Lesson 14: 1 Nephi 12–13

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

After Nephi saw the Savior’s mortal ministry and Atonement in vision, he saw that after four generations of righteousness, his posterity would be destroyed. He was also shown the iniquity of those who follow Satan in the great and abominable church. He saw that they would remove plain and precious truths from the Bible, causing many to stumble spiritually. In addition, Nephi saw that God would prepare the way for the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days. He also witnessed that the record of his people (the Book of Mormon) would come forth in the latter days to restore plain and precious truths that had been lost to the world.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 12

Nephi sees the future of the Nephite and Lamanite nations

Before class, write the following phrases on strips of paper, and place them randomly in a Bible. You will distribute them to students during the lesson.

  • Premortal life

  • The need for baptism by immersion

  • Eternal marriage

  • Sealing of children to their parents

  • The spirit world

  • Baptisms for the dead

  • The three kingdoms of glory

To begin the lesson, display a bicycle at the front of the room. (Or you could show a picture of a bicycle or draw one on the board.)

bicycle
  • What are some parts of a bicycle that, if removed, would make it unsafe to ride? Why?

  • Imagine that this is your bicycle and that someone deliberately removed the parts we’ve discussed. What might those actions indicate about their feelings toward you?

As students study 1 Nephi 12–13 today, invite them to look for who desires to harm us and how those individuals seek to do so. Invite students to also look for what the Lord has done to help us overcome those efforts.

Summarize 1 Nephi 12 by explaining that this chapter is a continuation of Nephi’s vision. In it, the angel showed Nephi how the symbols in the vision of the tree of life would apply to his posterity. He was shown that some of his descendants would receive all the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, Nephi also saw that his descendants would eventually be destroyed by his brothers’ posterity (the Lamanites).

1 Nephi 13:1–9

Nephi sees the great and abominable church

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 13:1–4, 6. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi saw forming among the Gentiles.

  • What did Nephi see forming among the Gentiles?

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:5, 7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what those in the great and abominable church desire and seek to accomplish.

  • According to verses 7–8, what do those in the great and abominable church desire?

  • According to verses 5 and 9, what do those of the great and abominable church seek to accomplish? Write the following truth on the board: Satan and his followers want to destroy the Saints of God and bring them into captivity.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask students to listen for a definition of the great and abominable church.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all … organizations of whatever name or nature—whether political, philosophical, educational, economic, social, fraternal, civic, or religious—which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 137–38).

  • What do the phrases “church of the devil” and “great and abominable church” refer to?

Be clear that the phrase “great and abominable church” does not refer to a particular denomination or church. You may want to invite students to consider writing the phrase all organizations that are designed to lead people away from God and His laws in the margin next to 1 Nephi 13:6.

  • What are some examples of false ideas or practices that the great and abominable church uses to lead people away from God and His laws? (Examples may include justifying the use of pornography and other evil forms of media and attacking teachings of the Church.)

  • How can knowing that Satan and his followers seek to destroy us and bring us into captivity help us to overcome their efforts?

Inform students that later in this chapter they will learn about one of the ways the great and abominable church has tried to destroy those who seek God.

1 Nephi 13:10–19

Nephi sees God’s hand in the establishment of a free land where the gospel would be restored

Invite a student to read aloud the following summary:

In 1 Nephi 13:10–19 we read Nephi’s words describing his vision of individuals who would go forth “out of captivity,” or religious persecution, from the nations of Europe and settle in North America, where they would be “delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations” (1 Nephi 13:19). Latter-day prophets have taught that these individuals were inspired to help prepare and establish a nation with religious freedom—the United States of America—in which the gospel could be restored.

1 Nephi 13:20–42

Nephi sees future Gentiles with the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and latter-day scriptures

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:20–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the object that Nephi saw early American colonists “carr[ying] forth among them” (verse 20).

  • What did the early American colonists carry with them?

  • What book was Nephi referring to? (The Bible. You may want to invite students to consider writing the Bible next to 1 Nephi 13:20.)

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 13:24–28. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the great and abominable church did to the Bible.

  • What did the great and abominable church remove from the Bible?

  • According to verse 27, why were these things removed?

Invite another student to read 1 Nephi 13:29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened because many plain and precious truths and covenants were removed from the Bible.

  • What happened as a result of plain and precious things and many covenants of the Lord being removed from the Bible?

