Lesson 5 – The Liahona

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Lesson 5
The Liahona

Preparation

  • Items needed: tape, chalk.
  • Print and cut out the scripture story pictures.
  •  Print the signs, game board, and Liahona onto cardstock. (Print the Liahona onto gold cardstock, or color it with a crayon.)  Cut out the signs.
  • Cut out the Liahona and the Liahona strips. Glue the Liahona to a heavy piece of paper. With an exacto/utility knife, cut along the two dotted lines on the Liahona. Tape the two Liahona strips together at a tab to make one long strip. Make sure the strip is in numerical order. Coming from the back, insert one end of the combined strip through the top cut out line on the Liahona. Then push it through the bottom cut out line, going toward the back. Pull the strip through until only the first block of words is showing in the front of the Liahona. Tape together the ends of the strip in the back so they form a loop.
  • Laminate the game board, or put it into a page protector and tape the top closed. Cut apart the square game pieces. Cover each  star square on the game board with a blank square. (Leave the start square uncovered.) Put the Lose a Turn squares face down on all the squares that don’t have stars. Use rolled pieces of tape to hold the cutout game piece squares in place.
  • Draw a large version of the map found at the end of the lesson onto the chalkboard.

 

Attention Activity
Tape the sign “Eternal Life” on a wall. On an opposite wall put the sign “Mortal Birth.” Ask for a volunteer. Blindfold that person, and tell them they need to get from the sign that says “Mortal Birth” to the sign that says “Eternal Life.” Tell them there will be obstacles in the way but you will provide someone to help them get safely around the obstacles.

Quickly set up some obstacles between the two signs such as chairs, books, people, etc. Ask for another volunteer. Have that person give verbal directions to the blindfolded person on how to get safely from one end of the room to the other. Stay next to the blindfolded person in case they need additional assistance.

  •  What might have happened if the blindfolded person hadn’t listened to the person giving directions? The blindfolded person might have gotten hurt because he or she couldn’t see the obstacles in the way. The person also might have gone the wrong way and not accomplished the goal of getting to the sign that says “Eternal Life”.

Ask the children if they think it would be nice to have someone guiding them in life so they always know the right way to go and the right things to do. Tell them we do have that guidance. In this lesson we learn where that guidance comes from and what happens when we don’t follow that guidance.

Scripture Story
Using the scripture story pictures and the large drawing of the map, tell the following story. As you tell the story, tape the pictures on the map according to where they took place.

Nephi and his brothers were again instructed to return to Jerusalem. This time they were sent to get Ishmael and his family. Nephi and his brothers would need wives in the Promised Land, and Ishmael had many daughters. Ishmael agreed to go with them. Nephi and his brothers married the daughters of Ishmael when they returned to their father’s tent in the Valley of Lemuel. Lehi was then instructed by the Lord that it was time to take their journey to the Promised Land.

On the morning their journey was to begin, Lehi found a brass ball of curious workmanship outside his tent door. Inside the ball were two spindles; one spindle pointed the way they should go in the wilderness. They gathered their provisions and departed. They followed the directions on the ball which led them through the more fertile parts of the wilderness, which was near the borders of the Red Sea. They hunted for food as they went. After traveling for many days, Nephi’s steel bow broke and his brother’s wood bows lost their spring.

Because of the loss of their bows, the sons of Lehi weren’t able to provide food for their family. Many of them began to murmur against the Lord, including Lehi. Instead of complaining, Nephi worked to resolve the problem. He went and made a new bow out of wood. After Nephi made the bow, he went and asked his father where he should go to obtain food.

  •  Why did Nephi approach his father for help? Lehi was the head of the family, and he was a prophet of the Lord.

Because of Nephi’s actions, Lehi was reminded of his duty and he repented. Lehi was chastened by the Lord for his murmuring, and then he was instructed to look at the brass ball. He saw there was writing inside the ball. Nephi went up to the top of the mountain according to the directions given in the ball, and he obtained food for the family.

During their travels in the wilderness, Ishmael died at a place called Nahom. The daughters of Ishmael mourned for their father and murmured because of their afflictions in the wilderness. They, along with Laman and Lemuel, wanted to return to Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel plotted to kill their father and Nephi. The love in their hearts had waxed cold because of their wickedness. The voice of the Lord spoke to the two brothers, and they repented for a time.

The family traveled in the wilderness for eight years. Many children were born as they were traveling. The Lord strengthened them, and they were able to bear all hardships. They eventually arrived at a place they called Bountiful.

Chalk Board Discussion

After asking each question below, write a shortened version of the answers on the board. (See example diagram for layout of answers.)

