Lesson 40: The Jaredites Are Led to the Promised Land
• Items needed: a GPS device (or print the clipart picture of a GPS device), chalk and eraser, tape or sticky tack, pencils.
• Print the scripture story visual aids, and cut them in half so one picture is on each half. Number the back of the pictures in the order they were printed. (Scripture story pictures are from chapters 50 & 51 of Book of Mormon Stories.)
• Print the activity visual aids and the French and English instruction cards. (Optional: Print the pages on colored paper.) Cut out the individual signs and cards.
• Make enough copies of the game handout for each child to have one. (Half a page is one handout.)
• Pre-class prep: Draw the timeline on the board using the provided timeline as the example (do not include the events or names). Tape the “Jaredite’s Journey” activity pages on a side wall (or on the chalkboard) in the order shown in the above picture. Tape the sign “Jaredite’s Journey” above the pages. Tape each of the individual signs under the classroom chairs (except for the Tower of Babel sign).
Show the children the GPS device (or the picture of a GPS). Explain that a GPS is a device that helps a person get to a place they wish to go to. It gives voice directions and diagram directions on the screen. (Demonstrate this if possible by entering a location so they can hear the voice and see the screen.)
• What would happen if you desired to get to a certain destination and you needed help to get there, but you didn’t use your GPS to get directions, or you used your GPS but you didn’t follow the directions it gave? You might not find your desired destination.
• Explain that in life we have been given a spiritual GPS to help us reach a wonderful destination called eternal life. What is this spiritual GPS we have been given? The Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost can show us the way to eternal life but we must seek for, listen to, and follow the guidance given.
Tell the children that in today’s lesson they will learn of a group of people who followed the guidance of the Lord and were led to a promised land.
Remind the children that the Book of Mormon tells us of three separate groups of people who were led by the Lord to the Americas. Remind the children that Lehi and his family were one group, and they left Jerusalem at approximately 600 BC. (Write in Lehi by the date 600 B.C. on the timeline.) A group of people called the Mulekites were another group. Mulek and his people escaped the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem at approximately 587 BC. (Write in Mulekites next to Lehi.) Mulek was the son of King Zedekiah. The Nephites eventually found and joined with the Mulekites. (Omni 1:14-19)
The final group that came to the Americas was called the Jaredites. This group actually came to the continent many years before Lehi and his family, sometime between 2500 BC and 2200 BC. (Write in Jaredites between the date 2500 BC and 2200 BC.) The Jaredites eventually completely destroyed themselves sometime around 580 BC during a bloody civil war. (Point out when this happened on the timeline.) The Nephites discovered the ruins of the Jaredite civilization and also found some of the Jaredite records amongst the ruins. (Mosiah 21:25-28) Moroni included an abridged portion of the Jaredite records at the end of the Book of Mormon. This abridged section includes the story of the Jaredite’s journey to the Americas.
The Jaredite’s story begins at the Tower of Babel. (Put the Tower of Babel sign on the first page of the activity “Jaredite’s Journey”) Ask if any of the children knows and can tell the story of the Tower of Babel. (Following the Flood in Noah’s day, many descendants of those who had been spared became wicked. One group of people attempted to build a tower “whose top may reach unto heaven” (Genesis 11:4). The Lord dealt with the widespread wickedness by confounding the common language and by scattering the people across the face of the earth. Ether 1:33; Genesis 11:5–8)
Have a volunteer stand in front of the class. Give the child the card with the French words on it. Tell the other children that there are directions on the card. Explain that when the volunteer reads the directions, the class needs to follow them. After the child reads the card, give the class a few moments and then ask the children why they didn’t follow the directions. Have the child then read the card with the directions written in English. After the children follow the directions, ask what it would be like if they weren’t able to understand the people around them.
(Show the scripture story visual aids as you tell the following story.)
Explain that a man named Jared and his family lived during the time period when the languages were confounded. Jared had a brother who was highly favored of the Lord. Jared asked his brother to cry unto the Lord to beg of him not to confound the language of their family and friends.
