The Words of Mormon plays an important role in helping the reader understand the flow of the Book of Mormon. The books of 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, and Omni are all writings from the small plates of Nephi. The books of Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi, and 4 Nephi are abridgments from the large plates of Nephi. The Words of Mormon explains the connection between the small plates and the large plates.
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
All scripture testifies of Christ and is given for our profit and learning. We will be judged by the principles taught in the scriptures (see Words of Mormon 1:2–11).
Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 51–52.
Suggestions for Teaching
Words of Mormon 1. All scripture testifies of Christ and is given for our profit and learning. Boldly preaching the word brings greater righteousness. (5 minutes)
Have students write on a blank piece of paper three ways they have been blessed through reading and studying the scriptures (they should not include their names). Collect their answers and read some to the class. Discuss with students how they think their life would be different if they did not have the scriptures. Read Omni 1:17 and look for how not having scripture affected the people of Zarahemla.
Invite students to read Words of Mormon 1:2, 4, 7, 15–18 and find the benefits the scriptures can bring to our lives. List responses on the board if desired. Encourage students to maintain the habit of daily scripture study.
Words of Mormon 1:3–10. The small plates of Nephi and the large plates of Nephi make up the greater portion of the Book of Mormon. (5 minutes)
Hold up a clear glass of water and ask:
What is this?
Would it be correct to call it H2O?
What does H2O stand for? (Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen.)
If you take away either of the two elements (hydrogen or oxygen), is it still water?
Invite students to read item 1 in A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Have them identify the two elements that make up the plates of Nephi. Invite a few students to share a favorite account or story from the Book of Mormon. Ask whether these stories came from the large or the small plates. Ask: What are some of the doctrines, teachings, and stories of the Book of Mormon that would be lost if only the large plates had been included? only the small plates?
The Words of Mormon explains why the small plates were inserted in the Book of Mormon. Have students silently read Words of Mormon 1:3–10 looking for and underlining the word plates every time it appears. Read the verses again as a class, identifying which are the large plates and which are the small plates. (Note: In these verses, the phrase plates of Nephi refers to the large plates, and the phrase these plates refers to the small plates. In verse 10, the phrase the other plates refers to the large plates.)