The Gospel Doctrine lesson #4 manual objective is “To help class members understand Nephi’s vision of the future and how the warnings and promises in it apply to us today.”
To help class members understand that God invites both men and women to know things of the spirit, and to highlight examples of women in the vision Nephi saw.
In 1 Nephi 10:17, we read:
I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father … was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which I the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him ….
One of the most profound messages of this lesson is that we (both men and women) can receive revelation if we seek it. Like Nephi, we can ask to know and understand things of the spirit.
As we read in Joel 2:28-29:
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy … upon the servants and the handmaids will I pour out my spirit.
President Julie Beck elaborates on revelation in her 2010 Conference talk:
The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. Keeping the commandments, repenting, and renewing covenants made at baptism lead to the blessing of always having the Lord’s Spirit with us. Daily prayer is also essential to having the Lord’s Spirit with us. Being in the right places allows us to receive guidance.
We are also told that this Spirit will enlighten our minds, fill our souls with joy, and help us know all things we should do. Promised personal revelation comes when we ask for it, prepare for it, and go forward in faith, trusting that it will be poured out upon us.
In response to Nephi’s inquiry, he had a powerful vision. I note that Nephi had this vision in the midst of troubled times. He and his family were living in a harsh wilderness, moving about in uncertainty, and enduring the persecutions of his brothers. This is a reminder to us that we can also have revelations (and visions) even in the dark times of our lives.
Nephi sees several forthcoming events in vision. Looking back historically, we know many of these events involved brave and faithful action by both men and women. Included in his vision were:
1. The European discovery and colonization of the Americas.
Many people where involved in this discovery and colonization, including women. We know some of the more famous names: Abigail Adams, Martha Custis Washington, and Betsy Ross. There were other women involved as well. These stories taken from Women Making America by Heidi Hemming and Julie Hemming Savage.
On April 26, 1777, with the Revolutionary war brewing, sixteen-year-old Sybil Luddington galloped off into the cold and rainy night to alert her neighbors – near Danbury, CT – of an impending British attack.
Mercy Otis Warren wrote biting satire in Boston newspapers – starting in 1772. She fanned the flames of patriotic sentiment. Readers knew exactly who was being lampooned: British public officials. What they did not know was that the author was the busy mother of five boys.
2. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel.
Many stories of the great women involved in the restoration are written in Daughters in My Kingdom. The woman who inspires me most is Emma Smith. She showed boundless courage in her work and support of the restoration. This story, as told Valeen Avery and Linda King Newell, exemplifies this.
Emma and her young children fled Missouri with other Church members following Governor Boggs’s extermination order (see History of the Church, 3:175). When the Saints surveyed the frozen Mississippi River, they discovered the ice was not thick enough for the travelers to cross in their wagons. Instead, they walked. Emma crossed with her 4 children. Strapped under her skirts were the bags containing the only copy of the Prophet’s translation of the Bible.
3. The blessings promised to the faithful
There are many women in the Book of Mormon and other scriptures who were blessed because of their faithfulness: Nephi’s wife, the Queen to King Lamoni, and Zelophehad’s daughters to name a few. (See Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Strong Women from the Book of Mormon.)
We hear stories of women today whose lives are blessed because of righteous living. Sister Neill Marriott tells a personal story about the temple in a conference talk from 2014.
Related Mormon Women Project Interviews
Following the Spirit During Life’s Twists, Sally Miner Murray
And when you’re working on a good cause, Heavenly Father blesses you with knowledge. And you’re working with these sweet, humble people who are just trying against all odds to do what they’re supposed to do and who know the Spirit.
Trail Blazing in Belgium, Linda Vergauwen
To be a member of Christ’s Church has brought me so many blessings! Now I can see the whole picture a lot better. I enjoy life. I don’t know what challenges lie in the future, but I know I always will learn something from them. I love the gospel. I love my Savior.
Other Related Women’s Voices
What I Have Learned About Mighty Prayer, Mary Jane Woodger
We are women now, not children, and we are expected to pray with maturity. The words most often used to describe urgent, prayerful labor are wrestle, plead, cry, and hunger. In some sense, prayer may be the hardest work we ever will engage in, and perhaps it should be. It is pivotal protection against becoming so involved with worldly possessions and honors and status that we no longer desire to undertake the search for our soul.
“One Thing Needful”: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ, Patricia Holland
I know that God loves us individually and collectively as women, and that he has a mission for every one of us. As I learned on my Galilean hillside, I testify that if our desires are righteous, God overrules for our good and that heavenly parents will tenderly attend to our needs.
Looking for additional perspectives on this lesson? We recommend Mormon Sunday School, Meridian Magazine and LDSLiving.