Chapter 3: 1 Nephi 6–11

Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, (2009), 11–14


Introduction

In 1 Nephi chapter 6, Nephi declares that “the fulness of [his] intent” is to persuade people to come unto Christ and “be saved” (verse 4). In 1 Nephi 8 and 11, his record of the vision of the tree of life reinforces this declaration. As you guide a discussion of the vision, you can help students see how the elements of the vision apply to them individually. You can also help them learn from Nephi’s personal preparation to receive revelation.

Some Doctrines and Principles

  • The Book of Mormon was written to persuade people to come unto Jesus Christ (see 1 Nephi 6).

  • Marriage in the covenant is designed to raise up children to the Lord (see 1 Nephi 7:1–5).

  • To receive eternal life, we must come unto Jesus Christ (see 1 Nephi 8; 11).

  • By the power of the Holy Ghost, God reveals truth to all those who diligently seek Him (see 1 Nephi 10:17–22; 11:1–8).

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 6. The Book of Mormon Was Written to Persuade People to Come unto Jesus Christ

Display a few appropriate books that are familiar to the students. For each book, ask:

  • What do you think the author’s intent was in writing this book?

Write on the board 1 Nephi 6. Then hold up a copy of the Book of Mormon and ask:

  • What was Nephi’s intent in writing his record?

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 6. Ask them to state Nephi’s purpose in their own words. (You may need to explain the phrase “the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” See President Ezra Taft Benson’s statement on page 19 in the student manual.)

  • What has the Book of Mormon taught you about Jesus Christ?

To give students a sense of how much the Book of Mormon teaches about the Savior, have them turn to the index of the Book of Mormon or triple combination and note all the headings under “Jesus Christ.”

Encourage students to share with their family and friends how the Book of Mormon has strengthened their faith in Jesus Christ.

1 Nephi 7:1–5. Marriage in the Covenant Is Designed to Raise Up Children to the Lord

On the board or a handout, list the following questions:

  • What did the Lord say Lehi’s sons should do before going into the wilderness toward the land of promise? (See 1 Nephi 7:1.)

  • What reason is given in 1 Nephi 7:1 for this commandment?

  • What words or phrases in verses 1 Nephi 7:1–2 indicate that the Lord feels strongly about marriage?

  • How do you think the earlier trip to Jerusalem had helped Lehi’s sons prepare to “raise up [children] unto the Lord”? (See 1 Nephi 5:21–22.)

Ask students to find the answers in the verses indicated. After allowing some time for students to search the scriptures, ask them to share their answers. Then ask them to discuss the following questions:

  • What would help a husband and wife be more likely to “raise up [children] unto the Lord”?

  • How would a temple marriage contribute to the raising of children “unto the Lord”?

  • What can you do now to prepare for that kind of marriage?

Read or ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“When you have the required age and maturity, obtain all of the ordinances of the temple you can receive. If for the present that does not include sealing in the temple to a righteous companion, live for it. Pray for it. Exercise faith that you will obtain it. Never do anything that would make you unworthy of it. If you have lost the vision of eternal marriage, rekindle it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2001, 6; or Ensign, May 2001, 7).

  • How do people exercise faith that they will obtain eternal marriage?

Explain that the Lord made the marriage covenant a prerequisite before Lehi’s sons could go to the promised land. He also has made it a requirement for exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 131:1–3).

Testify of the great plan of happiness and the essential part eternal marriage plays in the plan.

1 Nephi 8; 11. To Receive Eternal Life, We Must Come unto Jesus Christ

Draw a picture of a fruit tree on the board.

Next to the tree, list the following sets of scripture references:

Divide the class into three groups. Assign each group a set of scripture references from the board.

Give each group the questions below that correspond to their assigned verses. (You may prepare a handout or make photocopies of these pages.) Ask them to read their verses, discuss the questions as a group, and prepare a short discussion for the other class members. In their discussions with their groups and with the class, they should help one another discover the meanings of the symbols in the vision of the tree of life and see the modern-day applications of these symbols. They may use the questions you give them, and they may also prepare their own questions. Allow time for each group to read and discuss the passages and prepare their class discussion. Ask each group to select a spokesperson to lead the class discussion.

