3 Nephi 11 The Savior visits the Nephites
Ezra Taft Benson
"It is clear that 3 Nephi contains some of the most moving and powerful passages in all scripture. It testifies of Jesus Christ, His prophets, and the doctrines of salvation. What a blessing it would be if every family would frequently read together 3 Nephi, discuss its sacred contents, and then determine how they can liken it unto themselves and apply its teachings in their lives!
"Third Nephi is a book that should be read and read again. Its testimony of the resurrected Christ in America is given in purity and beauty." (A Witness and a Warning, p. 43)
3 Ne 11:1 a great multitude gathered together...about the temple which was in the land Bountiful
This is the third temple mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The first one was built by Nephi, after the manner of the temple of Solomon (2 Ne 5:16), in the land of Nephi. The second one was located in Zarahemla and was the site of King Benjamin's great sermon (Mosiah 2:1). The third was located in Bountiful. From other passages, we know that many other temples were built and used but their specific locations are unknown (see Alma 16:13; 23:2). Therefore, we can see that the Nephites and the Lamanites were temple-building people. Their temples were gathering places which had the same symbolic meaning of holiness and spirituality as our temples do today, but the ordinances performed therein were, up to this point, according to the Law of Moses.
Temples are gathering places for saints in all ages. "The temple of Zarahemla served as a gathering place where solemn official business was transacted. As mentioned previously, gathering at the temple was mandatory under the law of Moses: 'Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God' (Exodus 23:17), especially so that they could 'hear' the word of the Lord." (Donald W. Parry, Temples of the Ancient World, p. 352) The temples are also a place of refuge-the best place to be in time of crisis.
Later, Mormon tells us that the number of the multitude was 2500 people (3 Ne 17:25). Undoubtedly, there were some who considered making this trek to the land of Bountiful but decided not to go. Can you imagine how sorry they were to hear of what happened that day? Think of what they missed because they were "not in the mood" to attend the temple on that particular occasion? We never know what kind of spiritual experience is waiting for us in the temple of the Lord. There may be times when we have missed out on incredible spiritual experiences because we didn't take the opportunity to attend the temple. On those occasions when Satan disturbs our routine, makes temple attendance inconvenient, or otherwise places a roadblock to temple attendance, we would do well to remember the 2500 in Bountiful who were so greatly blessed because they had made the effort.
Ezra Taft Benson
"Sometimes in the peace of lovely temples, the serious problems of life find their solutions. [At times] pure knowledge flows to us there under the influence of the Spirit. I am grateful to the Lord for temples. The blessings of the House of the Lord are eternal. They are of the highest importance to us because it is in the temples that we obtain God's greatest blessings pertaining to eternal life. Temples really are the gateways to heaven. May we remember always, as we [visit and work in these temples], that the veil may become very thin between this world and the spirit world. I know this is true." (Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 408)
Howard W. Hunter
"Let us truly be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people...We should go not only for our kindred dead but also for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety that are within those hallowed and consecrated walls. As we attend the temple, we learn more richly and deeply the purpose of life and the significance of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make the temple, with worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience." (Ensign, Feb. 1995, p. 5 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 409)
3 Ne 11:3 they heard a voice...a small voice...did pierce them that did hear to the center
The voice is heard three times but it is not the voice of an angel nor is it that 'still small voice' of the Holy Ghost. The voice heard was that of Elohim. Ezra Taft Benson remarked, "How few people in all the history of the world have heard the actual voice of God the Father speaking to them." (Witness and a Warning, p. 40) The voice of Elohim is described as being not a harsh nor a loud voice but penetrating so much so that it made their hearts burn and their frames shake. Elsewhere, His voice was described as a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper (Hel 5:45).
Interestingly, the scriptures give us a description of the voices of all three members of the Godhead. The descriptions are remarkably similar. The voice of Elohim is 'a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper...a small voice [that] did pierce them that did hear to the center' (Hel 5:46; 3 Ne 11:3). The voice of Jehovah is described as, 'a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul' (Hel 5:30). The voice of the Holy Ghost is described by Joseph Smith as, 'the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake' (DC 85:6). Certainly, it is the Holy Ghost which speaks to us with a still, small voice to guide us through mortality, but the voice of God is one, just as the mind, will, and purpose of God is one. Therefore, if we were to hear the actual voice of the Father or the Son, it would sound much the same. It would be a small voice, a piercing voice, a mild voice, and a pleasant voice powerful enough to cause the heart to burn and the bones to quake.
