Lehi and his Family Leave Jerusalem
Items needed: a small container of water, one piece of paper, envelopes, and a picture of the living prophet (this can be found at www.lds.org/church leaders).
Prepare the following for the activity: Draw a map of the room where you will teach the lesson onto a sheet of paper. Label the different parts of the room on the map such as the windows, doors, tables, chairs, etc. Draw a dot on each of the locations you will hide clues. You will need to hide at least one clue per each child. Choose a wall where you will place the sign “Eternal Salvation”. That will be the end of the hunt. Mark that as X on your map. Starting at the X, connect the dots with a line. Do not crisscross the line. Number each dot in order, ending at the X. Cut the map up into a puzzle having one numbered dot on each piece. Put each piece into an envelope, and number the upper outer corner of each envelope with the puzzle piece number. On the front of each envelope paste a quote from the living prophet of something he has asked us to do. These can be found in the Ensigns at www.lds.org/general conference Hide the envelopes sometime before the lesson, leaving out envelope number one. Number one would be the first clue and it should lead to where clue number two is hid. Each following clue should also lead to its next numbered clue.
Ask the children if they remember what is being studied this year. Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon as a reminder.
The Book of Mormon tells about three groups of people the Lord led to the Americas. The beginning of the Book of Mormon tells of one of these groups. We learn about the other two groups later.
Direct the children to open their scriptures to chapter one in “The First Book of Nephi.” Explain that a prophet named Nephi wrote the “The First Book of Nephi.” Nephi informs us that he engraved his history onto plates made of ore (1 Nephi 19:1). The plates were like a book, but each page was a thin sheet made of metal. The words were written by pushing a sharp tool into the metal.
- Why were some ancient records written on metal plates? (Take a piece of paper, tear it, and pour a little water on it.) Explain that during ancient times, the people used other materials than paper for written communications, but those materials could also be easily damaged and could decompose and disintegrates over time. Some ancient historians used metal if they had an important message that they wanted to endure for a long period of time.
Have the children find the date on the bottom right hand side of the first page of “The First Book of Nephi.” Explain that this date tells the approximate time period the events on that page occurred. Have them flip through other pages so that they will see that the date is on the bottom of each page. Explain that B.C. means before Christ’s birth.
In the “First Book of Nephi” we learn that Nephi’s father was a prophet. When Nephi was a youth, his father Lehi was commanded of the Lord to take his family and leave the city Jerusalem.
Teach the following scripture story of the prophet Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem. Show the numbered picture that corresponds with each part.
1. In Jerusalem 600 B.C. the people were wicked. They were dishonest, they worshiped idols, and they did many other evil things. Prophets were sent to tell the people to repent or be destroyed. The people were so wicked that they imprisoned, cast out, or killed the prophets that were sent to warn them.
2. Lehi was concerned and prayed for the people. A pillar of fire appeared as Lehi prayed, and God told and showed Lehi many things.
3. Lehi returned home and collapsed on his bed overcome with what he had seen. As he was lying on his bed, Lehi was shown a vision. One of the things he saw was that Jerusalem would be destroyed.
4. Lehi told the people what he had seen and heard. He told them that Jerusalem would be destroyed. He also preached and testified of Jesus whom he had seen in his vision. Lehi preached to the people even though he knew it was dangerous.
- Why do you think Lehi preached to the people even though he knew it was dangerous?
5. The people wouldn’t listen to Lehi’s warnings. They mocked him and made fun of him. They didn’t believe that Jerusalem would be destroyed. They thought they were God’s chosen people.
- Were the people in Jerusalem God’s chosen people? When a people become wicked they are no longer a select people.
6. The people became angry and wanted to kill Lehi because of his preachings.
7. In a dream, the Lord warned Lehi of the danger and told him to take his family and leave Jerusalem.
8. Lehi and his family packed provisions for the journey. They left their house and their possessions behind. They traveled three days past the Red Sea, which is about a two week journey from Jerusalem.
Display the two category titles “Trip Provisions” and “Items Left Behind” on a display board. Show the children the list of items that are taped to the 8 ½-by-11 paper. Have them take turns choosing an item and then deciding if the item would be something Lehi and his family would have taken with them or something they would have left behind. Have them place the item under the category they think it belongs in. Ask the children to explain their reason. Answers might include: item not needed for the journey, item too bulky, or item too heavy to carry, etc.
- Do you think it was hard for Nephi and his family to leave behind their home and most of their possessions? If you had to leave your home and only take a few necessary items, what things would you have a hard time leaving behind? (Have the children take turns sharing their ideas.)
9. After traveling for about two weeks in the wilderness, Lehi and his family came to a valley that had a river running through it. They set up their tents and camped there. Lehi built an altar of stones and gave thanks to the Lord.
10. Lehi had four sons; their names were Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The two older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, murmured and complained about leaving Jerusalem and leaving behind their possessions. They didn’t believe Jerusalem would be destroyed. They were wicked like the people in Jerusalem.
- The Lord told Lehi that he and his family were to travel to a promised land (the American Continent). Why do you think that Laman and Lemuel were spared from the destruction of Jerusalem and allowed to go to the promised land if they were so rebellious and wicked? (See 1 Nephi 2:22-24)
11. Nephi, the youngest brother, instead of complaining, decided to find out for himself if the things his father had seen were true. He prayed and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him. He learned that his father’s words were true.
12. Nephi told his brothers what he had learned. Sam believed him, but Nephi could not convince Laman and Lemuel.
- Why is it important to listen to and obey the prophet? The prophet tells us what Heavenly Father wants us to know and do. Heavenly Father wants us to know and do the things that will help us be happy in this life and throughout all eternity.
The people in Jerusalem would not listen to the warnings of the prophets. They would not do the things that would help keep them safe and happy. Because of their wickedness, they had to suffer the results and consequences of their sins and choices, and they were eventually destroyed by the Babylonians.
- Show the picture of the living prophet and ask, “Who is this person?”
Inform the children that they are going to read some quotes from the living prophet concerning things he has asked us to do. Show the envelope that is labeled number one. Reveal that there are several other envelopes hidden around the room, and on the front of each envelope is a statement from our current prophet. On the inside of the envelope is a puzzle clue that will help them locate the next envelope. If all the directions are followed correctly, they will end up at the sign that says “Eternal Salvation.” (Put the sign on the wall.)
Give the first clue to a volunteer. That person then reads the prophet’s statement out loud to the class. Have the volunteer tell how they can follow the prophet’s direction regarding the statement they read. After they do that, they can open the envelope and follow the clue’s directions to the next envelope.
After the next clue has been found, have another volunteer follow the same pattern. Putting the puzzle pieces together will help each volunteer locate the clues. Continue on until all the clues have been found. Tell the children that when we follow the prophet’s directions we are guided down the pathway to eternal salvation (eternal life- the kind of life Heavenly Father lives).
Weekly Reading Assignment
Remind the children to do their scripture reading assignment for this week – 1 Nephi 1:1-20 and 1 Nephi 2:1-24.
Resources: Scripture story visual aids – Book of Mormon Stories.