Lesson 8 – Jacob’s Encounter with Sherem

Posted on

Lesson 8
Jacob’s Encounter with Sherem

Preparation
• Print the scripture story visual aids. (The visual aids are from Book of Mormon Stories chapters nine and ten.)
• Items needed: one package of toothpicks, masking tape or stickers, fine tip markers, several pieces of string or ribbon cut into three inch lengths, and packages of stick gum (stick gum can be found at Dollar Tree). (The amounts needed for each item will be based on how many children are in the class.)
• Carefully remove the gum from the wrappers in one of the packages of gum. Replace the empty wrappers back into the package, making it appear as if the gum is still in the wrappers.
• Fold two inch pieces of masking tape or stickers in half over the end of the toothpicks. Each should look like a small flag when done. Cut off the other pointy end of the toothpick with scissors. Make five toothpick flags per child. Save the remaining flag free toothpicks for the object lesson.

Attention Activity

Tell the children you brought some gum to share with them, and show them the empty gum package. Offer it to the children. After they take a piece, ask them how they felt when the discovered the wrappers were empty. Explain to the children that during their life people will try to convince them to accept beliefs that are empty and have no value. In today’s lesson they will learn how to discern divine truth so as to help them avoid the disappointment and sorrow that comes from accepting false beliefs. (Tell the children that at the end of class you will give each of them a piece of real gum to take home.)

Scripture Story Introduction
Tell the following scripture story and show the numbered visual aid pictures where indicated.

Remind the children that in last week’s lesson they learned about Nephi and his family crossing the sea and arriving at the promised land. In the promised land, Lehi eventually grew old and died.

(1) After Lehi died, Laman and Lemuel once again became angry with Nephi for urging them to keep the commandments. (1) They complained, saying their younger brother wanted to rule over them. They became so angry they sought to kill him.

(2) The Lord warned Nephi that he should flee into the wilderness and take all those who would go with him. All those who believed in the warnings and revelations of God followed Nephi. They traveled into the wilderness for several days. They settled in a land and prospered there. They constructed buildings and a temple. They called themselves the people of Nephi.

(3) The people who followed Laman and Lemuel were called Lamanites. A curse was put upon the Lamanites; they were cut off from the Lord’s help and guidance because they chose to do wicked things. The Lord also caused their skins to darken so the Nephites would be reminded not to mix or intermarry with them and bring the curse upon themselves. The Lamanites became an idle people, full of mischief and trickery. They hated the Nephites and wanted to destroy them. The Lord told Nephi that the Lamanites would be a scourge to his people to help turn the Nephite’s hearts back to the Lord when they faltered.

Nephi led his people in righteousness and helped protect them against the Lamanites, but eventually he grew old. (4) He gave the historical and spiritual records to his younger brother Jacob. Jacob had been consecrated a priest and teacher by the hand of Nephi. (5) He was ordained of God to preach to the people.

(Direct the children to turn to the “Book of Jacob” in their Book of Mormons.) Some of Jacob’s words are recorded in the “Book of Jacob.” In the seventh chapter of the “Book of Jacob” Jacob tells about a man named Sherem who came among the Nephites preaching and trying to convince the people to accept his teachings.

Scripture Story
(6) The man named Sherem tried to convince the people to accept false things that were not true. One of the main things he tried to convince the people was that there would be no Christ. He taught that it was not necessary for an atonement to be made for the sins of mankind. He said that the people only had to follow the basic laws and rituals of the Law of Moses in order to gain salvation.

• Is it possible to gain salvation without Christ’s atonement? We cannot undo the sins we have committed, and no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God. Christ suffered and paid the price for our sins. Only through Christ’s Atonement can we become clean again.

• Why would Sherem try to convince the people there would be no Christ? Sherem was under Satan’s influence. Satan did not want people to believe in Christ and be saved.

(7) Sherem was a learned man, and he was very good at speaking to people and flattering them. Many people believed his words.

• Why did people find his words to be so appealing? Possibly because they wanted to follow the easier path of just obeying the basic rituals and performances of the Law of Moses instead of following the more difficult path of obeying the higher laws of the gospel–such as forgiving others, showing mercy, and loving our enemies.

Sherem knew that Jacob had faith in Christ, so he sought to speak to Jacob. He hoped to shake Jacob’s faith.

• Why would Sherem want to shake Jacob’s faith? Perhaps he hoped to shake Jacob’s faith so that all the people who listened to Jacob would also falter, and then Sherem could try to influence them to believe his teachings. But Jacob’s faith could not be shaken. Jacob had received many revelations, he had seen angels, and he had heard the voice of the Lord. His faith was firm.

(8) Sherem eventually got the opportunity to speak to Jacob. He accused Jacob of leading the people into changing the right ways of worshiping God by preaching of a being named Christ. Sherem said that no man could know of such things or of what was to come in the future.