"On the one hand, the voice of the Lord speaks softly, for it is a 'still small voice,' even 'a still voice of perfect mildness'-'a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper'; it is 'not a harsh voice,' neither is it a loud voice, but rather a voice that pierces to the very soul of man, causing the heart to burn. On the other hand, the voice of the world speaks loudly, imitating thunder, or some great and strong wind, the crashing earthquake, or the raging fire. The voice of the Lord says, 'Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved.' Indeed, it is the voice of the Lord that says to the righteous of every age: 'I will not leave you comfortless,' for 'peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.' The finger-pointing voice of the world, in contrast, is but the echo of the voice of Satan-the slanderer, that 'accuser of [the] brethren'-and it is the voice of accusation, of naysaying, of character assassination, gossip, and falsehood; it is the voice of ridicule and scorn, always speaking against the cause of Christ, promoting vice in the name of some virtue, and, like Korihor, speaking with missionary zeal." (Mark McConkie, The Father of the Prophet, p. 135)
Graham W. Doxey
"My testimony is that the Lord is speaking to you! But with the deafening decibels of todays environment, all to often we fail to hear him...I was interested in someone's observation: 'With TV and radio and tapes, what young person has time to listen?...Listening is a challenge for us all today." (Conference Report, Oct. 1991, p. 33 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 410)
Henry B. Eyring
"The still small voice is so quiet you won't hear it when you're noisy inside." (Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 409)
Henry B. Eyring
"Now, I testify it is a small voice. It whispers not shouts. And so you must be very quiet inside. That is why you may wisely fast when you want to listen. And that is why you will listen best when you feel, 'Father, thy will, not mine, be done.' You will have a feeling of 'I want what you want.' Then, the still small voice will seem as if it pierces you. It may make your bones to quake. More often it will make your heart burn within which will lift and reassure." (Ensign, May 1991, p. 67 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 409-10)
Marvin J. Ashton
"Small voices are heard only by those who are willing to listen. Soft and small voice communications with our associates make priceless friendships possible. I am appreciative of people who find no need to raise their voices as they try to impress or convince. It seems most people who argue and shout have ceased listening to what the small voice could powerfully contribute." (Conference Report, Nov. 1987 Ensign, p. 20)
3 Ne 11:10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world
Jeffrey R. Holland
"He speaks and says simply, with a voice that penetrates the very marrow of your bones, 'I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.' (3 Nephi 11:10.)
"There it is-or, more correctly speaking, there he is. The focal point and principal figure behind every fireside and devotional and family home evening held by those Nephites for the last six hundred years, and by their Israelite forefathers for thousands of years before that.
"Everyone has talked of him and sung of him and dreamed of him and prayed-but here he actually is. This is the day and yours is the generation. What a moment! But you find you are less inclined to check the film in your camera than you are to check the faith in your heart." (On Earth As It Is In Heaven, p. 125)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"'Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.' (3 Nephi 11:7-8, 10.)
"He invited them, as he invited Thomas, to feel his hands and side, and they were astonished and cried, 'Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!' (3 Nephi 11:17.)
"They doubted not, but believed, as have millions who have read this marvelous witness of the resurrected Lord. If there be those who know not of this fifth gospel and desire it, their request will bring it, and it will come with a promise that if they will read prayerfully they shall know of the truth of this remarkable new witness for Christ.
"And there is yet another testifier, for as certainly as the voice of God declared the divine Sonship of Jesus at the waters of Jordan, and again on the Mount of Transfiguration, and yet again at the land Bountiful, even so again that same introduction was made in the opening of this gospel dispensation in a glorious vision in which God the Eternal Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared and spoke to a young man who had come seeking, and who in the years that followed spoke as a prophet of the risen Lord, even giving his life in testimony of him who had died upon the cross.
"With so many evidences, and with the conviction borne in our hearts by the power of the Holy Ghost, we add in words of soberness and sincerity and love our testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ; wherefore, O man, 'be not faithless, but believing' in him who is the living Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer." (Be Thou An Example, p. 77-8)
3 Ne 11:11 I am the light and the life of the world...I have suffered the will of the Father in all things
Henry B. Eyring
"He speaks: 'I am the light and the life of the world; . . . I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world; . . . I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.' That is it. Eight lines. Fifty-two words. 'And . . . when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth.'
