“They Also That Erred in Spirit” – 2 Nephi 27:35

Isaiah foresaw a time when people would turn their hearts away from God. Speaking on behalf of the Lord, he gave the following problem statement, which Nephi also quoted in the Book of Mormon:

Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men…

Isaiah 29:13, 2 Nephi 27:25

What to do with misguided children? The Lord’s solution is compassionate and respectful: teach them. God will bring forth a book that will help people see clearly. As a result, “they…that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine” (Isaiah 29:24, 2 Nephi 27:35).

In the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord uses similar language to identify the purpose of revelations He has given to modern prophets:

These commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

Doctrine and Covenants 1:24-27

The concept is simple: when people understand true principles, they will adjust their own behavior and make better decisions. You don’t have to micromanage, nor is that even sustainable. You do need to provide training and instruction, respectfully and with confidence that others will use that knowledge to make good decisions.

Elder Quentin L. Cook has said:

Parents have a responsibility to lovingly teach their children….

Undue criticism of children should be avoided. Overcoming errors and lack of wisdom requires instruction, not criticism. Sin requires chastening.

Great Love for Our Father’s Children,” General Conference, April 2019. (Note: part of this quotation is in footnote 29.)

Today, I will strive to teach my children with love. I will remember that people who “err in spirit” need education, not condemnation.

3 thoughts on ““They Also That Erred in Spirit” – 2 Nephi 27:35

Add yours

  1. I love how the D&C verses you cite lay out how God’s work with His children is just like our work with our children – all He does is for our good! His work (and this entire life) is meant to be educative, not punitive or retributive.

    He truly wants us to “come to understanding”, recognize when we have “erred”, gain wisdom, and his only purpose in chastening us is “that [we] might repent.”

    I’m so grateful for the knowledge that all that God does is with our best interests in mind!



    1. This is a great example of how our understanding of God can influence our behavior. The better we understand His approach to parenting, the better we can do as parents, leaders, and teachers. Thanks for the comment!


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