• What is the difference between “crying unto the Lord” and merely saying your prayers? When you cry unto the Lord you are praying with deep feelings and emotions. Sometimes our prayers can become repetitive, where we are just repeating a list, and we don’t have strong feelings concerning what we are praying about. When we “cry unto the Lord” our emotions and needs are strong, and we may put more effort into trying to communicate with the Lord and into hearing his responses.
The brother of Jared pled with the Lord to preserve the language of his friends and family, and the Lord had compassion upon them, and their language was not confounded (meaning changed or confused).
Jared asked his brother to cry unto the Lord again concerning whether they should leave the land, and if so where should they go. The Lord told them to gather their family, friends, flocks, and seeds and he would lead them to a land choice about all others.
Point out the pages on the wall and explain that they represent the Jaredite’s journey. Explain that the children are going to fill in the spaces with the things the brother of Jared did to help receive the guidance of the Lord. Point out the first space of the journey and ask the following question:
• If you were starting a journey and needed direction and had access to a GPS, what would you need to do first in order to access the help and information that is available through the GPS? You would first have to input and communicate with the device the direction information that is needed.
Similarly, when we are need of help and direction in order to find our way through the wilderness of life, we must communicate our needs to the Lord.
•What was the first thing the Brother of Jared did to get help and direction from the Lord? He prayed.
Ask the children which one of them thinks they have the first step to receiving the Lord’s help and guidance. Have the child with the sign “Sincere Prayer” put it on the first space.
• Why did you think the Lord promised the brother of Jared to lead him, his family, and friends to a promised land? (See the last line in the scripture Ether 1:43. “Because this long time ye have cried unto me.”) Explain that the brother of Jared had turned to the Lord regularly and consistently in his life. He was steadfast in his devotion to the Lord.
Ask the children which one of them thinks they have the next item to receiving the Lord’s help and guidance. (“Regular and Consistent Prayers” )
• If you don’t use the GPS often, can it be difficult to remember how to operate it when you need it? Explain that just like a GPS, if a person were to turn to the Lord only during times of dire need, they may become unfamiliar with the ways of the Lord and the workings of the Spirit. It may take time and effort before answers come.
• After the brother of Jared was told to prepare for the journey to the promised land what did he, his friends, and his family do? They went to the valley called Nimrod and did gather and prepare supplies for the journey as the Lord had instructed. (Read Ether 2:1-3)
• What would happen if we inputted our info into the GPS, and directions were then supplied, but then we didn’t follow the directions that were given?
If we don’t listen to and follow the direction the Lord gives, we may face great difficulty as we try to go our own way.
• Would the Lord continue to provide direction and help through the Holy Ghost if we do not listen to and obey the direction he gives?
Ask the children which one of them thinks they have the next item to receiving the Lord’s help and guidance. (“Follow the Lord’s Directions”)
After the Jaredites had prepared food and supplies, they began their journey to the promised land. The Lord went before them and talked to them in a cloud and gave them directions where they should go. They were guided to the great sea where they dwelt in tents on the seashore for four years.
At the end of four years the Lord did appear to the brother of Jared in a cloud and did talk with him and chasten him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. (We don’t know how long the brother of Jared was negligent in calling upon the Lord. Sometimes people forget to turn to the Lord when things become nice and easy, and then their progression towards eternal life may become stalled.)
The Lord told the brother of Jared that the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man unless he continues to petition the Lord in righteousness.
•What happens to a GPS if we don’t maintain it and make sure its battery is charged? We may lose access to the valuable direction and help it could provide in our travels.
• What other things could cause the loss of a GPS signal? Tall buildings, forests, and mountains could block the satellite signal.
Just as certain things can cause interfere with a GPS signal, so does disobedience and sin cause us to lose the guidance of the Holy Ghost. But just as a GPS will recalculate and provide ways to get back on track when mistakes are made (or after wandering into areas that can block the signal), so does the Lord provide a way for us to get back on track if we wander into sinful paths.
• What way has the Lord provided for us to get back on track? (Repentance) Part of the repentance process involves moving away from the thing that is causing interference in living a righteous life (just as a person must move away from the item that is blocking the GPS signal in order to get back on track).
