Lesson 2: All Things According to His Will

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 6–10


Purpose

To help class members see, through the examples of Lehi and Nephi, that safety and salvation come through obedience to the Lord.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      1 Nephi 1–2. Lehi learns in a vision that Jerusalem will be destroyed. He warns the people to repent, but they reject him and seek his life. The Lord tells Lehi to take his family and leave Jerusalem. Lehi and his family depart into the wilderness.

    2. b.

      1 Nephi 3–4. Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass from Laban.

    3. c.

      1 Nephi 5. Nephi and his brothers bring the plates back to their family. These plates enable Lehi’s family to preserve for their descendants their language, their genealogy, and the teachings and commandments of God.

    4. d.

      1 Nephi 7. Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to persuade Ishmael and his family to join them in the wilderness.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Mosiah 1:3–7; Alma 3:11–12.

  3. 3.

    In advance, ask a class member to prepare to summarize the efforts of Nephi and his brothers to obtain the brass plates from Laban (1 Nephi 3:9–4:38).

  4. 4.

    If the following materials are available, prepare to use them during the lesson:

    1. a.

      The pictures Lehi Prophesying to the People of Jerusalem (62517; Gospel Art Picture Kit 300) and Lehi’s Family Leaving Jerusalem (62238; Gospel Art Picture Kit 301).

    2. b.

      A pen or pencil and a piece of paper for each class member.

  5. 5.

    Before class begins, list on the chalkboard the headings and scripture references used in the chart on page 8.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Ask class members to imagine that they have just learned that the city where they live is going to be destroyed and they must leave immediately.

  • How would you feel about this news? What would you do?

  • Would it make a difference in how you felt and what you did if you knew that this information had come through a prophet of God?

Explain that this lesson is about Lehi and his family, who left their home in Jerusalem because the city was soon to be destroyed. The lesson will discuss where they went and what they did after departing from Jerusalem.

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. Lehi leaves Jerusalem and takes his family into the wilderness.

Discuss 1 Nephi 1–2. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud.

  • One of the first events described in the Book of Mormon is the departure from Jerusalem of Lehi and his family. What circumstances led to this departure? (See 1 Nephi 1:4–15, 18–20; 2:1–3. If you are using the picture of Lehi prophesying, display it now.)

  • Why did the people of Jerusalem reject the message of Lehi and other prophets? (See 1 Nephi 1:19–20; 2:12–13; 16:1–2.) Why do some people today rebel against the Lord and His servants? How did Nephi respond to his father’s message? (See 1 Nephi 2:16, 19.) What can we learn from Nephi about how to make our hearts more receptive to the teachings of the prophets?

  • What did the Lord promise Nephi if he would obey the commandments? (See 1 Nephi 2:19–20, 22.) What did the Lord promise would happen to Laman and Lemuel if they rebelled? (See 1 Nephi 2:21, 23–24.) How does each of these promises apply to us?

  • Into what kind of country did Lehi take his family when they left Jerusalem? (See 1 Nephi 2:2. If you are using the picture of Lehi’s family leaving Jerusalem, display it now.) What did they leave behind as they departed? (See 1 Nephi 2:4.) How do you think Lehi’s family felt having to leave their home, possessions, and friends? What sacrifices have you made to be obedient to the Lord? How have you been blessed as you have made such sacrifices?

  • After three days in the wilderness, Lehi built an altar and gave thanks to the Lord (1 Nephi 2:6–7; see also 1 Nephi 5:9; 7:22). How can we develop feelings of gratitude even in difficult circumstances?

  • What important blessings resulted from Lehi’s obeying the Lord and leaving Jerusalem? (Write class members’ answers on the chalkboard. Answers may include that Lehi’s and Ishmael’s families were saved from destruction; a branch of Israel was guided to the promised land; and the Book of Mormon, another witness of Jesus Christ, was provided.)

2. Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass.

Read and discuss selected verses from 1 Nephi 3–4.

Have the assigned class member summarize the efforts of Nephi and his brothers to obtain the plates (1 Nephi 3:9–4:38).

  • What are some situations in which we might need to be “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [we] should do”? (1 Nephi 4:6). What can we learn from Nephi’s words: “Nevertheless I went forth”? (1 Nephi 4:7).

  • Why was Nephi reluctant to kill Laban? (See 1 Nephi 4:10.) How did Nephi become convinced that he should kill Laban? (See 1 Nephi 4:11–18.)

  • Have a class member read 1 Nephi 3:7 aloud. How did the Lord “prepare a way” for Nephi to do what he had been commanded to do? How has the Lord prepared ways for you to keep His commandments?

  • Why did Nephi and his brothers want Zoram to return to the wilderness with them? (See 1 Nephi 4:35–36.) What persuaded Zoram to accompany Nephi and his brothers? (See 1 Nephi 4:31–34. Explain that among the people in Lehi’s time, an oath was sacred. Zoram knew that Nephi would never break his oath.) Why is it important that we be known as people who keep our word?