"I have thought often about this moment in Nephite history, and I cannot think it either accident or mere whimsy that the Good Shepherd in his newly exalted state, appearing to a most significant segment of his flock, chooses to speak first of his obedience, his deference, his loyalty, and loving submission to his Father. In an initial and profound moment of spellbinding wonder, when surely he has the attention of every man, woman, and child as far as the eye can see, his submission to his Father is the first and most important thing he wishes us to know about himself.
"Frankly, I am a bit haunted by the thought that this is the first and most important thing he may want to know about us when we meet him one day in similar fashion. Did we obey, even if it was painful? Did we submit, even if the cup was bitter indeed? Did we yield to a vision higher and holier than our own, even when we may have seen no vision in it at all?
"One by one he invites us to feel the wounds in his hands and his feet and his side. And as we pass and touch and wonder, perhaps he whispers, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.' (Matthew 16:24.)
"If such cross-bearing self-denial was, by definition, the most difficult thing Christ or any man has ever had to do, an act of submission that would by the Savior's own account cause him, 'God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit'-if yielding and obeying and bowing to divine will holds only that ahead, then no wonder that even the Only Begotten Son of the true and living God 'would that [he] might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink'! (D&C 19:18.)
"Even as we rehearse this greatest of all personal sacrifices, you can be certain that with some in this world it is not fashionable or flattering to speak of submitting to anybody or anything. At the threshold of the twenty-first century it sounds wrong on the face of it. It sounds feeble and wimpish. It just isn't the American way."
"As Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote recently, 'In today's society, at the mere mention of the words obedience and submissiveness, hackles rise and people are put on nervous alert...People promptly furnish examples from secular history to illustrate how obedience to unwise authority and servility to bad leaders have caused much human misery and suffering. It is difficult, therefore, to get a hearing for what the words obedience and submissiveness really mean-even when the clarifying phrase, 'to God', is attached." (Not My Will, But Thine [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], p. 1.)
"After all, we come to earth, at least in part, to cultivate self-reliance, to cultivate independence, to learn to think and act for ourselves. Didn't Christ himself say, 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'? (John 8:32.) So how does heaven speak of such spiritual freedom and intellectual independence in one breath, only to plead with us to be submissive and very dependent in the next?
"It does so because no amount of education, or any other kind of desirable and civilizing experience in this world, will help us at the moment of our confrontation with Christ if we have not been able-and are not then able-to yield all that we are, all that we have, and all that we ever hope to have to the Father and the Son." (On Earth As It Is In Heaven, p. 126-7)
3 Ne 11:15 did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and his feet...one by one until they had all gone forth
"There were about 2500 persons who saw and felt his physical body on that occasion (see 3 Nephi 17:25). Even at three or four seconds each, 'one by one,' that would take several hours. The passage we have just read is one of the greatest scriptural records in our possession. It is clear that 'showing' himself involved more than having them merely look. It was sight, sound, touch, and a witness of the Spirit." (Book of Mormon Symposium Series, "The Keystone Scripture", edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 31)
Howard W. Hunter
"That experience took time, but it was important that each individual have the experience, that each set of eyes and each pair of hands have that reaffirming, personal witness. Later Christ treated the Nephite children exactly the same way. 'He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them' (3 Ne 17:21 emphasis added)." (Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 209)
Jeffrey R. Holland
"At that invitation, the entire multitude went forth 'one by one,' thrusting their hands into his side and feeling the prints of the nails in his hands and feet. Even though the power of the Resurrection could have-and undoubtedly one day will have- completely restored and made new the wounds from the crucifixion, nevertheless Christ chose to retain those wounds for a purpose, including for his appearance in the last days when he will show those marks and reveal that he was wounded 'in the house of [his] friends' (DC 45:52).
"The wounds in his hands, feet, and side are signs that in mortality painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect, signs that tribulation is not evidence that God does not love us. It is a significant and hopeful fact that it is the wounded Christ who comes to our rescue. He who bears the scars of sacrifice, the lesions of love, the emblems of humility and forgiveness is the Captain of our Soul. That evidence of pain in mortality is undoubtedly intended to give courage to others who are also hurt and wounded by life, perhaps even in the house of their friends.
