1 Nephi 10-15

Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, (2004), 34–38


Introduction

Nephi, because of his faith, obedience, and desire to understand the revelations of his father, received expansive visions of eternity. He saw by the power of the Holy Ghost the future of his people; the Savior’s birth, ministry, and Atonement; the Apostasy; the Restoration of the gospel; and the ultimate destiny of the kingdom of God. Chapters 10–15 provide proof of the divine promise that all who “diligently [seek] shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (1 Nephi 10:19).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121 and 122, pp. 11–16.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Nephi 10:4–6. The mission of the Savior is to redeem mankind from their lost and fallen state. (15–20 minutes)

Invite students to imagine that they have been dropped into a deep, dark pit with steep, slippery walls. They can’t climb out and nothing in the pit can help them escape. Ask them what they would do.

Have students read 1 Nephi 10:6. Ask: What would it be like for mankind if there had been no Redeemer? Have them read Mosiah 16:3–4 looking for what caused mankind to become lost and fallen. Explain that a person in this lost and fallen condition is sometimes referred to as a “natural man.”

Read Mosiah 3:19 looking for what the natural man must do to overcome his lost and fallen condition. Have students mark the phrase “and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ.” Read 1 Nephi 10:4–6 and ask: Why is it impossible to become a Saint without the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Remind students of the deep, dark pit. Ask: What is the only way of escaping the pit? (Someone who is not in the pit must help.)

Have students read 2 Nephi 9:10. Explain that the pit illustrates mankind’s dilemma in this fallen world. Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we could not escape from our lost and fallen condition.

Read the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The whole plan of redemption is based on vicarious sacrifice, One without sin standing for the whole human family, all of whom were under the curse. It is most natural and just that he who commits the wrong should pay the penalty—atone for his wrongdoing. Therefore, when Adam was the transgressor of the law, justice demanded that he, and none else, should answer for the sin and pay the penalty with his life.

“But Adam, in breaking the law, himself became subject to the curse, and being under the curse could not atone for or undo, what he had done. Neither could his children, for they also were under the curse, and it required one who was not subject to the curse to atone for that original sin. Moreover, since we were all under the curse, we were also powerless to atone for our individual sins.

“It, therefore, became necessary for the Father to send his Only Begotten Son, who was free from sin, to atone for our sins as well as for Adam’s transgression, which justice demanded should be done. He accordingly offered himself a sacrifice for sins, and through his death upon the cross took upon himself both Adam’s transgression and our individual sins, thereby redeeming us from the fall, and from our sins, on condition of repentance.”

(Note: Before continuing with President Smith’s statement, it might be helpful to draw on the board a man in a pit being helped by another man on the rim with a ladder.)

“Let us illustrate: A man walking along the road happens to fall into a pit so deep and dark that he cannot climb to the surface and regain his freedom. How can he save himself from his predicament? Not by any exertions on his part, for there is no means of escape in the pit. He calls for help and some kindly disposed soul, hearing his cries for relief, hastens to his assistance and by lowering a ladder, gives to him the means by which he may climb again to the surface of the earth.”

(Note: At this point you might want to draw more people in the pit.)

“This was precisely the condition that Adam placed himself and his posterity in, when he partook of the forbidden fruit. All being together in the pit, none could gain the surface and relieve the others. The pit was banishment from the presence of the Lord and temporal death, the dissolution of the body. And all being subject to death, none could provide the means of escape.

“Therefore, in his infinite mercy, the Father heard the cries of his children and sent his Only Begotten Son, who was not subject to death nor to sin, to provide the means of escape. This he did through his infinite atonement and the everlasting gospel” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:126–27).

Testify to students of the power of the Atonement in overcoming the effects of the Fall.

1 Nephi 10:17–22. The mysteries of God are unfolded by the power of the Holy Ghost to those who diligently seek them. (15–20 minutes)

Read the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 149).

Ask some or all of the following questions:

  • Who can receive answers to prayer?

  • What have you learned through answers to your prayers?

  • How can one know and understand the same spiritual truths as the living prophet?

Explain that Nephi provides an excellent example of how revelation is received. Have students read 1 Nephi 10:17–11:1; 15:7–11, and ask:

  • What did Nephi desire to know?

  • By what power did Nephi realize these truths would be revealed?

