Chapter 4: 1 Nephi 12–15

Hide Footnotes


“Chapter 4: 1 Nephi 12–15,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual (2009), 15–17

“Chapter 4,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, 15–17

Chapter 4

1 Nephi 12–15


After Nephi learned the interpretation of the vision of the tree of life, he received a panoramic vision of the future. He saw the land of promise where his family would settle. He saw periods of contention, war, and sinfulness and periods of righteousness and peace among his descendants and the descendants of Laman and Lemuel. He saw the Savior’s ministry in the Americas. He also saw the Great Apostasy, the Restoration of the gospel, Satan’s continuing battle against truth, and the central role of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. As students discuss Nephi’s vision and read about the final triumph of God’s kingdom over Satan, they can find comfort in the knowledge that the Lord will remember His covenants with His Saints. You can assure them that despite threats from the devil and those in his kingdom, God is in control and will strengthen His faithful followers as they participate in His work.

Some Doctrines and Principles

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 13:1–9, 26–29; 14:9–13. The Devil Founded a “Great and Abominable Church” to “Pervert the Right Ways of the Lord”

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Explain that Nephi received a vision in which he saw the future of his people and the people of Laman and Lemuel. In this vision he saw “the formation of a great church” (1 Nephi 13:4). Have students read 1 Nephi 13:5–9, 26–29, looking for characteristics of this church. List these characteristics on the board (or ask a student to do so).

Explain that the phrases “great and abominable church” and “church of the devil” do not really refer to a church. To help students understand this, invite them to read the statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie on page 27 in the student manual.

  • Why do you think it is important to know that Satan organizes his forces to lead us away from God?

  • The angel told Nephi that there are only two churches (see 1 Nephi 14:10). In what ways is this a true statement? How can we ensure that we belong to the church of the Lamb of God?

1 Nephi 13:20–42. The Lord Has Restored Plain and Precious Truths to Help Us Come unto Him

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Ask students to imagine going to the doctor because of an illness. During the course of the examination, the doctor determines the illness and writes a prescription. But the pharmacist changes the prescription.

  • How do you think this change would impact your illness?

Ask students to read 1 Nephi 13:20–29. Then ask the following questions:

  • How is this account like the example of a pharmacist changing a doctor’s prescription?

  • Verse 23 is about the Bible. What words in this verse refer to the Bible?

  • According to verses 23–25, what did the Bible contain when it originally came forth?

  • Who made the most serious changes to the Bible text? What did they remove? What were their motives? (See verses 26–29; see also the statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith on page 624 in the Bible Dictionary.)

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 13:34–39.

  • According to these verses, what needed to be restored?

  • In addition to the Book of Mormon, what “other books” might verse 39 refer to?

  • How have the truths of the Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures influenced your testimony?

Invite students to turn to pages 29–30 in the student manual. Ask them to read the statement by President James E. Faust and the explanation from the Guide to the Scriptures concerning where we find the plain and precious truths restored in the latter days. (The statement by President Faust is also available on the companion DVD

DVD A icon

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:40–41.

  • How does the Book of Mormon establish the truth of the Bible? (See also Mormon 7:8–9.)

  • What do you think it means to say that the Book of Mormon and the Bible have been “established in one”?

  • How can we use the Book of Mormon to testify of truths in the Bible?

1 Nephi 14. God’s Kingdom Will Triumph in the Last Days

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Ask students what they think a prophet from the past, seeing our day in vision, would say about the spiritual conditions of our day. Briefly list their responses on the board.

Invite students to scan 1 Nephi 14 to see how their responses compare to Nephi’s vision of the latter days. You may need to help them see that Nephi described spiritual strength as well as spiritual destruction and captivity (see, for example, verses 7, 14, and 17).

Earlier in the vision, Nephi had seen the destruction of his descendants. However, at this point in the vision he saw the triumph of the kingdom of God. Have students read 1 Nephi 14:10–17.

  • According to Nephi’s vision, where was the Church of the Lamb to be found in the last days? How large would it be in comparison with the world as a whole? (See verse 12.)

  • How would the wicked and the worldly respond to the Church of the Lamb? (See verse 13.)

  • What two things will the Church of the Lamb be armed with for protection? (See verse 14.)

  • Why is it important for us to know that the work of God will ultimately triumph?

  • How might this knowledge have helped Nephi as he coped with trials and tragedies in his life?

1 Nephi 15:1–11. Prayer Leads to Revelation

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 15:1–3 and explain why they think Laman and Lemuel did not understand the teachings of their father. List students’ responses on the board.

