The image of a prophet preaching to a people who are trying to kill him is a vivid one. Like Alma in the city of Ammonihah, Samuel the Lamanite was rejected by the citizens of Zarahemla but returned to preach again (Alma 8:8-18, Helaman 13:2-4). Why would he do this? Why did God send him back?
One answer is because there were people in the city who were willing to hear his words (Helaman 16:1). Another answer is because his sermon was remembered, even by those who didn’t believe it right away. It functioned as a roadmap for many of the Nephite people in the years leading up to the appearance of Jesus Christ. (See 3 Nephi 1:5-9, 3 Nephi 8:3, 3 Nephi 23:9-10, Mormon 1:19, Mormon 2:10.)
An important lesson from Samuel the Lamanite is that we need to be willing to get out of our comfort zone in order to fulfill God’s purposes. Samuel’s people were righteous, and presumably it would have been much easier for him to preach to them. His words would have been well-received. His audience would have been receptive. But God called him to preach to the Nephites, and he willingly did so, even though it was not easy.
Here is a summary of Samuel’s sermon, with my takeaways: Samuel the Lamanite teaches the Nephites in Zarahemla
Here are some blog posts about Samuel’s sermon:
- Samuel said that the gospel brought “glad tidings to [his] soul.” How Does the Gospel Bring Us Joy?
- Consistent repentance can prevent our sins from hardening into habits: What Does It Mean to Be “Ripe in Iniquity?”
- Expect prophets to challenge you to do better and to be better: What Should I Do When Prophetic Teachings Are Difficult to Understand or Accept?
- Seek for deep and lasting happiness, not cheap or temporary substitutes: What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About Happiness?
- Consequences may be delayed, but it’s important to think about future consequences as we make decisions in the present: Your Desolation Is Already Come Upon You – Helaman 13:32
- Be a “spiritual first responder:” He Hath Put It into My Heart – Helaman 13:5-7
- The Savior can bring light into our lives, even in the darkest of times: Why Is Light an Appropriate Symbol for the Birth of Christ?
- Avoid the trap of only hearing what you want to hear: Ye Are Angry with Me – Helaman 14:10
- Jesus Christ overcame both physical and spiritual death: Into the Presence of the Lord – Helaman 14:15-18
- The best way to develop a clearer perception of others is to take the time to get to know them better: What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About Racism?
- Look around before making a decision: They Do Walk Circumspectly Before God – Helaman 15:5
- Beware when you are tempted to compare yourself favorably with others: Had the Mighty Works Been Shown Unto Them – Helaman 15:15-16
- It takes humility to accept unwelcome truths instead of trying to rationalize them away: Some Things They May Have Guessed Right – Helaman 16:15-16