Lesson 33: The Savior Appears to the Nephites
• Items needed: a small paper bag, a flashlight or a candle, a black marker, a general conference CD, a CD player, tape, magnets, pencils, sticky tack, ten sheets of cardstock or construction paper. Recommended: the items to make a roller box – a large empty cereal box, two long metal skewers or dowel rods, wrapping paper or scrapbook paper.
• Print the game pictures. Cut out the two titles and the scriptures. Attach each scripture to its matching drawing from lesson thirty-one.
• Print the worksheet. Each half of the page is one worksheet. Make one copy of the page per every two children, and then cut the pages in half.
• Print the scripture story pictures. (Do not print the pictures onto heavy paper, and do not laminate them if you are making a roller box.) It is recommended that you make a roller box with the pictures, but the pictures can also be used individually. Note: The scripture story pictures are from chapters forty-two and forty-three of Book of Mormon Stories.
• Roller Box Instructions: Lay the scripture story pictures face down in a vertical row in the order they were printed. Cut a sheet of plain paper in half vertically. Put one half at the top of the row and the other half at the bottom. Butt together the edges and tape them so they form one long row of pictures. Tape the open end of the cereal box closed with packaging tape. With an exacto knife, cut an 8 ½ x 5 inch hole in the front of the box. Cover the box with wrapping paper or scrapbook paper. Be sure to cut out any paper covering the opening in the front of the box. Poke a metal skewer through the top side of the box about one inch down from the top and one inch from the front of the box. Then poke the end of the skewer going out through the other side of the box. Do the same with the other skewer on the bottom of the box. Roll the pictures into a roll, starting at the bottom. Put the roll through the front window of the box. Line the top edge of the roll with tape and then attach it to the top skewer. Roll all the scroll onto the skewer by turning the handle on the skewer. Put a row of tape onto the bottom edge of the roll and attach it to the bottom skewer.
• Print the 4th Article of Faith chart. Tape the edges of the two pieces together so it forms one complete chart. Cut out the scriptures and attach them to the chart according to where they go using sticky tack. (See the picture above to see where each one should be placed.)
• Classroom Prep: 1) Put the flashlight (or candle) into the bag. 2) Tape the drawings from lesson thirty-one (of the signs of Jesus’ death) on the left side of the board. Put the title “Samuel’s Prophecy” above the drawings. On the right side of the board put the pictures of the destructions that occurred at Jesus’ death. Put the title “Prophecy Fulfilled” above those pictures. Attach a cover sheet (cardstock or construction paper) over the top of each of the ten pictures using magnets. 3) Play one of the conference talks on the CD as the children enter the classroom.
Show the children the bag. Ask a child to reach into the bag, without looking, and feel the item that is in there. Have the child tell the other children what the item is. Ask another child to do the same.
Ask the children that haven’t felt the item if they know what is in the bag. Ask how they know. (Because the other children who had personal contact with the item told them what was in the bag.) Show the children the flashlight. Ask if the children remember who the light of the world is. (Jesus Christ)
• How can we know of Jesus and that he was resurrected and lives today if we haven’t had personal contact with him? Explain that the experiences recorded in the scriptures are meant to help us know of know of things we have not witnessed for ourselves. As we read the scriptures about Jesus we can gain a witness of their truth through the Holy Ghost. In today’s lesson we learn of an important event recorded in the Book of Mormon concerning Jesus that occurred a long time ago.
After Jesus’ birth the Nephite people shifted back and forth from righteousness to wickedness. Eventually the people became in such an awful state of wickedness that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked. The prophets were killed who were sent to testify against the people’s sins. The government was destroyed because of the secret combinations of those who slew the prophets. The people divided up into tribes ruled by their individual leaders. (3 Nephi 6:23 & 3 Nephi 7:6-7)
On the thirty third year from the birth of Jesus the people began looking for the sign of Jesus’ death. There was much doubting and disputations concerning the sign even though they had witnessed many other signs come to pass. On the first month of the thirty fourth year, the signs of Jesus’ death that Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied began to occur.
