â€œLesson 8: 1 Nephi 3â€“4,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
â€œLesson 8,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
The Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass from Laban. Laman and Lemuel did not see how they could fulfill this commandment, but Nephi had faith that the Lord would provide a way for them to accomplish what He required. Despite encountering repeated difficulties, Nephi faithfully persisted in doing what the Lord asked of him. As a result, he was led by the Holy Spirit and successfully obtained the plates.
Write the following statements on the board before class begins. Ask students to select the statement that best describes how they believe the Lord helps us when He asks us to do difficult things.
Invite a few students to share the response they selected and their reason for choosing it.
Explain that there are many ways the Lord can bless those who strive to fulfill His commandments. As students study Nephiâ€™s account in 1 Nephi 3â€“4, invite them to look for examples of this principle. Also encourage students to note the how Nephi and his brothers responded differently to challenges.
Ask several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 3:1â€“9. Invite the rest of the class to listen for reasons why Nephi was willing to do what his father asked.
Laman and Lemuel felt that the command to return to Jerusalem for the brass plates was â€œa hard thing which [Lehi] required of themâ€ (1 Nephi 3:5). To help students understand some reasons why Laman and Lemuel may have felt this way, you may want to remind them that they had already traveled a long distance from Jerusalem.
Why do you think Nephi was willing to do what his father asked without murmuring?
Invite students to restate the principle Nephi testifies of in 1 Nephi 3:7 as an â€œif-thenâ€ statement. For example, students might say that if we seek to do what the Lord commands, then He will prepare a way for us to accomplish it. Point out that 1 Nephi 3:7 is a scripture mastery passage. Explain that students will focus on 25 scripture mastery passages throughout the year (for more information, see the appendix in this manual). The 25 scripture mastery references are listed on the back of the seminary bookmark. You might encourage students to mark scripture mastery passages in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate the passages easily.
When have you felt that the Lord â€œprepared a wayâ€ for you to keep one of His commandments?
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 3:3, 19â€“20 aloud. Ask the rest of the class to listen for phrases that tell why the brass plates were so valuable to Lehiâ€™s family and their descendants. (You may want to suggest that students mark these phrases in their scriptures.) After students have shared what they have found, explain that the plates of brass were a volume of ancient scripture containing many of the same writings and information as the Old Testament.
Why do you think the contents of the brass plates were important enough for Nephi and his brothers to go back to Jerusalem to get them?
What do the scriptures contain today that is valuable to you? Why is it valuable to you?
Invite half of the class to study Nephi and his brothersâ€™ first attempt to obtain the brass plates (see 1 Nephi 3:10â€“18). Invite the other half to study the second attempt (see 1 Nephi 3:21â€“31). Have each student work independently and answer the following questions. You may want to have them complete this assignment in their scripture study journals or class notebooks. Display the questions on the board or prepare them as a handout for each student.
What did they do?
How did they respond after the attempt failed?
For those studying the first attempt: Nephi and his brothers were â€œexceedingly sorrowfulâ€ after they failed to obtain the brass plates (see 1 Nephi 3:14). How was Nephiâ€™s response to this failure different from that of his brothers? (See 1 Nephi 3:15â€“16.)
For those studying the second attempt: Laman and Lemuel were angry with Nephi after their second attempt failed. They beat him and spoke to him harshly. Even after an angel promised that the Lord would deliver Laban into their hands, they continued to murmur and question their ability to succeed. How might Laman and Lemuelâ€™s anger have affected their ability to have faith in the angelâ€™s promise? How do anger, contention, murmuring, and unbelief prevent us from understanding Godâ€™s messages for us? (See 1 Nephi 3:28â€“31; 3 Nephi 11:29.)
What insights did you gain from the verses you studied?
After students have had enough time to respond to the questions, invite a few to share their answers.
Ask students to identify the questions Laman and Lemuel asked in 1 Nephi 3:31.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 4:1â€“3 aloud. Ask the class to listen for Nephiâ€™s answers to his brothersâ€™ questions.
How did the story of Moses relate to Laman and Lemuelâ€™s questions?
If students need help answering this question, explain that Moses faced a similar challenge when he was asked to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. Despite repeated attempts, Moses was unable to persuade Pharaoh to release the children of Israel from slavery. However, Moses persisted in doing what the Lord commanded him, and the Lord provided a way for him to free the children of Israel. Nephi applied the example of Moses to his familyâ€™s circumstances. He had confidence that God would also prepare a way for them.
What principle do you learn from Nephiâ€™s response to his brothers?
Although students may phrase their answers a little differently, they should express that if we faithfully persist in doing what the Lord requires, in spite of difficulty, He will prepare a way for us to accomplish what He commands. (You may want to write this principle on the board.)
Refer to the statements you displayed on the board at the beginning of the lesson.
Now that you have studied Nephiâ€™s experience, which statement do you think best summarizes the principle you just identified?
As students study the remainder of Nephiâ€™s account, encourage them to look for confirmation of this principle in the results of Nephiâ€™s perseverance.
Help students understand that the Lord may inspire us to do something without immediately revealing how, when, or why we should do it. Nephi learned how, when, and why the Lord would help him only after he allowed the Holy Ghost to direct him and after he decided to go forward in faith.
Tell students that President Harold B. Lee observed that we often want to see â€œthe end from the beginning,â€ or the outcome, before we will follow the Lordâ€™s direction. He counseled:
â€œYou must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and perhaps a few steps into the darkness [the unknown], and you will find that the light will appear and move ahead of youâ€ (in Lucile C. Tate, Boyd K. Packer: A Watchman on the Tower , 137â€“38).
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 4:7 aloud.
In 1 Nephi 4:7, what is important about the phrase â€œnevertheless I went forthâ€?
What does Nephiâ€™s experience teach about the relationship between our willingness to â€œgo and doâ€ and our ability to be led by the Lord?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 4:8â€“18.
What reasons did the Spirit give Nephi for the Lordâ€™s command to slay Laban?
Summarize the rest of Nephiâ€™s account of successfully obtaining the plates (see 1 Nephi 4:19â€“38), or invite a student who is familiar with the remainder of the story to do so. Ask students to identify principles they see illustrated in this final effort to obtain the plates. After they give their insights, add your testimony that when we exercise faith in God and seek to do what He asks, even when we cannot see the outcome, He will lead us by the influence of the Holy Ghost.
To help deepen studentsâ€™ testimonies of this principle, invite them to share experiences of when they have acted in faith without knowing beforehand how or when God was going to help them.
Invite students to ponder a situation they are currently facing in which the Lordâ€™s requirements are difficult for them. Ask them to record in their scripture study journals what they will do to show the Lord their willingness to â€œgo and doâ€ what He has commanded. When they have finished writing, express your confidence that as we demonstrate our faith, the Lord will help us accomplish whatever He asks of us.