Mormon 1-6

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 244–247


Introduction

In chapters 1–6, Mormon recounts the consequences of the wickedness detailed in 4 Nephi. “His account bears witness of the hopeless, hell-like state of a people who once knew an almost celestial existence and [later] rejected God in totality. …

“… Mormon was an incredible man. Not only was he entrusted with the responsibility of the plates and called to lead the Nephite armies at tender ages, but Mormon profoundly loved and cared about his unbelievably degenerate Nephite people. Even after he felt compelled to resign as their leader because of their refusal to repent, his compassion for them drew him back to help them, knowing he would lead them to their inevitable demise and probably die with them. Mormon was surrounded by gross iniquity and sorrow throughout his life, yet he remained … strong and valiant. …

“… Mormon, in the final words of his own record, had born testimony to the descendants of those whom he knew would probably kill him and his family. … Rather than writing words of bitterness, he had invited them to believe in Christ, repent, and be saved” (Joseph Fielding McConkie and others, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon: Volume IV—Third Nephi through Moroni [1992], 207–8).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Note: Prayerfully study each assigned scripture block and consider the principles in this section before preparing your lessons.

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 130–33.

Suggestions for Teaching

Note: Choose from the ideas in this section, or use some of your own, as you prepare to teach the assigned scripture block.

video iconBook of Mormon Video presentation 19, “O Ye Fair Ones” (5:18), can be used in teaching 4 Nephi–Mormon 6 (see Book of Mormon Video Guide for teaching suggestions).

Mormon 1:1–5, 13–16; 2:1–8, 16–17, 29; 4:19–20; 5:6–7; 8:3. Mormon abridged most of the records of the Book of Mormon. (15–20 minutes)

Share the following and ask students who they think it describes:

  1. 1.

    A prophet came to him when he was young and told him of records engraved on metal plates that he had hidden in a hill. The prophet told him that he was to go to the hill when he was older and obtain the plates (see Mormon 1:1–3; Joseph Smith—History 1:33–35, 42).

  2. 2.

    In his mid-teens he was visited of the Lord (see Mormon 1:15; Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

  3. 3.

    He tried to share part of what he had learned, but the people hardened their hearts (see Mormon 1:16; Joseph Smith—History 1:21–22).

  4. 4.

    He was in his early twenties when he received the plates (see Mormon 1:3; 2:16–17; Joseph Smith—History 1:59).

  5. 5.

    He was large in stature (see Mormon 2:1; Church History in the Fulness of Times [Religion 341–43 student manual, 1993], 49).

  6. 6.

    He had the same name as his father (see Mormon 1:5; Joseph Smith—History 1:4).

  7. 7.

    The people in his time lived in a state of apostasy (see Mormon 1:13; Joseph Smith—History 1:18–19).

  8. 8.

    He led his people as a military leader, prophet, and record keeper (see Mormon 2:1; D&C 43:1–5; Church History in the Fulness of Times, 223).

  9. 9.

    He was forced by his enemies to leave his home and move with his people from city to city (see Mormon 2:4–6; 4:19–20; 5:6–7; D&C 124 heading; Joseph Smith—History 1:61).

  10. 10.

    His enemies finally succeeded in killing him (see Mormon 8:3; D&C 135:4).

Explain to students that these statements describe not only the Prophet Joseph Smith but also Mormon. Mormon abridged most of the records of the Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Write the following verses on the board: Mormon 1:1–5, 13–16; 2:1–8, 16–17, 29; 4:19–20; 5:6–7; 8:3. Invite students to read the verses and look for the prophet Mormon’s characteristics described above.

weekly icon Mormon 1–6. Righteousness leads to prosperity and happiness. Wickedness leads to misery and sorrow. (35–40 minutes)

Note: This teaching suggestion builds on the one for 4 Nephi 1:7–49, showing in more detail the consequences of the wickedness described there.

Give students the following true-false quiz:

  1. 1.

    The book of 4 Nephi describes a people who devotedly kept the commandments. (True.)

  2. 2.

    The righteous people described in 4 Nephi experienced great happiness. (True.)

  3. 3.

    Their happiness was a direct result of their righteousness. (True.)

  4. 4.

    The book of 4 Nephi also describes how the people became wicked and includes a detailed list of their sins. (True.)

  5. 5.

    The book of 4 Nephi describes in detail the misery, suffering, and sorrow that come to the wicked because of their sins. (False; this information is found mainly in Mormon.)

Correct the quiz as a class. To help students see how the book of Mormon builds on 4 Nephi, draw the accompanying diagram on the board.

Righteousness
(4 Nephi)

arrow

Happiness
(4 Nephi)

Wickedness
(4 Nephi)

arrow

Sorrow
(Mormon)

Write the accompanying chart on the board, leaving the right-hand column blank. Invite students to read the verses in Mormon and identify ways the people suffered because of their wickedness.

Mormon

Results of Wickedness

1:8–11

War broke out between the Nephites and Lamanites.

1:13, 16

The Lord took away His disciples.

1:13

Miracles and healings ceased.

1:14; 5:16

The Spirit of the Lord withdrew.

1:16–17

Leaders were forbidden to teach the wicked.

1:17–18

The land was cursed.

1:18

Robbers infested the land.

