This lesson is intended to help students understand the eternal purposes of God. Lehi knew that his posterity could make the choices that would lead them to joy, liberty, and eternal life only if they understood and believed key doctrines such as the Fall, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, agency, and obedience (see 2 Nephi 2:25, 27). Encourage students to choose eternal life so that they can ultimately be “encircled about eternally in the arms of [God’s] love” (2 Nephi 1:15), as was Lehi.
Begin by having students read the last sentence of 2 Nephi 3:25 (“Remember the words of thy dying father”). Ask them how their attention to the counsel of a family member might change if they knew that person were about to die.
The following activity can help students better understand the truths that Lehi emphasized in his last words to his family. It will also allow them to share with each other how these truths can help them follow Heavenly Father’s plan for their salvation.
Assign each of the following scripture passages to individual students or partnerships: 2 Nephi 1:16–20; 2 Nephi 2:6–10; 2 Nephi 2:19–20, 22–25; and 2 Nephi 2:11–13, 27–29. (If you have fewer than four students, you may adapt this activity by assigning students more than one scripture passage or by selecting fewer passages to discuss.)
As students study these passages, have them answer the following questions in their study journals. (You might consider writing the questions on the board.)
What key truths did Lehi teach?
Why are these truths important for our everlasting welfare?
After giving students time to complete their assignment, invite each student or partnership to report what they discovered. Encourage as many students as possible to share what they found and why it was meaningful to them.
After the activity, write the following truth on the board: The Fall of Adam and Eve is an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness.
Share the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972):
“Adam did only what he had to do. He partook of that fruit for one good reason, and that was to open the door to bring you and me and everyone else into this world. …
“… If it hadn’t been for Adam, I wouldn’t be here; you wouldn’t be here; we would be waiting in the heavens as spirits” (Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 121–22).
Ask students the following questions:
What are some of the consequences of the Fall that Lehi described in 2 Nephi 2:21–24?
How do these consequences make it possible for us to progress according to Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation?
Add the following truth to the board: Through the Atonement, Jesus Christ redeems us from the Fall and offers redemption from our sins.
To help students gain a deeper understanding of this truth, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The Atonement of Jesus Christ, an act of pure love, overcame the effects of the Fall and provided the way for all mankind to return to the presence of God. As part of the Atonement, the Savior overcame physical death and provided immortality for every one of God’s children through the Resurrection. He also overcame spiritual death and provided the possibility of eternal life, the life that God lives and the greatest of all the gifts of God” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Christians in Belief and Action,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 71).
What are some of the blessings of the Atonement?
To help students understand the importance of agency in Heavenly Father’s plan, read the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Without the existence of choices, without our freedom to choose and without opposition, there would be no real existence. … It is a fact that we can neither grow spiritually nor thereby be truly happy unless and until we make wise use of our moral agency” (Neal A. Maxwell, One More Strain of Praise , 80).
Write the following principle on the board: We are free to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death.
Have students turn to assignment 4 under day 3 in their study journals. Invite a few of them to explain what they learned about agency from 2 Nephi 2:26–29.
Read aloud the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44):
“To get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 161).
To help students understand the importance of obedience, you might ask the following questions:
Why do you think Lehi emphasized obedience in his final counsel to his family before he died?
What experiences have you had that have helped you know that the Lord blesses us when we keep His commandments, and He withholds blessings when we do not keep His commandments? (Add this truth to the list on the board.)
To conclude this lesson, read the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Obedience is powerful spiritual medicine. It comes close to being a cure-all” (Boyd K. Packer, “Balm of Gilead,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 18).
Share your witness of God’s love for your students and His desire to help them overcome the effects of the Fall and receive eternal life.
Tell students that after Lehi died, Laman and Lemuel again sought to take Nephi’s life. Ask them to look for answers to the following questions as they continue their study of 2 Nephi next week: What warning did the Lord give that saved Nephi’s life? What would happen to our bodies and spirits if there were no Atonement?