Display the copy of the Bible with the strips of paper that you placed in it before class. Explain that the strips of paper represent examples of plain and precious truths and covenants that are not taught clearly in the Bible or are not contained in it. Invite several students to each take a strip of paper from the Bible and read it aloud to the class. After each is read, ask:

  • How might misunderstanding this truth or having no knowledge of it cause a person to stumble spiritually?

After all the strips of paper have been read and discussed, refer to the bicycle you displayed at the beginning of the class.

  • In what ways might the great and abominable church’s tampering with the Bible be compared to someone’s efforts to deliberately remove essential parts from another person’s bicycle? (Both are done maliciously in order to cause harm.)

Invite four students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 13:32, 34–36. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord would do to help people overcome the efforts of the great and abominable church.

  • According to 1 Nephi 13:34, what will the Lord bring forth because of His mercy?

  • According to 1 Nephi 13:35–36, what would be “hid up” to come forth unto the Gentiles? (You may want to invite students to consider writing next to 1 Nephi 13:35 that “these things” refers to the Book of Mormon.)

Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 13:39 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what else the Lord would bring forth as part of the latter-day Restoration of His gospel.

  • According to 1 Nephi 13:39, what else would the Lord bring forth in the latter days, in addition to the Book of Mormon?

  • What “other books” has the Lord brought forth as part of the Restoration? (The Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.)

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 13:40–41, looking for a description of what the scriptures of the Restoration will make known unto all people.

  • According to verses 40–41, what will the scriptures of the Restoration make known unto all people? (Help students identify the following truth: The Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures restore plain and precious truths that help us know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that we must come unto Him to be saved.)

To help students understand how the Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures have restored plain and precious truths and covenants, assign each student one of the truths written on the strips of paper you distributed earlier. (If you have more students than strips of paper, you could assign students to work in pairs or small groups.) Invite students to use the index to the triple combination, the Topical Guide, or the Bible Dictionary to locate a scripture passage in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price that could help someone understand the truth they were assigned.

After sufficient time, invite students to teach one or more other students by (1) reading aloud the scripture passage they located; (2) explaining how the passage could help someone understand the particular truth they were assigned; and (3) sharing their testimony of that truth.

Before students teach one another, you may want to provide the following example: Explain that the Bible testifies that Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins, but the Book of Mormon provides a fuller description of what the Savior experienced as part of His Atonement. Read Alma 7:11–13 aloud, and point out that Jesus Christ not only suffered for our sins and willingly died for us, but He also suffered our pains, afflictions, temptations, and sicknesses “that he may know … how to succor [or help] his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:12). Consider sharing your testimony of how knowing this scripture passage has helped you come unto Jesus Christ.

As you end class, urge students to study the Book of Mormon carefully throughout the year. Encourage them to look for teachings and accounts that teach them how to come unto Jesus Christ and that strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ and of the plain and precious truths and covenants of His gospel.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Nephi 13. What is meant by the term Gentiles in the Book of Mormon?

Gentiles means “the nations.” It refers to (1) those who are not of the house of Israel, (2) those who do not believe in the God of Israel or who do not have the gospel, regardless of their lineage, and (3) people who are not from or do not live in the land of Judah. For example, pilgrims and colonists in the Americas are called Gentiles in 1 Nephi 13:3–13. Those who brought forth the Book of Mormon are called Gentiles in 1 Nephi 13:34. The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price were also brought forth by Gentiles (see 1 Nephi 13:39).

1 Nephi 13:20–29. Plain and precious truths are removed from the Bible

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“Elements … missing from the Bible were both ‘plain and most precious.’ They were plain in their simplicity and clarity, being easy to ‘the understanding of … men’; they were precious in their purity and profound worth, their saving significance and eternal importance to the children of God” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 5).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “many important points touching the salvation of man had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 217). He also said that he believed the Bible “as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers” and that “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 207).

You may want to show students that these statements by Joseph Smith are included in the Bible Dictionary (see Bible Dictionary, “Bible”). You might invite students to consider marking these statements in their scriptures.

