After the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, Mormon wrote to the future descendants of the Book of Mormon people about the importance of knowing who they are and what they must do to be saved. With great love for the future descendants of his enemies, Mormon taught the importance of following the gospel of Jesus Christ so that it might be “well with [them] in the day of judgment” (Mormon 7:10).
Note: This lesson may not require a full class session to teach. You might consider using any remaining time to review doctrinal mastery passages with students.
Write the number 230,000 on the board. Ask students if they remember how this number relates to the destruction of the Nephites. (It is the number of Nephite soldiers who died in the final battle, recorded in Mormon 6. You may want to emphasize that the numbers in Mormon 6:10–15 appear to refer only to those who fought in the battle, not to the many others who were killed as a result of the battle.)
Have students imagine that they have survived a great battle in which their family members and friends have been killed and their nation has been conquered. Give them a moment to think about what they might say if they wrote a message to the descendants of the people who killed their loved ones and conquered their nation.
Point out that Mormon 7 contains Mormon’s final writings on the golden plates. Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mormon 7:1–4. Ask the class to follow along, looking for some of Mormon’s final words to the descendants of the Lamanites.
What did Mormon want the descendants of the Lamanites to know?
What attributes of the Savior do you see in Mormon’s words to his enemies?
Help students understand that Mormon taught the descendants of the Lamanites what they needed to do to be saved. He had charity for all people, even his enemies.
Write the following heading on the board:
Explain that to be saved in the kingdom of God, we must become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Mormon’s teachings in Mormon 7 can help us understand some of the things we must do to become more like Them and qualify to receive salvation.
Invite students to read Mormon 7:5, 8, 10 silently, looking for what Mormon taught that we must do to be saved. Ask students to report what they find, and list their answers on the board. (Their answers could include the following: come to a knowledge of our fathers, repent of all our sins, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He overcame physical death, be baptized, lay hold upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the scriptures, and be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost.)
Point out that the teachings listed on the board include the “first principles and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:4). Explain that if the Nephites had followed the principles described in verses 5–10, they could have been spared from destruction (see Mormon 3:2). Consider inviting one or more students to recite Articles of Faith 1:4.
Invite a student to read Mormon 7:6–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for some of the blessings promised to those who accept and obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel. Invite students to consider marking what they find.
Which of the blessings listed in verses 6–7 will God give to all of His children who have been or will be born? (Resurrection. Remind students that being resurrected after we die is a blessing of the Savior’s Atonement that all people will receive, regardless of how they lived in mortality.)
Which of the blessings listed in verses 6–7 does the Lord offer to all those who accept and obey the principles and ordinances of His gospel?
Invite students to think about one of the blessings mentioned in verse 7 that they would especially like to receive and why. After students have had time to ponder, invite them to share their thoughts with a partner. Or you could invite a few students to share with the entire class.
What do we call the blessing of being able to “dwell in the presence of God” in a state of endless happiness? (Eternal life.)
What principle can we learn from Mormon 7:5–10 about who will receive eternal life? (Using their own words, students should identify a principle such as the following: All who accept and obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ will receive eternal life. Write this principle on the board, and invite students to consider writing it in their scriptures.)
Why do you think Mormon might have chosen to finish his writings by teaching this principle?
How can accepting and obeying this principle help people in our day?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask students to listen for Elder Ballard’s counsel on how we can apply this principle in our lives:
“Live the doctrine of Christ, the simple and basic principles of the gospel, each day—have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, honor the covenant of baptism, live worthy of the Holy Ghost as your companion, and endure to the very end. Do this every day, and the Spirit of the Lord will be with you to keep you safely on the pathway that leads to eternal life” (M. Russell Ballard, “Follow the Doctrine and Gospel of Christ” [Brigham Young University fireside, Nov. 7, 2010], 8, speeches.byu.edu).
According to Elder Ballard, how are we blessed as we live the basic principles of the gospel each day?
What are some specific ways in which you have been blessed as you have sought to live according to the principles of the gospel?
Consider sharing your testimony that all who accept and obey the principles and ordinances of the gospel will receive eternal life. Ask students to write in their class notebooks or study journals one way in which they will seek to better live according to the basic principles and ordinances of the gospel. Invite a few students to share with the class what they wrote if they feel comfortable doing so.