As you help the first group, note that the statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell is available on the companion DVD A.

Group 1

1 Nephi 8:10–12; 11:8–25; 15:36; D&C 14:7 (the tree and the fruit)

  • In your opinion, why is the tree an appropriate symbol of the love of God?

  • When Nephi asked to know the interpretation of the tree, the Spirit showed him the Savior’s birth and ministry. How do the life and mission of the Savior reveal God’s love for us? (To see the connection between the tree of life, the love of God, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, read the statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell on page 22 in the student manual.)

Elder David A. Bednar taught that “the fruit on the tree is a symbol for the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement” (“A Reservoir of Living Water,” Church Educational System fireside for young adults, February 4, 2007, 6, ldsces.org). By examining 1 Nephi 15:36 and Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 , we can see a connection between the fruit of the tree and eternal life.

  • In your opinion, why is the fruit an appropriate symbol for the blessings of the Atonement?

Group 2

1 Nephi 8:21–28, 31–34; 11:35–36; 12:16–18; 15:26–28 (the mist of darkness and the great and spacious building)

  • What might be some “mists of darkness” today? How do these mists lead people into “forbidden paths”?

  • How might these influences prevent people from coming to the Savior?

  • Why would the people in the “great and spacious building” be able to convince some people to leave the tree of life? What are some modern-day examples of the building?

  • In 1 Nephi 8, how are the people in verses 30 and 33 different from the people in verses 24–25 and 28?

Group 3

1 Nephi 8:19–20, 30; 11:25; 15:23–24 (the rod of iron and the strait and narrow path)

  • How did some people make it through the mist of darkness to the tree of life?

  • How does the word of God keep us from danger? How does the word of God lead us to the Savior?

  • Where can we find the word of God?

1 Nephi 10:17–22; 11:1–8. By the Power of the Holy Ghost, God Reveals Truth to All Those Who Diligently Seek Him

On the board write Revelation comes by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Help students understand that, like Nephi, they can have spiritual experiences in which divine truths are revealed to them. Those sacred experiences will be unique to them and specific to their circumstances. To give them an idea of the blessings they can receive, share the following statements by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator” (in History of the Church, 6:58).

“Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer.

“When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us” (in History of the Church, 6:308).

Invite students to study 1 Nephi 10:17–22; 11:1–8, looking for principles that can help them learn by the power of the Holy Ghost. (You may want to divide students into pairs so they will all have an opportunity to share their insights.)

After sufficient time, use the following questions to help students share their findings with the entire class:

  • What did Nephi want to learn?

  • According to 1 Nephi 10:17, how did Nephi prepare himself to receive an answer?

  • How can Nephi’s record of his experience help us know how to obtain personal revelation?

Write the following questions on the board:

  • How does the Holy Ghost reveal truth? (See D&C 8:2–3.)

  • What can keep us from receiving the guidance of the Holy Ghost?

Invite a student to read the statement by Elder David A. Bednar on page 25 in the student manual (also available on the companion DVD B). Before the student reads the statement, invite all students to listen for answers to the questions on the board. After the statement has been read, invite students to share their answers.

Encourage students to think about their personal lives and identify a particular principle that will help them be more open to personal revelation. Invite them to write about this principle in a journal or in their scriptures.

Share your testimony about how the Spirit will help us as we seek diligently to learn the truth.

1 Nephi 11:16–34. The Condescension of Jesus Christ Demonstrates God’s Love

Ask students to locate the word condescension in 1 Nephi 11:16 and 26. You may invite them to mark this word. Explain that the word may be defined as a voluntary descent from rank or dignity (see Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828).

  • How does this word describe the Savior’s mission?

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 11:26–34. As the verses are read, invite students to mark or list the events that show the Savior’s condescension. After the verses have been read, invite them to share the events they noticed. Ask them to share why they marked or listed those events.

  • How can the Savior’s mortal ministry help us understand God’s love?

Share your testimony about how the Savior demonstrates the love of our Heavenly Father. Encourage students to share their appreciation of God’s perfect love with their family members and friends.