  • What must we do to receive revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost?

Tell students that mysteries are spiritual truths known only by revelation. Ask:

  • Who can know the mysteries of God? (see 1 Nephi 10:19).

  • What prevented Nephi’s brothers from understanding their father’s revelations?

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 76:5–10. Share your testimony of the Lord’s willingness to answer our prayers.

1 Nephi 10–14. Nephi’s vision provides interpretations for the symbols in Lehi’s dream. (20–25 minutes)

Give students a brain teaser or other puzzle and have them try to solve it. You could use the following:

Write these nine groups of letters on the board: (1) NV, (2) AT, (3) SA, (4) XS, (5) BD, (6) DK, (7) NE, (8) XTC, (9) NTT. Ask students to figure out the words these letters represent. Answers: (1) envy, (2) eighty, (3) essay, (4) excess, (5) beady, (6) decay, (7) any, (8) ecstasy, (9) entity.

Ask:

  • What is it about these kinds of puzzles that makes many of us want to solve them?

  • What is the hardest puzzle you have ever tried to solve?

Sometimes we face problems that can be as perplexing as the most difficult puzzle. Ask students if they have ever had a burning desire to know the answer to a problem. Ask: To what lengths did you go to find the solution?

Have students read 1 Nephi 10:17, and ask:

  • What was it that Nephi desired to know?

  • Read 1 Nephi 15:8–11. How did Nephi’s pursuit of spiritual understanding compare with his brothers’?

  • What role did obedience to the commandments play for each? (see v. 11).

  • Who was more successful in gaining spiritual knowledge?

Explain that Nephi’s efforts to gain spiritual knowledge led not only to his own understanding but ours as well. Write the accompanying chart on the board, leaving the “Interpretation” column blank. As a class, look up each of the references to determine the inspired interpretation of the symbols. Note: If you saved the student drawings from the teaching suggestion for 1 Nephi 8, it would be helpful to refer to them.

Symbol

Lehi’s Dream

Cross-Reference

Interpretation

Great and spacious field

1 Nephi 8:9

1 Nephi 8:20

World

Tree

1 Nephi 8:10

1 Nephi 11:21–22, 25
1 Nephi 15:21–22

Love of God
Tree of life

Fruit

1 Nephi 8:10–16

1 Nephi 15:36

Greatest gift of God

Rod of iron

1 Nephi 8:19–20

1 Nephi 15:23–24

Word of God

Strait and narrow path

1 Nephi 8:20

2 Nephi 31:18–19

Way to eternal life

River of water

1 Nephi 8:13

1 Nephi 12:16
1 Nephi 15:26–27
1 Nephi 15:28–29

Depths of hell
Filthiness
Gulf, hell

Great and spacious building

1 Nephi 8:26

1 Nephi 11:36
1 Nephi 12:18

Pride of the world
Vain imaginations, pride

Mist of darkness

1 Nephi 8:23

1 Nephi 12:17

Temptations of the devil

Close with an expression of appreciation for Nephi’s desire to understand his father’s vision.

1 Nephi 10–14. God reveals the future to His prophets so they can warn His children and prepare them for what is to come. (35–45 minutes)

Write the following statement by Elder Ezra Taft Benson on the board: “Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 89; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69).

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 1:17–23. Ask the following questions:

  • According to these verses, why would God give revelations to His prophets?

  • How does divine revelation to a prophet such as Joseph Smith increase the faith of God’s other children?

Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 38:30 looking for another reason God reveals His word through His prophets. Ask:

  • What are some examples of warnings the prophet has given in his recent discourses?

  • How has our prophet’s counsel helped you?

Explain that because of Nephi’s righteous desires, the Lord showed him a vision reaching far into the future. Note that Nephi saw events that were to take place in three societies. He describes Christ’s ministry in Judea, the Nephite-Lamanite civilization and its decline, and events of the last days among the gentile nations. Show students an overhead transparency of the chart “Nephi’s Vision (1 Nephi 10–14)” from the appendix (p. 295). Or write it on the board or give copies to students as a handout. Point out that the “Gentile Nations in the Last Days” column is longer because the vision deals so extensively with events of our day.

