â€œLesson 27: 2 Nephi 5,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2012)
â€œLesson 27,â€ Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual
Heeding a warning from the Lord, Nephi and his followers separated from Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael. They lived in righteousness and happiness, while the followers of Laman and Lemuel cut themselves off from the Lord.
Invite students to ponder some of the difficult problems and decisions they face. Encourage them to keep these personal challenges in mind as they study how Nephi responded to challenges. Remind them that when Lehi died, Nephi was left to be the spiritual leader of the family. Ask students to read 2 Nephi 5:1â€“4 silently to see the challenge Nephi faced.
According to 2 Nephi 5:1, what did Nephi do to help determine a solution to his challenge?
Even after Nephi had prayed for help, what did Laman and Lemuel seek to do?
As students report their answers, you may want to point out that our prayers may not always be answered immediately or in the way we desire.
Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 5:5â€“8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did to help Nephi and his followers.
Ask students to summarize what they have learned from 2 Nephi 5:1â€“8. One truth you might emphasize is that the Lord guides those who faithfully seek Him in prayer. In connection with these verses, ask the following questions:
Why is it important to continue to be faithful when our prayers are not answered immediately or in the way we desire?
In what ways might the Lord give us warnings?
As students respond to this question, consider reading the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
â€œWe cannot set off on a wrong course without first overruling a warningâ€ (quoted in Kenneth Johnson, â€œYielding to the Enticings of the Holy Spirit,â€ Ensign, Nov. 2002, 90).
In what ways can we follow Nephiâ€™s example when we face challenges?
As part of the studentsâ€™ discussion of 2 Nephi 5:1â€“8, point out that the separation of the Nephites from the Lamanites was the result of Laman and Lemuelâ€™s hatred for Nephi. This separation continued for centuries, with the descendants of Laman and Lemuel teaching their children to hate the descendants of Nephi (see Mosiah 10:12â€“17).
Lead students in reading 2 Nephi 5:27 aloud together. You may want to suggest that students mark this verse. Write the word happiness on the board.
What do you think it means to live â€œafter the manner of happinessâ€?
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy:
â€œCertain unchanging principles and truths bring happiness to our lives. This subject has been of interest to me for many years because although I am richly blessed and have every reason to be happy, I sometimes struggle and do not always have the natural inclination toward happiness and a cheerful disposition that some people seem to enjoy.
â€œFor that reason, several years ago a Book of Mormon passage caught my attention. â€¦ Nephi established a society founded on gospel truths; and of that society he says, â€˜And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happinessâ€™ (2 Ne. 5:27). The passage deeply impressed me. â€¦ I wondered â€¦ what the individual elements of a truly happy society and life might be, and I began to search Nephiâ€™s writings for clues. I â€¦ invite you to conduct your own personal search. It could be a lifelong and worthwhile pursuit. â€¦
â€œâ€¦ The same patterns and elements of daily life that enabled Nephi and his people to be happy 560 years before Christ work equally well todayâ€ (â€œLiving after the Manner of Happiness,â€ Ensign, Dec. 2002, 56, 61).
Encourage students to accept Elder Jensenâ€™s invitation. Ask them to read 2 Nephi 5:6, 10â€“18, 26â€“27 silently, looking for â€œelements of a truly happy society and life.â€ You may want to suggest that they mark principles that contributed to the Nephitesâ€™ happiness. After a few minutes, invite a few students to write their findings on the board. (Answers might include that Nephi and his followers went with their families [see verse 6]; obeyed the Lord [see verse 10]; worked hard to support themselves [see verses 11, 15â€“17]; took scriptures with them [see verse 12]; built a temple [see verse 16]; and followed righteous leaders [see verses 18, 26].)
Invite students to select one or two of the principles on the board and share how these principles have helped them â€œlive after the manner of happiness.â€
Depending on what students emphasize, you may want to follow up with a few questions such as the following:
According to 2 Nephi 5:10â€“11, 16, what blessings did the people receive because they kept the Lordâ€™s commandments? When have you felt that the Lord has been with you? How has the Lordâ€™s influence in your life contributed to your happiness?
How might the temple have helped the people â€œlive after the manner of happinessâ€? How has the temple brought greater happiness to you or someone you know?
In what ways does hard work contribute to happiness?
Invite students to summarize what they have learned about how to increase their happiness. Though students may share different principles, be sure they understand that as the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes our way of life, we increase in happiness. You may want to write this principle on the board.
Invite students to examine their lives and determine something they will do to live more fully â€œafter the manner of happiness.â€ Encourage them to write this action in their scripture study journals or class notebooks. Share your testimony about principles and practices that have brought happiness to your life.
Invite students to read 2 Nephi 5:19â€“24 silently, looking for differences between the way the Lamanites lived and the way the Nephites lived.
According to 2 Nephi 5:20, what was the consequence of the Lamanitesâ€™ disobedience?
Make sure students understand that the curse mentioned in this chapter was separation from God. The changing of their skin was only a mark or sign of the curse. To clarify this point, have a student read the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith:
â€œThe dark skin was placed upon the Lamanites so that they could be distinguished from the Nephites and to keep the two peoples from mixing. The dark skin was the sign of the curse. The curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of the Lord. â€¦
â€œThe dark skin of those who have come into the Church is no longer to be considered a sign of the curse. Many of these converts are delightsome and have the Spirit of the Lordâ€ (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957â€“66], 3:122â€“23).
How does 2 Nephi 5:21 help you understand why the Lamanites were cut off from the Lord? (You may want to explain that flint is a hard stone. In saying that the Lamanites â€œhad become like unto a flint,â€ Nephi emphasized the hardness of the Lamanitesâ€™ hearts.)
What warning did the Lord give about Nephites marrying Lamanites who had rejected the gospel? (See 2 Nephi 5:23.)
Why is it important to avoid dating and marrying those who do not hearken to the Lord? How do you think the people you date and eventually marry will influence your efforts to live the gospel? (It may be helpful to remind students that the First Presidency has counseled, â€œChoose to date only those who have high moral standards and in whose company you can maintain your standardsâ€ [For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011), 4].)
What are some principles we can learn from 2 Nephi 5:20â€“24? (As students share principles, ensure that they understand that when people harden their hearts against the Lord, they separate themselves from Him.)
Emphasize that 2 Nephi 5 presents a great contrast between the Nephites and the Lamanites. We can choose which example we will follow. Encourage students to remember what they have determined they will do to live more fully â€œafter the manner of happiness.â€ Express your confidence that they can follow the Nephitesâ€™ example and be truly happy.