Lesson 11: Exposing Christ’s Enemies – Nephi’s Solution to the Darkness (For Our Day)

Set the Course

The Lord, and conversely Satan, both clearly understand that the battle for the souls of men and women is fought by conflicting beliefs. The War in Heaven continues here upon the earth as an intense war of words and ideas

It should not be surprising that shortly after the Lord set up His Kingdom in the latter days here upon the earth, Lucifer was also establishing his own kingdom by planting counterfeit theories into the hearts of men. These counterfeits form a mirage that appears so near to the truth that no one comes away untainted. Nephi, after viewing the sophistries of our day in vision, warned that all are deceived to some degree.

. . . they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

Jesus Christ likewise told the Prophet Joseph Smith:

And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds.

Thankfully for us, Nephi and Mormon, through revelation, understood these illusory and erroneous ideas, thus the Book of Mormon exposes many of these deceptive modern voices. President Benson testified:

The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon is similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that one of the most misunderstood signs of the times is that false Christs shall arise and deceive many. These false Christs are not deranged fanatics who take upon themselves the identity of the Lord and perform mystical miracles. Such individuals rarely draw significant followers. Many look for some strange occurrence yet in the future—rather than understanding the true implications of the doctrine. Elder McConkie continued by clarifying this misunderstanding by explaining what false Christs consist of in our day:

The promise of false Christs who will deceive, if it were possible, even the very elect, who will lead astray those who have made eternal covenant with the Lord, is a far more subtle and insidious evil. A false Christ is not a person. . . . It is any concept or philosophy . . . .

The false Christs that will attempt to deceive the Saints in the last days are the corrupted and misleading teachings of the world. President Benson taught that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to bring men to Christ by “testifying of Christ and revealing His enemies.”1 President Benson also taught that we must carefully study the Book of Mormon for recognizing and combating these false philosophies:

The . . . members of the Church everywhere should know the Book of Mormon better than any other book. Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings. If we really did our homework and approached the Book of Mormon doctrinally, we could expose the errors and find the truths to combat many of the current false theories and philosophies of men, including socialism, humanism, organic evolution, and others.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God.” In the Book of Mormon at the very same time that Alma and others were establishing the true Church, Nehor, Amlici and Korihor were proposing contrary ideas. Likewise, in our dispensation, from the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 to the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in 1844—at this very time—new false philosophies concerning the origin of man and the earth as well as their history and purpose also commenced.

There are many anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon—each is critical to understand as their teachings correspond with parallel philosophies in our day. We will investigate these false ideologies more closely as we continue our study of the Book of Mormon.

  • Sherem (Lesson 15)
  • Nehor (Lesson 23)
  • Korihor (Lesson 29)
  • Amalickiah (Lesson 33)

Why do we not have the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, ancient scripture of the lost tribes, the Brass Plates, and other records?

In 2 Nephi 28-29, Nephi and the Lord chastise those in the last days who refuse to accept more revelation. In 2014, a series of four lunar eclipses (or “blood moons”) began, corresponding with sacred Hebrew feasts. The first appeared during Passover (April 15, 2014), the second during Sukkot (October 8, 2014), the third during Passover (April 4, 2015), and the last during Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles (September 28, 2015). 

Then came a solar eclipse in 2017, the moon’s shadow moving diagonally across the promised land of America. This year (2024), another solar eclipse will travel across America—but this time in the opposite direction. As the paths of the 2017 and 2024 solar eclipses intersect, an ominous “x” will appear over America. The Lord’s signs always hold deep meaning for those given access to priesthood authority, ordinances, and covenants. Unfortunately for our day, eclipses and blood moons are not signs of favor, blessing, and righteousness. Instead, they communicate God’s judgment, displeasure, and warning. 

What do these foreboding signs mean to us? While official interpretation is the prerogative of those men ordained with authority from God, the existing warnings of the Lord upon our generation are unmistakably clear and sobering in scripture. Nephi lamented:

...because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.

How did we get so far off track? While Nephi lists many issues in our day—including false doctrine, persecution of humble saints, pride, and neglect of the poor—he emphasizes that the Lord has given us the Book of Mormon to discern truth and break the deception in our day. President Harold B. Lee taught:

We are convinced that our members are hungry for the gospel, undiluted, with its abundant truths and insights. … There are those who have seemed to forget that the most powerful weapons the Lord has given us against all that is evil are His own declarations, the plain simple doctrines of salvation as found in the scriptures.

The Lord revealed a significant clue only two short years after Joseph Smith organized the Church. On the fifth anniversary of receiving the Nephite record, the Lord gave a strong chastisement to His people:

And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.1

President Ezra Taft Benson affirmed 159 years later in 1986 that this condemnation had not been lifted and he pleaded with members to “not remain under condemnation.” Why were we under condemnation? How were we neglecting the Book of Mormon? 

