1 Nephi 14 concludes the account of Nephi’s vision. In this part of the vision, Nephi was told of the blessings promised to those who repent and hearken unto the Lord and the consequences that will come upon the wicked who harden their hearts against the Lord. Nephi was also shown that the Lord would help and protect those who live righteously and keep their covenants and that He would destroy the great and abominable church of the devil.
Copy the following diagram on the board, but do not write any of the words (you will add them as you progress through the lesson). You may want to invite students to copy this diagram into their class notebooks or study journals.
Refer to the diagram on the board. Point out that when a person arrives at a fork in a road, he or she must choose between two possible directions. Similarly, at times we must make important decisions about which direction to take in life. Invite students to think about a time when they or someone they know have had to make a choice about a direction to take in life.
How did you or the person you know decide which choice to make?
Write the words Restoration of the Gospel on the board where the two paths diverge.
Explain that when people learn of the restored gospel, they have important choices to make. As students study 1 Nephi 14 today, invite them to look for these choices and the consequences that follow.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 14:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the choices Nephi indicated the Gentiles could make once they learned about the gospel and the blessings that would come to them if they made those choices.
How will some Gentiles respond to the gospel? (Write these righteous choices on the board on the path that diverges to the right.)
What blessings did Nephi see would come to those who hearkened unto the Lamb of God? (Write students’ responses on the board next to the choices on the path to the right.)
You may need to explain that the phrase “stumbling blocks” (1 Nephi 14:1) often refers to obstacles that keep people from following the Lord. To be “numbered among the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 14:2) means to be counted among the Lord’s covenant people.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 14:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for additional choices that the Gentiles could make, as well as the consequences of those choices. Invite students to report what they find. On the board, write Repent on the path to the right side and Repent Not on the path to the left side. Write Perish at the end of the path on the left side.
Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 14:7 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for additional consequences that come to those who repent and to those who choose not to repent.
Ask students to report what they find, and add their responses to the diagram on the board. (You may need to explain that the “great and marvelous work” mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:7 refers to the Restoration of the gospel and the Lord’s Church in the latter days.)
What blessings will come to those who repent and do not harden their hearts against the Lord and His work? (Help students identify the following principle: If we repent and do not harden our hearts against the Lord and His work, then we will receive peace and eternal life. Write this principle to the right of the diagram on the board.)
What will happen to those who respond to the gospel by hardening their hearts and choosing not to repent? (Help students identify the following principle: If we do not repent but harden our hearts against the Lord and His work, we will eventually be brought down into captivity and destruction. Write this principle to the left of the diagram on the board.)
What are some examples of captivity and destruction that may come to those who choose not to repent?
Consider sharing an experience that illustrates the different ways people may respond when they learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why do you think people can have such different responses when they learn about the restored gospel?
What differences have you seen in the lives of those who embrace the gospel compared to those who harden their hearts against the Lord and His work? (Caution students not to name specific individuals who they believe may have hardened their hearts against the Lord and His work.)
Testify that how we respond to the Lord and His work will have eternal consequences for each of us.
Write the following on the board: The church of versus the church of .
Explain that as Nephi’s vision progressed, he saw a great latter-day conflict between two churches.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 14:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the angel called the two churches.
What did the angel call the two churches?
Write the Lamb of God on the board in the blank on the left and the devil in the blank on the right. Explain that the church of the Lamb of God is the authorized Church of Jesus Christ, and remind students that the church of the devil (also called the great and abominable church) refers to any organization that strives to lead people away from God and His laws.
To help the class understand the angel’s words that “whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to [the church of the devil]” (1 Nephi 14:10), invite a student to read aloud the following statement from a proclamation issued by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 6, 1845:
“As this work progresses in its onward course, and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual, will stand neutral. All will at length be influenced by one spirit or the other; and will take sides either for or against the kingdom of God” (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 1:257).
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 14:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for which church will have more people and why.
According to 1 Nephi 14:12, which church will have more people?
Why will the church of the Lamb of God have fewer people than the great and abominable church?
Where did Nephi say the members of the church of the Lamb of God will be located?
Organize students into groups of two or three. Invite the groups to study 1 Nephi 14:13 and to discuss their answers to the following questions (you may want to write these questions on the board or prepare them ahead of time as a handout):
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 14:14 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord will help His covenant people as they face opposition from the church of the devil.
How will the Lord help His covenant people as they face opposition from the church of the devil? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we keep our covenants, we will be armed with righteousness and with the power of God.)
What does the phrase “armed with righteousness and with the power of God” mean to you?
When have you felt that you were “armed with righteousness and with the power of God”? What did you do that helped you feel God’s power or protection?
What will happen to the great and abominable church?
How can knowing what will happen to the great and abominable church help us to have hope as members of the much smaller church of the Lamb of God?
Invite students to evaluate their lives and consider what they might do to be better armed with righteousness. Urge them to act on any promptings they receive. Assure them that as they remain faithful, they will have the opportunity to enter into sacred temples and make additional covenants with the Lord. The promises and covenants they make there will bring great power and protection into their lives as they keep those promises and covenants.
Assure students that God’s kingdom will triumph in the last days. Express confidence that they can trust in God and that His power will overcome all evil. Encourage them to be a force for good in influencing others.
Summarize 1 Nephi 14:18–28 by explaining that the angel showed Nephi a vision of the Apostle John and informed Nephi that he would be shown the same things that John would be shown, including the end of the world. The angel commanded Nephi not to write the rest of his vision because John was appointed to record the remainder of it. Explain that these verses refer at least in part to John’s writings in the book of Revelation.