men. They teach the doctrines of men, combined with the philosophies and ethics and other ideas and ideals that men have partly developed and partly found in sacred places and interpreted for themselves. But there is just one church which Jesus Christ, himself, organized by direct revelation; just one church that teaches all of his doctrines; just one church which has all of the keys and authorities which are necessary to carry on the work of Jesus Christ. And you would, of course, expect it to be the Church of Jesus Christ and not carry any other name.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p421)
3 Nephi 27:10 Built upon my gospel
‘A church deserves to bear the Messiah’s name only when it teaches the true gospel. If the church is “built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.” Failing to build the church on gospel principles will be apostasy, inexorably altering the relationship with Yahweh-Messiah and no longer representing him. A church built on the devil’s values becomes the church of the devil. If it is built on the works of men, it becomes the church of men. The name and the essence are inextricably intertwined.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)
3 Nephi 27:13-18 I have given unto you my gospel
“There is in the Book of Mormon a statement in which the Lord says, ‘Behold this is the gospel, which I have given unto you,’ and then he describes his gospel. (See 3 Nephi 27:13–18.) It is a simple story of a world to which a Savior has been sent whom men may accept or reject, but who is, nevertheless, the Messiah.
“That simple story is the very thing, of course, the world cannot accept, and it is so simple that some may even be offended inwardly at times by the so-called simplicity of the gospel. …
“… There are those who may share some of our beliefs and values, but for whom the restoration of the gospel is a stumblingblock they cannot get over the top of. But to most of mankind, what we proclaim is ‘foolishness’” (Neal A Maxwell, For the Power Is in Them , 47–48).
3 Nephi 27:19 No unclean thing
‘No unclean thing can enter into God’s rest. We must be washed clean through the atonement, by our faith in Christ, repentance of our sins, and faithfulness unto the end.’ (Jeffrey Marsh, LDSMag.com)
3 Nephi 27:20 Come unto me
‘While Jesus is the only one to have led a sinless life, those who come unto Him and take His yoke upon them have claim on His grace, which will make them as He is, guiltless and spotless.’ (D Todd Christofferson, General Conference, October 2010)
3 Nephi 27:27 What manner of men ought ye to be?
“Hard to do? Of course. The Lord never promised an easy road, nor a simple gospel nor low standards, nor a low norm. The price is high, but the goods attained are worth all they cost. The Lord himself turned the other cheek; he suffered himself to be buffeted and beaten without remonstrance; he suffered every indignity and yet spoke no word of condemnation. And his question to all of us is: ‘Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be’ And his answer to us is: ‘Even as I am.'” (Spencer W Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1977)
2. The Savior grants the desires of His twelve disciples. Three of the disciples choose to remain on the earth until His Second Coming.
3 Nephi 28:1-3 What is it that you desire of me?
‘Now we come to the climax of the Savior’s mission among the Nephites. However, before he ascended to heaven he allowed each disciple to express an ultimate wish from Jesus. Three of them asked for the same wish as had John the Beloved — they would like to remain in the flesh until the Second Coming. Nevertheless they would be quickened so that they could not be slain.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)
3 Nephi 28:7-9 Translated beings
“Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead” (Joseph Smith,History of the Church, 4:210).
3 Nephi 28:15 Transfigured
“A person who is transfigured is one who is temporarily taken into a higher, heavenly experience, as were Peter, James, and John, and then returned to a normal telestial status.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, p. 306)
3. After many years of peace, the majority of the people dwindle in unbelief and reject the gospel.
4 Nephi 1:2 Every man did deal justly one with another
“We need to learn, practice, study, know and understand how angels live with each other. When this community comes to the point to be perfectly honest and upright, you will never find a poor person; none will lack, all will have sufficient. Every man, woman, and child will have all they need just as soon as they all become honest. When the majority of the community are dishonest, it maketh the honest portion poor, for the dishonest serve and enrich themselves at their expense.” (Discourses of Brigham Young)
4 Nephi 1:15 Contention
See post Health Warning
4 Nephi 1:17 Nor any manner of -ites
‘Unity is not achieved by ignoring and isolating members who seem to be different or weaker and only associating with people who are like us. On the contrary, unity is gained by welcoming and serving those who are new and who have particular needs. These members are a blessing for the Church and provide us with opportunities to serve our neighbors and thus purify our own hearts.