1 Nephi 13:32–40. Plain and precious things are restored

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) explained how the Book of Mormon reveals plain and precious truths concerning Jesus Christ:

President Ezra Taft Benson

“The Book of Mormon is the keystone in our witness of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the cornerstone of everything we do. It bears witness of His reality with power and clarity. Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation. Therefore, its testimony of the Master is clear, undiluted, and full of power. But it does even more. Much of the Christian world today rejects the divinity of the Savior. They question His miraculous birth, His perfect life, and the reality of His glorious resurrection. The Book of Mormon teaches in plain and unmistakable terms about the truth of all of those. It also provides the most complete explanation of the doctrine of the Atonement. Truly, this divinely inspired book is a keystone in bearing witness to the world that Jesus is the Christ” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 5).

President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency said that the standard works of the Church have been a principal means of restoring lost truths:

President James E. Faust

“The Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ. It restored precious truths concerning the Fall, the Atonement, the Resurrection, and life after death.

“Prior to the Restoration, the heavens had been closed for centuries. But with prophets and apostles upon the earth once more, the heavens were opened once again with visions and revelations. Many of the revelations that came to the Prophet Joseph Smith were written down in a book that came to be known as the Doctrine and Covenants. This contains further insights about principles and ordinances and is a valuable source concerning the structure of the priesthood. In addition, we have another canon of scripture called the Pearl of Great Price. It contains the book of Moses, which came by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the book of Abraham, which he translated from a purchased Egyptian scroll. From these we learn not only a great deal more about Moses, Abraham, Enoch, and other prophets but also many more details about the Creation. We learn that the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught to all of the prophets from the beginning—even from the time of Adam” (James E. Faust, “The Restoration of All Things,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 67–68).

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible also helps restore many plain and precious truths:

“[The Joseph Smith Translation is] a revision or translation of the King James Version of the Bible in English, which the Prophet Joseph Smith began in June 1830. He was commanded by God to make the translation and regarded it as part of his calling as a prophet. …

“The Joseph Smith Translation has restored some of the plain and precious things that have been lost from the Bible (1 Ne. 13). Although it is not the official Bible of the Church, this translation does offer many interesting insights and is very valuable in understanding the Bible. It is also a witness for the divine calling and ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Joseph Smith Translation (JST),” scriptures.lds.org; see also 2 Nephi 3:11; History of the Church, 1:238).

With continuing revelation in the Lord’s Church, the process of bringing the plain and precious doctrines and principles of the gospel to people throughout the world is ongoing. The inspired teachings of the Lord’s prophets and apostles are vital for understanding the plain and precious truths of the gospel.

Supplemental Teaching Idea

1 Nephi 13:10–19. Nephi sees God’s hand in the establishment of a free land where the gospel would be restored

The statements listed below summarize significant events that Nephi saw in his vision. Have students read 1 Nephi 13:10–19 and match each scripture reference listed below to the event it describes. (You may want to display these scripture references and statements on the board before class begins. Or you could create a handout that contains the scripture references and statements. Below, the scripture references are correctly matched to the statements. For this activity to be successful, you will need to change the order of the statements as you display them on the board or add them to the handout.)

1 Nephi 13:12

Columbus sails to the Americas

1 Nephi 13:13

Pilgrims sail to the Americas, seeking religious freedom

1 Nephi 13:14

Native Americans are driven from their lands

1 Nephi 13:15

Gentiles prosper in the Americas

1 Nephi 13:16–19

Although outnumbered, American revolutionary armies are victorious

As students share their answers, you may want to encourage them to write a key word or phrase in their scriptures next to each passage. For example, they could write Columbus beside 1 Nephi 13:12.

  • According to 1 Nephi 13:12, why did Columbus sail to the Americas?

  • According to 1 Nephi 13:13, why did the Pilgrims migrate to America?

  • According to 1 Nephi 13:15–19, why did the Gentiles prosper and win independence from “all other nations”?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918):

President Joseph F. Smith

“This great American nation the Almighty raised up by the power of his omnipotent hand, that it might be possible in the latter days for the kingdom of God to be established in the earth. If the Lord had not prepared the way by laying the foundations of this glorious nation, it would have been impossible (under the stringent laws and bigotry of the monarchical governments of the world) to have laid the foundations for the coming of his great kingdom. The Lord has done this” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 409).

Testify that the Lord prepared the way for the Restoration by establishing a country with freedom of religion where He could restore His Church. Testify that the Lord has prepared, and will continue to prepare, a way for His restored gospel to enter every nation.

If you are teaching this lesson in a country outside the United States of America, ask:

  • How did the Lord prepare the way for the preaching of the restored gospel in our country?