Point out the two columns of papers on the board and the column titles. Explain that under each paper is a picture. The children will try to find matches by taking turns turning over two pictures, one from the column labeled “Samuel’s Prophecy” and another from the column labeled “Prophecy Fulfilled”. When a match is found have the children look up and read both scriptures.
After the matches have all been made explain that the destructive forces lasted for the space of three hours, and after that the three days of darkness began. (3 Nephi 8:19)
Scripture Story Activity
Teach the following scripture story using the roller box. Have the children take turns rolling the pictures down. Read the below numbered captions after a picture is rolled down. Also do any discussion listed below each caption.
1. In the darkness there was great moaning, howling, and weeping. Many were heard to say: “O that we had repented before this great and terrible day”
• Why did the people wish they had repented before the time of destruction? Friends and family who had been lost in the destruction might have been spared if the people had repented and been righteous. (See 3 Nephi 8:25)
• A voice was heard in the darkness among all the inhabitants in the land. What do you think the voice said?
2. The voice said, “Wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent;”
• What does this mean for us and everyone on the earth? We are all spiritually and physically at risk if we do not repent.
• The voice then told of all the destructions that had occurred to the various Nephite cities and the reason for the destructions. What do you think the reason was for the destructions?
3. “And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.”
• The voice then declared why those who were left were spared. Why do you think they were spared?
4. “All ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they.”
(Read 3 Nephi 12:10) “And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared.”
• The voice then invites the people to come unto him and repent and be healed. The voice then declares who he is. Who do you think it was that was speaking?
5. He said, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God.”
• What does it mean to come unto Christ? The word “come” means to draw close to. How do we draw close to the Savior? By learning of him, and by seeking to follow his example and teachings.
6. The Lord then said, “How oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, but you would not.”
The Lord yearns to gather his people into the safety and protection of the gospel. He sought to nourish them and teach them the way of salvation, but on many occasions they chose to forsake him. The Lord lamented (grieved or mourned) for those who were lost because they refused to be gathered.
After the people heard these words they began to weep and howl again because of the loss of their kindred and friends. Possibly they also grieved for those who could have been gathered and thus spared, but who refused to do so.
7. After three days passed, the darkness dispersed and the earth did cease to quake. The mourning, weeping, and wailing did cease and they did give thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ their redeemer. (3 Nephi 10:9-10)
• How difficult would it be to function properly without any light for three days?
• Why was darkness one of the signs of Jesus’ death? The darkness reminds us that we can not function properly on the earth without the light of the world (Jesus Christ). Without Jesus Christ we would be without hope or direction. He makes it possible for us to repent and progress.
• How long did Jesus’ body lay in the tomb? (Three days) On the third day, the day of his resurrection, light came again to the people of America. (Helaman 14:20)
Give each child a worksheet and a pencil. Explain that you want them to listen carefully for the answers to the worksheet questions as you tell the rest of the scripture story. Tell them to write down the answers when they hear them.
8. After the three days of darkness ended, a great multitude of the people of Nephi gathered around the temple in the land of Bountiful. They were conversing and marveling about all that had occurred. As they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven. They cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard.
Have the children look up 3 Nephi 11:3 and describe the voice the Nephites heard. (It was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.)
9. And they did hear the voice again and they understood it not. And again the third time they did hear the voice and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And the third time they did understand the voice which they heard. The voice said “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.”
10. The people cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them.
11. He stretched forth his hand and said, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.” When they heard these words the multitude fell to the earth.
12. Jesus Christ told them to arise and come forth and thrust their hands into his side and also feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet. The multitude went forth one by one and did feel and see the wounds in his body. They did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets that should come.
Discuss the worksheet questions and answers.
1. Where did a large group of people gather after the three days of darkness? The temple in the land of Bountiful.
2. How many times did the voice speak before the people understood it? Three times
3. How were the people finally able to understand the voice? “They did open their ears to hear it”
• Ask the children if they remember the general conference talk that was playing when they entered the classroom. Ask if any of them knows what topic the speaker was talking about. Ask what they would need to do in order to know what the speaker was saying. (They would have to focus, pay attention, and listen.)