• What was the ball of brass called that Lehi found outside his tent? (See Alma 37:38) The Liahona – meaning director or compass
• The Liahona was prepared by the Lord to show Lehi and his family the way they should go in the wilderness. How did it direct Lehi and his family? Through spindles that pointed the way, and through words that taught them the ways of the Lord.
• What is the Liahona a spiritual representation of? (See Alma 37:45) The words of Christ
• Where are the words of Christ found? In the scriptures, in the words of the prophet, in revelation through the Holy Ghost.
• Where was the Lord leading Lehi and his family with the Liahona? To the promised land
• Where do the words of Christ lead people to? Eternal Life
• What things caused the Liahona to cease working? (See Alma 37: 40-41 and 1 Nephi 16:28) It ceased to work when their faith in God wavered, when they murmured and complained, or when they were slothful and lazy and didn’t give diligent heed to the directing compass provided by the Lord.

• What things interfere with the words of Christ leading people to eternal life? People’s lack of faith in God. People’s lack of heed and diligence in studying, seeking for, and obeying the words of Christ.
• What difficulties did Lehi and his family suffer when the Liahona ceased to work? (See Alma 37:42) They did not prosper or progress in their journey; they were afflicted with hunger and thirst, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course.
• What difficulties can people suffer if they don’t give heed to the words of Christ? Answers might include the following: Without guidance, temptations become harder to resist, and sin causes suffering. If we linger in the “wilderness” we may not reach our goal of eternal life.

Game

Put the game board and the Liahona on a display board for everyone to see. Choose a volunteer. Tell the volunteer that the object of the game is to get from the starting square to a square that says “The Promised Land.” There are two ways they can do this: they can try and guess which way to go, or they can check the Liahona for directions. Tell them it will take a little diligence and effort to get directions from the Liahona. They will have to look up a scripture and find the directions in the scripture. But if they try to guess which way to go, and it is the wrong guess, they will lose their next turn.

The volunteer then decides whether to guess which way to go or to check the Liahona for directions. If they decide to guess, they can choose any square that is touching the starting square including the ones going diagonally. If they choose to check the Liahona, it will give a scripture reference. The class will need to look up that scripture. They will look for the following words in the scripture: up, down, right or left. Display the sign that has those words written on it to help remind the children of what they are looking for. In the scripture there may be combinations of two of those words to indicate which way to go diagonally. The class can look for the words, but the person whose turn it is makes the final decision on which way to go.

When the volunteer decides where to go, he or she takes off one of the square coverings. If there is no star under the covering, they have chosen the wrong way to go and must take the covering which says “Lose a Turn”. They turn that square in on their next turn, but they can’t play again until the following turn. The next person whose turn it is has the same choice of whether to guess or consult the Liahona. They would move from the last star square the person before them was on.

Continue playing in this manner, with the children taking turns choosing what to do, until they reach the square marked “The Promised Land.” The Liahona word strip will need to be rotated down at each turn. To do this, reach under the page and pull down on the strip.

Conclusion
Explain to the children that the words of Christ will always lead them in the right direction. They help us know which way to go when we have choices to make. But if we don’t exercise faith and diligence, and we rely on our own judgment instead of seeking for and obeying the words of Christ, we may go the wrong ways and not progress in our journey towards Eternal Life.

Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 1 Nephi 16:1-39 and Alma 37:38-46.

Resources: Scripture story pictures –  “Book of Mormon Stories” chapter five.


Lesson 4 – Tree of Life Vision

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Lesson 4
Tree of Life Vision


Preparation

  • Print and cut out the Tree of Life Vision Pictures. Cut off the vertical edge of one side of the river. Glue the edges of the two river pieces together. Cut out and glue a “Temptation” to the back of each “Mist of Darkness.”
  • Also print and cut out the story figures of Lehi and his family found in the Friend, February 2008, For Little Friends, “Lehi and Nephi Obey God”.
  • Items needed: a Book of Mormon for each child, a bag of white Lifesaver mints (don’t remove the mints from their clear individual wrappers), chalk, and tape.

 

Scripture Story
Tell the following story using the Tree of Life Vision pictures and the pictures from “Lehi and Nephi Obey God.” Tape the pictures to the chalk board as you tell the story.

As Lehi and his family prepared for their journey to the promised land, Lehi had a vision. In the vision he was in a dark and dreary wasteland. He prayed to the Lord for mercy. He then saw a large and spacious field and a tree whose fruit was white to exceed all whiteness. The fruit was very desirable to make one happy. He partook of the fruit, and it was sweet above all others ever tasted. It filled him with joy, and he was desirous that his family partake of it also. As he looked around for his family he saw a river near the tree. At the head of the river he saw his wife Sariah and his sons Nephi and Sam. They looked as if they didn’t know where to go, so Lehi called and beckoned to them and they came and partook of the fruit. Lehi also wanted Laman and Lemuel to partake of the fruit. He looked and saw them at the head of the river. He beckoned to them, but they would not come.

