When King Noah and his priests questioned Abinadi, the prophet rebuked them for not teaching or keeping the commandments. King Noah ordered his priests to kill Abinadi, but God protected Abinadi and gave him power to continue his message. Quoting Isaiah, Abinadi testified of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.
To begin this lesson, write the following statements on the board:
Ask students to silently consider how well the statements describe them, using a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 representing that the statement describes them very well).
Why do you think it is important to be able to sincerely make both of these statements?
As students study Mosiah 12–14 today, invite them to look for the importance of both knowing and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Remind students that in the previous lesson, they discussed the account of King Noah and his priests casting Abinadi into prison because of his prophecies against them (see Mosiah 12:1–17). Summarize Mosiah 12:18–24 by explaining that Abinadi was later brought before King Noah and his priests. The priests questioned him, trying to confuse him into saying something they could use against him. Then one of them asked Abinadi to explain a scripture passage.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 12:25–30. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Abinadi’s reasons for rebuking Noah and his priests.
Why did Abinadi rebuke Noah and his priests?
To help students answer this question, you may want to point out that the priests claimed that salvation came by the law of Moses (see Mosiah 12:32). However, they did not keep the Ten Commandments, which were part of that law, and they did not teach the people to keep the commandments (see Mosiah 11:1–15; 12:27–29, 37; 13:25–26).
Point to the statements on the board.
How well do you think each statement describes Noah and his priests?
Invite students to read Mosiah 12:35–36 silently, looking for what Abinadi began to teach the priests.
What did Abinadi begin to teach the priests? (If necessary, point out that these are the first two of the Ten Commandments [see Exodus 20:3–4].)
Display the picture Abinadi before King Noah (Gospel Art Book , no. 75; see also lds.org/media-library). Ask students to describe what is happening in the picture. (The king has ordered that Abinadi be killed. The Lord is protecting Abinadi.) To help students understand this account, consider having three students stand and perform a dramatic reading. One student will act as narrator. A second student will read the words of King Noah. The third student will read the words of Abinadi.
First, ask the narrator and the student playing Noah to read their parts in Mosiah 13:1–2. Then have the student playing Abinadi reply with Mosiah 13:3–4. The narrator will then read Mosiah 13:5–6. Then the student playing Abinadi will finish with Mosiah 13:7–11.
Thank the students who performed the dramatic reading, and invite them to return to their seats. Direct students’ attention to Mosiah 13:11.
According to this verse, why was Abinadi going to teach the rest of the Ten Commandments to the priests? (The commandments of God were not written in their hearts.)
What do you think it means to have the commandments written in our hearts?
What principle can we learn from the actions of Noah and his priests about what happens when we do not have the commandments of God written in our hearts? (Students may identify several principles, including the following: If the commandments of God are not written in our hearts, we will not seek to obey them with real intent. Invite students to consider writing this principle in their scriptures next to Mosiah 13:11.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President:
“We need to get the gospel from our heads into our hearts! It is possible for us to merely go through the motions of living the gospel because it is expected or because it is the culture in which we have grown up or because it is a habit. …
“We all need to seek to have our hearts and very natures changed so that we no longer have a desire to follow the ways of the world but to please God” (Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Do I Believe?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 88).
Rather than merely going through the motions of living the gospel, what can we do to allow God’s commandments to be written in our hearts? (We can choose to faithfully obey the commandments, which will enable the Holy Ghost to write them in our hearts [see 2 Corinthians 3:3].)
Use the following activity to help students evaluate how well the Ten Commandments are written in their hearts. Write the following four responses on the board:
Point out that each of the following statements relates to one of the Ten Commandments. Read each statement aloud, and invite students to consider which of the responses on the board best represents how often the statement is true in their lives.
I love God and put Him first in my life (before friends, hobbies, my own desires, and so on).
I avoid worshipping graven images or idols (including entertainers, sports stars, material possessions, and so on).
I speak the Lord’s name with reverence.
I keep the Sabbath day holy by recognizing it as the Lord’s day, not mine.
I honor my parents by being obedient and respectful.
I control my anger and do not act violently toward others.
I remain sexually pure. I avoid inappropriate images, language, and actions.
I refrain from stealing and cheating.
I tell the truth.
I avoid coveting (which means to intensely desire something that belongs to someone else).
How have you been blessed as you have sought to write God’s commandments in your heart? (You may also want to share an experience as well as your testimony.)
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or study journals one way they will seek to have God’s commandments written in their hearts.
Write the following incomplete statement on the board: “After all our obedience and good works, we cannot be saved from death or the effects of our individual sins without …”
Ask students to think about what phrase could complete this statement.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Mosiah 13:27–28, 32. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that indicate how we can be saved.
What words or phrases did you find that indicate how we can be saved? (Possible answers include “were it not for the atonement” [verse 28] and “there could not any man be saved except it were through the redemption of God” [verse 32]. Point out that the word God in these verses refers to Jesus Christ.)
Explain that Abinadi’s statements about “the law” in Mosiah 13:28 and 32 are references to the law of Moses, which included a strict set of commandments involving sacrifices, feasts, and other performances. The law was given to help the Israelites remember God and look forward to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Over time, many Israelites failed to understand the role of Jesus Christ as their Savior, thinking they could be saved simply through obedience to the law of Moses.
Based on what we learn from verses 28 and 32, how would you state a doctrine about the only way we can be saved? (Help students identify the following doctrine: No one can be saved except through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)
Refer to the incomplete statement on the board. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“After all our obedience and good works, we cannot be saved from death or the effects of our individual sins without the grace extended by the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon makes this clear. It teaches that ‘salvation doth not come by the law alone’ (Mosiah 13:28). In other words, salvation does not come simply by keeping the commandments. … Man cannot earn his own salvation” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 1994, 67).
Why is it important for us to understand that salvation is possible only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
Complete the statement on the board so that it reads as follows:
Explain that as Abinadi spoke to Noah and the priests, he quoted some of Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus Christ. Invite students to read Mosiah 14:3–5 silently. Ask them to look for words or phrases that describe what the Savior has done to bring about their salvation. You may want to invite students to consider marking what they find.
After students have studied these verses, ask them to report what they have found. You may need to explain that the word stripes can refer to the wounds left on the Savior’s body when He was scourged, or whipped (see John 19:1). The word can also refer to all His suffering.
To help students think about the grief and sorrow that the Savior carried for them and to help them think about His suffering for their sins, read the following statements to them. Invite them to complete these statements in their minds:
Jesus Christ has carried my sorrows, such as …
Jesus Christ was wounded and bruised for my transgressions, such as …
Testify that through the Savior’s Atonement we can receive peace and forgiveness in this life and salvation in the life to come. Invite students to show their love and appreciation for the Savior by keeping the commandments.