To help students understand how pride and wickedness led the Nephites to reject Jesus Christ and His teachings, which brought about their destruction.
Before the Video
Read Mormon 6:1–15 with the class. Ask them how Mormon must have felt as he witnessed the devastation of this final battle.
Using the Video
Note: The video is intended as a readiness activity to introduce your study of 4 Nephi through Mormon 6.
“Look For” Activity
Suggest that the students try to put themselves in the position of Mormon and Moroni and identify how they must have felt as they witnessed the destruction of the Nephite nation.
Show the Video
The great destruction of the battle of Cumorah is initially depicted. Mormon mourns the great loss of the Nephite nation and laments, “How is it that ye could have fallen!” (Mormon 6:19).
After the Video
Read Mormon 6:16–19 with the class. What did Mormon say as he mourned the destruction of the Nephites? (“O . . . ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!” [Mormon 6:19].) Why were the Nephites destroyed?
Scripture Activity and Discussion
Suggest that the students scan 4 Nephi 1:1–19 and identify the key elements of the Nephite society. Discuss how the Savior’s visit influenced the way that the Nephites treated one another and how they lived. Then have students search 4 Nephi 1:20–43 to identify factors that contributed to the Nephites’ destruction. You may wish to list these on the board. The following information might be helpful:
A small group revolted from the Church and called themselves Lamanites (see v. 20).
The people had wealth and pride (see vv. 23–24).
They no longer had things in common; they divided into classes; they built churches to get gain; they denied the Church of Christ (see vv. 25–26).
Many false churches arose, and persecution of the Saints developed (see vv. 29–34).
Hate was taught (see v. 39).
Secret combinations again flourished (v. 42).
The people began to be proud in their hearts because of their exceeding riches (see v. 43).
As they study Mormon 1–5, have the students look for additional evidence of wickedness and an unrepentant attitude among the Nephites. Consider the following:
The sorrowing of the damned (see Mormon 2:10–15).
Mormon was allowed one last chance to preach repentance (see Mormon 3:2–3).
The Nephites boasted in their own strength and began an offensive military campaign (see Mormon 3:9–16).
The spiritual condition of the Nephites at the time (see Mormon 4:10–12).
Ask how the following quote from President Ezra Taft Benson could apply to the Nephites and to us:
“My dear brethren and sisters, we must prepare to redeem Zion. It was essentially the sin of pride that kept us from establishing Zion in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was the same sin of pride that brought consecration to an end among the Nephites. . . .
“Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion. I repeat: Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.
“We must cleanse the inner vessel by conquering pride” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 7; or
Discuss the following:
How does the destruction of the Nephites apply to us today? (see D&C 38:39).
How could a people who had been so blessed with the gospel, prophets, and scriptures turn against the Lord and become so wicked?
To what extent are we like the Nephites? How can we avoid the fate of the Nephites? Are some in our day following the same path as the Nephites?
How will the Second Coming be like the destruction of the Nephites? How will it be different?
Challenge students to learn from the destruction of the Nephites so they can be found worthy to abide the Second Coming.
Ask how the following quote from President Benson relates to the Nephites and to us today:
“God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble. . . .
“We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives. . . .
“Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can” (in Conference Report, 6; or