Were the spared Nephites the cream of the crop?

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Two weeks ago, I taught Gospel Doctrine. I was given a specific lesson to teach, so that’s the one I prepared. When I stood at the front of the class to teach, I was told by the class I was teaching the wrong lesson, and I was teaching one three lessons later. (It turns out that  they were wrong and the lesson I taught will actually be taught next week. Oh well.)

It’s an uneasy feeling having to come up with a lesson on the spot with absolutely no time to prepare, especially when you don’t have a manual and have only printed off the one lesson.

The lesson the class said I was supposed to be teaching apparently covers 3 Nephi 8–12. I had read 3 Nephi 11 with investigators many times, so even though it has been 20 years, I figured that teaching 3 Nephi 11 was my best shot.

Anyhow, at some point in the lesson, someone (it may have even been me) and made mention that the people alive when Jesus visited the Nephites were not necessarily righteous. There was a discussion about this, and it became quite clear that this was a view held by a minority of the class. In fact, one class member even referred to the survivors as the cream of the crop. I knew this was wrong, and that there were scriptures in the 9th and 10th chapters that supported my stance. Unfortunately, not having had time to prepared this lesson, I did not have those scriptures handy and it would have taken too long to search for them. I politely conceded on the point, and we moved on to the rest of the lesson.

Anyhow, as I was searching this issue this morning, I came across the following scriptures and thought I would post them here for your enjoyment. I doubt I will get an opportunity to share them at church.

“Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!” (3 Ne 9:2)


“And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

“O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you.

“Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.” (3 Ne 9:12–14)


“O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.” (3 Ne 10:6)


“And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared.” (3 Ne 10:12)

See? These people weren’t spared because they were the cream of the crop; they were spared because they happened to be more righteous than those who had died. In fact, they were specifically told they needed to repent, come unto Jesus, and become converted.

So, there it is.

2 thoughts on “Were the spared Nephites the cream of the crop?

  1. The Book of Mormon has a particular flaw, I think, in that it invites people to compare themselves with others and there’s a lot of pride and patting oneself on the back in it. More justice than mercy, which bothers me because I’m a mercy kind of gIrl.

    You hear that phrase “only the good die young”—-I’ve been obsessing on the Holocaust, no clue how many books I’ve read or re-read. I often wonder why God has chosen to spare my life when good people who love life have died. No answer to that question. But, my study and thought have led me to conclude that luck plays a large part in survival. Not survival instinct, or strength, or those who are just not as good as the saints who have died. Luck.

    I know that doesn’t go along with God being in charge of everything……but it makes sense to me.

    1. Good points. Sometimes I have to remind myself that most of the Book of Mormon people didn’t have access to King Benjamin’s sermon, which would explain on all the racism and us vs. them mentality.

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