"In spite of the size of the great multitude, Christ nevertheless took time for each one to have that personal experience." (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 259)
3 Ne 11:19 Nephi...bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet
Nephi had been a righteous prophet, described by Mormon as cleansed every whit (3 Ne 8:1). He had been given great power and had performed many great miracles in the name of Christ (3 Ne 7:15-20). Still, his righteousness was only possible through the atonement of his Master. All the penitent, from the most righteous to the least, feel humbled in the presence of the Great Redeemer. In contrast to righteous Nephi's humbling kiss, the New Testament records the kiss of a woman plagued with sin, she...stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment (Lu 7:38). Humbled by our own sins and imperfections, we relish the same opportunity.
We know of scriptures which promise that every knee shall bow-even the wicked knees (Isa 45:23). But those who appreciate his atoning sacrifice ask, "How could anyone stand in his presence? How could anyone look into his piercing eyes, witness the wounds in his hands and feet, and not fall to their knees? What else could be done except to worship at his feet, bathing them with tears of gratitude?" Certainly, it will be a time when those who have sung "I Stand All Amazed" will be able to stand no longer.
Bruce R. McConkie
"I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
"But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God's Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way." (Conference Report, May 1985 Ensign, p. 9)
3 Ne 11:21 I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people
Nephi already had the power to baptize. He had been ordaining others to this power and many of the Nephites were baptized under his authority (3 Ne 7:24-25). Later, we learn that the 12 disciples and the multitude were baptized again (3 Ne 19:12-13; 27:1). So why did the Lord give Nephi this power when he already had it? And why did the people need to be baptized when they had already been baptized?
The visitation of Christ represented a new dispensation, with a new covenant, a new law, new priesthood keys, and new ordinances. The new and everlasting covenant was being presented anew to a new dispensation. To borrow the language of the scriptures, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new (2 Cor 5:17). The new dispensation could not be founded on the old, albeit legitimate, ordinances of the Law of Moses. This is why the Lord said to the Pharisees, No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved...I receive not you with your baptism, because it profiteth you nothing. For when that which is new is come, the old is ready to be put away. (JST-Matt 9:16-21)
3 Ne 11:25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you...
"Some students have raised the question as to why the words of the baptismal prayer in the Book of Mormon differ slightly from the prayer listed in the Doctrine and Covenants. In this dispensation the Lord has counseled us to use these words in baptizing a person, after calling the candidate by name: 'Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.' (D&C 20:73.) The only difference in the two prayers is the introductory statement. In the Book of Mormon the disciples were counseled to say 'having authority given me of Jesus Christ,' whereas in this dispensation we are told to say 'having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.'
"...[One] possibility for explaining this difference is that the disciples in the Book of Mormon received their authority directly from Jesus Christ; therefore, they rightfully could say 'having authority given me of Jesus Christ.' However, in this dispensation priesthood bearers have been given the power to baptize from John the Baptist, who was commissioned by Jesus Christ to come to earth and restore this authority. Therefore, in this dispensation we use the words 'having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.'" (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 262-3)
3 Ne 11:26 then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water
Imagine for a brief moment if these 16 words were contained in the Bible. Imagine how the entire history of Christian theology would have been changed by such a simple phrase. How many arguments have dealt with baptism by immersion? How many missionaries have spent far too long discussing the importance and symbolism of immersion in the technique of baptism? If only the Bible had this phrase, then there would have been no disputations.
The Book of Mormon was given for the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace (2 Ne 3:12). No single ordinance is covered as completely as is baptism. This is one ordinance about which the Lord wanted no more contention. We are taught that authority from God is necessary to perform the ordinance (v. 21). We are also taught what to say (v. 25), how to perform it (v. 26), and the doctrinal incorrectness of baptizing infants and little children (Moroni 8:5-22).