As Lehi looked around some more he saw a rod of iron that led to the tree. The rod of iron extended along the bank of the river. There was also a strait and narrow path which went along side the rod of iron. He saw many people, and some were trying to get to the path. When they came and started on the path, a mist of darkness arose and they lost their way and wandered off. Others came forward and caught hold of the rod of iron, and they pressed forward until they partook of the fruit of the tree. Then Lehi saw on the other side of the river a great and spacious building, and it seemed to be floating in the air. The building was filled with a multitude of people whose clothes were very fine. They were mocking those who had partaken of the tree. Some who had partaken of the tree were ashamed because of the scoffing, and they fell away onto other paths and were lost. But there were some who did not heed the scorning of those in the building.

Discussion
• What did Lehi see in the large and spacious field? A tree with fruit on it.
• How did Lehi describe the fruit? (See 1 Nephi 8:10-12) Write on the display board the following descriptions:

It was white to exceed all whiteness.
It was most sweet above all others.
It was desirable to make one happy.
It filled him with joy.

The Lord frequently uses symbolism to teach important lessons. Sometimes it is difficult to understand what the symbolism means. After Nephi listened to his father tell about the dream, he wanted to know what the interpretation was, so he prayed to know its meaning. Because of his faith he was shown the same vision, and he was shown its meaning. Nephi learned that the fruit was the greatest of all the gifts of God.

• What is the greatest of all the gifts of God? (See D&C 14:7) What is eternal life? It is the highest degree in the celestial kingdom, and it is the kind of life Heavenly Father has. (Put the “Eternal Life” label next to the fruit.)

The purpose of Lehi’s vision is to teach us how to gain eternal life. Without the atonement of Jesus Christ we could not attain eternal life, regardless of how good we are on earth, because all men sin and no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus paid the price for our sins. The tree represents the love of God demonstrated in the sacrifice and the atonement of his son Jesus Christ. (Put up the “Love of God, Atonement of Jesus Christ” label next to the tree.)

• What did the strait and narrow path represent? The strait and narrow path represents following Christ’s way of life such as praying, being honest, giving service, etc. (Put the “Christ’s Way of Life” label next to the path.)

We have been given aids to help us stay on the strait and narrow path. Lehi saw an iron rod that people could hold on to to help them stay on the path.

• What did the rod of iron represent? (See 1 Nephi 15:23–24) (Put the “Word of God” label next to the rod of iron.)

• Where can we find the word of God? In the scriptures, in the teachings of latter-day prophets, and in the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

• In Lehi’s vision some people started on the path but then became lost in mists of darkness. What did the mists of darkness represent? (See 1 Nephi 12:17) (Put the “Temptations of the Devil” label next to the mists of darkness.)

• What are some temptations of the devil? (Place a mist of darkness over the path for each answer given.)

The temptations of the devil blind us. We can’t see the right way to go and we can become lost.

• In the vision, some people made it through the mists of darkness. What did those people use to help guide them? The iron rod which is the word of God. The word of God can help us know the right way to go.

Game

Inform the children they are going to play a game that shows how the word of God helps them know the right way to go.

Tape a mint to each piece of fruit on the tree of life. Cover the rod of iron and the path with the remaining mists of darkness. Direct a volunteer to choose a mist of darkness and read the situation that is on the back. Instruct the children to look in the bible topical guide for the temptation’s subject and find a scripture that would help them avoid and resist that temptation. Have the volunteer read the scripture the children chose. The volunteer can then take a fruit (mint) off the tree. Have another child pick a mist of darkness and do the same process again. Continue until each child has had a turn. After the game is finished, remind the children that if we use the word of God to guide us, it will lead us to eternal life.

• How do we hold onto the word of God? By making it part of our life. We do this by studying and abiding by the teachings found in the scriptures and the words of the latter day prophets, and by seeking for and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Heeding and obeying the word of God will help us avoid the deceptions and temptations of Satan so that we can avoid going astray.

• In the vision, Lehi’s mind was so occupied with other things that he did not notice that the water in the river was filthy. What did the river or fountain of filthy water represent? (See 1 Nephi 12:16 & 15:26–29) (Put the “Depths of Hell” label next to the river.) How do people end up engulfed in the depths of hell? They get lost in Satan’s temptations, go astray, and fall into the depths of hell.

In Lehi’s vision there were some people who held onto the rod until they reached the tree and partook of the fruit, and then they became ashamed and fell away because the world mocked them. These people represent those who accept the gospel and the ordinances necessary for eternal life, such as baptism and temple ordinances, but then they yield to the tauntings and temptations to be like the people of the world.

• The people of the world who were mocking those who partook of the fruit were in a great and spacious building that appeared to be floating in the air. What did the great and spacious building represent? (See 1 Nephi 11:36) (Put the “Pride of the World” label next to the building.)

Pride and feelings of superiority because of possessions, physical abilities, or accomplishments are empty and have nothing to hold them up because everything we have comes from God. Like the building floating in the air, people lifted up in pride eventually will fall. They do not realize that the things the world values such as wealth, honors, physical beauty, and physical ability have no value after death. The only thing of value will be the relationships and the righteous characteristics we develop while on the earth. If we spend our time seeking after worldly things, we may miss the opportunity to develop the things that will be important in the eternities.