• What can we do to better hear and understand God’s words to us? We need to focus and listen so we might feel or hear the gentle promptings of the Spirit. God speaks to our spirits. The Nephite’s spirits burned when they heard the voice.
4. Whose voice did the people hear speaking to them from heaven? Heavenly Father’s
• Very few people in all of history of the world have heard the actual voice of God the Father. Why did you think the Father addressed the Nephites in this instance? To testify to the world and call attention to the significance of who Jesus Christ is - he is the son of God, and he performed the atonement that was necessary for the plan of salvation. Heavenly Father also tells us that we need to listen to and obey Jesus’ words.
• How do we know the Father’s words were meant for the world? They are available for all to read in the scriptures.
5. After Jesus declared who he was, what was the first thing he did? He had the people feel the wounds he bore from hanging on the cross.
• Why did the Savior have the people feel his wounds? So they might know he was the one whom the prophets testified would come into the world to sacrifice and die for their sins.
Show the final picture on the roller box and read the below caption.
13. And when they had all gone forth and had seen the evidence of his sacrifice for them they did cry out with one accord saying, Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God!” and they did fall at his feet and did worship him.
The word Hosanna means in essence “Oh grant salvation.” The people remembered that only through Jesus Christ could salvation be granted, and they desired the Savior to show them the way to salvation.
• What do you think the Savior taught first concerning gaining salvation? Show the chart with the missing words and explain that each spot where there are scriptures is one of the things Jesus taught. Explain that they are going to look up the scriptures and try and figure out what goes in each spot.
The first thing the Savior did before beginning to teach about salvation was to call his representative amongst the Nephites to come forth – Nephi the prophet.
Have the children look up the chart scripture 3 Nephi 11:21, 33 to discover what the Savior gave to Nephi, and to discover one of the things that is necessary for gaining salvation. (Nephi was given the power to baptize. Baptism is necessary for gaining salvation.) (Have a child take the scripture off the chart and write the word baptism in the spot.)
The Savior also called others and gave them power to baptize. And he gave them specific instructions concerning how to baptize.
• Note: Nephi already had the power to baptize and had performed baptisms earlier. (3 Nephi 7:23-26) What power did Jesus give him? Nephi had lived through a change of dispensations. The Lord gave Nephi the priesthood keys for the new dispensation. A dispensation is when the gospel is revealed anew. In this new dispensation, Jesus had wrought the atonement, and in D&C 22:1-3 it says old things were done away and all things became new (including baptism). The old covenants were done away and the people were given the new and everlasting covenant (the fullness of the gospel). (Information taken from an interview done with Robert J Matthews. Religion A 122 BYU study manual – T. Parker )
Have the children look up 3 Nephi 11:37 to find another of the things Jesus taught the people they must do in order to gain salvation. (Repent) Explain that Jesus repeated these words two times to emphasize their importance. “And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” (Have a child take the scripture off the chart and write in the word repentance.)
• Do active members of the church have need of repentance? We all need to repent daily, even if we have not committed serious sins. We need to repent of such things as losing our temper, being selfish, being slothful, etc.
Have the children look up the scripture 3 Nephi 11:32 to find another of the things Jesus told the people they must do in order to gain salvation. (Believe in Jesus, which is the same thing as “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (Have a child take the scripture off the chart and write in the words “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”.)
Have the children look up and read 3 Nephi 11:35 and see if they know what goes on the last line. (Holy Ghost) See if the children can tell you what the rest of the missing words are on the chart. (They should recite to you the fourth Article of Faith.)
• What does 3 Nephi 11:35 say the Holy Ghost will bear record of? The Father sends the Holy Ghost to bear record of Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost bears record that Jesus lives, that He is the Son of God, and that through His atonement we can repent and be forgiven of our sins.