"Now, let me ask, who could draw any two conclusions from words as plain as these? No person could; and there could be no two churches differing, or built up upon the principle of baptism as here revealed. So it is in regard to every other point of doctrine relating to the plan of salvation revealed in this book; they are all just as plain as the one to which I have called your attention. Hence, when people understand, and comprehend by the power of the Holy Ghost, that this record is divine, and when they can once put their confidence in it as such, they never after that need be at a loss concerning the points of the doctrine of our Lord and Savior. 'They...that erred in spirit shall come to understanding; they that murmured shall learn doctrine.' (Isa 29:24)" (Journal of Discourses, 17:288)
3 Ne 11:28 there shall be no disputations among you
Joseph Smith taught, "Let the Elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember that your business is to preach the Gospel in all humility...Avoid contentions and vain disputes with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth." "Let contention, all contention cease." (Hugh Nibley, Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, p. 226-7) The source of such contention is pride, Only by pride cometh contention (Prov 13:10). Again from Proverbs, we learn that the tendency to contend is a sign of foolishness, A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul (Prov 18:6-7). Yet, from time to time, the Latter-day saints are guilty of this sin.
"Throughout the scriptures the Lord has warned that 'there should be no contention one with another' (Mosiah 18:21) for it is 'unprofitable and vain.' (Titus 3:9.) The Lord has made it clear that contention is 'not of me, but is of the devil.' (3 Ne. 11:29.)
"A priesthood quorum instructor would begin his lesson each week by focusing on some controversial topic. While the discussion proved lively and tested his brethren's tempers, it was a most unprofitable hour, because the Spirit of the Lord was not present. A gentle reminder from his quorum leader helped him to see the destructive nature of his teaching technique.
'And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another.' (Mosiah 18:21)" (Church News, Jun. 20, 1992)
Russell M. Nelson
"As we dread any disease that undermines the health of the body, so should we deplore contention, which is a corroding canker of the spirit...My concern in that contention is becoming accepted as a way of life. From what we see and hear in the media, the classroom, and the workplace, all are now infected to some degree with contention...Well do I remember a friend who would routinely sow seeds of contention in church classes. His assaults would invariably be preceded by this predictable comment: 'Let me play the role of devil's advocate.' Recently he passed away. One day he will stand before the Lord in judgment, Then, I wonder, will my friend's predictable comment again be repeated?" (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, p. 85 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 411-2)
George Q. Cannon
"My brethren and sisters, above all things, therefore, we should seek for this spirit of union and love. It should be sought for in our councils, and we should not contend. Now, suppose that I should take it into my head to say that a certain doctrine is true, and I contend for it, determined to have it so; does my contention make it true? Suppose that I should contend from now until the Savior came that it is true, would my contention make it true? Certainly not. I cannot change a principle of truth. Then why contend or dispute, or argue about it?...There can be no change wrought in doctrine and in truth by our contention. But I will tell you where there is room for differences of opinion--in regard to the policy to be pursued. There ought to be no contention, however. God speaks against it. We have no right to be a disputing, contentious people. And whenever I dispute with my brother I am likely to grieve the Spirit of the Lord and darken my own mind. Therefore, let us avoid contention, in our councils and in all our intercourse one with another." (Collected Discourses 1886-1898, ed. by Brian Stuy, vol. 4, George Q. Cannon, Apr. 7, 1895)
Dallin H. Oaks
"The commandment to avoid contention applies to those who are right as well as to those who are wrong. It is not enough for the Savior's followers to have a correct understanding of doctrine and procedure. They must also be harmonious in their personal relationships and in the way they seek to serve him.
