Each young man will commit to study the scriptures prayerfully and regularly.
Scriptures for each young man.
A pencil for each young man.
Prepare a copy of “Topics and References” for each young man.
Assign the young men to study 1 Nephi 3–5.
You may wish to ask one of the young men to relate the story of Lehi’s sons’ returning to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates.
There is a major activity at the end of this lesson. Allow at least twenty to twenty-five minutes of lesson time for it.
Display picture 1, Joseph Smith Seeks Wisdom in the Bible (also picture 402 in the Gospel Art Picture Kit ).
This lesson gives you an opportunity to emphasize the importance of reading and studying the Book of Mormon. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “In 1832, as some early missionaries returned from their fields of labor, the Lord reproved them for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. As a result of that attitude, he said, their minds had been darkened. … And then the Lord said, ‘And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon (D&C 84:54–57)’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, pp. 3–4; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, p. 4).
Instead of coming under this condemnation, young men can find great blessings in their study of the Book of Mormon. President Benson has also said: “Young men, the Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring a spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life. A young man who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has an abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, p. 56; or Ensign, May 1986, p. 43).
Suggested Lesson Development
The Scriptures Contain Great Treasures
Scripture story and discussion
What is a treasure?
If your house were on fire and you could take out only what you could carry in your hands, what would you take?
Explain that whatever each young man would take is something he values or treasures very much.
Explain that sometimes people place great value on things other than money or jewels. Ask the previously assigned young man to recount the story of Lehi’s sons’ returning for the brass plates.
Other young men may help as needed in relating the story.
What did Lehi and Nephi treasure? (The word of the Lord.)
What events in this story show how much Lehi and Nephi treasured the word of the Lord recorded on the brass plates? (Nephi’s willingness to make the journey and endanger his life; Nephi’s determination to get the plates even though two attempts failed; their willingness to give all their gold, silver, and precious things in exchange for the plates; Nephi’s killing Laban even though he was reluctant to do so.)
Scripture and discussion
Have the young men read and underline 1 Nephi 5:21–22 to find out how Nephi felt about the scriptures on the plates of Laban after he had obtained them.
What did Nephi say about the worth of the brass plates?
Why were they of great worth? (Because the people could have the commandments of the Lord.)
Explain that the Book of Mormon tells of another group of people, the Mulekites, who did not have the scriptures. Have the young men read Omni 1:15–17.
What happened to a whole nation because they did not have the scriptures? (Their language became corrupted, and they denied God.)
Why are the scriptures so valuable?
Record the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. Stimulate their thinking as necessary. Some possible answers are as follows: the scriptures testify that Jesus is the Christ and Savior, tell us how to return to our Father in Heaven, tell us how to treat others and to be happy, teach of blessings for obedience and punishment for disobedience, and tell us what will happen in the future so we can prepare.
Testify that the scriptures are a priceless treasure of knowledge that can help each young man on the road to salvation.
How has studying the scriptures helped you?
We Can Understand the Scriptural Treasure through Prayerful and Regular Study
Scripture and discussion
How often do you like to eat?
Have the young men silently read and underline 2 Nephi 31:20.
What is the difference between a “feast” and a “snack”?
What would be the difference between “feasting” on the words of Christ and “snacking” on them?
Where can we find the words of Christ? (In the scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ.)
How often should we study the scriptures?
President Harold B. Lee recommended a daily reading of the scriptures when he said, “If we’re not reading the scriptures daily, our testimonies are growing thinner, our spirituality isn’t increasing in depth” (Regional Representatives’ seminar, 12 Dec. 1970).
How has your testimony grown from studying the scriptures?
What can you do to improve your study of the scriptures?
Use the following statement to help the young men better understand how to study the scriptures.
“I learned to a small degree how all the holy men of God learn to know God and the gospel. It is not a gift to a select few, rather a blessing predicated on the law of obedience, long hours, and study.
“As I read the scriptures, … I learned some of the basics of pondering and searching.
Pray always before you begin to read the scriptures. Slow your mind down and be free from this world. Also, pray all the while you read—as certain concepts of the gospel illuminate your soul or as you have questions. Don’t hesitate to call upon your Father.
Keep a paper and pencil handy while you read. This is a stimulating activity, and often goals, exciting ideas, or original thoughts will creep into a stale mind.
Go slowly! This study is not a race. No longer do you have to finish a prescribed number of chapters before you go to bed. Spend several days with a single chapter or verse. Memorize [a] scripture and it will bloom with hidden meanings you hadn’t been cognizant of, meanings pertinent to your life today.
Ask questions as you read the scriptures. … Question and then call upon the Lord. As I questioned, the doors of my heart unfolded and left room for the Holy Ghost to dwell in me.
Stop many times during the day and ponder the single thought that you have searched out in depth. For instance, consider the truth ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ Repeat the scripture, question your every action, and keep the thought with you on a small card.
“All of this is a matter of making yourself take the time; it’s a daily renewal. You’ll be gratified as it refreshes your viewpoint. There will be a new direction in your life and even daily revelation. …
“Our beloved prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said, ‘All my life I have studied and pondered the principles of the gospel and sought to live the laws of the Lord. As a result there has come into my heart a great love for him and for his work and for all those who seek to further his purposes in the earth.’ (Conference Report, Oct. 1971, p. 6.)
“Take the time to ponder. It is a key to unbelievable joy and knowledge here in mortality.
“[The Savior said,] ‘I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—
“‘Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you’ (D&C 88:62–63.)” (Susan Hill, “Pondering Isn’t Preposterous,” New Era, May 1976, pp. 49–50).
Testify that pondering the scriptures can increase our joy and delight in the scriptures and bring us closer to the Savior. The Holy Ghost inspired those who wrote the scriptures.
When you read the scriptures, what part should you allow the Holy Ghost to play? (We need to let the Holy Ghost inspire us and help us understand the scriptures.)
How has the Holy Ghost helped you in your study of the scriptures?
Explain that there are many ways to study the scriptures, such as reading fifteen minutes a day or a chapter every day. Some people read a few verses and then think, ponder, and pray about those verses. Some study the scriptures by picking one topic and reading from all of the scriptures about that topic. Whatever method we use, however, it is important to read at least something in the scriptures every day, even if it is only a verse or two.
Divide the class into groups of two or three young men per group. Give each young man a copy of “Topics and References,” and assign each group a topic from the list.
Have the young men write on their papers what they learn from each reference. Ask them to be prepared to give a group report on their topic.
Have each group report on what they learned about the topic. Ask questions of the group members so that each one contributes something to the report from his notes.
How many of you learned at least one new thing today?
What did you learn?
Challenge the young men to study some of the other topics on their list.