This section starts with "I shortly after arose from my bed..." to "conducted in the last days."
Again, act out the events of the Testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. You may want to switch roles. You'll need someone be Joseph, someone to be the angel, someone to be Joseph Smith father, Joseph Smith Sr, and 1 or more family members to narrate or read everything other than the angel's parts."
Why did Joseph collapse? Why do you think the angel wanted him to go tell his father? Would you believe your 14 year-old son or relative if he told you a story like this? Why do you think Joseph's father believed him? What do you think was written on the plates? What was a "Urim and Thumim"? What was the urim and thumim for? What was a breastplate? What was it for? Why did the angel forbid him from removing the items?
This section starts with "I shortly after arose from my bed..." to "conducted in the last days."
This section starts with "Again, he told me..." to "our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night."
Again, act out the events of the Testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. You may want to switch roles. You'll need someone be Joseph, someone to be the angel, someone to shine a light on the angel (this is a good job for really small children - or they may enjoy just watching), and 1 or more family members to narrate or read everything other than the angel's parts."
Why do you think the Lord chose Moroni to visit Joseph Smith? Why did he visit him 3 times in one night? Have you ever stayed awake all night? Think about the last time you stayed up really late. How did you feel the next day? How do you think Joseph felt after staying up all night?
Who was this visitor? What was the book he spoke of?
Act out the events of the first section of the Testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. You'll need someone be Joseph, someone to be the angel, someone to shine a light on the angel (this is a good job for really small children - or they may enjoy just watching), and 1 or more family members to narrate or read everything other than the angel's parts (starting with "He called me by name..." to the end of the section - "that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book."
Many people say that Joseph Smith made up the stories about being visited by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and then later by Angel Moroni. What can you do to find out for yourself if it's true? Have you done that? What happened? Challenge family members to pray to know whether this really happened.
Play the Witness Game.
If we had the 3 witnesses why do we need 8 witnesses?
How were the 8 witnesses related to Joseph Smith and the early church? Why do you think these brethren were chosen as witnesses?
Here is some more details about the 8 witnesses: http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Witnesses/Eight_witnesses
This is hotter / colder with a twist for older children.
The advanced game for older children:
Make the game a little more challenging for older children by allowing some of the witnesses to be 'false witnesses' who try to lead the finder away from the hidden object. The finder must learn to discern the true witnesses from the false witnesses. This can be very challenging!
Discuss the importance of having witnesses to testify of truth. Here are some questions to help you get going:
- Did the witnesses make it easier to find the object? Why?
- How hard would it be to find the object without having a witness?
- Were you able to discern the true witnesses from the false witnesses? How?
- What witnesses do we have that tell us the direction we need to go and testify of truth?
- What is the most important witness? (HINT: It's not the 3 witnesses or the 8 witnesses or the scriptures or your parents.) (ANSWER: The Holy Ghost. You can have him as a constant companion if you have the gift of the holy ghost, but he can still be a witness and you can feel his influence even without the gift).
Discussion: Why do you think the Lord allowed 3 witnesses to the gold plates? What if Joseph Smith was the only person to have claimed to have seen the gold plates?
Give each person an opportunity to describe something they know about one of the 3 witnesses, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris. If you know very little about them, you could take a few days to learn more about them.
Before you learn about each of them, write down at least 3 questions and try to answer those questions as you read about him. Here are some ideas:
- What was his profession?
- What was his relationship to Joseph Smith?
- Why do you think he was chosen as one of the 3 witnesses?
- Did he stay with the church throughout his life? If not, why not?
As you read, have everyone write down 1 thing they learn about Nephi from these verses.
What does goodly mean? What does it mean to be highly favored of God? Why did Nephi testify about his own writing in verse 3? What is your testimony of the Book of Mormon? Was Lehi the only prophet at the time? What did Lehi see in a vision?
