“Sharing Time: Nephi Builds a Ship,” Friend, Mar. 1992, 44
Nephi wrote down the things that happened to him and his family. We can read his history in the Book of Mormon. One of the things he told about was how he was blessed while he built a ship as the Lord had commanded him.
Nephi and his family had been journeying in the wilderness for eight long years. When they kept the commandments, Heavenly Father blessed them and they were able to find food and had health and strength.
One day the voice of the Lord said to Nephi, “Arise, and get thee into the mountain” (1 Ne. 17:7). Nephi obeyed, and the Lord told him there, “Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters” (1 Ne. 17:8).
Nephi did not know how to build a ship, nor did he have the tools to do so. But he knew that Heavenly Father had told him to do it, and he “did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord” (1 Ne. 17:15).
Nephi prayed for guidance, and the Lord told him where to find ore to make tools and gave him instructions on how to build the ship. His brothers Laman and Lemuel didn’t think that he could do it, and refused to help him. “Our brother is a fool,” they said, “for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters” (1 Ne. 17:17).
Nephi told Laman and Lemuel that God had commanded him to build the ship and that He would help them to do it. Nephi reminded them of the many times that the Lord had already helped them.
Laman and Lemuel only got angry and wanted to throw Nephi into the depths of the ocean. As they tried to grab him, he said, “In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not … ; whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed” (1 Ne. 17:48). Laman and Lemuel were so frightened that they didn’t dare touch Nephi. After many days had passed, the Lord told Nephi to “stretch forth thine hand again to thy brethren” (1 Ne. 17:53). When he did so, they were shaken but not killed by the power of the Lord.
Laman and Lemuel then knew that Nephi had been commanded by the Lord to build the ship, and they began to help him. When the ship was finished, all the things needed for the journey were put into the ship, and its sails were set for the promised land.
God helped Nephi and his people to obey the commandment to build the ship. He showed them how to make tools and how to build the ship. When they did as they were told, they showed reverence for Heavenly Father and for one another.
Heavenly Father has commanded us to be honest, to go to church, to be kind, to pay our tithing, and many other things. As we pray for His help in keeping His commandments, He will give us the courage and direction we need. When we obey His commandments, we will have a reverent feeling for Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Remove pages 44–45 from the magazine, and mount them on lightweight cardboard. Color and cut out the figures. Put sand into the lid of a shoe box, and if you have any tiny shells or other objects to make it look like a seashore, add them. Fold back the tabs on the figures. Place the figures in the lid with the tabs buried in the sand as you tell the story of how Nephi obeyed God’s commandment to build a ship.
Have the younger children draw a picture of themselves or their families obeying a commandment. Ask some children to show their pictures to the group. Talk about ways Heavenly Father helps us to keep the commandments, and about the feeling of reverence that we develop as we obey Him.
Have leaders each prepare a story from the Book of Mormon that teaches the importance of keeping the commandments. Divide the children into groups and have them rotate to different areas of the room to hear each leader’s presentation.
Have the older children list on the chalkboard all the commandments they can think of. Using some of the words, develop a crossword puzzle that they can copy and use in a family home evening.
Dramatize stories from the Book of Mormon that show how obedience to the commandments brings blessings from Heavenly Father.
Call one Primary day “I Will Go, I Will Do” Day. Sing “Nephi’s Courage” (Children’s Songbook, page 120). Using the diorama figures, tell the story “Nephi Builds a Ship.” Use the figures to tell additional stories about how Nephi kept the commandments—for example: obtaining the brass plates (1 Ne. 3–4), breaking his bow (1 Ne. 16:18–32), crossing the sea (1 Ne. 18:5–25), and writing on the plates (1 Ne. 19:1, 3–4; Jacob 1:1–7, 19).
Watch the children for positive examples of how they are obeying the commandments. Share your observations in the form of a news report. Ask the children to share experiences of when they have noticed other children obeying the commandments.