(9) The Lord blessed Jacob with the spirit, and he was able to confound and thwart everything Sherem said. Jacob asked Sherem if he believed in the scriptures. Sherem said he did believe in the scriptures. Jacob said he must not understand them then because all the prophets in the scriptures testify of Christ. Jacob also testified that he personally knew that Christ would come because it had been revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost.

(10) Sherem said he wanted to see a sign by that power. Jacob said he would not ask God for a sign to show Sherem something that he already knew was true. (Sherem must have had a belief in Christ, but his personal notions and desires became so powerful that he tried to ignore that knowledge.)

(11) Jacob said if it was the will of the Lord to smite Sherem, then that would be his sign that God has power and that Christ will come.

(12) The power of the Lord came upon Sherem, and he fell to the earth. He was so stricken and incapacitated that others had to feed him and take care of him for many days.

• Did Sherem ask for a sign so he could believe in Christ? No. He did not expect a sign to be produced, and if none was produced he could accuse Jacob of being false. Sherem had not planned on being struck down by God.

• If we want to gain a testimony of Christ would seeking for signs be a good way to do it? Have the children look up and read D&C 63:9 & 11-12. Explain that signs and miracles come because of faith. Signs do not give a person faith. Faith in Christ comes through the witness of the Holy Ghost. Remind the children of Laman and Lemuel. They did not have faith even though they had seen an angel, heard the voice of the Lord, and had seen many mighty miracles. They did not have faith because they would not open their hearts to the Holy Ghost. If we seek for signs it will be to our condemnation.

(13) Sherem suffered for many days after being struck down by the power of God. He asked that the people be gathered. He knew he was dying, and he wanted to speak to them before he died. When the people were gathered, he denied the things he had taught them and confessed that Christ was true. He said he had been deceived by the devil and now feared for his soul. He knew he was about to die and face God. He was afraid of the eternal judgements he would face for his sins.

• How did Sherem feel when he realized he would have to suffer the consequences of preaching false doctrines? (Fear and sorrow) How would someone feel if they had accepted false doctrine and then realized they would have to suffer the consequences of that choice?

(14) After confessing, Sherem died. The power of God came upon the people. They felt the Spirit’s witness of the truth of the matter. They fell to the earth in awe. The people once again turned their hearts to God.

Discussion
There are many people in today’s world that are influenced by Satan. They try to lead people away from Christ. Some try to convince us that Jesus is not the Son of God, that He didn’t suffer and die for our sins. They say we do not have to believe in Christ and follow the commandments to receive salvation.

• How can we find out for ourselves that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that he atoned for our sins, and that only through Him can we be saved? Jacob had faith in Christ because the Holy Ghost had revealed the truth of it to him. We can receive that same witness of Christ if we will pray and seek for the Holy Ghost to reveal the truth to us. We also learn from Jacob that we can gain a testimony of Christ through reading the scriptures. The scriptures testify of Christ.

Object Lesson
Ask for a volunteer. Instruct the volunteer to break one of the toothpicks. Point out how easy it was. Tell the children that the broken toothpick represents someone who does not have a strong testimony. That person’s resolves to follow Christ is easily broken when temptation comes along.

Someone who has built up their testimony of Jesus Christ through study, prayer, and obedience to the commandments can gain spiritual strength like Jacob’s. Jacob’s testimony was strong and firm.

Add toothpicks to a pile as you mention (or as the children mention) things that will strengthen a testimony such as: studying the scriptures every day, praying every morning and night, listening to General Conference, listening carefully to teachers and speakers at church, listening and participating in Family Home Evening and family scripture study, reading stories from the Friend magazine, studying for and giving talks in Primary, and obeying the words of Christ.

After you have at least 10-12 toothpicks in the pile, have a volunteer try to break the pile. They must keep them bundled close together. If they do this, it should not be possible to break them. Explain that our testimony can start out weak and small, but it can be reinforced and built up until it is strong and firm.

Activity
Hand out five labeled toothpicks to each child. Direct the children to write on each side of the labels things they can do to strengthen their testimony. Tie each person’s toothpicks together in a bundle with string or ribbon. Instruct the children to put their bundle somewhere where they will see it daily to help remind them of the things  they need to do to strengthen and build up their testimonies.

Weekly Reading Assignment

Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week –  2 Nephi 5:1-25 and Jacob 7:1–23.


Testimony: Stories

Posted on

Why We Need a Testimony

Friend October 2017 “Elder Perry, Chickens, and Me” Elder Perry slips and falls in the dark as he helps Bonnie feed the chickens. He teaches that everyone needs their own light.

