The Book of Mormon contains numerous accounts of individuals and societies that were subjected to bondage in some form. Many of these accounts illustrate that Jesus Christ is the Great Deliverer and the source of help when escape or rescue seem impossible. As we draw close to the Lord through repentance, humility, and prayer, we are more spiritually prepared to call upon and receive God’s power of deliverance.
Invite students to consider when they have been impressed by the courage and strength of someone who has faced great challenges or difficulties. Ask them to briefly share what they have observed.
Ask students to silently read 1 Nephi 1:1, looking for what Nephi said about the difficulties he had experienced in his life.
How did Nephi summarize his feelings after having experienced “many afflictions”?
Why do you suppose that a person can feel “highly favored of the Lord” even when experiencing challenges or difficulties?
What principle in this verse might help a person feel hope when experiencing challenges or difficulties? (Students should identify the following principle: As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we can receive God’s mercy and deliverance.)
Explain that the phrase “I, Nephi, will show unto you” suggests that Nephi intended to record examples of God’s power of deliverance. Invite students to scan 1 Nephi chapters 1–8 and 16–18, looking for examples from Nephi’s life that illustrate God’s power of deliverance. Invite students to briefly share examples they identified. If students struggle to find examples, you might direct them to one or more of the following passages: 1 Nephi 3:23–31; 4:1–18; 7:16–19; 8:7–12; 16:10, 18–31, 36–39; 17:48–55; and 18:1–3, 11–21.
Read aloud the following statement by Elder L. Tom Perry (1922–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Many of the stories of the Book of Mormon are stories of deliverance. Lehi’s departure into the wilderness with his family was about deliverance from the destruction of Jerusalem. The story of the Jaredites is a story of deliverance, as is the story of the Mulekites. Alma the Younger was delivered from sin. Helaman’s stripling warriors were delivered in battle. Nephi and Lehi were delivered from prison. The theme of deliverance is evident throughout the entire Book of Mormon” (“The Power of Deliverance,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 94).
As an example of spiritual deliverance, explain that Alma described his deliverance from sin to his son Helaman. Ask a student to read Alma 36:1–3 aloud, and invite another student to read Alma 36:27–29 aloud (note that Alma 5:1–12 contains similar counsel). Ask the class to follow along, looking for insights that might help a person who is struggling with afflictions or difficulties.
What insights did you find in these passages that might help someone who is facing physical or spiritual difficulties?
What types of physical or spiritual bondage do people face today? (Examples include poor health, drug and pornography addictions, poverty, abuse, discrimination, sin, unbelief, and rebellion.)
Display and read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Are you battling a demon of addiction—tobacco or drugs or gambling, or the pernicious contemporary plague of pornography? Is your marriage in trouble or your child in danger? Are you confused with gender identity or searching for self-esteem? Do you—or someone you love—face disease or depression or death? Whatever other steps you may need to take to resolve these concerns, come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven’s promises. In that regard Alma’s testimony is my testimony: ‘I do know,’ he says, ‘that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions’ [Alma 36:3]” (“Broken Things to Mend,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 70).
What did Elder Holland say would help us begin to resolve our concerns and challenges?
Invite students to describe different reasons why an author might be motivated to write a book. (For example, an author might want to tell a story, share expertise on a subject, or earn a living.) After a few students have shared their ideas with the class, invite students to silently read 1 Nephi 6:4, looking for one of the reasons why Nephi was motivated to write.
What did the prophet Nephi say was his purpose in writing his record? (He desired to persuade people to come unto God and be saved.)
Testify to students that God’s power to save is the power to deliver.
Copy the following on the board, and explain to students that these passages describe people who were in need of deliverance:
Ask students to silently read the passages on the board, looking for what each passage teaches about the source of deliverance from challenges and difficulties.
What do you learn from these passages about the source of deliverance? (As students respond, emphasize the following doctrine: Jesus Christ has the power to deliver us from our lost and fallen state and from other challenges in mortality.)
Display the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, and ask a student to read it aloud:
“I wish to bear witness of God’s power of deliverance. At some point in our lives we will all need that power. Every person living is in the midst of a test. … Two things will be the same for all of us. They are part of the design for mortal life.
“First, the tests at times will stretch us enough for us to feel the need for help beyond our own. And, second, God in His kindness and wisdom has made the power of deliverance available to us” (“The Power of Deliverance” [Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 15, 2008], 1; speeches.byu.edu).
When have you received “help beyond [your] own” during difficulties?
As time permits, you might refer to the account of Alma’s people in Mosiah 24:13–15 to illustrate the idea that God’s deliverance does not always mean that our burdens will be removed; instead, God often delivers us by strengthening our ability to bear our burdens. Patience and endurance are required in these situations, such as when health issues continue throughout one’s life. Deliverance comes in God’s own way and according to His timetable.
Testify that there is hope for each of us when we find ourselves in circumstances from which escape or rescue seems impossible. Remind students that the scriptures contain instructions about how to access the Savior’s power of deliverance.
List the following references on the board. (Do not include the information in parentheses, which is provided for teacher use only.) Invite students to read each passage, searching for actions that help us access the Savior’s power of deliverance.
After sufficient time, invite students to share and discuss any actions they identified, and write students’ responses on the board. Emphasize the following principle: When we turn to God with full purpose of heart and pray for His help, having a spirit of repentance and humility, we can access His power of deliverance.
Display the following statement by President Henry B. Eyring:
“The Lord always wants to lead us to deliverance through our becoming more righteous. That requires repentance. And that takes humility. So the way to deliverance always requires humility in order for the Lord to be able to lead us by the hand where He wants to take us through our troubles and on to sanctification” (“The Power of Deliverance” [Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 15, 2008], 4; speeches.byu.edu).
How do repentance, humility, and prayer help us to access the Lord’s power of deliverance?
When have you or someone you know of turned to the Lord for deliverance and received it? How has this experience increased your trust in Jesus Christ?
Encourage students to ponder a time when they experienced the Lord’s power of deliverance in their lives. Encourage them to record their experiences for future remembrance. Consider inviting students to share their experiences that are not too sacred or personal.