Together draw a timeline of the events described in the Introduction of the Book of Mormon. Feel free to add any Book of Mormon events for which you know the approximate time. Also if you know some times from the bible or from world history it would be useful to see those and be able to compare them to Book of Mormon events. Even though it doesn't talk about Lehi and his family, you could start your timeline with that in 600BC. Make sure you leave room in your timeline for Joseph Smith who translated them.
What should you do to know the Book of Mormon is true? Why is that important?
Why do we have the Book of Mormon? Who was it written for? Who wrote the title page? Before you begin reading, have each person write down briefly the answer to these questions. As you read, look for at least 3 purposes for the Book of Mormon.
- That they [Nephites and Lamanites] might not be destroyed.
- To the convincing of the Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ.
- To show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers.
- That they [the remnant of the house of Israel] may know the covenants of the Lord that they are not cast off forever.
After reading, discuss the purpose of the Book of Mormon. As you read, did family members find any purposes that they didn't write down?
It's very helpful to be familiar with the books in the scriptures. Children who feel confident they can find a scripture are more likely to open their scriptures to look up verses. The primary songbook has songs listing the books in each of the standard works. The tunes are familiar to most of us. It would be a good exercise to learn all of these scripture songs. Since this is a Book of Mormon blog, this exercise is focused on "The Books in the Book of Mormon" .
Learn "The Books in the Book of Mormon" primary song. It will probably take several days. The church's website at the link above includes a music player and the words and music so you don't need to have a musician to learn the song. But if you do have someone in the family who plays an instrument, even better!
4 Nephi 1:23-46 They did not dwindle...but they did willfully rebel
This section is a little longer than most - you may want to take 2 days to read this section.
Which single chapter in the Book of Mormon covers the greatest span of time? How many years does it cover? What fraction of the time span of the Book of Mormon (600BC to ~421AD) does this chapter cover? Hint: use the year references at the bottom of the pages to help you. For how many years after the Savior's visit did the people of the Book of Mormon have peace in the land?
It seems like the wickedness and evil deeds and pride entered the land suddenly because it all happened in the second half of this one chapter. However, these things actually crept in gradually. These 21 verses actually span almost twice the number of years (120 years - 201AD to 321AD) as all 93 chapters in the books of Mosiah and Alma combined (77 years - 130BC to 53BC). There was simply no one keeping the record.
As you read these verses, together list the steps that led to pride and wickedness and evil deeds.
Why do you think this happened? What can you do so it doesn't happen to you and your children and your grandchildren and great grandchildren?
4 Nephi 1:13-18 There was no contention in the land
Before you read the verses, think about the last time someone in your family was fighting. What happened? Have both sides tell the story. Then read the verses.
What would you like to have no contention? Is this just a parable that Nephi made up? Or did this really happen? How do you think they were able to live without fighting?
Now think back to fight you discussed earlier. How could you have prevented the fighting? What can you do next time so that a disagreement doesn't become contentious?
4 Nephi 1:1-5 And they had all things common among them
As you read these verses, together write down a list of all of the many wonderful blessings that these people had received because they were living as the Savior had taught them. How many can you find? Which blessing do you think is the most awesome?
3 Nephi 28:24-32 They are as angels of God
What do you think the 3 Nephites who chose to remain to preach the Gospel are doing right now? Have each person write a few sentences or draw a picture of what you think they might be doing now.
What do you think it means that "they are as angels of God?" What sort of great and marvelous works do you think they have wrought?
Of course, we really don't know what they are doing. As it says in verses 27 and 28 "the Gentiles shall know them not" and "the Jews shall know them not." So it's all speculation. But someday we will probably be able to find out what great works they have wrought on the earth.
3 Nephi 28:13-23
Draw a picture of one of the events in these verses. You have many choices:
- They were caught up into heaven
- They did go forth upon the face of the land and did minister unto all the people
- baptizing and as many as were baptized did receive the Holy Ghost
- they were cast down into the earth but were delivered
- they were cast into a furnace with no harm
- they were cast into a den of wild beasts
3 Nephi 28
Draw a picture of the Savior and His 12 apostles. It could be as they are talking, or when they are caught up into heaven, or the 3 who chose to tarry ministering.