Point out that although Laman and Lemuel obeyed their father by going into the wilderness and then returning to Jerusalem for the brass plates, they murmured and rebelled repeatedly during the family’s journeyings. Nephi and Sam, on the other hand, were faithful and obedient throughout their experiences. You may want to explain that while Sam is not often mentioned, the scriptures indicate that he was faithful and obedient, as Nephi was (1 Nephi 2:17; 8:3).

Invite half of the class members to read the scripture passages listed on the chalkboard under “Nephi.” Have them look for words or phrases that characterize Nephi. Invite the other class members to read the other passages, looking for words or phrases that characterize Laman and Lemuel. You may want to give each class member a piece of paper and a pen or pencil for making notes as they read. Then have class members report on what they have found. Write on the chalkboard a brief comment on the content of each verse (examples are given in the chart below; you do not need to use the exact wording given).

Nephi

Laman and Lemuel

1:1 Knew he had “goodly parents”

2:11 Murmured against their father

2:16 Believed all the words spoken by his father

2:13 Did not believe all Lehi’s words

2:16, 19 Went to the Lord for understanding

2:12 “Knew not the dealings of … God”

3:7 Was willing to go and do what the Lord commanded

3:5 Complained that the Lord had asked “a hard thing”

3:15 Refused to return without records

3:14 Wanted to give up after one try

4:1, 3 Knew that the Lord was “mightier than Laban”

3:31 Doubted that the Lord could deliver Laban to them

When the chart is complete, discuss the following questions:

  • How did Nephi show strong and abiding faith? How can we follow his example?

  • Why did Laman and Lemuel murmur and rebel? (See 1 Nephi 2:11–12.) Why were they unable to know the dealings of God? (See 1 Nephi 2:18.)

3. Nephi and his brothers bring the brass plates to their family.

Read and discuss selected verses from 1 Nephi 5.

  • How did Lehi and Sariah react when their four sons finally returned with the brass plates? (See 1 Nephi 5:1–9.) How did their return strengthen Sariah’s testimony? (See 1 Nephi 5:8.)

  • What did the brass plates contain? (See 1 Nephi 5:10–16; 13:23. They included the five books of Moses, a record of the Jews down to King Zedekiah [about 600 B.C.], prophecies of the holy prophets, and the genealogy of Lehi’s family.)

  • What prophecies did Lehi make about the brass plates? (See 1 Nephi 5:17–19.) How are these prophecies being fulfilled?

4. Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem for Ishmael and his family.

Read and discuss selected verses from 1 Nephi 7.

  • Why did Nephi and his brothers return again to Jerusalem soon after bringing back the brass plates? (See 1 Nephi 7:1–2.) How were Ishmael and his family persuaded to join Lehi’s family? (See 1 Nephi 7:4–5.)

  • Why did Laman and Lemuel and some of the children of Ishmael rebel during their journey in the wilderness? (See 1 Nephi 7:6–7.) Why do you think they wanted to return to Jerusalem? What did Nephi say would happen if they continued in the wilderness and were faithful to the Lord? (See 1 Nephi 7:13.) What did he say would happen if they returned to stay in Jerusalem? (See 1 Nephi 7:13–15.)

  • What qualities did Nephi exhibit in his dealings with his brothers? (See 1 Nephi 2:17–18 and 7:21 for some examples.) How can we demonstrate these qualities in our relationships with our family members and others?

Conclusion

Remind class members that because of Lehi’s and Nephi’s willing obedience, millions of people have been blessed. Encourage class members to always “go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded” (1 Nephi 3:7).

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. “Born of goodly parents” (1 Nephi 1:1)

  • What are some responsibilities of “goodly parents” for their children? (See 1 Nephi 1:1.) What can parents learn from Lehi and Sariah about how to fulfill these responsibilities?

2. Everyone experiences adversity

List the following words on the chalkboard: spiritual, valiant, worried, strong, joyful, faithful, sad, trusting, disheartened, diligent, patient, charitable.

Have class members decide which of these words describe Nephi. Circle the words they choose, and have them relate brief incidents about Nephi that illustrate the character traits they selected.

Then explain that all of the words describe Nephi at various times in his life. Emphasize that Nephi was a faithful person and is remembered for his devotion in obeying the commandments. But even Nephi occasionally became worried, disheartened, and sad. Point out that we often think of the prophets and other Church leaders as having only positive experiences and never having struggles. However, like us, they also face adversity and afflictions.

  • How can it help us to know that prophets and other Church leaders also have trials?

  • Although Nephi had “seen many afflictions in the course of [his] days,” he knew he had “been highly favored of the Lord” (1 Nephi 1:1). How is it possible to have many afflictions and still be favored of the Lord? How can afflictions help us receive blessings? (Invite class members to ponder this question silently if they do not want to share their responses with the class.)

3. Contents of Nephi’s record

  • 1 Nephi 6 contains Nephi’s explanation of what he would write in his record. What did Nephi say was his purpose in keeping a record? (See 1 Nephi 6:3–4. Note that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is Jesus Christ.) How have Nephi’s writings helped you come unto Christ?

Encourage class members to write their testimonies, as well as other spiritual experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in their journals.