In the vision there were those who fell away, but there were also people who partook of the fruit and then remained faithful. The people who remained faithful are those who endured by continuing to seek for and obey the word of God. Because of their study and prayers they have a clear understanding of what has lasting value, and they ignore the world’s empty offerings. They know that eternal life is better than anything that the world has to offer because it is the greatest of all God’s gifts.

Weekly Reading Assignment

  • Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 1 Nephi 8:1-38, 1 Nephi 11:1-36 and 1 Nephi 15:1-36.

Lesson 2 – Lehi and his Family Leave Jerusalem

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Lesson 2
Lehi and his Family Leave Jerusalem

Preparation

  • Items needed: a small container of water, one piece of paper, envelopes, and a picture of the living prophet (this can be found at www.lds.org/church leaders).
  • Print  the scripture story visual aids onto heavy paper. Cut apart each picture and each word strip on the dividing lines.  Glue each numbered word strip to the back of its corresponding picture. Also print the sign “Eternal Salvation.”
  • Print and cut out the game items.  Lightly tape the small game pieces to an 8 ½-by-11-inch piece of paper with rolled pieces of tape. Be prepared to display the two category titles on a display board (see tips).
  • Prepare the following for the activity: Draw a map of the room where you will teach the lesson onto a sheet of paper. Label the different parts of the room on the map such as the windows, doors, tables, chairs, etc. Draw a dot on each of the locations you will hide clues. You will need to hide at least one clue per each child. Choose a wall where you will place the sign “Eternal Salvation”. That will be the end of the hunt. Mark that as X on your map. Starting at the X, connect the dots with a line. Do not crisscross the line. Number each dot in order, ending at the X. Cut the map up into a puzzle having one numbered dot on each piece. Put each piece into an envelope, and number the upper outer corner of each envelope with the puzzle piece number. On the front of each envelope paste a quote from the living prophet of something he has asked us to do. These can be found in the Ensigns at www.lds.org/general conference Hide the envelopes sometime before the lesson, leaving out envelope number one. Number one would be the first clue and it should lead to where clue number two is hid. Each following clue should also lead to its next numbered clue.

Introduction
Ask the children if they remember what is being studied this year. Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon as a reminder.

The Book of Mormon tells about three groups of people the Lord led to the Americas. The beginning of the Book of Mormon tells of one of these groups. We learn about the other two groups later.

Direct the children to open their scriptures to chapter one in “The First Book of Nephi.” Explain that a prophet named Nephi wrote the “The First Book of Nephi.”  Nephi informs us that he engraved his history onto plates made of ore (1 Nephi 19:1). The plates were like a book, but each page was a thin sheet made of gold. The words were written by pushing a sharp tool into the metal.

  • Why were some ancient records written on metal plates? (Take a piece of paper, tear it, and pour a little water on it.) Paper can easily be damaged, and it decomposes and disintegrates over time. Some ancient historians used metal if they wanted a record to endure for a long period of time.

Have the children find the date on the bottom right hand side of the first page of “The First Book of Nephi.” Explain that this date tells the approximate time period the events on that page occurred. Have them flip through other pages so that they will see that the date is on the bottom of each page. Explain that B.C. means before Christ’s birth.

In the “First Book of Nephi” we learn that Nephi’s father was a prophet. When Nephi was a youth, his father Lehi was commanded of the Lord to take his family and leave the city Jerusalem.

Scripture Story
Teach the following scripture story of the prophet Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem. Show the numbered picture that corresponds with each part.

1. In Jerusalem 600 B.C. the people were wicked. They were dishonest, they worshiped idols, and they did many other evil things. Prophets were sent to tell the people to repent or be destroyed. The people were so wicked that they imprisoned, cast out, or killed the prophets that were sent to warn them.

2. Lehi was concerned and prayed for the people. A pillar of fire appeared as Lehi prayed, and God told and showed Lehi many things.

3. Lehi returned home and collapsed on his bed overcome with what he had seen. As he was lying on his bed, Lehi was shown a vision. One of the things he saw was that Jerusalem would be destroyed.

4. Lehi told the people what he had seen and heard. He told them that Jerusalem would be destroyed. He also preached and testified of Jesus whom he had seen in his vision. Lehi preached to the people even though he knew it was dangerous.

  • Why do you think Lehi preached to the people even though he knew it was dangerous?

5. The people wouldn’t listen to Lehi’s warnings. They mocked him and made fun of him. They didn’t believe that Jerusalem would be   destroyed. They thought they were God’s chosen people.

  • Were the people in Jerusalem God’s chosen people? When a people become wicked they are no longer a select people.

6. The people became angry and wanted to kill Lehi because of his preachings.

7. In a dream, the Lord warned Lehi of the danger and told him to take his family and leave Jerusalem.

8. Lehi and his family packed provisions for the journey. They left their house and their possessions behind. They traveled three days past the Red Sea, which is about a two week journey from Jerusalem.