What did the disciples desire from the Savior? Did they all ask for the same thing? What would you ask for (could be the same as the apostles, or something different). Why?
Are the 3 Nephites still on the earth? What do you think they are doing?
3 Nephi 27:27
Memorize. Take some time to commit this verse to memory. If you have young children at home, you may want to simply memorize the last 2 sentences. It may take several days to memorize it.
Ideas for memorizing verses
Here are some ideas for memorizing verses:
- If you have little ones who can't read yet, have the reader read a phrase, and then have everyone repeat it. Go over the phrase several times until you can do it without reading. Then move on to the next phrase until you can repeat the verses without looking. Have one of the children lead and everyone repeat once they can do it themselves.
- Have everyone write the verses several times.
- Write the verse on a white board or somewhere where everyone can see it. Read it together (or read and repeat as above) several times. Each time, cover or erase sections of text before you read the verse.
3 Nephi 27:22-26
What were the things that they had seen and heard?
Why do you think Jesus asked them to write these things down?
Why do you think prophets have asked us to keep a journal?
Make a journal entry for today. If you need ideas about what to write, write down the good things that happened to you today. Or write down how the Lord has blessed you today. Or write down the things that impressed you from these verses. Or write down a goal, something that you feel like you should be doing.
3 Nephi 27:13-22
Scripture search for big kids:
What does Gospel mean? Who can be the first person to find the meaning of the word Gospel? (Easiest place to find it is in the Bible Dictionary). Maybe provide a treat for the first person who can find it.
Scripture search for everyone:
As you read these verses, try to pick out those things that make up the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Make a list together. If you're feeling competitive, list them separately and see who can find the most. Then discuss what you've found. How many did you find?
According to verses 13-22, the Gospel of Jesus Christ includes these things:
- The Savior came into the world.
- The Savior was lifted up on the cross.
- Men are to come unto Christ.
- Men are judged according to their works.
- In judgment, the Savior will find men guiltless who
- repent and
- are baptized and
- endure to the end.
- Men who do not endure will be "cast into the fire".
- (discussion for another day: What does it mean to be "cast into the fire?")
- After repentance and baptism men are sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
- Men shall do the works they have seen the Savior do.
3 Nephi 27:3-9
Discussion: Why is the church called the Church of Jesus Christ? Brainstorm together. How many reasons can you think of why the church is called the Church of Jesus Christ. There is not one right answer, and there can be more reasons than are listed in these verses.
Here are some examples if they need an idea to get going:
- We have covenanted to take upon us the name of Christ - v5
- We are commanded to do everything in His name - v7
- How can it be my church save it be called in my name? v8
- We are to call whatever we do in His name - v9
- It is the church that Jesus established.
- D&C 115:4 The Lord decrees that it is to be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in this dispensation.
- The sacramental bread prayer (Moroni 5) says that we take upon us His name.
3 Nephi 26:19-21
Draw a picture of what life was like during this time period.
What does it mean that "they had all things common among them?"
Now draw yourself in the picture.
How would your life be different if your life was like verses 19-21?
3 Nephi 26:13-18
Take a second to draw a picture of the children speaking. Draw a comic strip bubble that shows them speaking, and write in there what you think they might have said.
What marvelous things do you think the babes and children said?
3 Nephi 26:1-12
What did Jesus teach the people in this chapter? Why didn't Mormon write it on these plates? Where is it written? What do we need to do to be able to see it?
What do you think Jesus taught the people? Write your own verse describing what Jesus might have taught the people. Little children can draw a picture. Do you think we might already have some of the teachings through modern day prophets? Or are they teachings we have yet to receive?
3 Nephi 25:5-6
Have each person draw a family picture as you discuss these questions:
What does it mean to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers? Why is it important? What can children do to accomplish this? What are you personally doing to accomplish this?
