Lesson 9: 1 Nephi 5

Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual, 2012


Introduction

While Lehi’s wife, Sariah, waited for her sons to return from Jerusalem, she feared that they had perished in their efforts to obtain the brass plates. When they returned safely with the plates, she gained a stronger witness that God was directing and preserving her family. Lehi searched the brass plates and found them to be of great worth to his family. As he read them, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he prophesied that the scriptures they contained would be preserved for his posterity.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 5:1–9

Lehi’s sons return safely to their family in the wilderness

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to look for reasons why Sariah began to complain.

  • What were Sariah’s complaints? (Answers might include that Lehi was a visionary man, that he had led the family away from the land of their inheritance, and that he had made decisions that may have led to the loss of their sons and that could lead to their own deaths in the wilderness.)

Ask students to think about a time when they might have complained about a situation even though they did not have all the information about that situation.

Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 5:4–6 aloud. Ask the class to give attention to the manner in which Lehi responded to Sariah’s complaints.

  • What impresses you about how Lehi responded to Sariah’s complaining? (You may want to point out that Lehi responded with testimony and confidence in the Lord rather than with fear or doubt. He did not respond angrily or impatiently.)

  • What can we learn from Lehi’s response to Sariah?

Have a student read 1 Nephi 5:7–9 aloud.

  • What did Sariah gain from this experience?

1 Nephi 5:10–22

Lehi searches the plates of brass

Ask students to think about whether there is anything they would consider sacrificing their lives to gain or to keep.

Invite a student to summarize 1 Nephi 3–4 and tell of the sacrifices that Lehi’s family made to obtain the plates of brass. (Nephi and his brothers risked their lives, sacrificed their riches, and traveled a long distance.)

  • Why do you think such sacrifice was necessary?

Explain that after the family offered sacrifices and gave thanks to the Lord, Lehi immediately began to read the contents of the plates. Invite several students to take turns reading 1 Nephi 5:11–16 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Lehi discovered on the plates of brass. You may want to briefly list their responses on the board.

Invite students to read 1 Nephi 5:10 silently. Ask them to look for the word that describes Lehi’s reading of the scriptures. (He “search[ed] them.”) Invite students to arrange themselves in pairs to discuss the following question:

  • What is the difference between searching the scriptures and just reading them? (You may want to encourage students to tell about times when they have searched the scriptures.)

Read the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“When I say ‘study,’ I mean something more than reading. It is a good thing sometimes to read a book of scripture within a set period of time to get an overall sense of its message, but for conversion, you should care more about the amount of time you spend in the scriptures than about the amount you read in that time. I see you sometimes reading a few verses, stopping to ponder them, carefully reading the verses again, and as you think about what they mean, praying for understanding, asking questions in your mind, waiting for spiritual impressions, and writing down the impressions and insights that come so you can remember and learn more. Studying in this way, you may not read a lot of chapters or verses in a half hour, but you will be giving place in your heart for the word of God, and He will be speaking to you. Remember Alma’s description of what it feels like: ‘It beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me’ [Alma 32:28]” (“When Thou Art Converted,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 11–12).

Give students time to reflect on their own study of the scriptures. Ask them to write in their scripture study journals or class notebooks about meaningful ways they search the scriptures. After they have written, invite them to consider how they might improve their scripture study. Ask them to choose one way to improve their personal searching of the scriptures. Encourage them to write this goal in their scripture study journals. You may want to suggest that students share the goal with someone (for example, with you, a parent, or another student) who will remind them of the goal and encourage them to accomplish it.

Explain that the Lord blessed Lehi for searching the scriptures. To help students discover these blessings, invite them to read 1 Nephi 5:16–20 silently.

  • How did searching the brass plates influence Lehi?

Emphasize that when Lehi searched the scriptures, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and received revelation “concerning his seed” (his posterity). Assure students that as we search the scriptures, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive revelation. Likewise, when we sacrifice our time and energy to search the scriptures as Lehi did, we can receive strength to keep God’s commandments.

  • In what ways have you been blessed by searching the scriptures?

  • When have you felt the Holy Spirit while studying the scriptures?

Invite a student to read the following statement, in which Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testifies of the blessings of searching the scriptures:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures; for His words are spoken through His prophets. He will then teach us as we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

“If you have not heard His voice speaking to you lately, return with new eyes and new ears to the scriptures. They are our spiritual lifeline” (“Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 26–27).

Read 1 Nephi 5:21–22 aloud, asking students to follow along in their scriptures. As you read, emphasize these words: “It was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness.”