Remind the children of the bag at the beginning of the lesson and how they knew what was in the bag (because of others personal contact and declarations concerning what was in the bag). Remind the children that we can each gain a personal testimony of Jesus Christ even though we have not seen or talked to him in person. We can gain that testimony through reading the testimony of others in the scriptures and by seeking for the witness of the Holy Ghost concerning Jesus Christ.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 3 Nephi 8:1-25, 3 Nephi 9:1-2 & 12-22, 3 Nephi 10:1-13, 3 Nephi 11:1-22
Lesson 32 – Signs in America of Jesus Christ’s Birth
- Items needed: scriptures for every child, tape or magnets, chalk and eraser, pens, star stickers (or star cutouts and glue).
- Print the scripture story pictures. Trim the first four pages. Cut each of the remaining pages in half so there is one picture on each half. Number the back of these pictures in the order they were printed.
- Print and cut out the activity visual aids.
- Print or copy one page of “I will prepare for the Second Coming” for each child. (Alternate Idea: Copy the star page for each child, and instead of using stickers, have the children write one idea in each point of the star.)
Show the picture of the fall leaves, the lightening, and the spring buds. Point out that when we see these signs in nature they tell us certain events will soon occur. Ask the children what event each item is a sign of (fall leaves – winter is approaching, lightning – a storm is approaching, spring buds – summer is approaching).
Ask the children what we do to prepare when we see these signs indicating environment changes are coming. (Example: We get the cold weather clothes out. We seek shelter from storms. We prepare our gardens to be planted.)
Show the picture of the star. Remind the children that Samuel the Lamanite prophesied many signs would occur before and at the time of two very important events.
• According to the prophet Samuel what event was the new star a sign of? (Jesus Christ’s birth)
Ask the children if they can remember what the other prophesied signs were of Jesus birth. (If needed, show them the drawings from last week’s lesson to help remind them.)
• Why did the Lord reveal these signs to the Nephites? (Helaman 14:12–13, 28) So they might know of His coming, so they might believe in Christ and repent, and so they would have no excuse for not believing.
For the faithful, the appearance of these signs confirmed and strengthened their faith. For those who were not as valiant in their faith as they should have been, or for the wicked, these signs gave them warning and opportunity to change their ways. They were left without excuse for their nonbelief and would be held accountable for their subsequent actions.
Tell the following story using the scripture story pictures as visual aids.
1) Many great miracles and signs occurred before the birth of Jesus, but many people still refused to believe. When it came time for the main signs of His birth to occur (a night to be as day and a new star to appear) some said the time had passed for the words of Samuel to be fulfilled. The unbelievers began to make an uproar throughout the land, rejoicing over their brethren who believed saying their joy and faith had been in vain. The unbelievers set apart a day where all those who believed would be put to death except the sign should come to pass.
• Why would the unbelievers wish to persecute and kill the believers? The wicked hearken to Satan’s influence. Satan promotes hate, intolerance, and anger, and he uses those who are under his influence to try and destroy righteousness and belief.
• In spite of the challenges to their faith what did the believers do? (See 3 Nephi 1:8) They did watch steadfastly for the sign of Christ’s birth that they might know their faith had not been in vain.
2) Nephi was sorrowful for the wickedness of the people. He bowed himself down and cried mightily to God all day in behalf of his people. (3 Nephi 1:12.) (Note: The Nephi in this account is the son of the Nephi who has been discussed in the past few lessons. Nephi had given his son charge of all the records and had then departed out of the land (and was probably translated).
3) The voice of the Lord came unto Nephi as he prayed saying: “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world.” (3 Nephi 1:13–14.)
4) The words spoken to Nephi were fulfilled. The sun went down that evening, but it was still light as mi-day. There was no darkness in all the night. The sun did rise again in the morning according to its proper order. (3 Nephi 1:15, 19, 21) The sign of new star did also appear.
• How would you feel if the sun went down but it was still light outside? How do you think the righteous felt when the night did not get dark? (Great joy) The birth of Jesus was something the people had looked forward to for many years. The occurrence of the prophesied signs of His birth also confirmed their faith.
• How do you think the unbelievers felt when the sign occurred? (Fear)
5) There were many who had not believed the words of the prophets that fell to the earth in astonishment and became as if they were dead. They knew it was the day the Lord should be born. They began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief. (3 Nephi 1:18)
• Did Satan give up his efforts to destroy people’s beliefs in Christ once the signs had been given? No. Satan continued in his efforts by sending forth lies among the people to harden their hearts so they might not believe in the signs and wonders they had seen. (3 Nephi 1:22.)