So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you.’ *Gerald Caussee, General Conference, October 2013)
4 Nephi 1:20 A small part of the people had revolted from the church
“But then, in the 184th year after Christ’s birth, exactly 150 years after his ministry in the New World, ‘a small part of the people . . . revolted from the church.’ That was the beginning of the end of Nephite society. It took several years to happen, and several pages of Book of Mormon history to record it, but those words marked the end of the great Christian epoch in the New World of which so many prophets had dreamed and prophesied and for which so many had died. With that phrase, the saga we know as the Book of Mormon began drawing to a close.
“After two hundred years, the movement away from the Zionlike principles of Christ’s teachings was inexorable.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ And The New Covenant, p. 315)
4 Nephi 1:24 Pride
“Here the insidious nature of pride is laid bare, and its destructive effects on Zion are seen in an unmistakable way. Pride destroys unity and promotes selfishness. ‘Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.’ Pride seeks to create divisions among people purely for the sake of self-interest, that some may place themselves above others and exploit them.President Ezra Taft Benson stated: ‘It was essentially the sin of pride that kept us from establishing Zion in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was the same sin of pride that brought consecration to an end among the Nephites.
“‘Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.'” (Andrew Skinner, Ensign, Sept. 2000, p. 60)
4 Nephi 1:31, 34 The people did harden their hearts
“What should these people have done when they witnessed the miracles? They should have done the same thing their ancestors did in reaction to the miracle of Jesus’ visit, the same thing we should do in response to a miracle – repent. But these people did not repent; instead, they despised the righteous because of the miracles that were wrought among them. The record states that ‘the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity’ (4 Nephi 1:34). Mormon emphasized, ‘they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did willfully rebel against the gospel of Christ’ (v 38). He further states that even ‘the people who were called the people of Nephi began to be proud in their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, and become vain like unto their brethren, the Lamanites’ (v 43). Thus we can trace the sad consequences of failure to repent and to stay close to the Lord. The Nephites lost the Spirit that had provided them with unity and glorious feelings of charity.” (Alvin C. Rencher, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 272)
4 Nephi 1:38-39 They did teach their children that they should not believe
“When the Nephites were truly righteous, their previous patterns of polarization vanished. ‘There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. …
“Unfortunately, the sequel to that story is not a happy one. This pleasant circumstance persisted until ‘a small part of the people … had revolted … and taken upon them the name of Lamanites’ [4 Nephi 1:20], reviving old prejudices and teaching their children again to hate, ‘even as the Lamanites were taught to hate the children of Nephi from the beginning’ [4 Nephi 1:39]. And so the polarizing process began all over again.
“I hope that we may learn this important lesson and delete segregating names from our personal vocabularies. The Apostle Paul taught that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’ [Galatians 3:28; see also Colossians 3:11].
“Our Savior invites us ‘to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God’ [2 Ne. 26:33]” (Russell M Nelson, “A More Excellent Hope,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 63).
4 Nephi 1:41 Secret oaths and combinations
“Without question Satan was at the very heart of the secret combinations which destroyed once and for all, without hope of recovery, the Zion society of the Nephites. He alone inspires the hearts of wicked men to secretly combine against righteousness (Helaman 6:26). And he concocts and administers the oaths and covenants of his kingdom. However, Satan could not have made any inroads without the initial overtures of the people themselves. Joseph Smith taught that ‘the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181). The people of 4 Nephi, guilty of this revolt or rebellion, consciously rejected light and truth.” (Andrew Skinner, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 299)