Approximately 60 years before King Benjamin’s son Mosiah became king, a man named Zeniff led a group of Nephites from Zarahemla to live in the land of Nephi, which they considered “the land of their inheritance” (see Omni 1:27–30). King Mosiah authorized a man named Ammon to lead a small group to the land of Nephi to learn the fate of Zeniff’s group. Ammon and his companions found the descendants of Zeniff’s group living in bondage to the Lamanites. Zeniff’s grandson Limhi was their king. Ammon’s arrival brought hope to Limhi and his people. Limhi asked Ammon if he could translate the engravings on 24 gold plates his people had discovered. Ammon explained that the king in Zarahemla, King Mosiah, was a seer who could translate those ancient records.
Suggestions for Teaching
Ammon finds the land of Lehi-Nephi and learns how King Limhi’s people came into bondage
Before studying Mosiah 7 today, it will be helpful for students to become familiar with the various journeys recorded in Mosiah 7–24. The following activity provides an overview of these journeys, which occurred during a period of approximately 80 years (200 BC to 121 BC).
Give each student a copy of the accompanying diagram. Invite students to complete the diagram by placing the number of each journey in the appropriate circle on the map. Students could do this activity on their own or in small groups, or you could complete it together as a class.
Overview of Journeys in Mosiah 7–24: Matching Activity
Journey 1. Zeniff and other Nephites traveled from Zarahemla to the land of Nephi (or Lehi-Nephi), which had become occupied by Lamanites. These Nephites fought among themselves, and the survivors returned to Zarahemla. (See Omni 1:27–28; Mosiah 9:1–2.)
After Zeniff died, his son Noah reigned in wickedness. The Lord sent the prophet Abinadi to warn the people to repent. Alma, one of King Noah’s priests, obeyed Abinadi’s message and taught it to others. (See Mosiah 11–18.)
The Lamanites attacked Noah’s people in the land of Nephi. Noah was later killed, and his son Limhi reigned. The people of Limhi were in bondage to the Lamanites. (See Mosiah 19–20.)
Journey 4. Limhi sent a group of Nephites to find Zarahemla. After becoming lost in the wilderness, the group discovered the ruins of a destroyed nation and a record written on 24 gold plates. (See Mosiah 8:7–9; 21:25–27.)
Journey 6. Limhi and his people escaped from the Lamanites and were led by Ammon and his brethren to Zarahemla (see Mosiah 22:10–13).
After Limhi’s people escaped, the Lamanites sent an army after them. The army was lost in the wilderness when they discovered Alma and his people in the land of Helam. The Lamanites brought them into bondage. Alma’s people prayed to the Lord for support. (See Mosiah 22–24.)
Journey 7. The Lord delivered Alma and his people and guided them to Zarahemla (see Mosiah 24:20–25).
Place the number of each journey in the appropriate circle on the map.(click to view larger)
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After students have had sufficient time to complete the activity, review their responses. The correct answers can be found on the diagram titled “Overview of Journeys in Mosiah 7–24,” which is located in the appendix of this manual.
Point out the land of Zarahemla on the diagram. Remind students that this is where King Mosiah and his people lived.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 7:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Mosiah and his people wanted to know.
What did Mosiah and his people want to know?
Explain that Mosiah allowed a small group of men, led by a man named Ammon, to search for the people who had left Zarahemla to live in Lehi-Nephi (see Mosiah 7:2–3). (This action is represented by journey 5 on the diagram titled “Overview of Journeys in Mosiah 7–24.”)
Summarize Mosiah 7:4–11 by explaining that Ammon found the city where the descendants of Zeniff’s people lived under the reign of Zeniff’s grandson Limhi. Limhi saw Ammon’s group outside the walls of the city and imprisoned them. He questioned them two days later.
Ask several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 7:12–15. Invite the class to follow along, looking for Limhi’s reaction when he learned who Ammon was and where he was from.
Why was Limhi so happy to learn that Ammon was from the land of Zarahemla?
Summarize Mosiah 7:16–19 by explaining that King Limhi gathered his people together at the temple to comfort them and to encourage them to trust in God for deliverance.
To help students recognize why Limhi’s people were in bondage, divide students into pairs. Invite them to read Mosiah 7:20–25 with their partners, looking for the main reason why Limhi’s people had been brought into bondage. After students have finished reading, ask:
According to verse 20, what is the main reason why these Nephites had been brought into bondage?
What principles can we learn from verses 20–25? (Students may identify a number of principles, including the following: If we choose to sin, then we will experience bondage and sorrow. Write this principle on the board.)
Invite students to come to the board to list examples of sins that will lead us to experience bondage and sorrow. (For example, students may write sins such as the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography, which lead to a loss of the Spirit and can lead to harmful habits and addictions.) Ask students to explain how the sins they listed can lead to bondage and sorrow.
Summarize Mosiah 7:25–32 by explaining that Limhi’s people were guilty of many sins, including killing Abinadi, which brought the consequences of bondage and afflictions.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 7:33 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Limhi exhorted his people to do in order to be delivered from bondage.
What did Limhi exhort his people to do in order to be delivered from bondage?
How would you summarize a principle from verse 33 about what we can do to be delivered from the bondage of sin? (Students should identify a principle like the following: If we turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, trust in Him, and serve Him with all diligence of mind, then He will deliver us from the bondage of sin.)