"In the years following the Savior's personal ministry to his followers on the American continent, all were converted and enjoyed a golden age of righteousness, peace, and prosperity. I find it significant that the scriptural description of this period stresses that 'there were no contentions and disputations among them' (4 Ne. 1:2; also see verse 15), suggesting that the absence of contention is a most significant bellwether of righteousness." (The Lord's Way, p. 142)
Joseph F. Smith
"I pray God that this spirit may especially enter into the hearts of this people, that they may strive for peace among themselves, that peace may dwell in their own hearts and houses, that peace may exist between neighbors, that peace, goodwill, love and union may characterize the associations of members of the Church with their fellow members, and that there may be no contention among them, nor strife, nor bitterness, nor back-sliding, nor back-biting, nor complaint of any description, but that peace on earth and good will to men may pervade the hearts and minds of all the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and that from them this spirit of peace and love for God and for our fellow man may go out into the world, as far as we have power to send it forth through the elders of the Church and otherwise, that men may hear the good tidings and receive them in their hearts, obey the truth, and join the ranks of the peaceful, of the peace-loving, of the peace-makers, of the God-fearing, and of the God-loving people that all Latter-day Saints should be, in every part of the world." (Conference Reports, Oct. 1914)
3 Ne 11:30 this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away
Elder Francis M. Lyman
"It is a great mystery to the people of the world how the Latter-day Saints hold so unitedly together as a people, why there is such a fraternal, binding feeling existing between them. Quite generally they look upon it as the result of compulsory power, exercised by the leaders of the Church. How incorrect this idea is: What holds this people together so solidly, and what makes them willing to labor for the salvation of the children of men, at the sacrifice of their own worldly affairs and interest is answered in the text I have just read to you (3 Ne 11:20-36)." (Conference Report, Apr. 1904, p. 12)
3 Ne 11:32 the Father commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in me
"...God's love (understood as his desire for a relationship with us) is unconditional. In fact, God commands all men and women everywhere to repent and come to him (3 Nephi 11:32). He desires to redeem us, to glorify and exalt us equally and unconditionally. Does God desire to have an eternal relationship with all his children? Yes, and in this sense God's love is unconditional. 'All are invited, none is excluded.' But it takes two people to have a relationship. A relationship, by definition, requires two points of reference, and only some of God's children love him back and agree to enter into the desired relationship. He does not initially love them any more than the others, but in time the relationship of love that is possible with them is much, much greater than it is with those who reject him. They 'abide in his love.' (Jn 15:10)
"Many of God's children will not love him. They will not accept the proposal of the Bridegroom, though he loves them dearly. They will never experience the joys the gospel marriage brings. However, that is not because God is unwilling or because they failed to meet conditions that would have rendered him willing. It is because they will not accept his proposal; they will not come to the wedding. Though he loved them first, they did not love him back, and by their choice the relationship will not be as great as it might have been-they refuse to 'abide in his love.'" (Stephen R. Robinson, Following Christ, p. 149 - 150)
3 Ne 11:33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved
The Savior was clear and distinct about his doctrine. The words contained in verses 33 and 34 are so pure and fundamental that they must have been part of the plan of salvation as scripted in the councils of heaven. It is as if these words were lifted off those holy pages and delivered directly to the Nephites, for the Lord admits that it is the doctrine which the Father hath given unto me (v. 32).
After one accepts that God exists, the next most fundamental doctrine is that all men must repent, believe in Christ, and be baptized in order to be saved, whereas those who do not believe and are not baptized, shall be damned. If it sounds too simple, it's not. If it sounds to harsh, it's not. It is the truth, and the key to salvation. Therefore, the role of the latter-day servant is to limit the number of souls, living or dead, who will be damned because of their unbelief and unwillingness to be baptized.
3 Ne 11:35 this is my doctrine
A phrase like, "this is my doctrine," spoken directly from the mouth of the Master should raise the interest of all gospel doctrine lovers. The phrase occurs five times in the scriptures, and four of them occur in 3 Nephi 11 (see also DC 10:67). The four doctrines mentioned are 1) that contentions should be put away, 2) that all men are commanded to repent, believe in Christ, and be baptized, 3) that faith, repentance, and baptism are followed by the Holy Ghost's baptism by fire, and 4) that whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them (v. 39).
Jeffrey R. Holland
"The Savior stressed such strong, recurring themes as the unity of the Godhead and the need for all disciples to be as little children, but clearly the foundational doctrine of baptism is at the heart of Christ's saving ministry, for he repeated the phrase 'my doctrine'-particularly as applied to baptism-at least eight times in his unequivocal counsel to the Nephites." (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 261)
3 Ne 11:40 whoso shall declare more or less than this...the same cometh of evil
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Now, there are those who declare more or less than this. They will not repent of their sins. They will not accept Jesus as the Redeemer of the world. They will not believe that He spoke the truth when He declared unto the people that He was the Son of God, and that He came to fulfill the mission that was given to Him of His Father, to redeem the world from sin. They reject these things. They will not believe them; hence they remain in the bondage of sin, and cannot be redeemed, because they will not receive the principles by which salvation comes. There are many of this class that go around through the country, stirring up the hearts of the people against the truth, declaring that these things are not so, and that it is unnecessary for men to observe these principles, and ordinances that are declared in the scriptures to be essential to salvation. They are destroying the faith of the people wherever it is possible." (Conference Report, Oct. 1913, p. 72)