Lesson 2: The Scriptures—A Sure Guide for the Latter Days

"Lesson 2: The Scriptures—A Sure Guide for the Latter Days," The Presidents of the Church: Teacher’s Manual, (1996)


Objective

Understanding Lehi’s vision of the iron rod will encourage class members to use the scriptures as a sure guide in their lives.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read 1 Nephi 8 and 1 Nephi 11 and become familiar with Lehi’s and Nephi’s vision and the interpretation.

  2. 2.

    Prepare to use the picture of Lehi’s dream in the lesson.

  3. 3.

    See that each class member has a Book of Mormon (check with your meetinghouse library for copies).

  4. 4.

    Make copies of the two stories in the lesson and give them to class members to prepare to read to the class.

  5. 5.

    Prepare a blindfold and string.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Story

Blindfold one member of the class. Spin him around one or two times and ask him to walk to the far side of the room. He will probably grope around and may stumble over things on the way. (Be careful not to let anyone get hurt.) Now provide a string for him to follow. Repeat the process, only now let him follow the string across the room. Explain that the scriptures are like a strong guide that one can follow.

The Iron Rod of the Scriptures Will Lead Us to the Lord

Have a class member read the following story:

Some years ago, in a clinic high in the Andes Mountains near the equator, a baby boy was born to Pedro and Nancy Cantos. He seemed normal at first, but he soon showed signs of serious illness. His bowels did not work properly and he had a congenital heart defect. The parents had already lost two children to fatal illnesses and were grieved that they might lose little Pedrito too. They prayed constantly.

“One night, when Pedrito was almost ten months old, Nancy dreamed that she saw through her kitchen window—instead of the usual crowded buildings—a beautiful, spacious lawn extending as far as she could see. In the distance a man was digging in the earth. She approached him and asked, ‘What are you doing?’

“‘I’m planting herbs to cure the illnesses of man,’ he replied.

“Then Nancy saw an unusual tree nearby. ‘What is the purpose of that tree?’ she asked.

“‘The tree holds the cure for Pedrito’s illness,’ replied the stranger.

“‘Tell me,’ she asked eagerly, ‘how can I give the tree’s medicine to my child?’

“Before the stranger could answer, Nancy saw a man in the distance. … Immediately he and another man … approached her. … [They told her,] ‘We were sent by God to help you because of your faith and diligence in studying the Bible and seeking the word of God.’ … Nancy woke up. The dream remained vivid in [her] thoughts.

“A week later, two missionaries knocked on the Cantoses’ door. That evening they [taught the family] the first discussion.

“Before they left, the elders gave the family a Book of Mormon, after first marking … the passages they had been discussing. … They also felt inspired to underline the passages relating to Lehi’s dream about the tree of life—something they had never done before.

“Later, as Nancy Cantos read … of Lehi’s dream, she became excited. It was so similar to her own! She knew in her heart that this was the answer to their prayers. …

“[Soon afterward, the Cantos family was baptized. A priesthood blessing was obtained for little Pedrito and he began to improve. However, he became ill again and a heart operation was also necessary for him. A second priesthood blessing brought him through this ordeal safely, and soon Pedrito] was running and playing like any other little boy” (Vira H. Blake, “A Mother’s Dream,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, pp. 53–54).

The tree in Nancy’s dream had indeed been the source of a great miracle for this family.

Picture

Show the picture of Lehi’s dream to the class.

Scripture discussion

Read with the class 1 Nephi 8:5–35.

  • What does the scripture say the tree in Lehi’s dream represents? (The tree in Lehi’s dream represents the love of God [1 Nephi 11:25].)

  • Have you ever been in a place so dark that it was impossible to see your way? Imagine being in a deep cave or mine with no light. How important would it be to have a railing that would lead you out of the cave? What was the importance of the iron rod in Lehi’s dream? (Answers will vary. See 1 Nephi 8:23–24.)

  • What happened to the people who did not hold fast to the iron rod? What did Nephi find out that the iron rod represents? (See 1 Nephi 11:25.) In what ways can the scriptures serve as an iron rod?

Scripture discussion

Read and discuss the following scriptures, leading the class toward the conclusion that scripture study is very important:

Deuteronomy 6:6–7

Acts 17:10–11

2 Timothy 3:15–17

2 Nephi 4:15

Alma 37:8

Doctrine and Covenants 33:16

Conclude the discussion by reading God’s promise concerning the iron rod in 1 Nephi 15:23–24.

The Scriptures Can Help Us with Today’s Problems

Discussion

President Ezra Taft Benson at a priesthood leadership meeting said:

“When individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity [Church activity, sacrament meeting attendance, number of missionaries, temple marriages] will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow” (in Ensign, May 1986, p. 81).

  • How have the scriptures helped you or your family or your friends? How do you think reading and studying the scriptures will help you in the ways President Benson promised? (Allow various answers.)

Story

Have the assigned class member read the following story. Stop after the story and ask the class how the scriptures helped the person in the story.

Janet, a young teenager in the United States, walked into her seventh-grade science class to find her teacher “obviously upset by something. …

“He started the day’s lesson, not on science, but about the fact that the United States was facing a major military crisis. The Soviet Union was sending ships loaded with missiles to Cuba. Our president [the president of the United States] had set up a blockade to stop them.

“‘It could mean war,’ my teacher said, pounding the desk for emphasis. ‘The world as it is right now could end in half an hour. Do you all realize what a nuclear war would be like? It would be the end of the world!’ … I was terrified. … The rest of the day was a blur.

“I walked home from school that day with my science teacher’s words replaying in my mind. ‘The world could end in half an hour!’ … After dinner I sat down … to my homework. … After a while, I was tired of homework. … As I was sorting through a stack of paper, I picked up a bookmark that had been given to me as I had entered Beehives [Young Women] earlier that year. On the back was a reading list for the year. I had never noticed the list before. … I decided I would start reading a little of the first thing on the list—the Book of Matthew as translated by Joseph Smith, located in the Pearl of Great Price.

“Soon tears blurred my vision and a feeling of warm calm enveloped me as I read the 23rd verse: ‘And you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet’ (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:23). …

“The fear and panic I had felt that day in science class were gone. I knew that our Heavenly Father was aware of us and that world events were proceeding as had been prophesied. I had no need to fear” (Janet Thomas, “The End Is Not Yet,” New Era, July 1986, p. 18).

Testimony and Challenge

Add your personal witness of the truth and value of the scriptures. Challenge the class members to read the scriptures every day. Ask them to tell next week how reading the scriptures affected them.