Abraham and three virtuous young women refused to worship false gods and chose to honor God in all circumstances.
Invite students to imagine that they have a friend who is a member of the Church who has a difficult home life where the Lord’s commandments are taken lightly and there is no support to keep them. She wants to receive all the blessings that come from living the gospel, but some of her family members make it difficult for her to live the gospel. In fact, they often ridicule her and discourage her from living her beliefs.
What would you tell your friend that could help her remain faithful?
Explain that Abraham was in a situation similar to that of the young woman in the scenario you just described. Even though he sought after righteousness in his life, he lived in circumstances that made it difficult to obtain his righteous desires. Ask a student to read Abraham 1:5–7 aloud. Invite the class to follow along and identify the difficult circumstances Abraham faced.
What difficult circumstances did Abraham face?
According to verses 5 and 7,what did Abraham do even though he lived in difficult circumstances? (He tried to teach his family the gospel.)
Invite a student to read Abraham 1:8–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify other difficult circumstances that existed for Abraham and other righteous people in Chaldea.
What difficult circumstances existed in the land of Chaldea?
According to verse 11, why were the three daughters of Onitah sacrificed?
Explain that the examples of Abraham and the three daughters of Onitah show us that we can choose righteousness regardless of the circumstances in which we live. Write this principle on the board.
What are some circumstances in which a young man or young woman may benefit from remembering this principle?
How might believing this principle help your friend continue to live the gospel even though it is difficult for her to do so?
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith:
“We all know something of the courage it takes for one to stand in opposition to united custom, and general belief. None of us likes to be ridiculed. Few are able to withstand popular opinion even when they know it is wrong, and it is difficult to comprehend the magnificent courage displayed by Abraham in his profound obedience to Jehovah, in the midst of his surroundings. His moral courage, his implicit faith in God, his boldness in raising his voice in opposition to the prevailing wickedness, is almost beyond comparison (The Way to Perfection , 86)” (in The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2000], 30).
When have you or someone you know made righteous choices while in difficult circumstances?
Invite students to set a goal to make righteous choices regardless of the circumstances they may be in. Testify that God will bless them as they make those righteous choices.
Invite students to look at “A Facsimile from the Book of Abraham, No. 1,” which is located at the beginning of the book of Abraham. Summarize Abraham 1:12–14 by explaining that this depiction represents Abraham on the altar and the false priest preparing to sacrifice him. The depiction also contains images of the many false gods the people worshipped at that time.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Abraham 1:15–17. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened to Abraham after he was placed on the altar.
What happened to Abraham?
What did Jehovah say to Abraham?
You may want to point out that the three daughters of Onitah set a courageous example for Abraham when they refused to bow down to false gods. These virtuous young women were willing to die rather than deny what they believed or yield to bowing down before idols. Abraham followed their example of virtue and bravery and was willing to accept the same fate.
How do these promises apply to you?
Invite a student to read Abraham 1:20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord did after He delivered Abraham from the wicked priests. Ask students to report what they find. You may want to point out that the Lord also sent a famine into the land (see Abraham 1:29–30).
Summarize Abraham 1:21–27 by explaining that after the Flood a woman named Egyptus, who was Noah’s granddaughter through Ham, settled in a land with her sons. They named the land Egypt, and Egyptus’s oldest son, Pharaoh, was appointed the first king of Egypt (subsequent leaders of Egypt were also called Pharaoh). The first Pharaoh, and subsequent Pharaohs, did not have the right of priesthood. The Egyptian leaders tried to imitate the priesthood, which eventually led to idolatry. Explain that idolatry means worshipping idols, false gods, and images of any kind. In short, idolatry is to love a man-made creation of any kind more than loving God.
Show students something that you have tried to preserve or keep safe. You could display a letter or a photograph as an example.
What does it mean to preserve something? (To keep something in good condition or ensure its continued existence; to protect something from harm or loss.)
Invite a student to read Abraham 1:28 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what the Lord charged Abraham to preserve. Ask them to report what they find.
Invite another student to read Abraham 1:31 aloud. Ask students to follow along and identify what these preserved records contained.
What was preserved in the records Abraham kept? (Information about the right of the priesthood and knowledge of the beginning of creation, the planets, and the stars.)
Why did Abraham choose to write some of these things in his record?
What contents of Abraham’s record that you studied this week were of benefit to you?
Encourage students to continue to diligently study the words recorded by Abraham so they can continue to benefit from them.
As students prepare to study Abraham 3 and Genesis 13–18, encourage them to consider the following: Why did Abraham marry Hagar as a plural wife? How did this action show Sarah’s faith? When the men of Sodom sought to commit immoral acts upon Lot’s visitors and daughters, what did the holy men do to the wicked Sodomites? Sodom was known for the sin of homosexual behavior. What happened to Sodom because they would not repent?