As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Ask the assigned class member to tell about an incident or feeling that would have been forgotten if he or she had not recorded it in a journal (or tell about one yourself). Have the class member answer the following questions:
Then have all class members discuss the following question:
Explain that the keepers of the records that have become the Book of Mormon labored mightily to preserve the word of the Lord and the experiences of their people in learning to keep His commandments. They recognized the importance of recording this information for future generations. Because of their diligence in keeping the records and because of God’s hand in protecting and preserving the records, we are able to learn from the spiritual successes and failures of those who have gone before us.
Point out that the four books discussed in today’s lesson—Enos, Jarom, Omni, and Words of Mormon—were written by eight men who, like Nephi, understood the importance of keeping sacred records.
Scripture Discussion and Application
Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.
1. Enos prays for himself, the Nephites, and the Lamanites.
Discuss the book of
Enos. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud.
Whom did Enos credit with teaching him the gospel? (See
Enos 1:1.) Who was Enos’s father? (See Jacob 7:27.) What does it mean to teach children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”? (See the quotation below.) How can the teaching and example of righteous parents help children develop faith in the Savior?
President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled parents to be righteous examples for their children, as Enos’s father was for him: “Treat your children as sons and daughters of God. Be kind. Love them. Respect them. Counsel with them. Teach them. Pray for them. Guide them and God will bless both them and you” (in
Church News, 1 Nov. 1997, 2).
What did Jacob’s teachings influence Enos to do? (See
Enos 1:3–4.) How did Enos describe his prayer to the Lord? (See Enos 1:2.) Why do you think Enos called his experience a “wrestle”? What can his account of seeking forgiveness teach us about repenting?
How did Enos know his sins had been forgiven? (See
Enos 1:5–6.) How can we know our sins have been forgiven? (See the quotation below.) What enabled Enos to receive forgiveness of his sins? (See Enos 1:7–8.) Why is faith in Christ necessary for us to repent and receive forgiveness?
President Harold B. Lee said: “If the time comes when you have done all that you can to repent of your sins … and have made amends and restitution to the best of your ability … , then you will want that confirming answer as to whether or not the Lord has accepted of you. In your soul-searching, if you seek for and you find that peace of conscience, by that token you may know that the Lord has accepted of your repentance” (
Stand Ye in Holy Places , 185).
After Enos learned that his sins were forgiven, what did he pray for? (See
Enos 1:9, 11–13.) Why did Enos want to be sure that the records would be preserved? (See Enos 1:13–14.)
What can we learn about prayer from Enos?
Enos described the Nephites of his time as a “stiffnecked people” who were only moved by “exceeding harshness” and “exceedingly great plainness of speech” (
Enos 1:22–23). What similarities do you see between the Nephites of Enos’s time and some people today?
What impresses you about Enos’s faith and testimony? (See especially
Enos 1:15–18, 26–27.)
2. The Nephites prosper through continual repentance.
Read and discuss selected verses from the book of Jarom.
What did Jarom say was his purpose in adding to the records? (See
Jarom 1:1–2.) Why didn’t Jarom record the prophecies and revelations he had received?
How did Jarom describe his people, the Nephites? (See
Jarom 1:3–4; see also the additional teaching idea.) How were they able to prosper in the land and overcome the Lamanites? (See Jarom 1:5, 7–12.)
What role did prophets, priests, and teachers play in the success of the Nephites? (See
Jarom 1:11–12.) What does it mean to “prick their hearts with the word”? ( Jarom 1:12). When has your heart been pricked by the words of a prophet or another Church leader or teacher?
The Nephite leaders persuaded the people to “look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was” (
Jarom 1:11; see also Mosiah 3:13). How can we follow this counsel as we prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming?
3. Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki keep the records.
Read and discuss selected verses from the book of Omni. Point out that the book of Omni covers approximately 200 years and was written by five record keepers, yet it is only 30 verses long.
Explain that the second half of the book of Omni, written by Amaleki, illustrates the importance of preserving the records by showing what happened to a people that had not preserved its records.
Amaleki recorded the story of Mosiah and his followers, who were commanded by the Lord to leave the land of Nephi. Where were Mosiah and his followers led? (See
Omni 1:13.) Whom did they find in the land of Zarahemla? (See Omni 1:14.) Where had these people come from? (See Omni 1:15–16; see also 1 Nephi 1:4, which explains that Zedekiah was king of Jerusalem at the time that Lehi and his family went into the wilderness.)
Why were the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites) so happy to see Mosiah and his followers? (See
Omni 1:14.) What consequences did Amaleki imply had come to the Mulekites because they did not bring any records with them when they left Jerusalem? (See Omni 1:17. Their language had degenerated and they had lost the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teachings.) How might we be affected if we did not have the scriptures? (See Mosiah 1:3–5.) How are we affected when we have the scriptures but do not study them?
Explain that by interpreting an engraved stone kept by the Mulekites, Mosiah learned of another civilization, the Jaredites, that had existed in the land (
Omni 1:20–22). The Jaredites came to the western hemisphere at the time of the Tower of Babel. Coriantumr, the last survivor of the Jaredite nation, had lived with the Mulekites for a time. Point out that the records of the Jaredites are abridged in the book of Ether, and they will be discussed in later lessons.
4. Mormon adds the small plates of Nephi to his abridgment of the large plates.
Read and discuss selected verses from the Words of Mormon. Point out that from 1 Nephi through Omni, the Book of Mormon contains a straight chronological account. The Words of Mormon, however, were written more than 500 years after Amaleki completed the book of Omni. If you are using the picture of Mormon abridging the plates, display it now.
When did Mormon write the Words of Mormon, and why? (See
Words of Mormon 1:1–5.)
Explain that after Mormon abridged the large plates of Nephi, he found the small plates of Nephi and included them in his record (
Words of Mormon 1:3–5). The first six books of the Book of Mormon, from 1 Nephi through Omni, are a translation of these small plates. The book titled Words of Mormon is Mormon’s explanation of why he included the small plates. It serves as a transition between the records from the small plates and the records from the large plates.
What were Mormon’s impressions of the small plates? (See
Words of Mormon 1:4, 6.) Why did he decide to include the small plates in his record? (See Words of Mormon 1:7.) What was the “wise purpose” to which Mormon referred?
Display the chart showing the records that Mormon and Moroni abridged and compiled (see “Preparation,” item 4). Note that the books that are not listed on the chart (Words of Mormon, Mormon, and Moroni) were written by Mormon and Moroni.
Explain that the small plates of Nephi covered approximately the same time period (600 to 200
B.C.) as the first records in the large plates. There was no apparent need for Mormon to include both in his abridgment. But the Lord knew that the translation of the first records from the large plates would be lost centuries later, when Martin Harris took 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript to show to his family members and friends. After these 116 pages of the translation were lost, the Lord instructed Joseph Smith not to retranslate the same records ( D&C 10:8–14). These records are not found in the Book of Mormon today. Instead, the same time period is described through the account from the small plates.
What did Mormon say was the purpose of the entire sacred record he was abridging? (See
Words of Mormon 1:2, 8; see also the itle page of the Book of Mormon.) Why is it important that we read the Book of Mormon with this purpose in mind?