Home-Study Lesson: Studying the Scriptures–Overview of the Book of Mormon (Unit 1)

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Preparation Material for the Home-Study Teacher

Summary of Daily Home-Study Lessons

The following is a summary of the events, doctrines, and principles students learned as they completed the four home-study student lessons for unit 1. Knowing what the students have been studying will help you prepare for your class. The summary is not part of the lesson and is not meant to be shared with students. Because the lesson you teach for unit 1 concentrates on only a few of these doctrines and principles, you may at times feel impressed to review or discuss others according to the promptings of the Spirit and the needs of your students.

Day 1 (Studying the Scriptures)

Students learned skills to help them understand the background and setting of the scriptures, how to study and identify gospel truths, and how to apply gospel doctrines and principles in their lives.

Day 2 (The Plan of Salvation)

This lesson was a brief overview of the plan of salvation. The Book of Mormon teaches that Heavenly Father’s plan is designed to bring His children eternal salvation and happiness. Jesus Christ is the central figure in the plan of salvation, and His Atonement is what makes the plan work for all of God’s children. As we choose to follow God’s plan, we prepare to receive eternal life.

Day 3 (Title Page, Introduction, and Testimonies of Witnesses)

Introductory materials to the Book of Mormon help establish its purpose and explain its truthfulness and divine origins. The title page teaches that the Book of Mormon is a witness that Jesus is the Christ. As we read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost will witness that it is true, that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom on earth.

Day 4 (Overview of the Book of Mormon)

The testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith helped students strengthen their testimony that the Book of Mormon came forth by the gift and power of God. The Lord preserved the Book of Mormon to come forth in the latter days. Book of Mormon writers saw our day and wrote what would be of most help to us. Students were encouraged to think of questions they have and to look for answers as they study the Book of Mormon.

Introduction

This week’s lesson emphasizes the responsibility each student has for his or her gospel learning. It also emphasizes the central role of the Book of Mormon in helping students build a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Church. As you teach, help students understand the importance of diligently studying this sacred book of scripture and the blessings that will fill their lives as they do.

Suggestions for Teaching

Studying the Scriptures

You may want to start by asking students the following questions:

  • What is the difference between someone who reads the Book of Mormon and gains a testimony and someone who reads it and does not gain a testimony? (Some merely read words; others read with faith, with real intent, and with their hearts open to the Holy Ghost.)

  • How does someone learn spiritual truths? (Consider listing students’ responses on the board. Refer back to this list after reading the statement by Elder David A. Bednar below.)

Write the following statement on the board, leaving out the underlined words: “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

Review what the students learned this week by inviting them to fill in the blanks. If they need help, have them read Doctrine and Covenants 88:118. Ask them what it means to seek learning by study and by faith. As you discuss this, be sure they understand that learning by study and by faith requires individual effort.

To help students understand why effort and work are required to learn the gospel, have a student read the following explanation by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to listen for what happens when we put effort into spiritual learning.

“A learner exercising agency by acting in accordance with correct principles opens his or her heart to the Holy Ghost and invites His teaching, testifying power, and confirming witness. Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 64).

Ask students: What did Elder Bednar say would happen to a learner who puts effort into spiritual learning?

Invite students to share experiences they have had when they have made a special effort spiritually and have felt an increase in the companionship of the Holy Ghost as a result. You may want to add your testimony that our efforts to prayerfully study the gospel will invite the Holy Ghost into the learning process.

Ask students: What are specific things you can do this year to “seek learning … by study and also by faith”?

The Plan of Salvation

Review the different names of the plan of salvation by asking students to write on the board the names they recorded in their scripture study journals for assignment 1 of their day 2 lesson. If they need help, have them turn to the corresponding page in their study guides.

You may want to ask: What do these names teach you about the purpose of the plan of salvation? (Heavenly Father’s plan is designed to bring His children eternal salvation and happiness.)

Explain that there will be many opportunities throughout the year to learn how the truths we learn from the Book of Mormon fit into Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. You might ask students to look for and mark in their scriptures principles related to the plan of salvation as they study this year. Consider providing a few examples of what they might find as they study. Encourage students to share their findings with the class during the year.

Title Page, Introduction, and Testimonies of Witnesses

Invite students to participate in a role play by imagining they are giving a copy of the Book of Mormon to someone who is not a member of the Church.

Divide the class into two groups, and have each group prepare for the role play by discussing the questions assigned to their group. It may be helpful to write the questions on the board before class begins or to provide each student with a copy of the questions. Encourage students to look for and mark information they feel would be important to share when teaching about the Book of Mormon.

Questions for Group 1:

  1. 1.

    What is the Book of Mormon? (See introduction, paragraphs 1–3.)

  2. 2.

    What is the purpose of the Book of Mormon? (See the title page, paragraph 2.)

  3. 3.

    What blessings come from living by the precepts or principles the Book of Mormon teaches? (See introduction, paragraph 6.)

Questions for Group 2:

  1. 1.

    How did the Book of Mormon come forth? (See introduction, paragraphs 4–5.)

  2. 2.

    How can we come to know the Book of Mormon is true? (See introduction, paragraph 8.)

  3. 3.

    What else can we know by the power of the Holy Ghost? (See introduction, last paragraph.)

After allowing students time to prepare, select one student to represent a person who is not a member of the Church. Ask a volunteer from each group to present a copy of the Book of Mormon to that person. Encourage the students to use the answers to the questions their groups studied to teach the first student about the Book of Mormon.

When they are finished role-playing, consider asking the rest of the class what additional information they might have shared if they had been the person presenting the copy of the Book of Mormon. You may also want to ask: What have you learned or remembered about the Book of Mormon during this activity?

As students respond, be sure they understand that the Book of Mormon is a witness that Jesus is the Christ. Emphasize the importance of paying attention to how the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ. In addition, explain that studying the Book of Mormon will help them understand the doctrine and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and strengthen their testimony of His Church.

Remind students that the Book of Mormon writers saw our day and wrote what would be of most help to us (see Mormon 8:35).

Ask students: What did you learn this week that will affect the way you study the Book of Mormon?

Invite several students to share how they plan to accomplish their responsibility of reading the Book of Mormon during the school year. Conclude by sharing your feelings and testimony about the Book of Mormon and how studying it has affected your life.

Next Unit (1 Nephi 1–6, 9)

Ask students if they have ever known that something was right but doing it seemed hard or even impossible. Explain that in the coming week they will discover that Nephi faced that kind of challenge, and they will learn how he relied on God to accomplish what seemed impossible.