“Lesson 14: 1 Nephi 12–13,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
“Lesson 14,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
After Nephi saw the Savior’s mortal ministry and Atonement in vision, he saw that after four generations of righteousness, his posterity would become proud and that they would succumb to the temptations of the devil and be destroyed. He was also shown the iniquity of those who follow Satan in the great and abominable church. He saw that they would remove plain and precious truths from the Bible, causing many to stumble spiritually. Despite these distressing scenes, Nephi’s vision also gave him reason for great hope. He saw that God would prepare the way for the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days. He also witnessed that the record of his people (the Book of Mormon) would come forth in the latter days to restore plain and precious truths that had been lost to the world.
Note: You may not have enough time to cover all of the material in this lesson. In your preparation, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know which parts of the lesson are most important and most applicable to your students. You may need to summarize portions of the lesson to allow enough time to teach the most important doctrines and principles effectively.
Summarize 1 Nephi 12 by explaining that this chapter is a continuation of Nephi’s vision. In it, the angel showed Nephi how the symbols in the vision of the tree of life would apply to his posterity. He was shown that some of his descendants would receive all the blessings of the Atonement. However, Nephi also saw that his descendants would eventually be destroyed by his brothers’ posterity (the Lamanites). Invite students to read 1 Nephi 12:16–19. Have them look for the reasons the Nephites would be destroyed (see 1 Nephi 12:19). Remind students that as they exercise faith in Jesus Christ, they can overcome pride and temptation.
Ask students to raise their hands if they play a sport. Ask a few of them to share what sports they play. Explain that in sports, teams often prepare for games by studying opponents’ past games and strategies.
Why would it be helpful for a team to study an opponent’s strategies before they compete?
Explain that Nephi saw in vision the desires and strategies of those who would oppose the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days. Encourage students to look for those strategies as they study this chapter, so they can be prepared to recognize them and not be deceived by them.
Invite a few students to take turns reading 1 Nephi 13:1–4, 6 aloud. Ask a student to identify the group that Nephi saw forming among the latter-day Gentiles.
To help students understand the content of these verses, share the following commentary by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask students to listen carefully and identify a definition of the great and abominable church.
“The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all … organizations of whatever name or nature—whether political, philosophical, educational, economic, social, fraternal, civic, or religious—which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 137–38).
Be clear that the phrase “great and abominable church” does not refer to a particular denomination or church. It refers to any and all organizations that are designed to lead people away from God and His laws.
You may want to encourage students to write the phrase all organizations that are designed to lead people away from God and His laws in the margin next to 1 Nephi 13:6.
Why do you think it is important to know that Satan organizes his forces to lead us away from God and His laws?
Explain that Nephi described the great and abominable church. Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:5–9 aloud.
What things do those in the great and abominable church desire? (See 1 Nephi 13:7–8.)
According to 1 Nephi 13:5, 9, what do those of the great and abominable church seek to accomplish? Why? (You may want to write the following truth on the board: Satan and his followers want to destroy the Saints of God and bring them into captivity.)
How can knowing the desires and intentions of Satan and his followers help us combat them?
Inform students that later in this chapter they will learn about one of the ways the great and abominable church has tried to destroy those who seek God.
Testify that the Lord has ensured that His work will go forward in spite of efforts by the great and abominable church to cause people to stumble spiritually. He did so by preparing the way for the Restoration of His gospel.
The statements listed below summarize significant events that Nephi saw in his vision. Have students read 1 Nephi 13:10–19 and match each scripture reference listed below to the event it describes. (You may want to display these scripture references and statements on the board before class begins. Or you could create a handout that contains the scripture references and statements. Below, the scripture references are correctly matched to the statements. For this activity to be successful, you will need to change the order of the statements as you display them on the board or add them to the handout.)
- 1 Nephi 13:12
Columbus sails to the Americas
- 1 Nephi 13:13
Pilgrims sail to the Americas, seeking religious freedom
- 1 Nephi 13:14
Native Americans are driven from their lands
- 1 Nephi 13:15
Gentiles prosper in the Americas
- 1 Nephi 13:16–19
Although outnumbered, American revolutionary armies are victorious
As students share their answers, you may want to encourage them to write a key word or phrase in their scriptures next to each passage. For example, they could write Columbus beside 1 Nephi 13:12.
According to 1 Nephi 13:12, why did Columbus sail to the Americas?
According to 1 Nephi 13:13, why did the Pilgrims migrate to America?
According to 1 Nephi 13:15–19, why did the Gentiles prosper and win independence from “all other nations”?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith:
“This great American nation the Almighty raised up by the power of his omnipotent hand, that it might be possible in the latter days for the kingdom of God to be established in the earth. If the Lord had not prepared the way by laying the foundations of this glorious nation, it would have been impossible (under the stringent laws and bigotry of the monarchical governments of the world) to have laid the foundations for the coming of his great kingdom. The Lord has done this” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 409).
Testify that the Lord prepared the way for the Restoration by establishing a country with freedom of religion where He could restore His Church. Testify that the Lord has prepared, and will continue to prepare, a way for His restored gospel to enter every nation.
If you are teaching this lesson in a country outside the United States of America, ask:
How did the Lord prepare the way for the preaching of the restored gospel in our country?
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:20–24. Ask him or her to identify the object that Nephi saw early American colonists “carr[ying] forth among them.” Hold up a copy of the Bible, and explain that it is the book in Nephi’s vision. You may want to invite students to write the Bible in the margin next to 1 Nephi 13:20.
Explain that the angel taught Nephi that the Bible is a record “of great worth” (1 Nephi 13:23). When the revelations in the Bible were originally recorded, they “contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord” (1 Nephi 13:24). Have a student read 1 Nephi 13:26–27 aloud.
What did the great and abominable church remove from the Bible? Why were these things removed?
Have another student read 1 Nephi 13:29 aloud.
What happened as a result of plain and precious things and many covenants of the Lord being removed from the Bible?
Have four students take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 13:34–36, 39. Ask the class to look for what the Lord would do to help people overcome the efforts of the great and abominable church.
According to 1 Nephi 13:34, what will the Lord bring forth because of His mercy?
According to 1 Nephi 13:35–36, what would be “hid up” to come forth unto the Gentiles? (You may want to suggest that students write next to 1 Nephi 13:35 that “these things” refers to the Book of Mormon.)
According to 1 Nephi 13:39, what else would the Lord bring forth in the latter days, in addition to the Book of Mormon? What “other books” has the Lord brought forth as part of the Restoration? (The Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.)
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 13:40–41. Have them look for a description of what the scriptures of the Restoration will make known unto all people. After students share what they have found, hold up a copy of the Bible and share your testimony of its truthfulness. Hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon and place it with the Bible. Testify that the Book of Mormon and latter-day scriptures restore plain and precious truths that help us know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and help us know how to come unto Him.
Ask students to find a phrase at the end of 1 Nephi 13:41 that describes what the Lord will do with the record of the Jews (the Bible) and the records of Nephi’s descendants (the Book of Mormon). Testify that these records are “established in one” (1 Nephi 13:41) and have “grow[n] together” (2 Nephi 3:12) to help us know clearly how to come unto the Savior.
To help students appreciate how the restoration of plain and precious truths has influenced their lives, invite them to ponder the following question:
How has the Book of Mormon influenced your testimony of Jesus Christ and helped you come closer to Him?
After allowing time for students to ponder, invite a few of them to share their answers. You may also want to share your own testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it has strengthened your testimony of Jesus Christ and helped you know how to come unto Him. As you end class, urge students to study the Book of Mormon carefully throughout the year, looking for teachings and accounts that strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ and teach them how to come unto Him.