3 Nephi 24:7-11
Search: Have someone look up the word "tithe" or "tithing" in the dictionary. Why do you think most other churches believe that members don't need to donate 10%? "Rob God" is pretty strong language to describe someone who doesn't pay their tithing. Do you think such strong language is justified? How would you feel to be accused of robbing God?
Have everyone draw a picture of v10: The windows of heaven open and blessings so great there is not room to receive them pour out. An incredible promise. Have each person share how he/she has been blessed by obedience to the law of tithing.
background: Who was Isaiah?
The prophets speak the word of God. Why does the Savior need to quote the prophets yet again?
Isaiah writes of several different time periods (his own day, the time of Christ, the latter days, the millenium). These verses are the words of the Savior and Isaiah. What time period(s) is he writing about here? List each verse of the reading here, and then indicate next to it which time period he is referring to.
Background question: What's going on here? Where were they? What has Jesus been doing?
Draw a picture of Jesus passing the sacrament to the people.
How do you think it was done? He probably didn't use little plastic cups like we use today. What do you think Jesus used to pass the water? Do you think they used metal trays like we do today? Do we have to use the plastic cups and metal trays to pass the sacrament? Does it have to be bread and water?
What does the bread represent? What does the water represent? Why do we take the sacrament?
Increase your kid's listening storytelling ability, comprehension, ability to articulate ideas, and knowledge of the Book of Mormon all at the same time by having them retell these popular Book of Mormon stories to the family. If your child is familiar with the story, read the verses after your child retells it. Otherwise, read the verses and then have your child tell the story.
Commit verses 19 & 20 to memory.
Ideas for memorizing verses
Build a "house" on a hill of sand: Use your sandbox or a nearby park or just the dirt in your backyard (you could buy play sand and put it in a box - if you have time and money to go out and buy some). Let the kids form the sand or soil into a soft mound. Let them build their house usingblocks, sticks, cardboard, paper, or something else that's ok to get wet. The goal is to make the house fall when the sand washes away, so something like Legos may not work. Pour enough water over the house and sand that the mound of sand/soil washes away and the house tips or falls. Now try it on a solid surface, preferably a large rock if available, but concrete, tile, or something similar will also work.
Sing "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man." Children's Songbook #281. Do the actions if you know them.
Have family members draw a picture of the Savior kneeling to pray, surrounded by the little children closest to Him, and then the adults kneeling around the children. All are praying.
As a family, learn how to say a few things in sign language. Here's a good site to learn, or you can do a web search for sign language or American Sign Language: http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/concepts.htm
Try this classic handicap awareness exercises to help family members start to understand the challenges of living with a handicap:
- Set up some chairs in random spots throughout the room. Blindfold someone and have them try to make their way from one side of the room to the other. Have a family member try it on one foot.
- Have a family member try to write something while blindfolded.
- Have one family member cover his ears while others talk softly. See if he can figure out what they're talking about by reading lips.
Make a list of some things that are difficult to understand, either on a white board or on a piece of paper. Ideas might be scriptures in general, a specific scripture, math, science, a friend who is difficult, a brother or sister or friend who is mean, etc.
What 2 things did Jesus ask the people to do so they can better understand His words? How can we come to better understand the things that we've listed?
Little ones: Draw a picture of sheep being led by a shepherd. Who is the shepherd? Who are His sheep? Why are they called sheep? What should you do to be called one of His sheep?
Big kids (scripture search): Use the topical guide, web search, and/or other resources to find out: Where in the new testament does Christ say He has other sheep? Are the people in Jerusalem and the people in the Americas the only sheep?
Who are the sheep of whom He speaks in chapter 16? What do you think He preached to them?
Sing the primary song "The wise man and the foolish man" from the primary songbook.
This is one of the few parables the Savior taught to the Nephites. What/who is the rock? What/who is the sand? List, either on the whiteboard or on a piece of paper, things you can do to build your house on the rock?