Game
Display the two category titles “Trip Provisions” and “Items Left Behind” on a display board. Show the children the list of items that are taped to the 8 ½-by-11 paper. Have them take turns choosing an item and then deciding if the item would be something Lehi and his family would have taken with them or something they would have left behind. Have them place the item under the category they think it belongs in. Ask the children to explain their reason. Answers might include: item not needed for the journey, item too bulky, or item too heavy to carry, etc.

  • Do you think it was hard for Nephi and his family to leave behind their home and most of their possessions? If you had to leave your home and only take a few necessary items, what things would you have a hard time leaving behind? (Have the children take turns sharing their ideas.)

9. After traveling for about two weeks in the wilderness, Lehi and his family came to a valley that had a river running through it. They set up their tents and camped there. Lehi built an altar of stones and gave thanks to the Lord.

10. Lehi had four sons; their names were Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The two older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, murmured and complained about leaving Jerusalem and leaving behind their possessions. They didn’t believe Jerusalem would be destroyed. They were wicked like the people in Jerusalem.

  • The Lord told Lehi that he and his family were to travel to a promised land (the American Continent). Why do you think that Laman and Lemuel were spared from the destruction of Jerusalem and allowed to go to the promised land if they were so rebellious and wicked? (See 1 Nephi 2:22-24)

11. Nephi, the youngest brother, instead of complaining, decided to find out for himself if the things his father had seen were true. He prayed and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him. He learned that his father’s words were true.

12. Nephi told his brothers what he had learned. Sam believed him, but Nephi could not convince Laman and Lemuel.

  • Why is it important to listen to and obey the prophet? The prophet tells us what Heavenly Father wants us to know and do. Heavenly Father wants us to know and do the things that will help us be happy in this life and throughout all eternity.

The people in Jerusalem would not listen to the warnings of the prophets. They would not do the things that would help keep them safe and happy. Because of their wickedness, they had to suffer the results and consequences of their sins and choices, and they were eventually destroyed by the Babylonians.

  • Show the picture of the living prophet and ask, “Who is this person?”

Activity
Inform the children that they are going to read some quotes from the living prophet concerning things he has asked us to do. Show the envelope that is labeled number one. Reveal that there are several other envelopes hidden around the room, and on the front of each envelope is a statement from our current prophet. On the inside of the envelope is a puzzle clue that will help them locate the next envelope. If all the directions are followed correctly, they will end up at the sign that says “Eternal Salvation.” (Put the sign on the wall.)

Give the first clue to a volunteer. That person then reads the prophet’s statement out loud to the class. Have the volunteer tell how they can follow the prophet’s direction regarding the statement they read. After they do that, they can open the envelope and follow the clue’s directions to the next envelope.

After the next clue has been found, have another volunteer follow the same pattern. Putting the puzzle pieces together will help each volunteer locate the clues. Continue on until all the clues have been found. Tell the children that when we follow the prophet’s directions we are guided down the pathway to eternal salvation (eternal life- the kind of life Heavenly Father lives).

Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 1 Nephi 1:1-20 and 1 Nephi 2:1-24.

Resources: Scripture story visual aids – Book of Mormon Stories.


Lesson One: Introduction to the Book of Mormon

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Lesson One: Introduction to the Book of Mormon

Preparation
Items needed: pencils, a Book of Mormon, and a piece of paper for each child. You will also need the picture of “Mormon Abridging the Plates” from the Gospel Art Picture Kit, the Book of Mormon Stories video DVD, a television, and a DVD player. (Note: The picture and the video are available online, or they can be checked out from your meetinghouse library).  Optional item needed: foil star stickers for the children’s reading charts
  Print one copy of the worksheet PDF or Word and the reading chart PDF or Word for each child. Print one copy of the Arch and one copy of the French words for Book of Mormon. Optional: Print scripture stickers – set one.
If possible, obtain a children’s nonfiction book. Read its preface before class, and be prepared to explain its contents to the children.

Lesson Introduction
Inform the children they will be learning about the Book of Mormon this year. Instruct them to bring their scriptures each week. Make sure each child has a copy of the Book of Mormon to use for today’s lesson.

How did we get the Book of Mormon? In ancient America two groups of people, the Nephites and the Lamanites, lived on the continent. A great battle occurred between these two groups of people. The Nephites were destroyed in this battle. The last of the Nephites, a prophet named Moroni, was directed by the Lord to bury a record of these ancient American people. About 1,400 years later Moroni, as a resurrected being, visited a boy named Joseph Smith. Moroni told Joseph Smith about the buried record.

Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Direct the children to turn to the “Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith” found in the front of the Book of Mormon. Explain that the “Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith” tells about Moroni’s visit. Watch chapter one of the Book of Mormon Stories DVD which tells of this account. Start at the section where the angel Moroni appears.

• What does translate mean? Translate means to change from one language to another.