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 15:6–9. Ask all the students to think of ways some people today are similar to Laman and Lemuel in their approach to God.

You may want to point out that many people go through life without seeking to qualify for the voice of inspiration. Many of these people are not wicked or rebellious, but they simply neglect to learn and do the Lord’s will.

Share the statements by the Prophet Joseph Smith on page 31 in the student manual. Then ask students the following questions:

  • In what ways did Nephi exemplify these principles?

  • What was the result of Nephi’s desire to know the things of God?

  • What has the Lord promised regarding our ability to gain a knowledge of His ways? (As students discuss this question, you may want to have them read some or all of the following scriptures: James 1:5

    Scripture logo
    ; 1 Nephi 10:19; D&C 88:63–64; 121:26–33.)

  • As we seek to know the will of God, what are some specific ways we can be more like Nephi and less like Laman and Lemuel?

Read 1 Nephi 15:10–11 with the students. Have them identify the four things Nephi said Laman and Lemuel had to do to gain spiritual understanding from the Lord. (To not harden their hearts, to ask in faith, to believe they will receive, and to diligently keep the commandments.)

  • How can doing these four things help us to receive answers to prayers?

1 Nephi 15:12–20. The Lord Remembers His Covenants with the House of Israel

A recurring theme in the Book of Mormon is that the Lord remembers His covenants with the house of Israel. Ultimately Israel will be gathered and redeemed by the Savior. Suggest that students watch for this truth throughout the Book of Mormon. You may want to mention that the imagery of the olive tree in 1 Nephi 15 appears again in the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5.

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
In 1 Nephi 15:7, what elements of Lehi’s teachings do Laman and Lemuel fail to understand?

Write olive tree on the board. Have students read 1 Nephi 15:12 and look for what the olive tree represents.

  • What does the olive tree represent? (On the board, write olive tree = house of Israel.)

  • How were Lehi’s descendants “broken off from the house of Israel”?

Have a student read 1 Nephi 15:13.

  • According to Nephi, when would the gospel be taken to the descendants of Lehi? Who would take the gospel to them?

Write Gentiles on the board. Explain that this word has multiple meanings. It can refer to people of non-Israelite lineage, to people of non-Jewish lineage, or to nations that are without the gospel (see Bible Dictionary, “Gentile”; Guide to the Scriptures, “Gentiles,”; see also D&C 109:60–62). Refer students back to 1 Nephi 15:13. In this verse, the word refers to Latter-day Saints, people who, at the time of the Restoration, lived in a Gentile nation. Share the statements by Elder Bruce R. McConkie on page 31 in the student manual.

Direct students’ attention to the phrase “grafting in of the natural branches.”

  • What does it mean to graft in a branch?

If necessary, explain that to graft a tree branch is to insert a branch of one tree into another tree. The grafted branch receives nourishment from the tree and becomes a permanent part of the tree.

State that 1 Nephi 15:14 explains how the descendants of Lehi would be grafted into the olive tree, or the house of Israel. Invite students to read 1 Nephi 15:14–16. Ask them to summarize these verses in their own words. You may want to ask questions such as the following:

  • How do people become “grafted in,” or gathered, as they “come to the knowledge of their Redeemer”?

  • Why do you think it is important for us to understand “the very points of his doctrine”?

  • How do we receive nourishment through our membership in the Church?

Invite students to tell about when they were “grafted” into the Church or when they have helped someone else receive that blessing.

1 Nephi 15:24. The Word of God Strengthens Us against the Fiery Darts of the Devil

Book of Mormon (religion 121-122) instructor's guide
Refer students to 1 Nephi 15:24 and have them underline the phrase “fiery darts.” Then invite them to compare and cross-reference this verse with Ephesians 6:16 and Doctrine and Covenants 27:17.

  • What are some “fiery darts” we face in the world today?

  • What does 1 Nephi 15:24 warn will be the results of succumbing to Satan’s fiery darts?

  • In what ways can the word of God help us withstand the fiery darts of the adversary?

You might summarize this principle with the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (also available on the companion DVD

DVD B icon

“Real disciples [withstand] the fiery darts of the adversary by holding aloft the quenching shield of faith with one hand, while holding to the iron rod with the other (see Ephesians 6:16; 1 Nephi 15:24; D&C 27:17). There should be no mistaking; it will take both hands!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 87; or Ensign, May 1987, 70).

Invite students to share how their faith and their understanding of scriptures have helped them resist temptations.

Bear your testimony of the importance of the scriptures and how they help us withstand Satan’s fiery darts.