What does it mean to "cast your pearls before swine?" How did Jesus exemplify this? Think about how he spoke to the Jewish leaders and Pilate. Then think about how he spoke to the multitudes who came to hear Him. What is the difference? You may want to read some of those passages to see the difference: John 18:19-24, 33-37. How are the Savior's words, tone, and attitude different between John 18 where he is speaking to the Jewish high priests and Pilate and 3 Nephi 14, where he is speaking to the people. How does that relate to Jesus' advice not to "cast your pearls before swine?"
What are we supposed to do? Does it mean we shouldn't share the gospel with those who don't have it? Why/why not? Do you think the Savior would refer to people as "swine" just because they don't have the gospel? Why/why not? Who then, is He calling "swine"?
How can the Savior promise that everyone who asks will receive, everyone that seeks will find, and everyone that knocks will have it opened? Is He talking about asking your neighbor for lots of money? Is He talking about seeking riches? What is He talking about asking, seeking, and knocking?
Write down 3 situations recently where you judged or could have judged someone else. Is there anything you could have done better?
Is it possible to go through each day without passing judgment on others? How? What is a mote? A beam? Look them up with a dictionary or a web search if you're not sure.
Have a treasure hunt. Hide something valuable for the children to find - a treat or something valuable to the family like a photo album. Write clues that will direct kids to another clue and finally after 3 or 4 clues, to the treasure. You can use simple directions like "15 steps to the north" or for older children, make it a riddle or cryptic message like "Up, down" (the next clue is hidden on the stairs).
What kind of treasure are these verses referring to? Gold and jewels?
Commit verse 21 to memory.
What is fasting? Why do we fast? These verses warn that fasters should not "disfigure their faces". Why? In the same manner, what are some other things we should avoid when fasting? (letting others know we are fasting except when necessary, complaining, saying "I'm hungry", bearing testimony about how much sacrifice it is to fast).
In the church we often teach that there are 4 steps to prayer. What are they? (Address Heavenly Father, express gratitude, ask, close in the name of Jesus Christ, amen). Take the time to go over these steps with younger children. Older children too if you think they may need a refresher. How does the Lord's prayer in these verses compare to that 4 step pattern?
Should we use this exact prayer every time we pray? What is a "vain repetition?" Why should we pray in secret? Why then do we pray at church meetings? Why should we forgive others? If God knows what we need before we ask Him, why do we pray?
Some nights we don't get home until 10pm or later - well past the kids' bedtime. We want to get the kids to bed as soon as possible - especially if they have school in the morning. We like to use our time in the car to read scriptures and pray. We could keep a set of scriptures in the car and have the kids read those aloud. But then we have to turn the light on in the car, and then it's hard for the driver to see out the back. Instead, we've found that this is a great time to review some of the verses - including the Articles of Faith - we have memorized. We can all recite the verse together, or one of us will lead and everyone else repeat if not everyone knows the verse. After, we may discuss the verse.
This turns out to be a great use of time. We have a captive audience. There are fewer distractions for the kids than at home where they have all of their toys, videos, food, the dog, etc. There is a catch - many times some of the kids will fall asleep before we get finished because driving tends to make us sleepy.
Your little ones probably don't know what the word "alms" means. Have those that are old enough look up the word (in the dictionary, Topical Guide, online, etc) and then try to explain it in their own words. Help your older kids teach the younger ones what it means.
Children rarely have the means to make donations themselves. But we can still liken the scriptures unto them with the following activity.
Have each child plan and do a "secret service". Have each of them think of something nice they can do in secret for someone else. Help them choose a time to do that service when they won't be discovered. Talk about each person's service next time you read scriptures and encourage them to continue to do "secret service". Explain that alms don't have to be money donations.
Why does Jesus want us to do our alms in secret? Some people do service or give money and let everyone know about it. Why? What is their reward? If you give in secret, what is your reward? Which would you rather have? Why?
Commit verse 44 to memory.
