Lesson 17: A Seer-Becometh a Great Benefit to His Fellow Beings

Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 75–78


Purpose

To encourage class members to follow the counsel of Church leaders, particularly those whom the Lord has called as prophets, seers, and revelators.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Mosiah 7–8. Ammon leads an expedition to learn of the people who years earlier had left Zarahemla to return to the land of Nephi. Ammon and his brethren find Limhi and his people. Ammon teaches the people of Limhi, receives a record of the people, and learns of 24 Jaredite plates discovered by the people. He explains that Mosiah, who is a seer, can translate the engravings on the plates.

    2. b.

      Mosiah 9–10. Part of the record of Zeniff, Limhi’s grandfather, recounts a brief history of how Zeniff’s people arrived in the land of Nephi. It also recounts how the Lord strengthened them in wars against the Lamanites.

    3. c.

      Mosiah 11. Zeniff’s son Noah rules in wickedness. Despite the warnings of the prophet Abinadi, the people are blind to the wickedness of Noah and his priests.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Bible Dictionary, “Seer,” 771; “Urim and Thummim,” 786–87.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Draw the following diagram on the chalkboard:

lands of Nephi and Zarahemla

Explain that in order to understand the Lord’s dealings with His people in the book of Mosiah, it is helpful to understand the events described in 2 Nephi 5, the book of Omni, and Mosiah 7 and 9. Tell class members that you will use the diagram on the chalkboard to briefly recount those events. Read or share in your own words the information below (the numbers correspond with the numbers on the diagram):

  1. 1.

    After Lehi’s death, the Lord commanded the followers of Nephi to separate from the followers of Laman. The Nephites settled in a land that they called the land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:5–8). The land was later also known as “the land of Lehi-Nephi” (Mosiah 7:1).

  2. 2.

    About 400 years later the Nephites were led by a king named Mosiah. The Lord commanded Mosiah to flee from the land of Nephi with “as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord.” Mosiah and his people discovered a group of people called the people of Zarahemla. The two groups of people united and called themselves Nephites. Mosiah was appointed to be their king (Omni 1:12–19).

  3. 3.

    A group of Nephites left the land of Zarahemla to regain part of the land of Nephi (Omni 1:27). They obtained land there under the leadership of a man named Zeniff, who became their king (Mosiah 9:1–7).

  4. 4.

    About 79 years later King Mosiah II, the grandson of the first King Mosiah, “was desirous to know concerning the people who went to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi.” He permitted a man named Ammon to lead an expedition for this purpose (note that this Ammon was not the son of Mosiah who later preached the gospel among the Lamanites). Ammon and his brethren found King Limhi and his people. Limhi was Zeniff’s grandson (Mosiah 7:1–11).

Scripture Discussion and Application

Prayerfully select the scripture passages, questions, and other lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs. Discuss how the selected scriptures apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share appropriate experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. Ammon and his brethren find Limhi and his people. Ammon teaches Limhi of the importance of a seer.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 7–8. For an explanation of Mosiah 7:1–11, see item 4 in the attention activity.

  • Why did Limhi take Ammon and his companions captive? (See Mosiah 7:8–11.) Why did Limhi rejoice when he learned who Ammon was? (See Mosiah 7:12–15. Explain that later in the lesson you will discuss how Limhi’s people were brought into bondage.) What message did Limhi share with his people after talking with Ammon? (See Mosiah 7:17–20, 29–33.) What does this reveal about Limhi’s qualities as a leader?

  • Limhi told Ammon that he once sent 43 people to search for their brethren in Zarahemla (Mosiah 8:7). What did this group find instead? (See Mosiah 8:8–11; see also Ether 1:1–2. They found the remains of the Jaredite civilization. The Jaredites had settled there centuries before the Nephites arrived.)

  • What did Limhi request of Ammon regarding the 24 gold plates of the Jaredites? (See Mosiah 8:11–12.) Why would it be helpful for Limhi’s people—and for us—to “know the cause of [the] destruction” of the Jaredites?

  • How did Ammon respond to Limhi’s request? (See Mosiah 8:13–14. He said that Mosiah, the king in Zarahemla, was a seer who could translate the records.) What other titles did Ammon associate with the title of seer? (See Mosiah 8:16.) Whom do we sustain today as prophets, seers, and revelators? (Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)

  • What are the roles of a seer? (See Mosiah 8:13, 17–18.) How do latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators fulfill these roles? (See the quotation below. You may also want to have class members discuss other conference addresses, proclamations, or events that show how members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have acted as seers.) How have latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators been “a great benefit” to you?

    Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

    “The scriptures speak of prophets as ‘watch[men] upon the tower’ who see ‘the enemy while he [is] yet afar off’ and who have ‘beheld also things which were not visible to the natural eye … [for] a seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people.’

    “[Many years ago] the Brethren warned us of the disintegration of the family and told us to prepare. … The weekly family home evening was introduced by the First Presidency. … Parents are provided with excellent materials for teaching their children, with a promise that the faithful will be blessed.

    “While the doctrines and revealed organization remain unchanged, all agencies of the Church have been reshaped in their relationship to one another and to the home. … The entire curriculum of the Church was overhauled—based on scriptures. … And years were spent preparing new editions of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. …

    “We can only imagine where we would be if we were just now reacting to [the] terrible redefinition of the family. But that is not the case. We are not casting frantically about, trying to decide what to do. We know what to do and what to teach. …

    “The course we follow is not of our own making. The plan of salvation, the great plan of happiness, was revealed to us, and the prophets and Apostles continue to receive revelation as the Church and its members stand in need of more” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 24–25; or Ensign, May 1994, 20).

2. The record of Zeniff recounts a brief history of Zeniff’s people.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 9–10. Explain that chapters Mosiah 9–22 of the book of Mosiah contain a history of the people who left Zarahemla to return to the land of Nephi. The history begins with the account of Zeniff, Limhi’s grandfather.

  • Zeniff was a member of a group of Nephites who wanted to regain from the Lamanites some of the land of Nephi (Mosiah 9:1). What was the Lamanites’ attitude toward the Nephites? (See Mosiah 10:11–17. They were “wroth” because they felt that Laman and Lemuel, their ancestors, had been “wronged by their brethren.” Because of this, they taught their children to hate the Nephites.) How do the traditions of the past sometimes stir people up to hatred? (You may want to invite class members to share examples of similar situations in communities, nations, or the world.) Why are such traditions perpetuated?

  • What can we learn from Zeniff about overcoming feelings of hatred? (See Mosiah 9:1. Zeniff was sent as a spy to determine how to destroy the Lamanites. However, when he saw “that which was good” among the Lamanites, he no longer wanted to destroy them.) What can we do to honestly see the good in others?

  • What mistake did Zeniff make in his efforts to “inherit the land of [his] fathers”? (See Mosiah 7:21–22; 9:3.) What were the results of Zeniff’s over-zealousness? (See Mosiah 9:3–12; 10:18.) What are some dangers of being overzealous, even in a good cause? How can we be zealous in the Lord’s work without being overzealous?

  • In their determination to obtain a part of the land of Nephi, Zeniff and his people “were slow to remember the Lord [their] God” (Mosiah 9:3). What finally led them to turn to the Lord? (See Mosiah 9:13–17.) How were they blessed when they remembered the Lord and prayed for deliverance? (See Mosiah 9:18; 10:19–21.) As members of the Church, we have made a covenant to “always remember” the Lord (D&C 20:77, 79). What are some things we can do that can help us keep this covenant?

3. Abinadi warns the people, but they are blind to Noah’s wickedness.

Read and discuss selected verses from Mosiah 11.

  • Who became king after Zeniff? (See Mosiah 11:1.) What kind of a ruler was Noah? (See Mosiah 11:1–19. You may want to list on the chalkboard some of the ways Noah “[walked] after the desires of his own heart” and “changed the affairs of the kingdom.”)

  • How did Noah influence the lives of his people? (See Mosiah 11:2, 5–7.) How did the people and Noah share the responsibility for their sinfulness?

  • The Lord sent the prophet Abinadi to call Noah and his people to repentance (Mosiah 11:20). What warnings did the Lord give through Abinadi? (See Mosiah 11:20–25. You may want to discuss how Abinadi fulfilled the role of a seer, as discussed earlier in the lesson.)

  • How did Noah and his people respond to Abinadi’s warnings? (See Mosiah 11:26–28; see also Mosiah 12:13–15.) Why were the people angry with Abinadi and not with Noah, who had taxed them and caused them to support him in his iniquity? (See Mosiah 11:7, 29.)

  • Why do some people today reject servants of the Lord, like Abinadi, in favor of people like Noah? Why is it important to recognize and follow prophets of God? (See Mosiah 8:16–18; D&C 1:38; 84:36–38.)

Conclusion

Encourage class members to follow the counsel of righteous leaders, particularly those whom the Lord has called as prophets, seers, and revelators.

As directed by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.