Mormon prophesied that his record would come forth in the last days to persuade those who read it that Jesus is the Christ. He encouraged those who would read the record to repent and prepare for their own judgment before God. Among his own people, Mormon reconsidered his resignation as the Nephites’ military commander, agreeing to lead them in battle again. However, the people refused to repent, and they were pursued by the Lamanites until the entire Nephite nation was destroyed. As Mormon looked upon this scene of death and destruction, he lamented the fall of his people and their unwillingness to repent and return to Jesus Christ.
Mention a natural disaster that could be a threat in your area—for example, an earthquake, tsunami, volcano eruption, or hurricane. Ask students to imagine that they have been warned that this natural disaster will occur in their community in a matter of days.
Where would you turn for help?
Remind students that the Nephites faced a similar level of danger, but their impending disaster was spiritual. Also remind students that the Nephites were at war and that because of their wickedness, Mormon had refused to lead their armies (see Mormon 3:16).
Invite a student to read Mormon 5:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who the Nephites believed could deliver them from their afflictions.
Who did the Nephites turn to for deliverance from their afflictions?
Though it is true that Mormon could lead the Nephites in a military battle, why did Mormon believe that the people would not be delivered from their afflictions?
Summarize Mormon 5:3–7 by explaining that under the leadership of Mormon, the Nephites repelled a few waves of Lamanite attacks, but eventually the Lamanites “did tread the people of the Nephites under their feet” (verse 6). As the Nephites retreated, those who could not flee quickly enough were destroyed.
Invite a student to read Mormon 5:8–9. Ask the class to look for Mormon’s reason for not writing a full account of the things he saw.
Why did Mormon refrain from giving a full description of what he witnessed?
Invite a student to read Mormon 5:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a word that Mormon used three times to describe how people in the last days would feel as they learned about the fall of the Nephite nation.
What word did Mormon use to describe how people in our day would feel as they learned about the fall of the Nephites? (Invite students to consider marking the word sorrow in verse 11.)
Draw students’ attention to Mormon’s statement in Mormon 5:11 that if his people had repented, they would have been “clasped in the arms of Jesus.”
What principle does this teach us about the result of our own repentance? (Help students identify the following principle: Through repentance, we can be clasped in the arms of Jesus. Write this principle on the board.)
What do you think it means to be “clasped in the arms of Jesus”? (You may want to point out that the word clasped means to be held tightly or securely or to be embraced.)
Display the picture Jesus Carrying a Lost Lamb (Gospel Art Book , no. 64; see also lds.org/media-library). To help students better understand the symbolism of being “clasped in the arms of Jesus,” invite one of them to read aloud the following statement by Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy:
“All that will come may be ‘clasped in the arms of Jesus’ [Mormon 5:11]. All souls can be healed by His power. All pain can be soothed. In Him, we can ‘find rest unto [our] souls’ [Matthew 11:29]. Our mortal circumstances may not immediately change, but our pain, worry, suffering, and fear can be swallowed up in His peace and healing balm” (Kent F. Richards, “The Atonement Covers All Pain,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 16).
Why do you think it is necessary for us to repent in order to be “clasped in the arms of Jesus” and allow His peace and healing in our life?
Invite students to write a response to one of the following questions in their class notebooks or study journals. (You may want to write these questions on the board or read them slowly so students can write them.)
When have you felt “clasped in the arms of Jesus”?
What can you do to more fully receive the Lord’s comfort, protection, and forgiveness?
Explain that Mormon 5:12–13 contains Mormon’s prophecy that his writings would be hidden and then brought forth to be read by all people.
Invite students to read Mormon 5:14–15 silently, looking for what the Lord intended Mormon’s writings to do for people in the last days.
According to Mormon 5:14–15, what are the purposes of the Book of Mormon? (Make sure students express that the Book of Mormon was written to persuade people that Jesus is the Christ, to help fulfill God’s covenant with the house of Israel, and to help descendants of the Lamanites believe the gospel more fully.)
How has your study of the Book of Mormon helped you more fully believe in Jesus Christ?
Remind students that Mormon had spent his life trying to help his people repent, but they ultimately refused to do so. On the board next to the principle about repentance that you wrote earlier in the lesson, write the following: If we refuse to repent, …
Invite a student to read Mormon 5:16–19 aloud, and ask the class to look for the results of the Nephites’ refusal to repent.
What do you think it means to be “without Christ and God in the world” (Mormon 5:16)? (Answers may include that it means to live without faith in Jesus Christ or Heavenly Father and without divine influence and guidance.)
Chaff is a light husk on the outside of grain. When the grain is harvested, the chaff is discarded. What do you think is the meaning of the phrase “driven about as chaff before the wind” (Mormon 5:16)?
What would it be like to be on a boat with no way to sail or steer and no anchor (see Mormon 5:18)? How is this situation similar to that of the Nephites?
What do Mormon’s words teach us about those who refuse to repent? (Students’ answers should express that refusal to repent results in a loss of guidance from the Lord. Complete the statement on the board by writing the following truth: If we refuse to repent, the Spirit will withdraw and we will lose the Lord’s guidance.)
Ask students to silently ponder how they have seen this principle in their lives or in the lives of others.
Invite students to quickly review the two principles you have written on the board.
In your own words, how would you express the difference between the outcome of sincerely repenting and the outcome of refusing to repent?
Invite students to read Mormon 5:22–24 silently, looking for what Mormon exhorted people in the latter days to do. You may want to suggest that students mark what they find.
Testify of the truth of the two contrasting principles on the board.
Summarize Mormon 6:1–6 by explaining that the Lamanites allowed the Nephites to gather to the land of Cumorah for a battle. Mormon was growing old, and he knew this would be the “last struggle of [his] people” (verse 6). He entrusted a few of the sacred records to his son Moroni, and he hid the rest of the records in the Hill Cumorah. He recorded what he witnessed of the final destruction of his people.
Ask a student to read Mormon 6:7–9 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, thinking about how Mormon might have felt as he wrote these words.
How do you think Mormon might have felt as he wrote these words? Why?
Why do you think the Nephites awaited death with “awful fear” (Mormon 6:7)?
Divide students into pairs or small groups. Invite them to read Mormon 6:10–15 together and to add up the numbers of Nephites who died in this battle in the land of Cumorah.
How many Nephites died in this battle? (In this battle 230,000 Nephites died, which Mormon said was “all my people, save it were … a few” [Mormon 6:15].)
Display the picture Mormon Bids Farewell to a Once Great Nation by Arnold Friberg. This image is available at lds.org/media-library.
Read Mormon 6:16–22 aloud to students as they follow along in their scriptures. Then ask them to write in their class notebooks or study journals about the thoughts and impressions that came to them as they read and listened to these verses. After sufficient time, you may want to give them an opportunity to share some of the thoughts they have written.
Testify to students of the love that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, prophets, leaders, and parents have for them. Encourage them to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and to repent of their sins so they can be “clasped in the arms of Jesus” (Mormon 5:11), who stands “with open arms to receive” them (Mormon 6:17).