Gaining a Testimony

Friend January 1988 “Juliano’s Testimony” Juliano learns that even children can receive testimonies.
Friend April 2016  “Ethan’s Testimony”  Ethan wants a testimony. It seems like everyone has one except him. As he prays he realizes he does have one.
Friend April 2016

Friend April 2016

Praying for a Testimony

Friend December 2015 Elder Christopherson learned that it isn’t necessary to pray in a special place (such as in the sacred grove)  in order to gain a testimony.
Friend December 2015

Friend December 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bearing a Testimony

Friend September 1988 “The Best Gift” Adam’s primary teacher tells the class they will receive something special if they sincerely bear their testimony in sacrament. The other children think it’s a treat from the teacher, but Adam learns it is a witness from the Holy Ghost that the things he is saying are true.

Sharing Testimony

Friend February 2016 “Testimony Treasure” Sabrina learns that a testimony is a treasure you want to share with others.

imageimageimage

 

 

 

 

 

Friend August 2015 – Elder Cook’s brother shares his testimony with him. After that he wanted his own witness from the Holy Ghost.

 

 

 

 

Friend October 2015 “My Golden Ribbon Dance” – Girl shares her testimony in a dance using church pictures and music

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend June 2015 “Mia’s Testimony” Mia prays for a testimony but doesn’t feel any different Her father points out the times she has felt the Holy Ghost in her life witnessesing of the truth

.Friend June 2015

Strengthening a Testimony

Friend May 1988 “The Testimony of a scientist” A scientist prays for a dying fish and his faith and testimony is strengthened when the fish recovers its health.



Lesson 22 – Alma Teaches Faith

Posted on

Lesson 22
Alma Teaches Faith 

Preparation
• Items needed: a 16 oz. empty water bottle, vinegar, baking soda, a balloon, an apple or orange seed, small Ziplock baggies, a disposable plastic cup of soil for each child, and a cantaloupe or watermelon seed for each child.

•Put two tablespoons of the vinegar into the plastic bottle and one teaspoon of the baking soda into the balloon. Put each cup of soil and seed in a Ziplock bag.
• Print and cut out the visual aids.

Attention Activity
Show the children the bottle and tell them that it contains vinegar. Allow them to smell it. Show the children the balloon and tell them it contains baking soda. Inform the children that if you were to put the balloon on the bottle and combine the vinegar and baking soda it would produce a gas that would inflate the balloon. Ask the children if they believe you.

Ask the children how they could find out for themselves if what you told them is true. (They would have to try it out to see if it works.) Allow a volunteer to try the experiment. Direct the volunteer to stretch the opening of the balloon over the opening of the bottle without spilling the contents of the balloon into the bottle. After the balloon is attached, direct the child to lift up the balloon and empty its contents into the bottle.

• After the balloon inflates, point out that they were able to discover the truth of what you told them by trying it out. Ask how they could use that same method to find out if a gospel principle is true? (Read Alma 32:27)

Explain that today’s lesson is about developing faith in God through experimenting on the word of God by applying it into our lives.

Scripture Story
Remind the children of last week’s lesson concerning Alma and his companions going to the land of the Zoramites to preach the gospel. After observing the prayers of the proud Zoramites on the Rameumptom, Alma and his companions commenced to preach the gospel. They began to have success among the poor because the poor were not allowed to worship God in the synagogues which they had help build. The poor had been cast out of the synagogues because of their coarse apparel.

One day a large group of the poor approached Alma as he was teaching. They told Alma they had no place to worship God, and they asked him what they should do. Alma taught them that they could worship God anywhere–in their fields, in their houses, and in the wilderness–and they needed to cry to Him in all their afflictions. Alma saw that their afflictions had humbled them, and they were ready to hear the word of God.

• How was being poor a blessing for the Zoramites? (Read Alma 32:12-13) It helped them to be humble and seek for wisdom from God.

The poor Zoramites were compelled to be humble by their poverty, but they still had the choice whether or not to listen to the words of the Lord, and because they chose to listen they were blessed.

• Read Alma 32:14-15. Why is it better to humble ourselves than to be compelled to be humble? We reduce the difficulties in our life that are sent as  reminders for us to be humble. We also are blessed for being obedient.

• Why is it important for us to be humble? Those who are humble are more likely to listen to and obey the Lord’s instructions because they realize the need for the Lord’s help and direction in life.

• What is something that can lead people to humble themselves without the compulsion of difficulties? (See Alma 32:13- 14) The word of God. Explain that when we read the scriptures or hear a talk or lesson at church, we may experience a desire to repent of something we are doing that is not right.

Alma also taught the Zoramites about having faith in in the word of God.

• What is faith? (Read Alma 32:21) To believe in something that is real and true, even though we haven’t seen it for ourselves, is to have faith. The Lord wants us to faith in him: that he lives, loves us, and that his words are truth. Alma taught the poor Zoramites how to develop that faith in God.