Bruce R. McConkie added his own testimony regarding our neglect of the Book of Mormon when he prophesied:

I am clear in my mind that the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon will not come forth until the Millennium. That is undoubtedly true of the fulness of the Bible, though some additions could well be made before that time. . . . The perfected Bible of the future will surely include all that was on the brass plates of Laban....Someday the Lord will raise up a prophet, who will also be a seer and a translator, to whom he will give the brass plates that they may be translated for the benefit and the blessing of those in all nations. Would God that the work might commence at least in our day though in fact we have no such hope. Why should the Lord give us what is on the brass plates or in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon when we do not even treasure up and live by what He has already given us.

While the Lord promises many future records from the lost tribes as well as the remaining sealed portion of the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 29), this revelation will not be given to us until we as Latter-day Saints have repented and are prepared to receive more.

The Power of the Book of Mormon

Two years after his talk, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” President Benson repeated his impassioned plea to the Saints, begging them to refocus on the Book of Mormon:

The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way. We have the Book of Mormon, we have the members, we have the missionaries, we have the resources, and the world has the need. The time is now! My beloved brothers and sisters, we hardly fathom the power of the Book of Mormon, nor the divine role it must play, nor the extent to which it must be moved. “Few men on earth,” said Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “either in or out of the Church, have caught the vision of what the Book of Mormon is all about. Few are they among men who know the part it has played and will yet play in preparing the way for the coming of Him of whom it is a new witness. … The Book of Mormon shall so affect men that the whole earth and all its peoples will have been influenced and governed by it. … There is no greater issue ever to confront mankind in modern times than this: Is the Book of Mormon the mind and will and voice of God to all men?” (Millennial Messiah pp. 159, 170, 179.) We testify that it is. Now, my good Saints, we have a great work to perform in a very short time. We must flood the earth with the Book of Mormon—and get out from under God’s condemnation for having treated it lightly. (See D&C 84:54–58.) . . . I do not know fully why God has preserved my life to this age, but I do know this: That for the present hour He has revealed to me the absolute need for us to move the Book of Mormon forward now in a marvelous manner. You must help with this burden and with this blessing which He has placed on the whole Church, even all the children of Zion.

As part of this effort, President Benson oversaw the production of the film How Rare a Possession during his presidency. This motion picture powerfully portrays the power of the Book of Mormon, as seen through the conversion stories of early member, Parley P. Pratt, and 20th-century Italian convert, Vincenzo Di Francesca.

As you strive to take the Book of Mormon more seriously, you will increasingly experience its power in your life. Celebrate with gratitude the miracle of the Lord bringing forth this record of hope, answers, and promise by listening to the musical production “From Cumorah’s Hill: The Book of Mormon Speaks to Our Day” by Steven Kapp Perry. The time for a reawakening and return to our Nephite forefathers is now!

Embark on the Journey

Monthly “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” Theme!

I will cherish and rely on the revelations of God in scripture and the inspired words of Latter-day prophets.

Remember: While you absolutely may do every activity suggested if you would like, it is certainly not needed, nor are you limited by the ideas given here. Choose one or more that will work with your learning style, available time, or the group that you are working with. Even if you are an adult, don’t hesitate to choose an activity originally aimed at children—those can be the most fun!

Feel free to run with any other ideas that come to your mind! Allow the Lord to guide you in choosing the best activities for you. The ultimate goal is to engage with the material and become a “doer of the word.”

  • If this is your first week here, welcome! Please review our “Welcome & How to Join the Quest” for some helpful information on how to use this resource. You may also want to check out the Embark on the Journey section of Lesson 1 for some activities that will be helpful in getting you started on this quest. In particular, you’ll want a journal, and perhaps the “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” resolution and a fun Book of Mormon reading chart. Just start where you are in the year—don’t feel like you have to backtrack and do every lesson, but grab these helpful tools and you’ll be good to go from here!
  • If you choose to download or purchase a designed cardstock version of the “I’m a Latter-day Nephite” resolution, you may want to post it where you will see it every day—on the fridge or your mirror, for example. Ponder on this month’s statement “I will cherish and rely on the revelations of God in scripture and the inspired words of Latter-day prophets.”
  • The challenge in the podcast this week is: What is your part in flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon? We have chosen to have limited activities this week to allow you to prayerfully ponder as an individual and with your family what your part is. We encourage you to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone, trust that the Lord will provide the way, and act on the promptings you receive, no matter how big or small. We testify that as you are willing to ask this question of the Lord with a sincere desire to be obedient, you will experience miracles and tender mercies beyond measure.

Unless otherwise stated, reference to any products, services, hypertext link to third parties or other information by trade name, trademark, supplier or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement or sponsorship by us. They are for convenience only.

All Hands on Deck

  • Pray each morning this week for the Lord to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts on the Book of Mormon and/or what you’ve learned this week with someone. 
  • Join the For Our Day community on social media for uplifting shareable content, ideas on how to implement For Our Day in your home and classes, and to connect with others on the journey. You can find us here: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Find the Treasure

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