• How did the people respond to Satan’s initial efforts to destroy their belief? For the most part the people did believe in the Lord and there was peace in the land. But after a few years Satan did gain possession of the hearts of the people again.
• What does it mean to “gain possession of the hearts of the people”? Hearts of the people refers to their desires. The people once again desired wickedness
6) The people forgot the signs and wonders and were less astonished when a sign or wonder occurred. They imagined up vain things in their hearts that the signs were wrought by men or by the power of the devil to deceive them. They began to harden their hearts and blind their minds and disbelieve all they had seen and heard. (3 Nephi 2:1–2)
• Why did they wish to rationalize away the signs they had seen? Because their hearts desired wickedness.
• What can we learn about the strength of testimonies that are based solely on signs? As time passes, the importance and value of the signs diminishes in people’s thoughts and priorities, and they are easily influenced by Satan to return to their original sinful ways.
• How does someone develop a strong testimony? By living the teachings of the gospel, and by experiencing the powerful witness of the Holy Ghost testifying to their heart of the truth of those teachings.
• Is building a strong testimony something that happens quickly and effortlessly? A testimony grows gradually through a person’s efforts to learn and know the truth. No one receives a complete testimony all at once.
7) After several years the Nephite people began to again wax strong in wickedness and abominations, and they chose to believe there would be no more signs or wonders given. (3 Nephi 2:3)
• What other signs and wonders were still to come? (The signs of Jesus’ death.) Ask the children if they remember what the signs of Jesus’ death were. (Show them the drawings from last week’s lesson to help remind them.)
• What did Samuel say would happen to the people if they did not change their ways and repent? Great destructions (Helaman13:6)
Explain to the children that another great event concerning the Savior is prophesied to occur in the latter days. It is also to be preceded by great signs and wonders. Ask the children if they know what this great event is. Give clues if needed. After the children have guessed correctly, put the sign “Jesus Second Coming” on the right side of the board.
Explain that many of the prophesied signs of Jesus’ Second Coming are similar to the signs and happenings that occurred at Jesus’ birth and death. (Put the sign on the left side of the board that says “Jesus Christ’s birth and death”.)
Put the scripture references in random order on the board under the sign that says “Jesus’ Second Coming”. Explain that these scriptures are all prophesied things that will occur before Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. Put the list of items on the board that occurred before or during the time of Jesus’ birth under the sign that says “Jesus Christ’s birth and death.” (Explain that many of these things also occured before Jesus’ death.) Have the children look up the first scripture. Have one of the children read it out loud and then draw a chalk line from the scripture to a similar event that occurred before or during Jesus’ birth.
Wickedness among the people increased. (D&C 45:27)
There were many nonbelievers. (2 Peter 3:3-4)
Many of the Lamanites became righteous (D&C 49:24)
There were signs and wonders in the heavens. (D&C 45:40)
The faithful looked forward to the coming of the Lord. (D&C 45:39)
• Why do the faithful look forward to the coming of the Lord? The faithful Nephites looked forward to the coming of the Lord because they knew that through Him and His atonement they could receive forgiveness of their sins. When the Savior comes again upon the earth he will bring peace for the nations. He will bring safety and joy for all the righteous. The earth will live in peace. Many look forward to that time. They also look forward to the joy of seeing their Savior Jesus Christ.
After all the answers have been made, put the drawings of the signs of Jesus’ death on the board and explain that similar destructions and happenings to the signs depicted in the pictures are also prophesied to occur before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But we are told that if we are prepared the righteous need not fear the second coming or the signs the precede it.
Once again show the children the pictures of the fall leaves, the lightening, and the spring buds, and ask the children why it is important to prepare for changes in the weather when we see these signs in nature. Our health, safety, and protection may depend on the preparations we make.