• What did the brother of Jared do after the Lord chastised him? (See Ether 2:15.) The brother of Jared did repent.
Ask the children which one of them thinks they have the next item to receiving the Lord’s help and guidance. (“Repent of Wrong Doings”)
The Lord forgave the brother of Jared and told him to sin no more. The Lord then commanded Jared and his brethren to build barges according to His instructions.
The barges were small, the length of a tree, and the top, bottom, and sides were tight like a dish that could hold water. When the door was shut, it was also tight like a dish.
When the barges were complete, the brother of Jared talked to the Lord and reported that they had finished the work according to His command, but he also expressed some concerns he had about the barges.
• What concerns do you think the brother of Jared had regarding the barges? (Remind the children that the barges were tight like a dish.) (See Ether 2:19 for the answer) Write the problems on the left side of the board. Then have the children read Ether 2:20–25 to find the Lord’s solutions to the problems. Summarize them on the right side of the board.
1. When the door was closed tight no air could get in, so how would they breathe?
2. There was no light in the barges, so how would they be able to see and function in the dark?
1. The Lord instructs the brother of Jared to make holes with removable plugs in the top and bottom of the barges to allow air into the barges. (Ether 2:20)
2. It was left up to the brother of Jared to decide what to do about the light problem, but the Lord reminded Jared they couldn’t have fire in the barges, and they couldn’t have windows because the barges would be like whales in the midst of the sea, and waves would dash upon them and break the windows.
• Why do you think the Lord revealed solutions for one of the problems but left the brother of Jared to resolve the problem of not having light? The Lord wants us to grow and learn in life, and we can learn many things in life as we strive to figure out solutions to our problems. (Have the children listen for the things the brother of Jared learned as he worked to resolve the problem of no light.)
The brother of Jared went up into the mountain and did molten out of rock sixteen small stones. They were white and transparent like glass. He did cry unto the Lord and asked the Lord to touch the stones. He had faith that if the Lord touched them, the Lord could prepare them with His power to shine forth in the darkness.
When the brother of Jared told the Lord of his proposed solution to the problem and of his faith in the Lords’ power, the Lord stretched forth his hand and did touch the stones one by one with his finger. The veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared and he did see the finger of the Lord. He saw that it was the finger of a man, and he fell down in fear. The Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen and he said unto him, “Arise, why has though fallen?”
• Point out that the Lord knows all things, and yet he still asked the brother of Jared this question and other questions. How might the questions have helped the brother of Jared? The questions might have helped him think about, sort out, comprehend, and respond to the things he was seeing and experiencing.
The brother of Jared told the Lord that he fell to the earth in fear because he saw the finger of the Lord, and he feared lest the Lord would smite him, for he knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.
The Lord had always been hidden by a veil or cloud as they spoke, so the brother of Jared had not seen the true form of the Lord.
• Why was the brother of Jared able to see the finger of the Lord? (See Ether 3:9-10) Because of the brother of Jared’s exceeding faith.
• What did the brother of Jared ask the Lord to do? The brother of Jared desired the Lord to show himself fully and completely.
Before showing himself, the Lord asked the brother of Jared, “Believest thou the words which I shall speak?”
He answered saying, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.” The brother of Jared expressed and confirmed his faith in the Lord’s words.
When the brother of Jared said these words, the Lord showed himself unto him. The Lord explained that he was Jesus Christ who was prepared from the beginning to redeem the people from their sins so they might gain eternal life if they would believe on his name.
Have the children look up and read Ether 3:15-16 to find out what the brother of Jared learned about the body of Jesus Christ. Help the children understand that the brother of Jared saw the spirit body of Jesus Christ which looked very much like the physical body Jesus would receive when he came to earth. He also learned that men are created in the image of God.
