13 Therefore, I would that ye should behold that the Lord truly did teach the people, for the space of three days; and after that he did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them.
14 And it came to pass that he did teach and minister unto the children of the multitude of whom hath been spoken, and he did loose their tongues, and they did speak unto their fathers great and marvelous things, even greater than he had revealed unto the people; and he loosed their tongues that they could utter.
- He dedicated sufficient time to the initial instruction. He knew his students. He told them at the end of the first day that they had reached the saturation point, and He assigned them to ponder what they had learned and prepare their minds for the next day (3 Nephi 17:1-3). He dedicated three full days to the initial instruction, during which time He “did expound all things,” only a small portion of which appear in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 26:1-6).
- After the initial instruction, Jesus followed up. He “did show himself unto them oft.” In the following chapter, He appeared to His disciples to answer a specific question (3 Nephi 27:1-3). Rather than assume that His teaching was done when the lecture was over, He continued to be available to help His students absorb and internalize the material He had taught.
- He loosed the tongues of the children. I think this means that He helped the children to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost and then encouraged them to share with others what they had learned. As Boyd K. Packer has taught, this experience must have been particularly valuable for the children themselves: “It is one thing to receive a witness from what you have read or what another has said; and that is a necessary beginning. It is quite another to have the Spirit confirm to you in your bosom that what you have testified is true” (“The Candle of the Lord“, Ensign, January 1983).
Perhaps more than opening the mouths of babes, the Lord was opening the eyes and ears of their astonished parents. Those parents had been granted the extraordinary gift of a glimpse into eternity and of beholding the true identity and premortal stature of their children. Would that not forever change the way the parents saw and treated their children? I like this variation of a quote attributed to Goethe: “The way you see [a child] is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is [who] they [will] become.” To remember a child’s true identity is a gift of foresight that divinely inspires the vision of a righteous judge (“The Righteous Judge,” General Conference, October 2016).