Lesson 9: 1 Nephi 5

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2017


Introduction

While Lehi’s wife, Sariah, waited for her sons to return from Jerusalem, she feared that they had perished in their efforts to obtain the brass plates. When they returned safely with the plates, she gained a stronger witness that God was directing and preserving her family. Lehi searched the brass plates and found them to be of great worth to his family. As he read them, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied that the scriptures they contained would be preserved for his posterity.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 5:1–9

Lehi’s sons return safely to their family in the wilderness

Invite students to list in their class notebooks or study journals five blessings for which they feel grateful. Consider inviting a few students to share with the class something they wrote on their list and to explain why they are grateful for it.

As students study 1 Nephi 5 today, invite them to look for what we can learn from Lehi and his family about being grateful.

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for reasons why Sariah began to complain.

  • What were Sariah’s complaints?

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:4–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the manner in which Lehi responded to Sariah’s complaints.

  • How did Lehi respond to Sariah’s complaints? (You may want to point out that Lehi responded with testimony and confidence in the Lord rather than with fear or doubt. He did not respond angrily or impatiently.)

  • What can we learn from Lehi’s response to Sariah?

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for Sariah’s response after her sons returned from Jerusalem.

  • How was Sariah’s testimony of the Lord and His dealings with her family affected by the successful return of her sons?

  • Before searching the contents of the brass plates, what did Lehi and Sariah take time to do? (You might point out that this was one of several instances when Lehi paused to thank God for His blessings [see also 1 Nephi 2:7; 7:22].)

  • What truth can we learn from their example? (Help students identify the following truth: When we receive blessings from God, we can choose to pause and give Him thanks.)

  • Why do you think it is important to pause and thank God for blessings we receive from Him?

Invite students to review the lists they created earlier and to put a check mark next to the blessings for which they have recently expressed gratitude to Heavenly Father. Encourage students to take time in their prayers to give thanks to Heavenly Father for the blessings they receive from Him.

1 Nephi 5:10–22

Lehi searches the plates of brass

Ask students to display an item they have with them (such as a writing utensil, a digital device, or food). With students’ permission, collect a few of these items and display them to the class.

  • What are these items worth?

Point out that one way to determine an object’s worth is by determining what people are willing to pay or exchange for the object.

  • In addition to their financial value, what are other ways these items could have worth?

Display a copy of the scriptures.

  • What did Lehi’s family give to obtain the scriptures? (Nephi and his brothers risked their lives, sacrificed their riches, and traveled a long distance.)

Ask students to consider the worth of the scriptures. Invite them to look for principles in their study of the remainder of 1 Nephi 5 that can help them discover the worth of the scriptures for themselves.

Explain that after the family offered sacrifices and gave thanks to the Lord, Lehi immediately began to search the contents of the plates. (You may want to invite students to consider marking the phrase, “he did search them from the beginning” in 1 Nephi 5:10.)

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 5:11–16. Ask the class to look for what Lehi discovered on the plates of brass.

  • What did the plates of brass contain?

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:17–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord blessed Lehi as he searched the scriptures.

  • How was Lehi blessed as he searched the scriptures?

You may need to explain that to prophesy is to speak or write divinely inspired words received through revelation from the Holy Ghost (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Prophecy, Prophesy,” scriptures.lds.org).

  • What is a principle we can learn from these verses about what can happen as we search the scriptures? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: As we search the scriptures, we can be filled with the Spirit and receive revelation.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what he taught about being filled with the Spirit and receiving revelation as we search the scriptures.

Elder Robert D. Hales

“When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures; for His words are spoken through His prophets. He will then teach us as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit” (Robert D. Hales, “Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 26–27).

handout iconDivide students into groups of two or three. Provide each group with a copy of the following handout. Instruct students to complete the activity on the handout.

Searching the Scriptures

Read the following scenario and discuss the question that follows:

Each night a young man reads the Book of Mormon. He tries to get through as many verses as he can before falling asleep. He has heard others speak of blessings they have received from reading the scriptures daily, but he doesn’t feel like doing so has brought him many blessings.

  • Why do you think this young man hasn’t fully experienced the blessings of searching the scriptures?

Read the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for what he teaches about what it means to search, or study, the scriptures:

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“When I say ‘study,’ I mean something more than reading. It is a good thing sometimes to read a book of scripture within a set period of time to get an overall sense of its message, but for conversion, you should care more about the amount of time you spend in the scriptures than about the amount you read in that time. I see you sometimes reading a few verses, stopping to ponder them, carefully reading the verses again, and as you think about what they mean, praying for understanding, asking questions in your mind, waiting for spiritual impressions, and writing down the impressions and insights that come so you can remember and learn more. Studying in this way, you may not read a lot of chapters or verses in a half hour, but you will be giving place in your heart for the word of God, and He will be speaking to you” (D. Todd Christofferson, “When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 11).