Also point out that the Lord told the brother of Jared, “Never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast.” (Ether 3:15)
• The scriptures tell us that Adam and Noah walked and talked with God face to face (Moses 7:4 & Genesis 6:8, 9), so why would this scripture say the Lord had never showed himself to man before? There are several possible explanations including the following from Jeffery R. Holland:
An “explanation—and in terms of the brother of Jared’s faith, the most persuasive one—is that Christ was saying to the brother of Jared, ‘Never have I showed myself unto man in this manner, without my volition, driven solely by the faith of the beholder.’ As a rule, prophets are invited into the presence of the Lord, are bidden to enter his presence by him and only with his sanction. Obviously the Lord himself was linking unprecedented faith with this unprecedented vision.” (Christ and the New Covenant, 21–23). Jeffrey R. Holland
The brother of Jared had great faith in the Lord, and his actions throughout his life demonstrated that faith.
• What things had the brother of Jared done that demonstrated his faith in the Lord? He had consistently turned to the Lord in prayer. He had obeyed the Lord and left the tower of Babel and travelled across the wilderness. He built the barges the Lord commanded him to build. He made stones, having faith that the Lord’s touch would give them light.
Call attention to the GPS once again and ask the children if they believe–if everything is in proper working order–that it can provide directions.
• How does someone gain that faith in the GPS’s ability to provide directions? Explain that others testimonials of its abilities can lead us to try it out, and then our own experiences using the device also builds that trust. Faith in God works in similar ways: as we listen to the testimonies and teachings concerning God, and as we act on those things, our faith grows. Explain that exercising faith in God and acting upon his words is a necessary part of receiving the Lord’s help and guidance.
Ask the children which one of them thinks they have the next item to receiving the Lord’s help and guidance. (“Exercise Faith”)
After the brother of Jared talked with the Lord, he took the stones which the Lord had touched and he put two in each barge, and they gave light to the vessels.
The Jaredites prepared all manner of food for their voyage, and then they commended themselves to the Lord their God and got aboard the barges and set forth into the sea. By commending themselves to the Lord, they exercised their faith. They had done all the Lord had directed, and then they entrusted their lives into his hands.
The Lord God caused a furious wind to blow upon the face of the waters. The wind blew towards the promised land. The barges were tossed upon the waves of the sea, and at times they were buried in the deep from the mighty waves breaking over them, but the water could not hurt the Jaredites because their vessels were tight like a dish. As they journeyed, the Jaredites did sing praises to the Lord.
• Why is expressing gratitude to the Lord important? One reason is that our faith in the Lord grows as we think about and focus on all he does for us, which also provides peace and courage to our souls. The Lord is also more likely to provide help to those who appreciate it and value it.
Ask the children which one of them thinks they have the next item to receiving the Lord’s help and guidance. (“Express Gratitude”)
• How long did you think it took for the Jaredites to cross the ocean? (Almost a year.) (See Ether 6:11) They were three hundred and forty four days upon the water.
Have the child with the sign “Promised Land” put it on the last spot on the activity board.
Ask the children what they think the Jaredites did first when they arrived at the promised land. (They did bow down and give thanks to the Lord.)
The Lord knew the Jaredite’s journey to the promised land would be difficult and dangerous, so he provided guidance and help. Our journey towards eternal life can also be difficult and filled with many dangers that can harm us spiritually. Just as the Lord gave the Jaredites guidance and direction in their journey, he also blesses us with guidance and direction in our lives through the Holy Ghost.
Remind them that we learn important lessons from the Jaredite story concerning the things we need to do in order to receive the help and guidance of the Lord in our lives.
Take the signs off the activity board pages. Explain to the children that they are going to do a memory game to see if they can remember the things they need to do in order to receive the guidance of the Lord in their lives. Give each child a pencil and a copy of the paper labeled “Life’s Journey”. Have the children write down the missing items from the activity board onto their blank spaces. (They don’t have to be in the correct order.) Once they are finished, show the signs one at a time and have them check the item off, or add it to their list if it was missed. Ask the children if any of them remembered all the items. Explain that their game paper will help them remember all the items talked about in the lesson. Have them take it home and post it somewhere visible in their rooms. Bear testimony of the importance of doing those things that help us receive the guidance of the Lord in our lives. Remind them that receiving and following the Lord’s guidance in their life will help lead them to a wonderful place called Eternal Life.
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week: Ether 1:1–4, 33–43; 2:1-25; 3:1-16; 6:1–13