Nephi and his brothers obeyed when the Lord commanded them to return to Jerusalem to ask Ishmael and his family to join them in the wilderness so they could marry and raise up children. As they were returning from Jerusalem, Laman, Lemuel, and members of Ishmael’s family rebelled against Nephi and tried to kill him. However, Nephi remained faithful and tried to help them be faithful as well.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Julie B. Beck, who served as Relief Society General President:
“As I meet with young single adults around the world, I ask them, ‘Why does the First Presidency care so much about you and provide so many resources for you?’” (Julie B. Beck, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” Ensign, Mar. 2011, 12).
How would you answer Sister Beck’s question?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Beck:
“These are some of the answers I get: ‘We are future Church leaders.’ ‘We need training so we can stay strong.’ ‘Our testimonies are strengthened in our seminary and institute classes.’ ‘We need to meet other great Latter-day Saint youth.’ ‘We are the hope of the future.’ I have rarely heard, ‘So I will someday be a better father or a better mother.’ …
“… Evidence is all around us that the family is becoming less important. Marriage rates are declining, the age of marriage is rising, and divorce rates are rising. Out-of-wedlock births are growing. Abortion is rising and becoming increasingly legal. We see lower birth rates. We see unequal relationships between men and women, and we see cultures that still practice abuse within family relationships. Many times a career gains importance over the family.
“Many of our youth are losing confidence in the institution of families. They’re placing more and more value on education and less and less importance on forming an eternal family. Many don’t see forming families as a faith-based work. …
“This generation will be called upon to defend the doctrine of the family as never before. If they don’t know it, they can’t defend it” (Julie B. Beck, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” 12, 14, 17).
As students study 1 Nephi 7 today, invite them to look for what we can learn from this chapter about the doctrine of the family.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 7:1–2 aloud.
What did the Lord command Lehi to do?
What truth can we learn from this commandment? (Help students identify the following doctrine: The Lord commands us to marry and raise up children unto Him. Write this doctrine on the board.)
To help students understand this doctrine, provide each student with a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” or invite them to turn to the copy of the family proclamation in their study journals.
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement. Invite the class to listen for what latter-day prophets have declared about the importance of marriage.
“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
Point out the phrase “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” in the family proclamation.
What is the eternal destiny of God’s children? (Our eternal destiny includes the potential and opportunity to become like God.)
How do marriage between a man and a woman and parenthood help us become like God? (The fulness of blessings possessed by our heavenly parents can be obtained only in an eternal marriage relationship between a man and a woman [see D&C 131:1–4; 132:20–21].)
Explain that one of the most important reasons for marriage is to bring children into the world.
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement from the family proclamation. Invite students to look for words and phrases that help them understand what it means to raise up children “unto the Lord” (1 Nephi 7:1).
“We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. …
“… Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” 129).
Based on this statement, what does it mean to raise up children unto the Lord?
How can youth prepare now to marry and to raise children in the gospel?
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 7:3–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how the Lord helped Nephi and his brothers obey the commandment to marry and raise up children unto Him.
How did the Lord help Nephi and his brothers obey the commandment to marry and raise children?
Testify of the importance of marriage and family in God’s plan of happiness. Encourage students to apply the doctrine they identified in 1 Nephi 7:1–2 by seeking to strengthen their family and by preparing to marry and raise up children to the Lord.
Ask students to think of an aspect of their life in which they would like the Lord’s help. (Examples might include schoolwork, family relationships, friendships, church callings, demands on their time, or feelings of low self-worth.)
As students continue to study 1 Nephi 7 today, invite them to look for ways they can receive the Lord’s help in that aspect of their life.
Summarize 1 Nephi 7:6–11 by explaining that Laman, Lemuel, and some members of Ishmael’s family rebelled and desired to return to Jerusalem. Nephi reminded his brothers of the blessings they had already received from the Lord.
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 7:12–13 silently, looking for the truth Nephi taught his brothers to persuade them to continue their journey to the promised land instead of returning to Jerusalem.
Write the following phrase on the board: If we exercise faith in the Lord, …
Based on what Nephi asked his brothers (see verse 12), how would you complete this statement to form a principle? (As students respond, complete the phrase so that it conveys the following principle: If we exercise faith in the Lord, He is able to do all things for us according to His will.)
Explain that according to 1 Nephi 7:14–15, Nephi told those who wanted to return to Jerusalem that if they returned, they would perish when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 7:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Laman and Lemuel responded to Nephi’s warning.
How did Laman and Lemuel respond to Nephi’s warning?
How would you feel if you had been in Nephi’s situation? What would you do?
Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 7:17–18 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi did next.
How did Nephi exercise faith in the Lord?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“It is especially interesting to me that Nephi did not pray … to have his circumstances changed. Rather, he prayed for the strength to change his circumstances” (David A. Bednar, “In the Strength of the Lord” [Brigham Young University devotional, Oct. 23, 2001], 4, speeches.byu.edu).
How is the principle we learned from 1 Nephi 7:12 illustrated in Nephi’s experience?
In addition to praying, what are other ways that we can exercise faith in the Lord in order to receive strength or help from Him?
Invite students to answer the following question in their study journals:
When have you exercised faith in the Lord and received strength or help from Him?
Invite several students to share what they wrote. Consider sharing a personal experience regarding this principle as well.
Ask students to recall the aspect of their life in which they would like the Lord’s help. Invite them to ponder how they can apply the principle they identified in 1 Nephi 7:12 in order to receive the Lord’s help.
Tell students that after Nephi was delivered from his bonds, his brothers tried to attack him again.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 7:19–20 aloud.
Who convinced Laman and Lemuel to stop trying to kill Nephi?
Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 7:21–22 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi chose to do.
What did Nephi choose to do?
What does it mean to “frankly forgive” (verse 21)? (You may need to explain that the word frankly means honestly and directly.)
How did Nephi’s brothers respond after Nephi forgave them?
What principle can we learn from Nephi’s example of forgiveness? (Help students identify the following principle: Choosing to frankly forgive others can bring peace.)
Invite students to think about situations in their families that have required forgiveness.
Why is forgiveness especially important in our families?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency:
“I have discovered one thing that most [happy families] have in common: they have a way of forgiving and forgetting the imperfections of others and of looking for the good.
“Those in unhappy families, on the other hand, often find fault, hold grudges, and can’t seem to let go of past offenses. …
“… As we accept [our Savior’s] ways and overcome our pride by softening our hearts, we can bring reconciliation and forgiveness into our families and our personal lives. God will help us to be more forgiving, … to be first to apologize even if something wasn’t our fault, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “One Key to a Happy Family,” Ensign, Oct. 2012, 5, 6).
Conclude by inviting students to share their testimonies of the blessings that come from choosing to forgive others. You may want to share your testimony as well. Invite students to apply the principles they learned in 1 Nephi 7.