Here we read about political intrigue, bands of robbers, rejection of the prophets, and pride and disbelief throughout the land. But we also find examples like Nephi and Lehi and “the more humble part of the people,” who not only survived but thrived spiritually (Helaman 3:34). How did they do it? How did they stay strong while their civilization began to decline and fall apart? The same way any of us stay strong in the “mighty storm” the devil sends to “beat upon [us]”—by building our lives “upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, … a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).
I can build my foundation on Jesus Christ.
Primary 4: Book of Mormon“Lesson 28: Nephi and Lehi in Prison,” Explain that before a building is built, the workers make a strong foundation for the building to rest on for support. Have the children compare the stability of a rock and sand as foundations to build on. Put a medium-sized rock and a box lid or shallow pan with sand or salt in it on the table. Blow on the rock and then blow on the sand or salt.
Friend August 2020 “Come Follow Me for Little Ones” Read Helaman 5:12 together and help your little ones say, “Jesus Christ can help me be strong.” Make two piles on a table—a pile of torn pieces of paper, and a pile of small stones. Let your children try to blow the paper and stones away. Testify that Jesus is strong, like the stones. He can help us be strong too.
Ask the children if they were building a home why they would choose rock rather than sand for a foundation. Explain that the scriptures compare Jesus Christ to the rock as being a strong foundation on which to build our lives. We build our lives on the rock foundation of Christ when we choose to live his teachings.
Bring to class a few kinds of materials that can represent weak or strong foundations (such as cotton balls or a flat stone or tile). Invite the children to build a tower using blocks or other materials on the different kinds of foundations. What makes some foundations stronger than others? Read together Helaman 5:12, and ask the children why they think Jesus Christ is “a sure foundation” for our lives. How can we build our lives on Him? Invite them to search Helaman 3:27–29 and 35 and Articles of Faith 1:4 to find ideas.
To help your family visualize what it means to have “a sure foundation,” perhaps you could build a small structure together and place it on different kinds of foundations. You could then create a “mighty storm” by spraying water on it and using a fan or hair dryer to create wind. What happened to the structure when it was on the different foundations? How is Jesus Christ like “a sure foundation” in our lives?
- Read the first few lines of Helaman 5:12, and ask the children to raise their hands when they hear who the “rock” is that should be our foundation.
- Invite the children to do actions as you read Helaman 5:12. For example, they could wave their arms when you read about the devil’s “mighty storm” and stand in one place when you read about the “rock of our Redeemer.”
- Talk to [the children] about how Jesus Christ should be the foundation of our lives. Ask the children to share things they can do to follow Jesus Christ, and let them add a block to the structure’s foundation for each thing they share.
- The prophet Helaman taught that we need to build our foundation on Jesus Christ. That way when the storms of life come, we can stand strong. (See Helaman 5:12.)
- Now build two different kinds of houses, one out of paper or cards and the other with building blocks.
- Next blow on both houses as hard as you can. Do both houses stand strong against the wind? How does building your life on Jesus Christ make you strong?
Invite the children to scan Helaman 5:5–14 and count how many times the word “remember” is mentioned. What did Helaman teach his sons that they should remember? How can remembering these things help us make Jesus Christ the foundation of our lives?
Read Helaman 5:6–7 together and talk about how Nephi and Lehi were named after righteous ancestors.
- Invite a family member to say the first letter of their first name.
- Each person in the family then tries to name a righteous person in the scriptures, or an ancestor, whose name also starts with that letter.
- Play again until everyone has had a chance to use their first initial.
Discussion: How can remembering examples from the scriptures and our righteous ancestors help us make good choices?
Friend August 2020 “A Strong Foundation” Helaman taught that we need to build our foundation on Jesus Christ (see Helaman 5:12). That means doing things that will bring us closer to Him. When we do, we will be able to withstand hard things in life.
- Choose a rock and read the scripture on it. How does doing that thing make you strong and bring you closer to Christ?
- Put the rock under the temple to build a strong foundation. Keep playing until all the rocks are in place.
Sing “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” (Children’s Songbook, 281) See here for teaching ideas, sing-along videos, and visual aid ideas.
The Holy Ghost whispers with a still, small voice.
Book of Mormon Stories “Chapter 37: Nephi and Lehi in Prison” Images and Video.
Read Helaman 5:30, and sing with the children a song about the Holy Ghost, such as “The Still Small Voice” (Children’s Songbook, 106–7). Point out words in the scripture verse and the song that describe how the Holy Ghost speaks to us (see also Helaman 5:45–47). Use Helaman 5:29and your own experiences to share with the children a few examples of good things the Holy Ghost can inspire us to do.
Repentance replaces spiritual darkness with light.
The Lamanites who went to the prison to kill Nephi and Lehi were surrounded by literal darkness. When we sin, we are in spiritual darkness. Helaman 5:20–52 teaches us how our spiritual “cloud of darkness” can be lifted (verse 41).
Make the classroom as dark as possible; then read or summarize the account in Helaman 5:20–40 using a small flashlight. How might the Lamanites have felt while in the dark? Invite the children to listen for what Aminadab taught the people to do so that the darkness would be lifted, and then read verse 41. Then turn the lights on, and read verses 42–48 together. What do these verses teach us about the blessings that repentance brings to our lives?
When I am humble, Heavenly Father will bless me.
As you read Helaman 1–6—and throughout the Book of Mormon—you may notice a pattern in the behavior of the Nephites: When the Nephites are righteous, God blesses them and they prosper. After a time, they become prideful and wicked, making choices that lead to destruction and suffering. Then they are humbled and inspired to repent, and God blesses them once again. The pattern repeats itself so often that some people call it the “pride cycle.”
In Helaman 3, Mormon described a time when the Church was so prosperous and blessed that even the leaders were surprised (see verses 24–32). Eventually some people became prideful, while others grew “stronger and stronger in their humility, … even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts” (Helaman 3:35). Notice what the more humble people did to become sanctified. The Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org) defines sanctification as “the process of becoming free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
- Let the children help you draw on the board the following diagram of the “pride cycle.” Read together Helaman 3:24, 33–34 and 4:11–15, and invite the children to point to the parts of the cycle these verses describe.
- Write the words Humble and Prideful on the board. Write a few examples of humble or prideful actions on slips of paper, and invite the children to take turns selecting a paper and putting it next to the word on the board that describes that action. What are some of the ways we can choose to be humble?
As the prophet Mormon abridged the sacred records, he occasionally used the phrase “thus we see” to emphasize important truths. What did he want us to see in Helaman 3:27–30? Throughout your study this week, you might pause occasionally to ask family members how they would complete the phrase “and thus we see” regarding what they have read. What truths do they want to emphasize?