In verse 45 it says, "that ye may be the children of your Father in Heaven". How so? Ask each person to think of one thing, good or bad, that might happen if you love your enemies.
Alternatively, draw a picture of what you can do to show love to people who may want harm you.
Draw a picture of the events that transpire in these verses.
How do the prints of the nails prove that He is "the God of Israel, the God of the whole earth?" Why do you think He allowed everyone of the multitude to feel His wounds, not just a few?
Draw a picture of the events in these verses:
The people are gathered at the temple discussing the events that have transpired. They hear a voice but cannot understand at first. The Savior descends from heaven.
Whose voice was it? Why couldn't the people understand the voice at first? Why did Heavenly Father refer to Jesus as "My Beloved Son?" Do you think Heavenly Father would call you my beloved son or daughter? Why or why not?
Little ones: Draw a picture of a hen gathering her chicks.
Big kids: Do some research on this topic. Why, how does a hen gather her chicks?
What does Jesus mean by "how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens?" How many times does He say this? Why do you think he says it so many times? Why does He use this analogy?
Use the footnotes and topical guide and other tools to find answers to the following questions if you don't have an answer. What does it mean to have a broken heart? Does it mean that you just got dumped? What is a contrite spirit? How is that a sacrifice? What sacrifice does the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit replace?
Who is speaking?
Search: In verse 10, it mentions King Jacob. We recently read about him. What do we know about him from earlier chapters? Use the footnotes and index if you don't remember. Why was his city destroyed? Do we know anything about these other cities that were destroyed? Use the footnotes and index to see if any of them are mentioned elsewhere in the Book of Mormon.
Take everyone into a room with no window or other light source and turn the lights off for a minute or so. Is it scary? Now imagine that for hours. You can't light a candle; you can't turn on the lights; you can't light a fire; the sun does not rise. How would you feel? Why do you think this happened?
Let's finish the vicious circle diagram. Draw a third arrow from "pride" to "calamity and destruction". Draw a final arrow from "calamity and destruction" back to "humility and righteousness" to form a circle.
Chapters 7 and 8 describe 2 different types of destruction. What were they? (government was destroyed by the people; storms and earthquakes destroyed cities). Would either destruction have occurred if the people were righteous? Were any of the people righteous?
Here we see the first half of the vicious circle of the Book of Mormon. The people are righteous -> they are blessed -> they prosper -> many become prideful. We complete the circle in the first few verses of chapter 7.
Draw a diagram of this cycle. The diagram will be a circle containing the points of this vicious circle. Put "humility and righteousness" at the top center of the diagram. Put "blessings and prosperity" halfway down the right side of the diagram. Put "pride" at the bottom center of the diagram. Put "calamity and destruction". Draw a line with an arrow from "humility and righteousness" to "blessings and prosperity". Draw another line with an arrow from "blessings and prosperity" to "pride".
What do you think comes after "pride?" Why? We will read about it and complete the diagrams when we read chapters 7 & 8.
Draw a picture of the Nephites preaching to their prisoners. Adults and older children can write a few sentences on why you think this is or isn't an effective method of criminal justice.
Imagine if the criminal justice system today used this method of handling prisoners. Aside from a backlash about "separation of church and state," what do you think would happen? Would it be effective? Why or why not?
Draw a picture of the fearsome Lamanites described in v7.
Picture yourself at the scene of battle, looking over these fearsome Lamanites. Would you be scared? Why or why not? Do you think the Nephites were scared? Why or why not? We'll find out next time if the Nephites were afraid or not.
Why were the Nephites able to defeat the Gadianton Robbers?
Let the kids built a fortification with chairs, sheets, whatever they can find. Make sure the walls are taller than the children. Make the fort as wide as possible with the space and materials available. Put a couple of chairs in the middle of the 'fort'. Have one or two of the kids wad up some newspaper or scratch paper. After they finish building, divide up so that half are Nephitas and half are robbers. The Nephites should take half of the ammunition (wadded paper) into the fort. The robbers should remain outside. The Nephites can stand on the chairs inside the 'fort'. The robbers should stand on the ground/floor. Battle by throwing the wadded paper for 1-2 minutes. Don't go any longer than 2 minutes. Then switch - the Nephites can be the robbers and the robbers become the Nephites. Battle again - not more than 2 minutes.