Explain that just as we would need to be prepared for upcoming changes in the weather, we also need to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord. Only those with strong testimonies will remain steadfast and faithful in the challenging environment of the latter days, and only the righteous will abide the day of the coming of the Lord and be able to live lives of peace and love during the Lord’s millennial reign. (Read D&C 45:57)
Give each child a page of star stickers (or star cutouts and glue), a pen, and one of the papers labeled “I will prepare for the Second Coming”. Have them put stars on their pages and write next to each star something they can do to prepare for the second coming. Explain that stars are being used for the activity because the new star that shined brightly, and the other signs of light that occurred at Jesus birth, remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. He is our shining example. Remind the children of the teachings of Jesus and the examples he set as they think of things they need to do to prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming. Ideas might include the following: keep the Sabbath day holy, pray, read the scriptures, serve others, forgive others, be humble and meek, share the gospel with others, love one another, etc.
• What is the danger of putting off the day of our preparation? Remind the children that building a strong testimony does not happen instantly overnight, it takes time and effort. If we put off the day of our preparation, the coming of the Lord may come upon us and our time for preparing will be past. (Read Helaman 13:38)
Explain that just as righteous Nephites watched and were prepared for the Savior’s birth, we need to watch and prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming.
Weekly Reading Assignments
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 3 Nephi 1:1-23 & 3 Nephi 2:1-3
Samuel the Lamanite
• Items needed: chalk and eraser, a small treat or reward, two blindfolds, about ten sheets of paper, crayons and pencils, tape and magnets, a piece of cardstock put inside a page protector, sticky tack, removable double-sided tape, mini marshmallows or several wadded up small pieces of paper, and a five inch round paper circle. Optional: pictures of Jesus’ birth and death
• Print the timeline visuals. (Note: The dates on the timeline are approximate.) Cut out the timeline pages and tape each page together in order. Cover the prophet’s names on the timeline with strips of one inch by three inch pieces of heavy paper. (Use removable double-sided tape to attach.) Cut out the prophet’s names with the scriptures on them. Attach the names to the page protector with sticky tack.
• Print and cut out the scripture story visuals. Cut the group of people into two parts between the woman in blue and the man with the bow and arrow.
• Print the activity visual aids. (The signs of Christ’s birth and the signs of Christ’s death need to be printed onto two different colors of paper.) Cut out all the items. Optional: Attach the heading “Sign’s of Christ’s Birth” to the top of the picture of Jesus’ birth. Attach the heading “Sign’s of Christ’s Death” to the top of the picture of Jesus’ death.
Put the timeline on the board. Explain to the children they are going do a review activity regarding the prophets they have learned about this year. Point out the prophet pictures on the timeline, and then show the children the page of prophet’s names. Have the children take turns identifying who each prophet is by putting the name above the prophet it goes with. Give hints about specific prophet’s stories if needed.
After all the prophet’s names are situated, check to see if they are correct by taking off the name covers on the timeline. If one doesn’t match have a child change it with one they think is correct. After all the names have been revealed, point out that the timeline ends at Jesus’ birth. Explain that all the prophets on the timeline were born and lived before Jesus was born.
• Which of the prophets on the timeline prophesied and taught of Jesus? (All of them.) Point out the scriptures under each name and explain that the scriptures contains a few of the words or teachings of that prophet concerning Jesus.
Read Mosiah 13:33: “Did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?”
• What do you think these prophet’s main messages were concerning Jesus? (Have them each look up one of the scriptures and read it to themselves. Then ask a few volunteers to quickly tell what the main message is in their scripture.)That Jesus would come to the earth and atone for the sins of mankind.
Point out the empty spot on the timeline. Explain that the prophet who goes on the empty spot lived in a time period right before the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. This prophet was sent to the Nephites to prepare them for the coming of Jesus. He made specific prophesies about the time and signs of Jesus’ birth and death. Ask if any of the children knows who the prophet is. (If they do not know, ask them to listen carefully to the lesson and see if they can guess who it is.)
Remind the children of the events that occurred in last week’s lesson. Explain that the people remained righteous for a time after the famine, but within a few years wickedness began to creep back in, and within about ten years after the famine the Nephites were once again ripe for destruction.