Show the paper with the words “Le Livre De Mormon” written on it. Tell the children that the words are French. The English version of these words is “The Book of Mormon”. Show this paper. Both sets of words mean the same thing, but they are different languages.

The gold plates were written in an ancient language that needed to be translated into a language others could read.

Title Page
Instruct the children to turn to the title page found in the front of the Book of Mormon. Point out that underneath the title is a preface. Show the children the preface of the nonfiction book that you brought. Present a brief explanation of what the preface of that book contains.

• What do you think a preface is for? The preface explains the purpose and content of the book.

The preface in the Book of Mormon was written on the last leaf of a collection of books in the gold plates and is considered to have been written by Moroni. The preface tells us that the contents of the book are a record of the Nephites, Lamanites, and Jaredites. It also tells us that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Christ.

Much of the world today rejects the divinity of Christ. They think that he was a great teacher but could not have done the miracles we read about in the New Testament. The Book of Mormon is another testament that those things happened. Jesus Christ is the Son of God; he atoned for our sins, and he was resurrected.

Introduction
Have the children turn the page in their scriptures to the “Introduction”. Tell them the “Introduction” provides more detailed information about the origin and the contents of the book.

Worksheet – Instruct the children to fill in the blanks in Section A on the worksheet, using paragraphs one and two of the “Introduction” for reference. After they are done, go over the answers together.

SECTION A: Worksheet Answers – The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the America’s and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel. The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, and was abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon.

• What does abridged mean? It means that Mormon studied records other prophets had written, and then he took important parts from each of their records and wrote them on the gold plates. The Book of Mormon is named after Mormon because he compiled the record. (Show the picture of “Mormon Abridging the Plates” to the children.)

Now have the children fill in the blanks in section B on the worksheet using paragraph six of the “Introduction” for reference. Go over the answers together after they are done.

SECTION B: Worksheet Answers- Joseph Smith told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.

• What did Joseph Smith mean when he said the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the earth? The Book of Mormon is of God. Books produced by men may contain errors in understanding, perception, and translation.

• What did Joseph Smith mean when he said the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion? Show the picture of the arch. Explain that the keystone is the central supporting stone at the top of the arch. The stones would fall without the keystone holding them in place. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion because it supports and explains doctrines and principles that are necessary for salvation. Another reason it is the keystone is that when we receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon we will know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the church of Jesus Christ is restored on the earth again, and that Jesus is the Christ.

• What did Joseph Smith mean when he said, “A man could get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”? Abide means to accept or act in accordance with, and precepts are commandments or principles. So, if we accept or act in accordance with God’s will and obey the commandments and principles found in the Book of Mormon, we will grow nearer to God.

The Testimony of the Witnesses
Have the children turn the page to “The Testimony of the Witnesses”. Show the picture of “Mormon Abridging the Plates” to the children once again. Give them a few seconds to study it. Afterwards put the picture face down on a table. Give each child a paper and a pencil. Ask some of the following questions, and have them write down their answers:

• What was on the shelf and the table behind Mormon?
• What was covering the bench Mormon was sitting on?
• What items were on the table Mormon was working on?
• What was on Mormon’s lap, and was there anything on the floor?
• What colors were Mormon’s clothes, and what decorations did they have on them?
• What was Mormon wearing on his arm, on his head, and on his feet?

Go over the answers together. When several of the children’s answers are the same on any of the questions, ask the children if they think those answers are most likely to be true. Why?

• If a person witnessed an event, would only their testimony about the incident be sufficient in a court of law? No, because they might not remember everything accurately, or they might not be telling the truth.

• Would that person’s version be believed if other witnesses told the same account?

• In 2 Corinthians 13:1 it says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established”. Why do you think this law of witnesses is important? It helps establish truth.

Point out the witness’s page, and tell the children that God chose men to be witnesses of the Book of Mormon to fulfill the law of the witnesses and to testify of his work.

 The three witnesses testified that an angel showed them the gold plates, and that they heard the voice of God declaring the divinity of the record.
 The eight witnesses testified Joseph Smith showed them the gold plates and that they handled them.

• What are the three things we need to do to gain our own witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon? Direct the children to look in paragraph eight in the “Introduction” for the answer. Write the following answers on the board:

1) Read the Book of Mormon.
2) Ponder its message.
3) Ask God if it is true.

If we do these things, the Holy Ghost can testify to us that the Book of Mormon is true.

Though the Three Witnesses were privileged to see an angel and feel the plates, the real power of their witness came through the Holy Ghost. Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Personal visitations might become dim as time goes on, but this guidance of the Holy Ghost is renewed and continued, day after day, year after year, if we live to be worthy of it.” (Doctrines of Salvation 1:44) (D&C Student Manual pg 33)

Weekly Reading Assignment Hand out the reading chart, and remind the children that in order to gain a witness for themselves of the truthfulness and divinity of the Book of Mormon they need to read the Book of Mormon. To help them with this you will be giving them a reading assignment to do each week. The reading assignment will be on what was studied during the lesson. This week’s reading assignment is “The Testimony of Joseph Smith”, which is found in the front of the Book of Mormon.

