Jacob 1: (Jacob is the brother of Nephi) Jacob reveals his mandate to keep and engrave upon the plates. He says that his visions and prophesizing comes because of great anxiety and of faith. After Nephi’s death the people began to stray from the gospel, seeking silver and gold, and desiring to have many wives. Jacob took upon him an oath that if he did not teach the people than their sins would be upon him.
Application: Have I taught my children sufficiently that they will answer for their own sins, or will their sins and failings fall upon my head? Do I seek answers and guidance with great faith and anxiety as Jacob did?
Jacob 2: Jacob speaks to the people at the temple to convey the word of the Lord against their sins. The first topic was the sin of Pride and seeking riches which leads to selfishness, not sharing and looking down on those who are not as rich as they. Seek God first then riches will be added if you seek them for the purpose of assisting the poor and needy. The second sin was that of men justifying their infidelities because David and Solomon had many wives and concubines. The Lord condemns such conduct. A man should have only one wife unless the Lord commands otherwise--which he might do to “raise up a people” and in any case, the Lord never approves of concubines.
Applications: Do I fix my eyes on the things of the world—seeking riches and being full of pride? Do I need to be brought to repentance for selfishness? Do I use justification to allow myself to continue committing some of my (favorite) sins?
Jacob 3: Jacob gives a beautiful blessing to the “pure in heart” But outlines the cursings that will come upon the wicked. He tells the Nephites that the Lamanites are more righteous than they because they keep their marriage vows and they will one day be a blessed people. The Nephites should cease judging them for the darkness of their skins but to worry about their own sins.
Application: Some sins are more visible than others and some that are not so visible are more serious than the visible ones. I need to be concerned with my own salvation and not worried about the sins of my neighbor. I had to shake my head recently in Primary because all of the kids gasp at the mention of someone smoking. My husband has had that same reaction from his children or grandchildren when of course his smoking pales in comparison to some of the sins that others can keep hidden.