Following the Lord’s direction, Nephi and the others finished building the ship and set forth for the promised land. During their voyage, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael and their wives rebelled against the Lord. When Nephi chastised them, Laman and Lemuel bound him with cords. When a great storm threatened the lives of everyone on the ship, they repented and freed Nephi. Nephi prayed to calm the storm, and the Lord again directed their journey toward the promised land.
Invite students to imagine that one day their bishop or branch president invites them into his office and extends to them the calling to serve as class or quorum president. They have never served in a presidency before and feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to do this calling.
Why might God ask you to do something that you don’t know how to do?
How could you learn to serve in this calling?
Remind students that in 1 Nephi 17, we learn that the Lord commanded Nephi to build a ship—something he had never done before.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 18:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi and his brethren did so that they could accomplish what they were commanded to do.
According to verses 1–2, how did they know how to build the ship?
According to verse 3, what did Nephi do that allowed the Lord to show him and his brethren how to build the ship?
What principle can we learn about how we can receive specific guidance? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: If we pray often unto the Lord, we can receive the specific guidance we need. You might want to invite students to consider writing this principle near verses 1–3.)
What do you think might have happened if Nephi and his brethren had not sought the guidance of the Lord but instead built the ship their own way, or “after the manner of men” (1 Nephi 18:2)?
Summarize 1 Nephi 18:4–8 by explaining that after the ship was finished, the Lord directed Lehi to set sail with his family for the promised land. In these verses we also learn of two additional children born to Lehi and Sariah after they left Jerusalem. Invite students to read 1 Nephi 18:7 silently, looking for the names of these two children. Ask students to report what they find.
Invite students to think about the last time they were in a situation in which they wondered if they should speak up to confront or correct unrighteous behavior.
Why might speaking up to confront another person’s unrighteous behavior be a difficult thing to do?
Invite students, as they continue to study 1 Nephi 18, to look for what helped Nephi confront the unrighteous behavior of some of his family members.
Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 18:9 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what some people on the ship began to do.
What did some people on the ship begin to do?
Why do you think the behavior of these people was a problem?
Explain that it is not wrong to dance, listen to music, or have fun, but verse 9 indicates that Laman, Lemuel, and others did these things “with much rudeness.” Explain that in this context the word rudeness refers to being vulgar or coarse. Vulgar and coarse dancing, music, and speech are offensive to the Lord and result in losing the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
If you were on this ship and knew that your family members’ behavior was offensive to the Lord, what would you do? (You might point out that Nephi had previously experienced painful consequences after confronting his brothers’ unrighteous behavior [see 1 Nephi 7:16] and knew that they would likely respond negatively again if he chose to confront them.)
Ask a student to read 1 Nephi 18:10 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Nephi chose to do.
What did Nephi choose to do?
According to verse 10, why did Nephi choose to speak to his brethren about their rude behavior? (Make sure students understand that Nephi’s respect for the Lord and fear of the Lord’s judgments were greater than his fear of his brethren and their judgments.)
What principle can we learn from Nephi’s example about confronting unrighteous or sinful behavior? (Help students identify the following principle: When we fear the Lord’s judgments more than the judgments of others, we can have the courage to confront unrighteous behavior. Write this truth on the board.)
When do you think a person should choose to confront unrighteous behavior?
Explain that it may not always be appropriate to correct someone’s unrighteous behavior. Thus, it is important to seek the direction of the Spirit to know how to respond to unrighteous behavior.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“To respond in a Christlike way cannot be scripted or based on a formula. The Savior responded differently in every situation. When He was confronted by wicked King Herod, He remained silent. When He stood before Pilate, He bore a simple and powerful testimony of His divinity and purpose. Facing the moneychangers who were defiling the temple, He exercised His divine responsibility to preserve and protect that which was sacred. Lifted up upon a cross, He uttered the incomparable Christian response: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34). …
“As we respond to others, each circumstance will be different. … As true disciples seek guidance from the Spirit, they receive inspiration tailored to each encounter. And in every encounter, true disciples respond in ways that invite the Spirit of the Lord” (Robert D. Hales, “Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 72–73).
Why do you think it is important to seek and follow the guidance of the Spirit as we respond to the unrighteous behavior of others?
Invite students to share examples of when they or someone they know have appropriately confronted someone else’s unrighteous behavior.
Ask students to prayerfully consider how they might apply the principle they identified in 1 Nephi 18:10.
To prepare students to identify an additional principle in 1 Nephi 18, invite students to contemplate how they would respond if a family member or Church leader asked them to change the music they listen to, the way they dance, or the way they speak. Encourage them to ponder whether they would be willing to listen and change.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 18:11 aloud.
According to 1 Nephi 18:11, how did Laman and Lemuel respond to Nephi’s counsel?
Why do you think the Lord allowed Laman and Lemuel to bind Nephi?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 18:12–14, 17–19. Ask students to look for words and phrases that show the consequences of Laman and Lemuel’s behavior.
How did the rebellious actions of a few affect the whole group?
Invite students to identify gospel principles they can learn from this account. One answer might be that choosing to sin will bring negative consequences upon ourselves and sometimes upon others as well.
If you became rebellious and disobedient, how might it affect your family? How might it affect your friends? How might it affect your class or quorum?
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 18:15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we can learn from the way Nephi responded to this trial.
How did Nephi choose to respond to this trial?
What principles can we learn from Nephi about how we can respond to our trials? (Students’ answers may include the following: We can choose to look to God and remain faithful during our trials. Invite students to consider writing this truth next to 1 Nephi 18:16.)
What do you think it means to look to God in our trials?
Invite a student to read aloud the following testimony by Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy. Ask the class to listen for what Elder Clayton counseled us to do when we face trials.
“No matter the burdens we face in life as a consequence of natural conditions, the misconduct of others, or our own mistakes and shortcomings, we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him. … We must do everything we can to bear our burdens ‘well’ [see D&C 121:7–8]. …
“… I know that as we keep the commandments of God and our covenants, He helps us with our burdens. He strengthens us. When we repent, He forgives us and blesses us with peace of conscience and joy” (L. Whitney Clayton, “That Your Burdens May Be Light,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 13–14).
When have you or someone you know chosen to look to God and remain faithful during a trial? How were you (or the person you thought of) blessed for doing so?
You may want to share an experience concerning how you or someone you know chose to look to God during a trial and how you or this person were blessed for doing so. Testify of the truth students identified in 1 Nephi 18:16. Invite students to ponder how they can choose to look to God and remain faithful during the difficulties and trials they face.
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 18:20–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as the storm continued to threaten to destroy the ship. Invite students to report what they find.
Summarize 1 Nephi 18:24–25 by explaining that after Lehi’s family arrived in the promised land, they began to till the earth and plant the seeds they had brought with them. They found that this new land was rich in a variety of natural resources.
To conclude, you may want to review the principles students identified in 1 Nephi 18, testify of these principles, and encourage students to apply them in their lives.