Each time the Nephites returned to wickedness they appear to be guilty of committing the same sins they had committed before. See if the children can guess what sins the Nephites were guilty of committing this time. Remind them that the sins are similar to the ones they were committing before. Write their guesses on the board. Have the children read Helaman13:22 and put a check mark next to each one they guessed correctly. (Forgetting the Lord and his blessings, ingratitude, heart set on riches, pride, boasting, envying (jealousy), strifes (fighting), malice (hate), murders, and persecution.)
• What did the Nephites seek for all the days of their live that they could never obtain? (See Helaman 13:38) They sought for happiness in doing iniquity.
• Why can happiness never be found in doing iniquity? (See Alma 41:10-11)
• What other wicked things were the Nephites doing? (See Helaman 13:24) (If the children included any of these sins on their list have them put a check mark next to them also.) They cast out the prophets, mocked them, cast stones at them, and slayed them.
Explain that instead of listening to the true prophets, the Nephites called a man a prophet if he told them flattering words such as, “Do as your heart desires for there is no sin or punishment.” Samuel called these false prophets blind guides. (Helaman 13:27-28)
Choose two volunteers. Blindfold one of the volunteers. Tell the other child he/she is going to guide the blindfolded child to a special reward, but then explain that he/she is going to be blindfolded also. After blindfolding the second child, quietly put the reward somewhere in the room. Tell the guiding child to lead the other child to the reward. Make sure they don’t fall or get hurt as they attempt this. After a few minutes ask the class the following question:
• Is a blindfolded person a good guide? Why not? (They can’t see the right way to go to get the reward, and they can’t see the dangers that need avoiding.) Take the blindfolds off the children and thank the volunteers for their help, then ask the following question:
• Do people sometimes follow blind guides in today’s world? We have many leaders in the world today who lead but don’t know the way to true happiness. They also don’t see the dangers (Satan’s temptations) that need avoiding.
Heavenly Father wants us to find true, eternal happiness so He provides true guides that can see the right way to go and the dangers to avoid.
• Who are the guides Heavenly Father provides? Prophets. They know the way because they are directed by divine light and are not blinded by the darkness that is around them. (Have a child who is not blinded by the darkness of a blindfold lead a child who is blindfolded to the reward.) (They must share the reward with the class.)
The Lord wanted the Nephites to follow true guides, but they would not listen to their prophets and were casting them out and killing them, so the Lord sent a Lamanite prophet to preach to them. (Remind the children that at this time in Book of Mormon history many of the Lamanites were righteous. See Helaman 13:1)
Ask the children if they know yet who the prophet is that goes on the empty spot on the timeline. Remind them he is a Lamanite.
Explain that the prophet Samuel the Lamanite (put his picture on the timeline) went to the Nephites and told them they needed to repent. The people were angry at his message, and they threw him out of the land. As Samuel was returning to his own land, the voice of the Lord came to him and told him to return and tell the people whatsoever thing that came into his heart.
• What did the Lord mean when he told Samuel to speak whatsoever things that came into his heart? It meant Samuel would receive revelation from God concerning what to say.
Samuel returned to Zarahemla, but the people would not allow him to enter into the city.
• Samuel needed to deliver the message from the Lord. What did he do so he could accomplish this? He went and got upon the city wall. (Put the scripture story figures of Samuel, the wall, and the crowd of people on the board.)
Samuel cried with a loud voice and prophesied what the Lord put into his heart. He prophesied heavy destruction upon the people if they did not repent.
He also delivered another message, a message of glad tidings (which means good news).
• What do you think his message of glad tidings was? Remind the children that Samuel lived in a special time period. He lived during the time period when Jesus Christ the son of God would come to the earth. His message of glad tidings was that Jesus Christ, the redeemer, would be born on the earth in five years. (Helaman 14:2)
• Why is this good news? (See Helaman 14:2,13) Because Jesus would make an atonement for our sins and redeem all who believe on his name.
• Samuel also prophesied concerning the death of Jesus. According to Samuel why did Jesus have to die? (Helaman 14:15-18) Samuel explained that Jesus must die to redeem all mankind from spiritual death and to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead.