Tell the children to hang their chart on a wall in their bedroom, in a location that is highly visible, so it will help remind them to read. After they complete each reading assignment, they can put a sticker or the date of completion in the square. (You may wish to provide some form of appropriate reward for when a child completes a reading chart, such as scripture stickers.)

Conclusion
Bear testimony that if the children will read the Book of Mormon, they will grow closer to God and learn the things they must do to gain eternal salvation. And, if they follow the guidelines on how to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, they will receive a witness of its truthfulness. Because of this witness they will also know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, and that Jesus is the Christ.


Lesson 3 – The Brass Plates

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Lesson 3
The Brass Plates

  • Preparation
    • Items needed: a pencil for each child, thirty feet of yarn or string cut into three foot sections, a bowl of water, a small sponge, and a rock.
    • Print one copy of the Brass Plates Code for each child. Cut off and save the answer keys.
  • Print and cut out the name tags and the location signs. Hole punch the top corners of the name tags. String a 3 foot piece of yarn through the holes on each name tag sign. Tie the ends together of each piece of yarn so that each name tag has a loop of yarn that will fit over a child’s head.
    • Gather some basic items to use as props for the scripture story such as: two blankets (one to make a tent, and one to make a small cave), something to represent silver and gold (a treasure type chest, jewelry, or fake coins), paper cut up into four thin strips, a long stick to use as a rod, a plastic sword or a stick, a cape for Laban (this could be a tablecloth or a sheet), something to use as brass plates (such as a heavy book wrapped in cloth).
    • Print the bookmarks onto cardstock. Cut them out and hole punch the tops. Tie tassels in the holes using ribbon or yarn.

Attention Activity
Hand out a copy of the “Brass Plates Code” to each child. Do not give them the answer key. Tell them they have thirty seconds to figure out what section four of the “Purpose” says. It won’t take them long to figure out there is no possible way to do it out without help.

Explain that just like the task you gave them seemed impossible to accomplish, sometimes Heavenly Father’s commandments may seem difficult to obey. But with God’s help we can accomplish all he asks of us. Direct the children to put the “Brass Plates Code” under their chair for now, and explain that you will provide a way for them to do the coded message later on in the lesson.

Have the children look up and read the scripture 1 Nephi 3:7. Explain that in today’s lesson they are going to learn about a commandment the Lord gave to Nephi and his brothers. The commandment seemed impossible to accomplish, but with the Lord’s help they were able to do all they were asked to do.

Introduction
After reviewing what happened to Lehi and his family in last week’s lesson, inform the children that Lehi told his sons that the Lord wanted them to go back to Jerusalem and get a record of the Jews that was engraved on brass plates. God’s word was written on the brass plates. It was important for Lehi’s family to have the brass plates so they would have a written record of God’s commandments.

Game
Tell the children they are going to play a game that will show them why Lehi and his family needed a written record of God’s commandments.

Have the children sit in a row. Whisper the following message to the first person in the row, making sure no one else can hear what is being said: “Blessed are they who hear the Lord’s commandments and obey them.”

Have that person whisper what they heard to the person sitting next to them. Have each child pass on the whispered message until the message reaches the child at the end of the row. Have the last person repeat out loud what they think they heard. They probably won’t repeat the message correctly. Tell everyone what the original message was.

Explain that the whisper game shows how easy it would be to mix up the word of God if it isn’t written down.

Scripture Story
Inform the children they are going to act out the scripture story of Nephi and his brothers going to get the brass plates. Direct the children to each choose a scripture character name tag. Have them put the name tag around their neck with the name showing in the front. Some children can play more than one part if needed.

Have the children help you set up the room. Use the example set up diagram as a guide. Place a blanket over two chairs to represent a tent. Form a line of chairs to represent the wall of Jerusalem. Set a chair in Laban’s house for Laban to sit on. Place the gold and silver in Lehi’s house. Put a blanket over a table or chairs to represent a small cave. Lay the rod by the cave. Set the brass plates in an area by Laban’s house. Tape the location signs to their appropriate spots.

Example Set Up: 

Inform the children that you will be reading small parts of the story out loud. After each small part, you will stop and let them act out that part, including saying what the character might say.

Play Acting Script
(Have the children who are acting out the parts of Lehi, Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi, stand by the tent to start the first scene.)

Lehi told his sons that they needed to go back to Jerusalem to get the plates so they would have a record of Gods commandments.

Laman and Lemuel did not want to go back to Jerusalem. They were angry saying it was too hard of a thing that Lehi required of them.

• Why do you think Laban and Lemuel thought it was a hard thing to go back to Jerusalem? It was a two week trip to Jerusalem each way, and they had to travel in the dangerous, bandit infested, hot desert. They also probably thought that Laban would not give them the plates.