  • In your own words, how would you explain to the young man what it means to search the scriptures?

  • When have you felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost or received revelation as a result of searching and studying the scriptures? How was this a blessing to you?

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After students have had sufficient time to complete the activity, invite a few of them to share with the class what they discussed in their groups.

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:20–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Lehi and Nephi recognized about the scriptures. Ask students to report what they find.

  • Like Lehi and Nephi, as we search the scriptures, what can we discover about them? (Help students identify the following principle: As we search the scriptures, we can discover their great worth for us. Write this principle on the board.)

  • As you have searched the scriptures, how have they been of worth to you?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“If you have not heard His voice speaking to you lately, return with new eyes and new ears to the scriptures. They are our spiritual lifeline” (Robert D. Hales, “Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 27).

Remind students of the invitation they were given in previous lessons to study the Book of Mormon daily. Give students time to reflect on their own study of the scriptures, and invite them to consider how they might improve their scripture study. Ask them to choose one way to improve their personal searching of the scriptures. Encourage them to write this goal in their study journals. You may want to suggest that students share the goal with someone (for example, with you, a parent, or another student) who will remind them of the goal and encourage them to accomplish it.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Nephi 5:10–22. The value of the scriptures

To teach about how we can receive guidance through our study of the scriptures, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared the account of Lehi searching the brass plates:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“When Nephi and his brothers returned [from Jerusalem with the brass plates], Lehi, their father, rejoiced. He began to search the holy scriptures ‘from the beginning,’ and ‘found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth … insomuch that [Lehi and his posterity] could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto [their] children’ [1 Nephi 5:10, 21].

“Indeed, the brass plates were a record of Lehi’s fathers, including their language, genealogy, and, more importantly, the gospel taught by God’s holy prophets. As Lehi searched the plates, he learned what all of us learn by studying the scriptures:

“• Who we are.

“• What we can become.

“• Prophecies for us and for our posterity.

“• The commandments, laws, ordinances, and covenants we must live by to obtain eternal life.

“• And how we must live in order to endure to the end and return to our Heavenly Father with honor.

“So essential are these truths that Heavenly Father gave both Lehi and Nephi visions vividly representing the word of God as a rod of iron. Both father and son learned that holding to this strong, unbending, utterly reliable guide is the only way to stay on that strait and narrow path that leads to our Savior” (Robert D. Hales, “Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 25).

1 Nephi 5:18–19. The brass plates

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified of the importance of Lehi’s family obtaining the plates of brass:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“The value of the Brass Plates to the Nephites cannot be overestimated. By means of them they were able to preserve the language (1 Ne. 3:19), most of the civilization, and the religious knowledge of the people from whence they came. (1 Ne. 22:30.) By way of contrast, the Mulekites, who were led out of Jerusalem some 11 years after Lehi’s departure, and who had no record equivalent to the Brass Plates, soon dwindled in apostasy and unbelief and lost their language, civilization, and religion. (Omni 14–18.)

“From prophet to prophet and generation to generation the Brass Plates were handed down and preserved by the Nephites. (Mosiah 1:16; 28:20; 3 Ne. 1:2.) At some future date the Lord has promised to bring them forth, undimmed by time and retaining their original brightness, and the scriptural accounts recorded on them are to ‘go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.’ (Alma 37:3–5; 1 Ne. 5:18–19.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 103).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

1 Nephi 5:14–17. Discovering and learning about our ancestors can fill us with the Spirit

The following teaching idea could be used as students study 1 Nephi 5:14–17.

  • According to 1 Nephi 5:14–16, whom did Lehi discover and learn about as he searched the brass plates?

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Lehi was blessed as he discovered and learned about his ancestors.

  • How was Lehi blessed as he discovered and learned about his ancestors?

  • What principle can we learn from Lehi’s experience concerning how we can be blessed by discovering and learning about our ancestors? (Help students identify the following principle: As we discover and learn about our ancestors, we can be filled with the Spirit.)

  • In our day, what can we do to discover and learn about our ancestors?

  • When have you felt the Spirit while learning about an ancestor? What effect did the influence of the Spirit have on you?

video iconTo help students feel the truth and importance of the principle they discovered in 1 Nephi 5:14–17, consider showing a video about youth being blessed as they discover and learn about their ancestors. For example, you could show the video “I Found My Great-Grandfather” (1:54). This video is available on LDS.org.

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