  • Why is it wise for us to carry the scriptures with us in our journeys?

  • In what ways can we carry the scriptures with us?

Point out that Lehi and his family obtained the plates of brass through great sacrifice. Without the scriptures, Lehi and his family would not have been successful in their journey. Encourage students to keep the scriptures with them as they journey through mortality.

Invite students to reflect on their personal scripture study. Consider inviting a student who regularly reads the scriptures to offer encouragement and testimony to his or her peers. Encourage students to make a habit of spending time daily to search the scriptures.

Note: The length of this lesson may allow time for the scripture mastery activity from the previous lesson.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Nephi 5:10–22. The value of the scriptures

To teach about how we can receive guidance through our study of the scriptures, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared the account of Lehi searching the brass plates:

“When Nephi and his brothers returned [from Jerusalem with the brass plates], Lehi, their father, rejoiced. He began to search the holy scriptures ‘from the beginning,’ and ‘found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth … insomuch that [Lehi and his posterity] could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto [their] children.’

“Indeed, the brass plates were a record of Lehi’s fathers, including their language, genealogy, and, more importantly, the gospel taught by God’s holy prophets. As Lehi searched the plates, he learned what all of us learn by studying the scriptures:

“• Who we are.

“• What we can become.

“• Prophecies for us and for our posterity.

“• The commandments, laws, ordinances, and covenants we must live by to obtain eternal life.

“• And how we must live in order to endure to the end and return to our Heavenly Father with honor.

“So essential are these truths that Heavenly Father gave both Lehi and Nephi visions vividly representing the word of God as a rod of iron. Both father and son learned that holding to this strong, unbending, utterly reliable guide is the only way to stay on that strait and narrow path that leads to our Savior” (“Holy Scriptures: The Power of God unto Our Salvation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 25).

1 Nephi 5:18–19. The brass plates

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified of the importance of Lehi’s family obtaining the plates of brass:

“The value of the Brass Plates to the Nephites cannot be overestimated. By means of them they were able to preserve the language (1 Ne. 3:19), most of the civilization, and the religious knowledge of the people from whence they came. (1 Ne. 22:30.) By way of contrast, the Mulekites, who were led out of Jerusalem some 11 years after Lehi’s departure, and who had no record equivalent to the Brass Plates, soon dwindled in apostasy and unbelief and lost their language, civilization, and religion. (Omni 14–18.)

“From prophet to prophet and generation to generation the Brass Plates were handed down and preserved by the Nephites. (Mosiah 1:16; 28:20; 3 Ne. 1:2.) At some future date the Lord has promised to bring them forth, undimmed by time and retaining their original brightness, and the scriptural accounts recorded on them are to ‘go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.’ (Alma 37:3–5; 1 Ne. 5:18–19.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 103).

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

1 Nephi 5:11–18. The valuable contents of the brass plates

To help students see what the plates of brass contained, write the following matching exercise on the board or prepare it as a handout. Have students match the numbered items in the left column to the corresponding lettered items in the right column.

The Valuable Contents of the Brass Plates

  1. 1.

    The first five books of the Old Testament (see 1 Nephi 5:11)

 
  1. A.

    The book of Jeremiah

  1. 2.

    A valuable gift from the holy prophets (see 1 Nephi 5:13)

 
  1. B.

    To help Lehi’s family and posterity keep God’s commandments

  1. 3.

    Writings of a prophet who lived in Jerusalem at the same time as Lehi (see 1 Nephi 5:13)

 
  1. C.

    The books of Moses

  1. 4.

    A record of Lehi’s fathers (see 1 Nephi 5:14–16)

 
  1. D.

    Will go forth to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people

  1. 5.

    The future of the plates of brass (see 1 Nephi 5:18)

 
  1. E.

    Genealogy

  1. 6.

    Why Lehi’s family needed the plates of brass (see 1 Nephi 4:13–15)

 
  1. F.

    Prophecies

(Answers: 1–C, 2–F, 3–A, 4–E, 5–D, 6–B)

1 Nephi 5:21. Search the scriptures

As a class, sing or read the words to “As I Search the Holy Scriptures” (Hymns, no. 277). Invite students to look for phrases in the hymn that describe the blessings that come from searching the scriptures. Ask students to identify phrases that are meaningful to them and to share why they like those phrases.

You might want to read the following statement by President Marion G. Romney of the First Presidency:

“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 112–13; quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, 6).