Because King Noah’s pride and riotous living led many of his people into wickedness, the Lord sent the prophet Abinadi to warn Noah and his people. Abinadi warned them that they would be placed under bondage if they did not repent. The people chose not to heed the warnings, and King Noah ordered that Abinadi be cast into prison.
Write the word flattery on the board.
What is flattery? (Insincere praise.)
Why might someone use flattery when interacting with others?
Invite a student to read aloud the following paraphrase of an old fable about a crow and a fox. Ask the class to listen for what the fox was able to do through flattery.
A crow sat in a tree with a piece of cheese in her beak. A fox came along and began telling the crow how noble and beautiful she was. When the fox asked if her voice was as beautiful as her feathers, the crow opened her beak to sing for the fox. As the crow let out a noisy “Caw!” the cheese dropped to the ground and the fox took it and ran.
What was the fox able to do through flattery?
As students study Mosiah 11–12 today, invite them to look for the dangers of listening to those who seek to use flattery against us.
To provide context for the lesson, remind students that Zeniff led a group of people to the land of Nephi, where they were brought into bondage by the Lamanites (see journey 2 of “Overview of Journeys in Mosiah 7–24,” found in the appendix of this manual). Although Zeniff’s overzealousness led him to be deceived by the Lamanites, he was a good man, and he taught his people to put their trust in the Lord. Before Zeniff died, he conferred the kingdom on his son Noah. (See Mosiah 9–10.)
Divide the class into pairs. Assign one partner to read Mosiah 11:1–6 silently and the other partner to read Mosiah 11:14–19 silently. Ask them to look for what kind of king Noah was and how his behavior influenced the people. Invite students to report what they find to their partners.
After sufficient time, ask a few students to describe the influence King Noah had on his people. You might also point out that Noah used the money collected from taxing his people to build “many elegant and spacious buildings,” including a palace for himself and a tower to overlook the land (see Mosiah 11:8–13).
Invite a student to read Mosiah 11:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why the people were willing to support Noah in his wickedness.
Why were the people willing to support Noah in his wickedness? (You may want to explain that in this context the word vain means empty, or without value.)
What principle can we identify from the verses we have studied in Mosiah 11 about the dangers of believing the “vain and flattering words” (verse 7) of others? (Using their own words, students should identify a principle such as the following: If we allow ourselves to be influenced by the vain and flattering words of others, we can be deceived into committing sin. Write this principle on the board.)
What are some examples in our day of how we can be deceived into committing sin by listening to the vain and flattering words of others?
Write the following question on the board:
Invite students to silently ponder this question. Then ask:
Why might it be challenging to follow the prophet in this situation?
As students continue to study Mosiah 11–12, invite them to look for reasons why we should follow prophets’ invitations to make changes in our lives, even when it may be difficult to do so.
Invite a student to read Mosiah 11:20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did to help King Noah and his people.
What did the Lord do to help Noah and his people? (He sent the prophet Abinadi to call them to repentance.)
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 11:21–25. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the consequences Abinadi said the people would experience if they did not repent. (You may want to invite students to consider marking the phrases “except they repent” [verses 21, 25] and “except this people repent” [verse 23] in their scriptures.)
What consequences did Abinadi say the people would experience if they did not repent?
What principle can we learn from these verses about why the Lord calls prophets? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: God calls prophets to call people to repentance and warn of the consequences of sin.)
What are some different ways people may choose to react when a prophet preaches repentance?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for why it is a blessing when prophets call us to repentance.
“The message of repentance is often not welcomed. …
“… When prophets come crying repentance, it ‘throws cold water on the party.’ But in reality the prophetic call should be received with joy. Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life. Pretending there is no sin does not lessen its burden and pain. Suffering for sin does not by itself change anything for the better. Only repentance leads to the sunlit uplands of a better life. And, of course, only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 38).
Why is it a blessing when prophets invite us to repent?
To help students see the effects of sin and of ignoring the prophets’ calls to repent, invite a student to act as scribe and to list on the board students’ responses to the following two questions:
What are some things that youth may be involved in that the prophets have asked us to avoid or repent of?
What are some consequences of ignoring the prophets and continuing to commit these sins? (For example, students may mention that the consequences of committing sin include a loss of the Spirit, damaged relationships, and possible addiction.)
Thank the student acting as scribe and invite him or her to be seated. Then ask the class:
Based on the list of consequences on the board, why should we receive with joy prophetic calls to repent?
Testify that God calls prophets to warn of the consequences of sin. Prophets want us to repent so we can progress and find joy. Encourage students to choose to be grateful when prophets teach us to make changes in our lives and to act on the prophets’ words.
Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 11:26–29. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the reaction of the people and their king to Abinadi’s message.
How did the people and King Noah react to Abinadi’s message? (You may want to remind students that the word wroth means very angry.)
Why do you think the people reacted with anger toward Abinadi, who was trying to help them?
Why do you think they defended King Noah, who was leading them toward misery?
Explain that in Mosiah 11:29, we read that “the eyes of the people were blinded.” In their blindness, the people thought that Noah was their friend and that Abinadi was their enemy, when the opposite was true.
What caused these people to become blind to the truth? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: Sin can blind us from recognizing the truth of prophets’ words. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures near verse 29.)
How does sin blind someone from recognizing the truth of the words of the prophets?
Summarize Mosiah 12:1–8 by explaining that two years after Abinadi escaped from those who sought to capture him and put him to death, he returned among the people in disguise. He delivered the Lord’s message that because the people had not repented, they would experience the consequences of their sins that he had previously warned them about. They would experience bondage, afflictions, pestilence, and destruction, and King Noah would be burnt to death.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 12:9, 13–15. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the people responded to Abinadi the second time he came among them.
How did the people respond to Abinadi’s message?
What words or phrases in these verses indicate that the people had indeed become blind to the truth?
Review the principles students have identified in this lesson. Invite one or more students who are willing to share their testimonies about the importance of avoiding sin and of following the prophets’ invitations to repent. You may also want to share your testimony.
Ask students to write in their study journals or class notebooks how they will try to apply the principles they have learned today. When they have had sufficient time to write, invite a few of them to share what they wrote.