The Lord promised Enoch that Noah would be one of his descendants. The Lord called Noah to preach the gospel and warn the people that if they did not repent, they would be destroyed by a flood. Because the people were wicked and corrupt and refused to repent, the Lord determined to destroy all flesh from the earth.
Invite students to name situations in which a person might be directed to change or correct his or her actions (such as violating a driving law or sports game rule or performing a mathematical equation incorrectly). You may want to list students’ responses on the board.
In these situations, what could happen if a person chose not to change as directed?
Tell students that in today’s lesson they will learn about a group of people who were directed to change, and they will find out how those people responded. Encourage students to consider, as they study, how they personally respond to invitations to change.
To help students understand the content of Moses 8:1–11, invite them to scan these verses, looking for names of Enoch’s descendants. Ask them to report the names they find.
Explain that to fulfill the covenant the Lord made with Enoch that Noah would be his descendant (see Moses 8:2), Methuselah was not taken with the city of Enoch when it was translated. Methuselah, who lived to be 969 years old, begat Lamech, and Lamech begat Noah.
Invite a student to read Moses 8:12–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the two types of sons that are described. Ask students to report what they find (the sons of God and the sons of men).
What difference do you find in these verses between the sons of God and the sons of men?
What do you think it means that the sons of God “hearkened unto the Lord, and gave heed” (Moses 8:13)? (They listened attentively to the Lord and obeyed Him.)
According to verse 15, how did the Lord describe the decision of Noah’s granddaughters to marry the sons of men?
What do you think it means that Noah’s granddaughters “sold themselves”? (In choosing to marry wicked men, Noah’s granddaughters forfeited the opportunity to receive the full blessings Heavenly Father offers those who marry in His covenant.)
Tell students that the remainder of Moses 8 contains a description of the actions of rebellious people who lived in Noah’s day. Assign each of the references on the board to a group of students. Ask the students to read their assigned verses and identify actions of these rebellious people. After sufficient time, invite a few students to write what they found on the board, under the scripture reference they studied. Then ask the following questions:
Why do you think someone would want to kill a prophet of God (see Moses 8:18, 26)?
What similarities do you see between the spiritual conditions in Noah’s day and conditions in our day?
Ask students to review Moses 8:20, 24 silently, looking for the message the Lord had Noah give to the people.
What did the Lord direct Noah to call upon these people to do?
How did the people repeatedly respond to this invitation?
Explain that an invitation to repent is an invitation to change our desires, attitudes, and actions to be aligned with God’s will.
According to Moses 8:17, how long did the Lord give the people to repent?
What would be the consequence if they chose not to repent?
Point out that although the consequence of the Flood was specific to the people of Noah’s day, the Lord has always warned that negative consequences will follow sin.
What principle can we learn from the people’s refusal to hearken to the Lord’s invitations to repent? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: If we do not hearken to the Lord’s invitations to repent, then we will suffer the consequences of continuing in our sins. Write this principle on the board.)
Help students understand this principle by asking questions such as the following:
In what ways does the Lord communicate to us His invitations to repent?
According to Moses 8:21, how had these people convinced themselves that they did not need to repent? What are some ways people in our day might convince themselves that they do not need to hearken to the Lord’s invitations to repent?
What are some consequences we might face for choosing not to repent?
Ask students to recall how Noah and his sons responded to the Lord’s instructions (see Moses 8:13). Then invite a student to read Moses 8:27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the results of their hearkening to the Lord. Ask students to report their findings.
Explain that, in this context, the word just means “righteous.” Also explain that the phrase “perfect in his generation” does not mean that Noah lived a sinless life. It means he was a man of integrity, who was completely devoted to carrying out the will of the Lord and was purified from all unrighteousness through being true to the covenants of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (You may want to remind students that we become perfect through Jesus Christ [see Moroni 10:32; D&C 76:69].)
Invite students to ponder whether they are currently hearkening to the Lord’s invitations to repent or ignoring those invitations. Encourage them to choose to repent as necessary, and share your testimony that as they do so they can avoid the negative consequences that come from continuing in sin.
Invite a student to read Moses 8:29–30 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord resolved to do because of the corruption of the people, the violence that filled the earth, and the people’s refusal to repent. Ask students to report what they find.
Explain that some people wonder why a loving God would destroy almost all of the people on earth through the Flood. To help students understand how to respond to this concern, invite a student to read 2 Nephi 26:24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the reason behind everything God does. (You might want to suggest that students write this reference in their scriptures next to Moses 8:30.)
Why does God do everything He does? (Students should identify the following truth: All that God does is for the benefit of His children. Consider writing this truth on the board.)
In what ways do you think the Flood would be a benefit to God’s children?
How do you think your ability to fulfill God’s plan for your salvation would be affected if you were born into a world where all parents imagined only evil in their hearts continually (see Moses 8:22; Genesis 6:5)?
Invite a student to read the following statements by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President John Taylor. Ask the class to listen for additional insights that can help them understand how the Flood was for the benefit of the world.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that God intervened “when corruption had reached an agency-destroying point that spirits could not, in justice, be sent here” (We Will Prove Them Herewith , 58).
President John Taylor explained that “by taking away their earthly existence [God] prevented them from entailing their sins upon their posterity and degenerating [or corrupting] them, and also prevented them from committing further acts of wickedness” (“Discourse Delivered by Prest. John Taylor,” Deseret News, Jan. 16, 1878, 787).
According to these statements, how did the Flood benefit God’s children?
Explain that the Flood also benefited those who were wicked because they were brought into the spirit world, where they could eventually repent and be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ (see 1 Peter 3:18–20; Moses 7:39).
Why do you think it is important to understand that all that God does is for the benefit of His children? How can you benefit from having a testimony of this truth?
Consider sharing a personal experience or testimony regarding how you know that all that God does is for the benefit of His children.
When students can locate scripture mastery passages easily, they will be more confident in their personal study and application of the gospel and in their opportunities to teach from the scriptures. Consider the following declaration by President Howard W. Hunter:
“We would hope none of your students would leave your classroom fearful or embarrassed or ashamed that they cannot find the help they need because they do not know the scriptures well enough to locate the proper passages” (“Eternal Investments” [evening with President Howard W. Hunter, Feb. 10, 1989], 2; si.lds.org).
Scripture mastery reviews are placed throughout this manual to introduce a variety of methods you can use to help students review scripture mastery verses regularly. For other scripture mastery review activities, see the appendix at the end of this manual.
The length of this lesson may allow time for the following scripture mastery review activity. You could conduct the activity at the beginning of class, between sections of the lesson, or at the end of class. Keep the activity brief to allow sufficient time for the lesson.
Quizzes can help students remember what they have learned and measure their learning. Use the four scripture mastery passages students have already been introduced to (you could also include a few new scripture mastery passages), and invite students to read and mark them in their scriptures. When they have done this, give them a verbal quiz on those passages. For each passage, give a key word or read a phrase from the seminary bookmark. Then ask students to find the correct passage in their scriptures. You could time the class to measure how quickly they can all find each passage. Doing this more than once could help them try to improve.