This lesson will help students understand King Benjamin’s teachings to his sons and his people three years before his death. King Benjamin taught his people how to receive and retain a remission of their sins by exercising faith in Jesus Christ.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 9:2–3 aloud to remind students that Nephi was commanded to create two sets of plates. Help them understand that in this passage the phrase “these plates” refers to the small plates of Nephi, which contained a record primarily of sacred things.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 9:4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the purpose of the large plates (an account of the reign of the kings and wars of the people).
Remind students that as Mormon was abridging the large plates of Nephi, he discovered the small plates among the other records. He was inspired by the Holy Ghost to include what he found on the small plates with his abridgement, even though he did not know why (see Words of Mormon 1:7).
Invite half of the class to search 1 Nephi 9:5–6 for why Nephi was commanded to make the small plates. Have the other half of the class search Words of Mormon 1:6–7 for why Mormon decided to include the small plates with his abridgement. After class members report, ask them what these passages from Nephi and Mormon teach them about the Lord. (Students may use different words, but be sure they express the following truth: The Lord knows all things.)
What was the future “wise purpose” that both Nephi and Mormon referred to? (The Lord knew that in 1828, the small plates would take the place of the lost 116 pages of Book of Mormon manuscript. See unit 11, day 1 in the student study guide.)
How can your understanding that the Lord knows all things in the future give you faith to obey the spiritual promptings you receive?
If you feel a need to spend more time on this part of the lesson, ask students if they can share experiences when they felt prompted by the Spirit to do something and did not learn the purposes of the promptings until later.
Explain that the small plates of Nephi cover the history of the Nephites from Lehi’s ministry until the time when King Mosiah united the peoples of Nephi and Zarahemla and when Mosiah’s son Benjamin reigned over the kingdom in righteousness. King Benjamin was given charge of the sacred records. (See Omni 1:23, 25.)
Near the end of King Benjamin’s life, he asked his son Mosiah to gather the people together. Invite students to read Mosiah 1:10–11 and look for the reasons King Benjamin wanted to speak to the people. (He wanted to announce that Mosiah would be the next king and to give the people a name.)
Show students the picture King Benjamin Addresses His People (Gospel Art Book , no. 74; see also lds.org/media-library). Read Mosiah 2:12–19 to the class. Invite students to raise their hands when they identify phrases that show King Benjamin’s character. As students raise their hands, stop reading and ask them to explain what they have identified and how it reveals King Benjamin’s character.
You may want to ask students what they learned about service in Mosiah 2:17. (Students’ answers should reflect the following principle: When we serve others, we serve God.) You might also want to have the class repeat Mosiah 2:17, a scripture mastery passage, from memory. Consider inviting students to share how they have recently served God by serving others.
Write the following scripture passages on the board. Do not include the answers in parentheses. Assign each student one of the scripture passages to review. Remind them that King Benjamin’s sermon focused on this theme: “Salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17). Each of the scripture passages teaches something about this theme. Invite students to study their assigned scripture passage, looking for doctrines or principles King Benjamin taught.
Mosiah 2:20–25, 34. (When we recognize our indebtedness to God, our gratitude increases.)
Mosiah 3:7–11, 17–18. (Jesus Christ suffered so we can be saved from our sins. If we exercise faith in Jesus Christ through repentance, we can be saved from our sins.)
Mosiah 3:12–16, 19–21. (If we yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can overcome the natural man and become a saint.)
Mosiah 4:5–8, 19–21, 26. (If we humble ourselves before God and strive to develop Christlike attributes, we can retain a remission of our sins.)
After giving students sufficient time, allow them to report what they learned to the class or in small groups. Then ask several students to choose one of the principles and explain how they might apply it in their lives.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 4:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the people responded to the words of King Benjamin. Then invite another student to read Mosiah 5:1–2, 5–8 aloud. Ask the class to look for how we take the Lord’s name upon us. (Make sure students identify this principle: We take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ when we make and keep sacred covenants.)
You may want to remind students that one of the reasons King Benjamin gathered the people together was to teach them about making covenants. He also consecrated his son Mosiah to be king over the people (see Mosiah 6:3).
To conclude, ask students if any of them would like to share how they feel about having taken upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ at baptism. Ask them to ponder the following question and invite them to act on any promptings they receive:
How can you personally apply the principles from King Benjamin’s address?
You might also testify of the joy that comes through believing in Jesus Christ and relying on His Atonement.
Ask students if they would stand up for Jesus Christ even if doing so meant that they would be put to death. Inform them that in Mosiah 7–17 they will study the teachings of the prophet Abinadi. Encourage them to look for the message Abinadi was willing to deliver to the Nephites, even though he knew he would be put to death.