Lehi said that he had not required it of them, that the Lord did.

Nephi said he would go and do what the Lord commanded. He had faith that the Lord would help them accomplish whatever He asked them to do.

The sons of Lehi journeyed back to Jerusalem.

When they arrived, they cast lots to see who would go to Laban’s house to ask him for the plates. The lot fell to Laman. (We do not know exactly what was involved in casting lots, but we do know it was kind of like making a choice by drawing straws or flipping a coin.) (Using the paper cut up into strips, direct the children to draw straws and have Laman win.)

Laman went and asked Laban for the brass plates.

Laban would not give Laman the plates. Laban became angry and threatened Laman.

Laman was afraid and ran back to his brothers.

Nephi’s brothers wanted to return to their father in the wilderness, but Nephi said they must obey the Lord and get the brass plates.

Nephi and his brothers decided to go back to their former home in Jerusalem and get their gold and silver to trade to Laban for the brass plates.

They took the gold and silver to Laban, but Laban was a greedy, dishonest, cruel person. Laban had them thrown out of his house, and he sent his servants to slay them so that he could have the brothers gold and silver.

The four brothers fled into the wilderness and hid themselves in a cavity of a rock to escape the servants of Laban.

Laman and Lemuel then became angry and began to beat Nephi and Sam with a rod. (Supervise this part carefully. You may not want the children to act it out; instead discuss how it would have felt to be beaten by a rod and the harm that it could have caused.)

An angel of God appeared and commanded them to stop. The angel said that the Lord would help them get the plates.

After the angel left, Laman and Lemuel were still afraid to go get the plates. They did not think it possible that the Lord could deliver Laban into their hands because Laban had many men at his command that could harm them.

• Why were Laman and Lemuel still afraid even after seeing an angel of God? Not even direct evidence of God’s power was enough to change their hearts. They did not have faith in God. Faith comes from the Holy Ghost’s witness that the things of God are true. Laman and Lemuel’s hearts were hard, and they would not let the Holy Ghost in.

(Show the children the bowl of water, rock, and sponge. Ask what would happen if you put the sponge in the water, and then ask what would happen if you put the rock in the water. Explain that Laman and Lemuel had hardened their hearts and would not let the Holy Ghost in. Nephi’s heart was soft because he was humble and teachable. He had allowed the Holy Ghost into his heart, so he had great faith in God.)

Nephi knew the Lord would provide a way for them to accomplish the task they had been given, so they went back to the city walls. As Nephi’s brothers waited outside the walls of Jerusalem, Nephi crept into the city at night.

As he came near the house of Laban, he saw Laban lying drunk on the ground with his sword next to him. The Lord had delivered Laban into his hands.

Nephi hesitated because he did not want to harm anyone. But Laban was a thief and a murderer, and the Lord told Nephi that it was better for one wicked man to perish than a whole nation to perish in unbelief. Nephi, his family, and future generations of his family could not keep the commandments and prosper if they did not know the commandments.

Even though it was difficult, Nephi realized that it was necessary to slay Laban, so Nephi smote Laban using the sword. (Do not have the children act out this part. Explain that in Nephi’s case he was commanded to slay Laban for eternal purposes – to protect a nation from perishing in unbelief, but remind the children that violence and killing is wrong unless under such specific circumstances as protecting lives.)

Nephi then dressed in Laban’s clothing and went to Laban’s treasury. (Have Nephi put on Laban’s cape.)

At the treasury, Nephi spoke like Laban and told Laban’s servant Zoram to bring the brass plates and follow him.

Zoram obeyed thinking Nephi was Laban. Zoram followed Nephi to outside the gates of Jerusalem.

Laman, Lemuel, and Sam were afraid when they saw Nephi. They thought it was Laban and they began to run away. Nephi called to them. They stopped when they heard Nephi’s voice.

When Zoram saw the brothers of Nephi and heard Nephi’s real voice, he became afraid and tried to run. Nephi held onto him and told him they would not hurt him if he would swear an oath to go with them into the wilderness.

Nephi explained to Zoram that the Lord had commanded him and his brothers to get the brass plates. Zoram believed him and swore an oath to go with them.

They all traveled back to the valley in the wilderness. Lehi and Sariah rejoiced when they returned safely.

Conclusion
• What was the main reason Nephi and his family needed the brass plates? Let the children answer the question. Have them check their answer by giving them the answer key to the “Brass Plates Code”. Inform them they can now fill out section four with the help you promised. Instruct them to fill out the rest of the code later at home to find out the other purposes of the brass plates.

With the Lord’s help, Nephi was able to keep a commandment that seemed impossible to do. The Lord will always prepare a way for us to obey his commandments.

Give each child a bookmark to help them remember this important lesson, and tell them they can use the bookmark to mark where they are reading in the Book of Mormon.

Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 1 Nephi 3:1-31 and 1 Nephi 4:1-38.