Divide the class into groups and assign each group one of the columns. (You may want to have four groups and divide the “Gentile Nations in the Last Days” column between two of them.) Give them fifteen minutes to read and discuss the scriptures, looking for answers to the following questions:

  1. 1.

    How could it help Nephi to know these prophecies?

  2. 2.

    How could it help Nephi’s later descendants to know them?

  3. 3.

    How could it help us to know them?

Have each group appoint a spokesperson to share their findings.

Discuss the following questions as a class:

  • What is the message of Nephi’s great vision to us today?

  • What will you do differently because of this vision?

1 Nephi 13:20–29, 34–41. Many plain and precious truths were taken from the Bible. God restored many of these in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. (35–45 minutes)

List the topics from the accompanying chart on the board (do not write the scripture references). Divide your class into small groups. Have each group start at the top of the list and find as much information as they can on the topics using only the Bible (excluding Joseph Smith Translation footnotes and references). After ten minutes, have the groups compare their findings, and discuss them as a class. Ask: Why couldn’t you find more information in the Bible?

Topic

Scripture References

The three degrees of glory

D&C 76

The spirit world

D&C 138

The Father and the Son have bodies of flesh and bones, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.

D&C 130:22–23

Melchizedek, the prince of Salem

JST, Genesis 14:25–40

Secret combinations

Moses 5:29–31, 49–51; 6:15; Helaman 2:8; 6:17–30; Mormon 8:27, 40; Ether 8:18; 10:33; 11:15

Premortal existence

D&C 93:29; Abraham 3:22–23

Origin of Satan

Moses 4:1–4; Abraham 3:27–28

Enoch and the city of Zion

Moses 6–7

Abraham was ordained by Melchizedek.

D&C 84:14

New and everlasting covenant of marriage

D&C 131–32

Baptism by immersion by one having proper authority

3 Nephi 11:22–26; D&C 13:1

Baptism for the dead

D&C 127–28

Sealing children to parents

D&C 138:48

Teachings of the prophets Zenock, Zenos, and Neum

1 Nephi 19:10; Alma 33:3–17

Choose a few topics from the list on the board and ask students where in the scriptures we learn about them. Encourage the students to use the Topical Guide in their Bibles to find the answers. It should soon become obvious that although the Bible gives information on many of these topics, most of what we know comes from latter-day revelation. Ask: Why aren’t these truths taught more plainly in the Bible? Have students read 1 Nephi 13:19–29 to find one answer. Consider asking some or all of the following questions:

  • What book “proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew”? (v. 24). What does this record contain?

  • What did the book contain when it “proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew”?

  • In what condition was the book when it went forth from the Jews to the Gentiles? (see v. 25).

  • Who gained control of the book in verse 26, and what did they do to it?

  • Why did they take things from the book? (see v. 27).

  • What effect did this have on those who received the book? (see v. 29).

  • What is the book to which these verses refer? (The Bible.)

Ask: Which article of faith describes our belief in the Bible? Ask for a volunteer to recite the eighth article of faith. Ask: Why do you think the eighth article of faith includes the phrase “as far as it is translated correctly”? The Prophet Joseph Smith once said:

“I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 327).

Ask: Why doesn’t the phrase “as far as it is translated correctly” include the Book of Mormon? Have students turn to the introduction to the Book of Mormon and read the first sentence of the fifth paragraph to find the answer to this question. (Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon “by the gift and power of God.”)

Read 1 Nephi 13:35–41 to see how the Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures would restore and clarify the teachings of the Bible. The following questions may be helpful in guiding students through these verses:

  • What will be the source of the plain and precious truths that will “be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb”? (v. 35).

  • What book does this refer to? (The Book of Mormon.)

  • What will this book contain? (see v. 36).

  • Who will teach the Lamanites the gospel of Jesus Christ? (see vv. 37–38).

  • Verse 39 mentions other books that will come forth in our day through the power of Christ. What books might these be?

  • According to verse 40, what three things will the Book of Mormon and the other records do for the Bible?

  • Verse 41 says that the Book of Mormon and the Bible will “be established in one.” How has that already happened?

Return to the list of topics on the board and invite students to give examples of how the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Joseph Smith Translation add to our understanding of these topics. If desired, use the references in the second column of the chart to help your discussion.

Testify that the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price restore plain and precious truths that were taken from the Bible.