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Lesson 39:   “How Beautiful upon the Mountains”   (See L39 Class Member Study Guide)


To strengthen our testimonies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

1. Isaiah speaks of messengers who bring glad tidings.

• Isaiah 52:7. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings” …

 “In the ancient world, before electronic communications were available, important messages were often brought through runners traveling on foot.” (Lesson Manual) (Read Abinadi in Mosiah 15:13-18 and 2 Nephi 2:6-8.)

How might these verses add to our understanding of Isaiah 52:7 and of the Gospel?

Who else brings the message of the gospel to the world?

How do you feel about those who helped you get this message?

†1. Lenet H. Read

2. Isaiah prophesies of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.

Isaiah 50:5-7. “I gave my back to the smiters … I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

†2. Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Isaiah 51:6. But “my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”

 (See Mosiah 16:9 and Alma 34:10, 14.)

Isaiah 51:22. “Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling”. (See D&C 45:3-5 and D&C 19:15-20.)

What must we do to receive the full blessings offered through the Atonement?

Isaiah 52:3. “Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.”

 (See 2 Nephi 26:27-28 and Isaiah 55:1-3.)

Isaiah 53:2-4. “Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows”. (See Alma 7:11-13 and Hebrews 2:16-18.)

What are some ways you have sensed that he understands your sorrows and griefs?

Isaiah 53:5. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities”.

Why was our Savior willing to suffer the pain of being wounded, bruised, and scourged? (See 1 Nephi 19:9.)

Isaiah 53:6-7. “All we like sheep have gone astray … and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

What qualities of character did the Savior display when he was oppressed and afflicted for our iniquities?

How do we sometimes “turn [our] own way” rather than submit to Heavenly Father’s will?

How can the Savior's example help us submit to Heavenly Father's will?

Isaiah 53:8-11. And “who shall declare his generation?” (Read Abinadi in Mosiah 15:10-13.)

What do you think Isaiah meant when he said, “yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him”?

Isaiah 53:12. Anciently, “the leader of the victorious army divides the fruits of victory among his followers.”

 (See Romans 8:16-17 and 2 Timothy 4:7-8.)

†3. Bruce C. Hafen  †4. Bruce C. Hafen

3. Isaiah describes some of our responsibilities.

a. Isaiah 51:1, 4, 7. Hearken, look unto Christ, keep His law, fear not men.

b. Isaiah 51:12-13. Remember the Lord, fear neither man nor Satan.

c. Isaiah 52:1-2.

 Awake and put on the strength of the priesthood (see D&C 113:7-8).

 Put on the beautiful garments of righteousness (see Revelation 19:7-8).

 “Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck” (see D&C 113:9-10).

d. Isaiah 52:11. Depart from the wickedness of the world. Do not touch unclean things; be clean.

†5. Lenet H. Read

Next Week: L40: “Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent”; See L40 Class Member Study Guide.

(You can download a free LDS Institute Manual at: Old Testament Manual: Religion 301 and 302.)

†1. Lenet H. Read: “When I prepared to serve my first mission, to Ireland, and went to the MTC, Isaiah’s prophecy of ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings’ rang idealistically in my ears. Here I was in the very tops of those mountains. And here my feet were among those multitudes preparing to go throughout the world and ‘publish peace.’ I was excited to be participating in the fulfillment of this great prophecy. And yet as I looked upon each of these young persons and talked with them, ‘And where are you going?’ I felt a little disappointment. They did not seem ‘beautiful’ at all. Some were a bit too gangly; some a bit too short; some too skinny; some too heavy; some pimply; some too timid; some seemed uneducated. This great missionary force just seemed altogether too young and inadequate to fit this prophecy which had long inspired me. Perhaps I was seeing in them my own inadequacies. For while I burned with a testimony of the gospel, I was conscious of my own extra weight which had come with age, which I had hoped to leave behind, but most of which still hung defiantly there. Would others be able to feel my testimony in spite of my outward form?

 “Shortly after I arrived in Ireland, Zone Conference was held. My companion had warned me that as a new missionary I would have to bear my testimony, but in the process of preparing and helping serve lunch, I had totally forgotten about it—until I was suddenly called to bear my testimony.


 “Perhaps because of my experience in the MTC, the first thing that came to my mind was Isaiah's prophecy, which I just began quoting. ‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings.’ But while my mouth spoke those words, the Spirit surged up and carried them forth in power. In fact, I was personally stunned with the power which the spirit infused into them.

 “Not only was the Spirit bearing witness, but I felt it was teaching me. The lesson for me was that while I was not yet seeing beauty in this missionary force, the Lord was! And the real beauty was in the message that was being carried.” (“How Beautiful Upon the Mountains.”

†2. Elder Bruce R. McConkie: (Isaiah 50:7 “I set my face like a flint.”) “The course of his life was toward the cross and he was steadfast and immovable in his determination to follow this very course” (quoted in Parry, Understanding Isaiah, p. 441).

†3. Bruce Hafen: “It is unfortunate when we convey incorrect ideas to [those not of our faith]; but it is worse when we, by our limited doctrinal understanding, deny ourselves the reassurance and guidance we may desperately need at pivotal moments in our lives.” (“Beauty For Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, April 1990.)

†4. Bruce C. Hafen: “Our reluctance to stress the doctrine of grace is understandable. Nephi wrote, ‘For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’ (2 Ne. 25:23.) A constant public emphasis on grace might encourage some people to ignore the crucial 'all we can do' in that two-part process. They might then accept the erroneous notion that we can be saved by divine grace even while choosing to live in our sins…

 “Similarly, some Church members feel entitled to ‘a few free ones’ as they sow their wild oats and walk constantly along the edge of transgression. Or they believe that repentance requires little more than saying they are sorry. Constant emphasis on the availability of forgiveness can be counterproductive in such cases, suggesting—wrongly—that they can ‘live it up’ now and repent easily later without harmful consequences.

 “Despite these reasons for caution, the blessing of making the Atonement more central to our lives outweighs any associated risks. When we habitually understate the Atonement’s broad meaning, we do more harm than leaving one another without comforting reassurances—for some may simply drop out of the race, weighed down beyond the breaking point with self-doubt and spiritual fatigue.” (“Beauty For Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, April 1990.)

†5. Lenet H. Read: “As I found while bearing my testimony in Ireland, the purpose of reading Isaiah is not just understanding. It is also to feel the beauty and power of Isaiah’s words and to be moved by them.

 “Our continual prayerful searching should show that with additional work we can all understand Isaiah. And when we do so it can be a joyful and beautifully uplifting experience.” (“How Beautiful Upon the Mountain.”

Recommended Reading:

 1. Lenet H. Read, “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains.”

 2. Jeffrey R. Holland, “Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

 3. Bruce C. Hafen, “Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, April 1990.

 4. Nancy Jensen, “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains,” at LDS Gospel Doctrine Plus, October 12, 2010

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