The books of Jarom and Omni contain the final writings in the small plates of Nephi. Jarom received the plates from his father, Enos, and recorded the Nephites’ struggles and blessings over a period of approximately 40 years. He then passed the plates to his son Omni. The book of Omni contains the writings of five different Nephite record keepers and covers approximately 193 years.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. If possible, display a picture of President Uchtdorf as the statement is read.
“I remember when I was preparing to be trained as a fighter pilot. We spent a great deal of our preliminary military training in physical exercise. I’m still not exactly sure why endless running was considered such an essential preparatory part of becoming a pilot. Nevertheless, we ran and we ran and we ran some more.
“As I was running I began to notice something that, frankly, troubled me. Time and again I was being passed by men who smoked, drank, and did all manner of things that were contrary to the gospel and, in particular, to the Word of Wisdom.
“I remember thinking, ‘Wait a minute! Aren’t I supposed to be able to run and not be weary?’ But I was weary, and I was overtaken by people who were definitely not following the Word of Wisdom. I confess, it troubled me at the time. I asked myself, was the promise true or was it not?” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 58).
Invite students to consider if they have ever felt similarly troubled, wondering if or how the Lord would fulfill His promise to bless them for keeping His commandments. As students study the book of Jarom today, encourage them to look for truths that can help them when they may wonder if or how the Lord will fulfill His promises.
Summarize Jarom 1:1–3 by explaining that Jarom received the plates from his father, Enos. Jarom wrote only a small amount, and he hoped his words would help preserve the genealogy of his family and benefit the Lamanites.
Write the word verify on the board, and ask students to explain what this word means (to confirm or prove that something is true). Explain that Jarom used the word verified as he wrote about a promise given to his ancestors.
Ask students to read Jarom 1:9 silently, looking for the promise of the Lord that was verified. Ask students to report what they find.
How would you state the promise in verse 9 as a principle that we can apply today? (Help students identify the following principle: As we keep the commandments of God, we will prosper. You may want to invite students to consider marking this promise in their scriptures.)
Write the following scripture references and questions on the board. (To save time, you may want to write them on the board before class begins.)
Divide students into groups of three. Assign one of the scripture references on the board to a person in each group. Have students read their assigned scripture passages silently, looking for answers to the corresponding questions. Then provide one or two minutes for each person in the group to summarize what he or she has read and to answer the assigned question. After students have finished studying and discussing their assigned scripture passages, ask:
Based on what you have learned from the experience of the Nephites, what are some ways God will bless those who obey His commandments?
Remind the class of President Uchtdorf’s experience when he wondered if the Lord’s promise given in the Word of Wisdom would be verified. Then invite a student to read aloud the rest of his statement.
“The answer didn’t come immediately. But eventually I learned that God’s promises are not always fulfilled as quickly as or in the way we might hope; they come according to His timing and in His ways. Years later I could see clear evidence of the temporal blessings that come to those who obey the Word of Wisdom—in addition to the spiritual blessings that come immediately from obedience to any of God’s laws. Looking back, I know for sure that the promises of the Lord, if perhaps not always swift, are always certain” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Continue in Patience,” 58).
When has the Lord blessed, or prospered, you for keeping His commandments? From your experience, what testimony can you share about the Lord and His promises? (You may also want to share an experience and your testimony.)
Briefly introduce the book of Omni by explaining that it was written by descendants of Jarom and that it covers approximately 193 years.
Explain that the book of Omni describes several important events in the history of the people in the Book of Mormon.
Draw the accompanying map on the board. (Do not copy the arrows. You will add them later in the lesson.) Encourage students to copy the map in their study journals or class notebooks.
You may want to point out that the precise locations of places mentioned in the Book of Mormon are unknown today. This map is intended to represent several Book of Mormon sites in relation to one another.
Remind students that in Nephi’s time, the Nephites separated from the Lamanites and settled in a place they called the land of Nephi. On the map, draw an arrow from the land of first inheritance to the land of Nephi. Explain that after many years, a man named Mosiah was warned by the Lord to flee out of the land of Nephi with as many people as would follow him (see Omni 1:12). Draw an arrow on the board from the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla.
Invite a student to read Omni 1:13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who among the Nephites followed Mosiah and how they were blessed.
Who followed Mosiah?
How were Mosiah and his people blessed?
What principle can we learn from Omni 1:13? (Help students identify the following principle: If we hearken to the Lord’s words, He will guide and protect us. Write this principle on the board.)
Summarize Omni 1:14–16 by explaining that when the Nephites came to the land of Zarahemla, they discovered that it was already inhabited. The people they found there were the descendants of a group that had been led out of Jerusalem by a man named Mulek around the same time that Lehi’s family had departed from Jerusalem (see Mosiah 25:2). The people of Zarahemla were led by a man named Zarahemla at the time they were discovered by Mosiah and his people.
Invite students to search Omni 1:14 silently, looking for why Zarahemla rejoiced when the Nephites arrived. Ask students to report what they find.
Invite a student to read Omni 1:17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for similarities and differences between the Nephites and the people they discovered in the land of Zarahemla. Invite a few students to express what they have learned.
Which of the difficulties in verse 17 do you think the people of Zarahemla might have been able to avoid if they had had the words of the Lord and followed them? Why?
Summarize Omni 1:18–22 by explaining that the people of Zarahemla learned the language of the Nephites, united with them, and made Mosiah their king. These verses also tell of how the people of Zarahemla had previously encountered Coriantumr, who was one of the last survivors of the Jaredite nation.
On the map, point out the land of Desolation, and explain that this is the place in the land northward where the Jaredite people’s “bones lay scattered” after they were destroyed (Omni 1:22). Tell students that they will learn about the Jaredites when they study the book of Ether. You may want to invite students to consider writing Jaredites in their scriptures next to Omni 1:20–22.
Draw an arrow that extends from the land of Zarahemla to the land of Nephi and then turns back to Zarahemla. Draw another arrow from the land of Zarahemla that extends in one direction to the land of Nephi. Ask students if they can explain what these two arrows represent. If they need help, summarize Omni 1:27–30 by explaining that two groups from Zarahemla attempted to return to the land of Nephi. The first group failed and went back to Zarahemla. As Amaleki concluded the book of Omni, he mentioned that he did not know the fate of the second group. Tell students that they will learn about this group, the people of Zeniff, as they study the book of Mosiah. You may want to invite students to consider writing people of Zeniff in their scriptures next to Omni 1:29–30.
Explain that as Amaleki concluded his record, he wrote an important invitation to those who would read his words. Ask a student to read Omni 1:25–26 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Amaleki invited his readers to do.
What principles can we identify in these verses? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure it is clear that if we come unto Christ and offer our whole souls unto Him, we will be saved. Invite students to consider marking phrases in verse 26 that teach this principle.)
What do you think it means to offer your whole soul to Jesus Christ? (Possible answers include dedicating your thoughts, desires, and actions to the Lord and His work.)
What do you think might be the difference between offering the Lord your whole soul and offering Him only part of your soul?
Invite students to think of someone they know who is a good example of giving his or her whole soul to the Lord.
What have you seen that makes you think this person is offering his or her whole soul to the Lord?
How do you think this person has been blessed by offering his or her whole soul to the Lord?
Testify that anything we might sacrifice in order to come unto Jesus Christ and offer our whole souls to Him will be well worth the blessings we will receive from Him.
Invite students to ponder how they can more fully give their whole souls to Jesus Christ. Encourage them to write in their class notebooks or study journals how they will seek to do so.