Although the first six chapters of Mormon contain tragic accounts of the conflict between the Lamanites and Nephites and great wickedness among the people, they also include a message of hope. As students study, ponder, and discuss the life and teachings of Mormon, they can be inspired to remain faithful even when the world becomes more evil around them.
Some Doctrines and Principles
Suggestions for Teaching
Mormon 1:1. The Word Mormon
Remind students that the Savior told His Nephite disciples that His Church should be called by His name (see 3 Nephi 27:1–12; see also chapter 46 in this manual). However, today many people use the phrase “Mormon Church” instead of the official name of the Church and refer to Latter-day Saints as Mormons.
Although we prefer the official name of the Church, what are some positive things about the word Mormon?
As part of this discussion, ask students to turn to page 348 in the student manual. Invite a student to read the statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and invite a few students to take turns reading paragraphs in the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
In what ways do these statements apply to us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Mormon 1–2. It Is Possible to Be Righteous amid Great Wickedness
If a current newspaper is available, display it. Point out headlines that indicate wickedness in the world, being careful not to direct students’ attention to anything that could detract from the influence of the Spirit. Briefly discuss some of the challenges that young adults face today.
Write the following scripture references on the board:
Ask each student to create a news headline based on each of the passages. After sufficient time, invite students to share their headlines.
What personal qualities did Mormon have? How do you think these qualities might have helped him maintain his faithfulness to God?
What does it mean to you to “[taste] and [know] of the goodness of Jesus”? (Mormon 1:15).
“Live your lives according to the principles of the gospel. You live in an age when there is so much of filth. You must not stoop down to that. You must rise above it. You must have the strength to say no and to stand tall. I promise you that if you will do so, those who would otherwise invite you to their kind of living will wish that they too had lived above those things” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 716).
What has helped you remain righteous in the midst of the wickedness in our day?
What can we learn and apply from Mormon’s example?
Mormon 2:10–14. “Their Sorrowing Was Not unto Repentance”
Have a student read Mormon 2:10–14.
In what ways is the sorrowing that Mormon hoped for different from the sorrowing he actually witnessed?
Help students understand that the people did not sorrow because they felt remorse for what they had done; they sorrowed because they were unhappy with the consequences of their sins. You may want to refer students to the statements by Elder Neal A. Maxwell and President Ezra Taft Benson on page 349 in the student manual.
Mormon 2:14–15. “The Day of Grace Was Passed”
Relate the following modern parable: While working in a field, a young man injured his leg. He limped home, dressed the wound, and laid down to rest. His father encouraged him to see a doctor. However, the young man thought he could recover on his own. As the days passed, his leg continued to worsen and the pain increased, but still he would not seek medical help. Late one afternoon he started feeling sick all over. He noted that his leg was badly discolored. That evening he developed a high fever and became delirious. By morning he was dead.
Ask students to relate the parable to Mormon 2:14–15. Consider asking the following discussion questions:
Whom does the young man represent? (The Nephites.)
Whom does the father represent? (Mormon.)
Whom does the doctor represent? (The Lord.)
When was it too late for the young man? (Probably when he developed the high fever and became delirious.) How does this relate to the Nephites?
Refer students to the statement by President Spencer W. Kimball on page 350 in the student manual. Help students see that the Lord is merciful and desires that we repent but that we must turn to Him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. The Nephites would not repent, so they could not be forgiven. Testify that we can receive the blessing of forgiveness if we will humble ourselves before the Lord.
Mormon 3:17–22; 5:12–14. The Book of Mormon Is a Witness for Christ
Ask students to work in pairs to read and discuss Mormon 3:17–22. After they have had enough time, ask the following questions and invite students to respond based on their discussions:
Whom is Mormon speaking to in these verses?
In verse 21, Mormon expresses the hope that future readers “may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.” What is the relationship between the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and Jesus Christ?
Why did Mormon and other prophets write?
How has the Book of Mormon helped you “believe the gospel of Jesus Christ”?
How has the Book of Mormon strengthened your testimony of Jesus Christ?
In what ways have you seen the Book of Mormon bless the lives of other people?
Mormon 4; 6. “The Judgments of God Will Overtake the Wicked”
Have students read Mormon 4:5, 10–12.
What can we learn from these verses?
Tell students that they are now going to read about the results of the Nephites’ last battle—an example of God’s judgments overtaking the wicked. Have students take turns reading the verses in Mormon 6:11–15, keeping track of how many Nephites were killed in this battle. (About 230,000 Nephite soldiers were killed. Point out that many others died—the Lamanite warriors are not included in these verses, nor is there any mention of the women and children on both sides who died as a result of the battle.)
Invite a student to read Mormon 6:16–22. Or read these verses yourself, inviting students to follow along silently in their scriptures.
What can we learn from the story of the Nephites’ fall?
As a conclusion to this section, you may want to show “O Ye Fair Ones,” presentation 19 on Book of Mormon DVD Presentations (item number 54011).
Mormon 5:22–24. We Are in the Hands of God
Have students turn to the statement by Elder W. Craig Zwick on pages 352–53 in the student manual (also available on the companion DVD A). Explain that before Elder Zwick made this statement, he quoted the following words from Mormon 5:23: “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power?”
Ask students to look at their hands, palms up, as you read Elder Zwick’s statement (or as an assigned student reads it).
At the conclusion of the reading, ask students to name the four keys Elder Zwick said we need in order to “put our hand in [God’s hand]” and “feel His sustaining presence lift us to heights unattainable alone.” Write the four keys on the board:
Seek the Spirit
Ask students to write these four keys down. Encourage them to take time before the next class to evaluate their lives in each of these areas.
Conclude by expressing your hope that students will follow Mormon’s example—that they will submit to the hand of God and seek to do His will.