1:19

Sorcery, witchcraft, magic, and the power of the devil abounded.

2:8

There was much blood and carnage.

2:11

The people mourned and lamented.

2:20

They were driven from their homes.

4:11

People took pleasure in killing.

4:14, 21

They offered women and children as sacrifices.

Read Mormon 4:12 to find how wicked the Nephites had become. Read Ether 2:9 and discuss when the “fulness of [God’s] wrath” comes upon the wicked. Then have students complete the rest of the chart.

4:18

The wicked Nephites began to be destroyed.

5:7–9

The people were slaughtered.

6:7

They had an “awful fear of death.”

6:9–15

The Nephites were completely destroyed.

Ask:

  • What is the eventual result of choosing wickedness over righteousness?

  • Read Mormon 2:13. Why didn’t the Nephites’ sorrowing help them?

  • Why do you think the Lord does not always punish the wicked immediately?

  • Read Mormon 6:17–18. What could the Nephites have done to avoid their destruction?

  • How can knowing that the wicked will suffer for their sins make a difference in the way you live?

Mormon 2:8, 11–15. If we delay our repentance, repentance becomes more and more difficult. (10–15 minutes)

Bring two magnets to class. Invite several students to take turns holding the magnets in such a way that they attract each other. Have them see how close together they can hold the magnets without them touching. Ask: How difficult was it to keep the magnets from pulling together? Why?

Read Mormon 2:8, 11–15; 3:2–3; 5:1–2 and ask:

  • What could happen to the wicked who continually refuse to repent?

  • How is that like trying to keep the magnets apart?

  • Read Helaman 13:32–33, 38. How do these verses relate to this principle?

Share the following statement by President George A. Smith, who was a member of the First Presidency:

“There is a line of demarcation well defined. On one side of the line is the Lord’s territory, and on the other side of the line is the devil’s territory. If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line the devil cannot come over there to tempt you or to annoy or distress you. If you go onto the devil’s side of the line just one inch you are in his territory, you are in his power, and he will seek to draw you just as far from that line of demarcation, that division line, as he can, knowing that if he can keep you in his territory he has you in his power” (in George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1932, 27).

Ask students:

  • How does this statement relate to the magnets?

  • How can this statement apply to your life?

  • What happens to those who cross the “line of demarcation” into Satan’s territory and do not return to the Lord’s side?

Share the following statements. Elder James E. Talmage, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote:

“As the time of repentance is procrastinated, the ability to repent grows weaker; neglect of opportunity in holy things develops inability” (The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. [1924], 114).

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote:

“It is true that the great principle of repentance is always available, but for the wicked and rebellious there are serious reservations to this statement. For instance, sin is intensely habit-forming and sometimes moves men to the tragic point of no return. … As the transgressor moves deeper and deeper in his sin, … and the will to change is weakened, it becomes increasingly near-hopeless, and he skids down and down until either he does not want to climb back or he has lost the power to do so” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 117).

Read Alma 34:32–34 and discuss the following questions:

  • How is your life affected when you repent?

  • Why is the timing of a person’s repentance important?

Mormon 3:3, 7–10, 14–15. We should recognize God as the source of our blessings and be grateful to Him. (10–15 minutes)

Ask several students to name something they are grateful for. Ask:

  • Who is the source of all blessings?

  • How can we express our gratitude to God for our blessings?

  • How do you think the Lord feels about ingratitude?

Read Mormon 3:3, 7–10, 14–15; 4:8 looking for the sin the people committed. Ask: Who did these people credit for their successes? Have a student read Doctrine and Covenants 59:7, 21, and ask:

  • What did the Lord command His children to do in these verses?

  • How does the Lord feel toward those who break this commandment?

  • What can you do besides thanking the Lord in prayer to show Him you are grateful for His blessings?

Read or sing “Because I Have Been Given Much” (Hymns, no. 219).

weekly iconMormon 3:17–22; 5:10–24. The Book of Mormon is a second witness to the Bible that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer and that He will judge all of Heavenly Father’s children. (10–15 minutes)

Draw on the board an illustration showing the judgment bar of God.

judgment bar(click to view larger)

The Judgment Bar of God

Have students imagine that the day of their final judgment has come. Ask:

  • What do you imagine you will think and feel on that day?

  • Who do you think will be there to judge you?

Have students read Mormon 3:17–19 and underline the groups of people Mormon addressed. Invite the students to identify in their mind which of the groups they think they belong to.

Write the following questions on the board (do not write the suggested answer or the scripture references). Have a student read aloud Mormon 3:18–22. Write the answers to the questions as students find them.

  • Who will assist Jesus Christ in judging the twelve tribes of Israel? (see v. 18).

  • Who will assist in judging the descendants of Lehi? (see v. 19).

  • Who will stand before Christ’s judgment-seat? (see v. 20).

  • By what will we be judged? (By our works; see v. 20; see also Alma 12:14.)

  • How can we best prepare for our final judgment? (see v. 22).

  • For whom will the judgment bar be “pleasing”? (Jacob 6:13).

Share the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The reality is that there will be a whole hierarchy of judges who, under Christ, shall judge the righteous. He alone shall issue the decrees of damnation for the wicked” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 520).