Amid growing contention and wickedness, Helaman taught his sons that the foundation of their faith should be Jesus Christ. Nephi’s teachings about repentance and listening to the words of the Lord’s prophets were vital to the happiness of the people.
Ask students to consider why some buildings stand for a long time while others collapse.
Why is it important for a building to have a sturdy foundation?
Invite a student to read Helaman 5:12 aloud. Since this is a scripture mastery verse, invite a few students to try to recite it from memory. Encourage them to try even though they may not have memorized it completely. Then ask the following questions:
What is promised in this verse if we build our lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ? (Students’ answers should express that if we build our foundation on Jesus Christ, Satan will have no power over us.)
What have you done to build your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ?
Invite students to tell about times when their testimonies of the Savior have helped them withstand temptations or endure trials. Share your testimony of the spiritual strength you have received because you have built your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Encourage students to think of one or more ways they will strive to better build their lives on the rock of Christ.
Remind students that while many Lamanites repented and grew strong in the gospel, the Nephites lived in wickedness and the Holy Spirit withdrew from them. Ask students to think about a time in their lives when they felt the Spirit withdraw from them because of their choices.
Explain that when Nephi saw the state of his people, “his heart was swollen with sorrow” (Helaman 7:6). He went up on a tower in his garden to pray and mourn the wickedness of the people. A multitude of people gathered around him, and Nephi used the opportunity to teach them.
Invite a student to come to the front of the class to represent Nephi on his tower. Ask the student to read Helaman 7:15–22, 26–28 aloud as the rest of the class follows along. Before he or she reads, divide the class in half. Ask one half to look for what Nephi taught were the sins of the Nephites, and ask the other half to identify the consequences that Nephi testified would come if the Nephites did not repent. After the student reads the verses, ask students to report what they have found.
After students have responded, invite them to state principles we can learn from this account. (Students may share different principles, but they should express that if we refuse to repent of our sins, we will lose the Lord’s protection and the blessings of eternal life.)
To help students understand this principle, invite them to explain what consequences may come to the people in the following situations:
A young man refuses to repent of a pornography addiction.
A young woman’s highest priority is to become well known and popular despite being taught differently by her parents.
A young man has listened to the prophets’ direction to search the scriptures and pray, but he refuses to do either.
Invite students to ponder whether there is anything for which they need to repent so that they can have the Lord’s strength more fully in their lives.
Write the words accept and deny on the board. Ask students to explain the difference between these two words. Invite a student to read Helaman 8:13. Ask the class to follow along and identify what Nephi said the people denied. You may want to encourage students to mark what they discover.
Show students the picture Moses and the Brass Serpent (Gospel Art Book , no. 16; see also lds.org/media-library). Invite them to read Helaman 8:14–15 and identify what Moses taught about the Savior. Invite them to report what they learn. Then ask:
What are some ways a person can look to the Savior in faith?
What does it mean to have a “contrite spirit”? (To be humble, repentant, and receptive to the Lord’s will.) Why is this attitude essential as we look to the Savior?
How can knowing about the Savior’s Atonement help us to resist evil and to repent when we sin?
Invite students to state a principle we can learn from these verses. (Students may use different words, but they should express that if we focus on Jesus Christ and exercise faith in Him, we will receive eternal life.)
Invite a student to read Helaman 8:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify who else taught about the Savior’s mission.
Ask students to quickly search Helaman 8:17–22 for names of other prophets who testified of Jesus Christ. Invite them to think about how prophets in ancient times, as well as in our day, have borne testimony of the Savior’s mission and atoning sacrifice.
Invite students to share their testimonies about what the Savior’s Atonement means in their lives. You may also want to share your testimony.
Ask students to imagine that the Lord has promised them He will do anything they ask Him to do. Explain that Nephi was so faithful that the Lord made this promise to him and gave him the sealing power. Encourage students to study Helaman 10–11 looking for the ways Nephi used the power the Lord gave him to help his people. Also invite them to look for how many signs of the birth and death of Jesus Christ they can identify as they study the prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 13–16.