Show the children the fruit tree seed and tell them what type of seed it is. Explain that the seed could grow into a large fruit tree. Ask the children what they would need to do first in order to get the seed to grow. (Plant it in soil.) (Show the children the illustration of the seed and the soil.)

Alma told the Zoramites that the word of God is like a seed. When we listen to and have a desire to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, we plant the word of God in our hearts.

• Where do we hear the word of God?  In primary lessons, sacrament meeting talks, conference talks, family home evening lessons, family scripture study, etc.

• What happens to a seed when it is planted in the ground? If it is a good seed it begins to swell, and then it sprouts and begins to grow. (Show the picture of the growing seed.) (Alma 32:30)

Explain that after we have heard the word of God and have a desire to believe, we can then experiment on His words by trying them out. When we do this, a swelling of understanding in our heart begins to grow, and we see that the word of God is good. (Alma 32:28)

Once we see that the seed is good, the sprouting plants needs to be nourished in order to grow. (Alma 32:37)

•  What does it mean to nourish a plant? (To feed it and provide all the things it needs in order to grow.) What kinds of nourishment does a plant need in order to grow? (Show the children the picture of the plant food, the watering can, the rain, and the sun cutout as each item is mentioned, and explain that we must make sure the plant gets enough water, sun, and fertilizer.)

•What kind of things will nourish our faith in the word of God? (Answers might include listening to the testimonies of others, seeking for the witness of the Holy Ghost concerning the truth of the word, listening to the words of the prophet, and continuing to exercise our growing faith through studying and acting upon the words of God.)

• What would happen if we neglected the care of a growing plant such as not watering it. (It would stop growing, and it would eventually wither up and die.) (Alma 32:38)  Does that mean the seed was bad? (No, it means we didn’t do our part to help it grow, and because of that we will not enjoy the fruit that would have grown on it.)

•What happens if we neglect to nourish our growing testimony? (It could wither, die, and be cast aside.) Does that mean the word was not good? (No, it means we did not do our part to help our faith in the word of God grow.) (Alma 32:39)

• What happens when we nourish and take care of a young plant? (It grows) Show a picture of a young sapling tree and ask the children if the young tree is strong enough to withstand the damaging forces in the world. Explain that weeds could choke  it out, bugs and animals could eat it, and wind and objects could knock it over and break its tender trunk. A young growing plant needs continual care and protection from damaging influences.

• How can we protect our growing testimony from the harm and damaging influences of the world? (Pull out the weeds of sin that choke out our desire for good, put protective barriers around ourselves by avoiding things that would tempt us, and attach supporting lines of strength by going to church and mingling with others who are also seeking to grow strong testimonies.)

• Ask the children if they believe a small sapling can grow into a big tree with proper care. How long would it take for this to happen? (Many years)

Alma tells us we need to have patience and diligence in nourishing our faith as it develops and grows. (Alma 32:41)

• Show a picture of a full grown tree and ask if the children think it is stronger than a sapling. Point out the tough bark, the wide trunk, and the thick branches that help protect it from damage. Explain that when we develop strong faith in Jesus Christ and his words, we are less likely to be influenced by the harmful evils that are around us.

• Once a fruit tree has grown, it begins to produce fruit and then the harvest comes. What is the fruit of faith? Alma said the fruit of the tree is sweet above all that is sweet, and that it is white, precious, and pure. If we partake of this fruit and feast upon it we will be filled and not hunger or thirst. The fruit is the blessings that come from living the gospel, which include the blessings and joys of eternal life. (Alma 32:42)

• When a tree is grown and producing fruit are we done? (No, we need to continue to nourish it, take care of it, and protect it from harm. If we don’t do these things the tree may suffer from neglect, become open to disease and bug damage, and it may stop producing good fruit.)

• When we have developed a strong faith in Jesus Christ and his words, are we done working? (No, we must continue doing all the things that made our faith strong. We must continue caring for and nourishing our testimony. If we neglect to do this we may become open to the damaging influences and temptations of the world, which could cause the loss of the blessings we worked so hard for.)

Conclusion
Emphasize that just as a good seed with proper care and nourishment can eventually become a fruit bearing tree, if we will learn the word of God, plant it in our hearts, and properly nourish it, our faith in God will grow strong and produce many blessings.

Give each child a cup of soil and a seed. Tell them they can plant the seed in the soil, but they must nourish and take care of it if they want it to grow. Explain that if they will put the plant in their garden after it begins to grow and then continue to take care of it, within a few months it will produce a delicious fruit. Explain that the plant will be a reminder for them to nourish their faith in God and to have patience and diligence as they do this. If they will do the things necessary to nourish their faith, their faith will grow and produce many wonderful blessings.

Weekly Reading Assignment

Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Alma 32:1-43