What do you think it means to “turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart … and serve him with all diligence of mind” (verse 33; italics added)? What are some ways we can do this?
In what ways can the Lord deliver us from the bondage of sin? (He can forgive us and help us overcome negative consequences of our choices.)
Consider sharing your testimony that Jesus Christ will deliver us from the bondage of sin as we turn to Him in faith and repent.
Give students time to reflect on their lives and to consider if there are any sins they need to repent of. Encourage them to do whatever is necessary to repent of those sins so they can be delivered by the Savior.
Ammon learns of the 24 gold plates and tells Limhi of a seer who can translate the engravings they contain
Ask two students to come to the front of the class. Blindfold one student, and then place books, pieces of paper, or other harmless objects on the floor across the room. Ask the second student to give verbal instructions to help the first student cross the room without touching any of the objects on the floor. When the task is completed, ask the blindfolded student to remove the blindfold, and invite both students to return to their seats.
What is the value of listening to someone who can see things we can’t?
As students study Mosiah 8 today, invite them to look for truths that can help them understand the value of following those who have been called by God to lead us.
Summarize Mosiah 8:1–12 by explaining that Limhi had sent an expedition to get help from Zarahemla sometime before Ammon’s arrival. The group wandered in the wilderness, and instead of finding Zarahemla, they found the remains of a destroyed civilization. There they discovered 24 gold plates with engravings on them. (These actions are represented by journey 4 on the diagram titled “Overview of Journeys in Mosiah 7–24.” A record of the Jaredites, taken from the 24 gold plates, is included in the Book of Mormon as the book of Ether.) Explain that King Limhi wanted to understand the writings that were engraved on the 24 plates. He asked Ammon if he knew of anyone who could translate them.
Invite a student to read aloud Ammon’s response in Mosiah 8:13–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the word Ammon used to indicate a person who has the power to translate such records.
What word did Ammon use to indicate a person who has power from God to translate? (Invite students to consider marking the word seer in verse 13.)
Ask students to search Mosiah 8:16–18 with a partner, looking for additional abilities of a seer. Ask several students to tell what they have found.
What truth can we learn from verse 18 about why the Lord provides prophets, seers, and revelators? (Help students identify the following truth: The Lord provides prophets, seers, and revelators to benefit mankind.)
How many seers do we have on the earth today? (Fifteen—the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)
What are some things that prophets, seers, and revelators make known to us? (If students struggle to answer, ask what seers have made known about topics such as marriage and family, education, entertainment and media, or sexual purity.)
How has your life been blessed by modern-day prophets, seers, and revelators?
You may want to tell about how prophets, seers, and revelators have blessed your life. Conclude by encouraging students to follow the guidance we receive today from members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Commentary and Background Information
Mosiah 8:16. “A seer is a revelator and a prophet also”
Elder John A. Widtsoe (1872–1952) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the meaning of the title “prophet, seer, and revelator”:
“A prophet is a teacher of known truth; a seer is a perceiver of hidden truth; a revelator is a bearer of new truth. In the widest sense, the one most commonly used, the title, prophet, includes the other titles and makes of the prophet, a teacher, perceiver, and bearer of truth” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, arr. G. Homer Durham, 3 vols. in 1 , 258).
Mosiah 8:17. “A seer can know of things … which are to come”
President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared an example of how latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators have acted as seers:
“The scriptures speak of prophets as ‘watch[men] upon the tower’ who see ‘the enemy while he [is] yet afar off’ [D&C 101:54] and who have ‘beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye … [for] a seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people’ [Moses 6:36; see also Mosiah 8:15–17].
“[Many years ago] the Brethren warned us of the disintegration of the family and told us to prepare. …
“The weekly family home evening was introduced by the First Presidency. …
“Parents are provided with excellent materials for teaching their children, with a promise that the faithful will be blessed.
“While the doctrines and revealed organization remain unchanged, all agencies of the Church have been reshaped in their relationship to one another and to the home. …
“… The entire curriculum of the Church was overhauled—based on scriptures. …
“We can only imagine where we would be if we were just now reacting to this terrible redefinition of the family. But that is not the case. We are not casting frantically about trying to decide what to do. We know what to do and what to teach. …
“The course we follow is not of our own making. The plan of salvation, the great plan of happiness, was revealed to us, and the prophets and Apostles continue to receive revelation as the Church and its members stand in need of more” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Father and the Family,” Ensign, May 1994, 20).
Supplemental Teaching Idea
Mosiah 7. Video presentation—“Painted into a Corner”
To help students further understand and feel the truth and importance of the principles identified in Mosiah 7, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.
“Whenever we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. Though we are spiritually stuck, there is always a way back. Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it. …
“… For those who find themselves captive to past unrighteous choices, stuck in a dark corner, without all the blessings available by the righteous exercise of agency, we love you. Come back! Come out of the dark corner and into the light. Even if you have to walk across a newly varnished floor, it is worth it. Trust that ‘through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind [including you and me] may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel’ [Articles of Faith 1:3]” (Robert D. Hales, “Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 25–27).
You could also show the video “Painted into a Corner” (3:41), which is available on LDS.org. This video portrays the account of young Elder Robert D. Hales painting himself into a corner. It also highlights a young man’s return to the Lord after making choices that had left him feeling guilty and alone. Invite students to watch for what Trevor, the young man in the video, did to turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart and what the consequence of his choice was.
After showing the video, ask:
What did Trevor do to turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart?