â€œLesson 15: 1 Nephi 14,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
â€œLesson 15,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
1 Nephi 14 concludes the account of Nephiâ€™s vision. In this part of the vision, Nephi was told of the blessings promised to those who repent and hearken unto the Lord, and the cursings that will come upon the wicked who harden their hearts against the Lord. Nephi was also shown that the Lord would help and protect those who live righteously and keep their covenants and that He would destroy the great and abominable church of the devil.
Invite students to open their scriptures to 1 Nephi 14. Explain that today they will continue studying Nephiâ€™s vision. Ask students to ponder how they would complete the following sentences:
If I follow the Lord, then â€¦
If I refuse to follow the Lord, then â€¦
Once students have shared their answers, point out that the word if suggests choice. Depending on what we choose, we experience different outcomes. Explain that Nephi saw future generations and noted that if they would be righteous, they would be blessed; or if they would choose wickedness, they would be cursed. Invite the class to consider throughout the lesson how choosing to be obedient to the Lord has brought them blessings.
Draw the following diagram on the board:
Have a student read 1 Nephi 14:1â€“2 aloud. Ask the class to identify (1) the choice Nephi indicated the Gentiles could make, and (2) the blessings Nephi saw would come to the Gentiles if they made that choice. As students share what they find, fill in the blanks on the board so it looks something like the following:
You may need to explain that in the scriptures, the phrase â€œstumbling blocksâ€ (1 Nephi 14:1) often refers to obstacles that keep people from following the Lord. To be â€œnumbered among the house of Israelâ€ (1 Nephi 14:2) means to be counted among the Lordâ€™s covenant people.
Why is it important to be among the Lordâ€™s covenant people? (To receive the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant [see D&C 132:30â€“31].)
What does it mean to â€œhearken unto the Lamb of Godâ€?
Of the rewards for obedience listed on the board, which are most meaningful to you? Why?
When have you hearkened unto the Lord and seen His blessings in your life? (Remind students that they do not need to share experiences that are too personal or private.)
On another part of the board draw the following diagram:
Have a student read 1 Nephi 14:5â€“7 aloud. Ask the class to look for (1) blessings that come to those who repent and (2) negative consequences that come to those who harden their hearts. Complete the diagram, as you did in the previous exercise. (If people repent, â€œit shall be well with themâ€ [1 Nephi 14:5] and they shall receive â€œpeace and life eternalâ€ [1 Nephi 14:7]. If people harden their hearts, they will â€œperishâ€ [1 Nephi 14:5] and be â€œbrought down into captivityâ€ and â€œdestructionâ€ [1 Nephi 14:7].)
As students respond, you may need to explain that the â€œgreat and marvelous workâ€ mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:7 refers to the restoration of the priesthood, the gospel, and the Lordâ€™s Church in the latter days.
How is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints â€œgreat and marvelousâ€ to you? How does it bring you peace? How does it bring you hope for eternal life?
Consider giving students time to silently ponder which path illustrated on the board they are currently pursuing. Testify that obeying the Lord and repenting of our sins leads to great blessings. You might also testify that hardening our hearts against the Lord and His Church leads to spiritual captivity and destruction.
Invite students to imagine they have just been enlisted to fight in a war.
What would you do to prepare for battle?
Explain that the angel taught Nephi about a great battle that would take place in the latter days.
Invite three students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 14:9â€“11. Ask the rest of the class to identify the two groups in conflict. (You may want to remind students that the great and abominable church signifies any individual or group that leads people away from God and His laws.)
What words and phrases are used to describe the â€œgreat and abominable churchâ€?
According to Nephiâ€™s vision, where will the â€œgreat and abominable churchâ€ be found in the last days?
Ask three more students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 14:12â€“14. Invite the class to look for reasons why we can have hope about the future.
According to 1 Nephi 14:12, which church will have more people?
Why will the Church of the Lamb have fewer people than the great and abominable church?
According to 1 Nephi 14:13, for what purpose will the great and abominable church gather together multitudes?
Testify that we are engaged in the war Nephi describesâ€”a latter-day spiritual battle against evil. As members of the Church of the Lamb, we are outnumbered, and we need help if we are to be victorious against the forces of the devil.
What do you read in 1 Nephi 14:14 that gives you hope?
Emphasize that the promises given in these scriptures specifically apply to those who make and keep covenants with the Lord. Remind students that they have entered into a baptismal covenant with the Lord. Draw studentsâ€™ attention to the phrase â€œarmed with righteousness and with the power of Godâ€ in 1 Nephi 14:14.
What does the phrase â€œarmed with righteousness and with the power of Godâ€ mean to you?
In what ways can being â€œarmed with righteousness and with the power of Godâ€ be like having armor and weapons in our battle against evil?
When have you felt that you were â€œarmed with righteousness and with the power of Godâ€? How did you feel?
Ask students how they would summarize the message in 1 Nephi 14:1â€“14. Ensure they understand that if we live righteously and keep our covenants, the power of God will help us triumph over evil.
Invite students to evaluate their lives and consider what they might do to be better armed with righteousness. Urge them to act on any promptings they receive. Assure them that as they remain faithful, they will have the opportunity to enter into sacred temples and make additional covenants with the Lord. The promises and covenants they make there will bring great power and protection into their lives.
What will happen to the great and abominable Church?
What will be the final outcome of the battle between the Church of the Lamb (the kingdom of God) and the forces of the devil?
How can knowing the result of this struggle help you?
Read to the class the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
â€œWe [members of the Church] are a tiny fraction when compared to the billions of people on earth. But we are who we are, and we know what we know, and we are to go forth and preach the gospel.
â€œThe Book of Mormon makes it clear that we never will dominate by numbers. But we have the power of the priesthood [see 1 Nephi 14:14]. â€¦
â€œWe can and in due time certainly will influence all of humanity. It will be known who we are and why we are. It might seem hopeless; it is monumentally difficult; but it is not only possible but certain that we will win the battle against Satanâ€ (â€œThe Power of the Priesthood,â€ Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 7).
Assure students that Godâ€™s kingdom will triumph in the last days. Express confidence that they can trust in God and that His power will overcome all evil. Encourage them to be a force for good in influencing others.
Write the following questions on the board:
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 14:18â€“27 silently. Then briefly discuss answers to the questions on the board.
Explain that these verses refer at least in part to Johnâ€™s writings in the book of Revelation. A major theme of that book is that God will triumph over the forces of the devil. Like John, Nephi also saw a vision of the end of the world, but he was commanded not to record it because John had been given the responsibility to do so. Time permitting, you might conclude the lesson with a brief discussion about how the Bible and the Book of Mormon work together to â€œestablish the truthâ€ of each other and be â€œoneâ€ (1 Nephi 13:40â€“41).