• Samuel told the people that signs would occur when Jesus was born and when he dies. Why did the Lord reveal these signs to the Nephites? (See Helaman 14:12–13, 28.) So they might know of His coming and believe on His name and repent, and that there would be no cause for unbelief.
Give each child, or pairs of children, a piece of paper, a pencil and crayons, and one of the scripture cards. Have them look up their scriptures and draw a picture of the signs described in their scriptures. (Some of the children will only need to draw certain parts of their scripture. You may need to help them understand which part they need draw. The Activity Answers below will help provide those answers.)
Put the picture labeled “Signs of Christ’s Birth” on the left side of the board and the picture labeled “Signs of Christ’s Death” on the right side of the board. After the children have completed their pictures, have them take turns standing up, showing their picture, and telling what it is. Afterwards have the child decide if it is a sign of Jesus’ birth or death. Have them put their picture under the correct heading on the board. Check to see if it is correct by putting the matching sign label above their picture. If it matches the color of the category heading, they are correct.
Signs of Christ’s Birth
• Helaman 14:3-4 – There will be a day and a night and a day as if there were no night.
• Helaman 14:5-6 – A new star will appear, and there will be many other signs and wonders in heaven.
Signs of Christ’s Death
• Helaman 14:20 – There will be darkness for three days. The sun, moon, and stars shall be darkened.
• Helaman 14:23 (First Part) & Helaman 14:21 (First part) – There will be tempests (severe storms with high winds and possible hail, snow, or rain). There will be thundering and lightening for many hours.
• Helaman 14:24 (Second Part) – Cities made desolate (uninhabited).
• Helaman 14:23 (Second part) – The mountains will be laid low and valleys will become mountains
•Helaman 14:21 (Second part), Helaman 14:22, & Helaman 14:24 (First part) - The earth shall shake and tremble, and rocks and highways shall be broken up.
Scripture Story Continued
• How did the people react to Samuels words? Some believed and went to find Nephi to confess their sins and be baptized (take off the small group of people), but the majority of the people were angry with Samuel.
• What did the people attempt to do to Samuel because of their anger? Slay him. They cast stones at him on the wall and shot arrows at him. (Put the arrows and stones on the board.) But they could not hit him with their stones or arrows.
Demonstration: Put the five inch round piece of paper on the board. Give a few of the children sitting in the front seats 3-4 mini marshmallows each (or wadded up small pieces of paper). Have them try to hit the target with their items. Have the other children count and point out how many times they were able to hit the target. Ask the children why they think people who were familiar with using a bow and arrow, and the people who were throwing rocks, couldn’t hit Samuel. (Because the Spirit of the Lord was with him.) (Helaman 16:2)
• When the people saw that Samuel was miraculously protected did they believe his words then? Some believed, but the more part of the people did not believe the words of Samuel, and they went forth to lay their hands upon Samuel. He cast himself down from the wall and did flee out of their lands to preach among his own people.
• Five years after Samuel delivered his message to the Nephites, great signs, wonders, and miracles began to occur. The words of the prophets began to be fulfilled. Did the nonbelievers start to believe when they began to see the prophesied signs and wonders occuring? The most part of the people grew more wicked and did harden their hearts. (Helaman 16:22-23) They contrived foolish excuses to not believe.
• Why did the doubters contrive excuses to not believe even after witnessing great signs and wonders? Because Satan did stir them up to iniquity continually. (Helaman 16:22)
• What lesson do we learn from the account of the unbelievers? We learn that we must do our best to keep ourselves free of the influence of Satan so that our hearts will be open to the whisperings of Holy Ghost concerning the truth of the words of the prophets.
Remind the children of the timeline, and that all the prophets taught of Jesus. Explain that latter-day prophets also testify and teach of Jesus. Our faith and belief in the Savior can be strengthened as we read the prophets words in the scriptures and as we listen to and read the words of the latter-day prophets concerning Christ.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – Helaman 13:1-8, 14:1-5, 20-27, 16:1-8
Important Note: Save the children’s drawings. They will be used again in lesson 32 and 33.