Was it better to be in the fort or outside? Why or why not? Thanks to the inspiration of Lachoneus and Gidgiddonhi, the Nephites had an advantage in position. But that was not the reason they were strong. What made them strong (see v12 and 25)?
Commit verse 13 to memory. You can do so by reading it and having everyone repeat it again and again. Or have everyone try to memorize it on their own and then test each person. Or read it together over and over a line at a time until you remember each line. This will probably take several days.
Who wrote these words? Why did he put them here? What do you feel when you read this testimony?
Re-enact the events in these verses. Choose family members to fill these roles:
- Narrator(s) to read the verses
- Nephite(s) (if your family is small, Gidgiddoni can act as the only Nephite)
- Lamanite(s) (if your family is small, Giddanhi can act as the only Lamanite)
Why were the Lamanites happy when they saw the Nephites fall to the earth? Why did the Nephites fall to the earth? Were the Nephites able to defend themselves against the fearsome Lamanites? Why? What are some of the fearsome obstacles in your life? What can you learn from these Nephites?
Before reading, ask everyone how they would respond to Giddianhi's letter. If you still have the replies that you wrote last time, take a minute to discuss them. Lachoneus' response to Giddianhi is fascinating.
First of all, he didn't write a letter in reply - at least it doesn't say he did. What did he do first? And then what did he do - or what did he cause the people to do?
After reading these verses, ask each person how Lachoneus's response (v12) was different/similar to his/her own. Explain that having a different response is not wrong. What did the people propose? What did Gidgiddoni propose? Why did they go with Gidgiddoni's proposal? What would have happened if they had went with the people's proposal?
How do you think they will fare against the fearsome Gadianton robbers?
Why do you think Giddianhi wrote this letter to Lachoneus? Why didn't he just attack? If you were Lachoneus, how would you respond to this letter?
Write down how you would respond to Giddianhi. Would you prepare for war? Would you write a reply letter? If so, write your letter. Would you be kind or harsh?
Have each person draw a different event described in these verses: (make hand/finger puppets?)
- There begin to be greater signs and greater miracles (v4)
- The unbelievers rejoice and say the time is past. They set a day to put the believers to death (v5-7,9)
- Nephi is sorrowful and prays for the people (v10-12)
- The Lord answers that he comes tomorrow (v12-14)
- The sign is given; there is no darkness for a night (v15)
- Many unbelievers fell to the earth (v16)
In his 2008 First Presidency Christmas Devotional talk, President Eyring shared how his family re-enacted Samuel's prophesying of the Savior's coming:
Have someone stand on a chair as if they were on the city wall as they read these verses. When they finish, allow everyone else to toss wadded-up paper at them as if they were throwing stones. Remind them that Samuel cannot be hit.
Why were they unable to hit Samuel? Where did Samuel go? What do you think Samuel did after he fled from the Nephites?
Have each person draw a picture of event(s) at the time of Christ's death.
Were there any events listed that did not make it into any of your pictures?
For big kids, cross ref 3 Ne 8. Did Samuel get all of the events to occur at the time of Christ's death? If not, what did he miss?
Read v18-19 while the kids draw a picture of treasure. Why do you think that it's bad to hide up your treasure? The answer is in v20. Do these verses have application today? How? What are some of the treasures you have? What does it mean to hide them up unto the Lord?
Allow the reader to stand on a chair just as Samuel stood on the wall.
Why did Samuel get up on the city wall? Why didn't he just go into the city and preach? What message was he telling the people? This message was so important the Lord asked him to go back. Why was it so important?
Have you ever been rejected when you tried to teach someone? If the Lord commanded you to teach someone, and they did not accept you, what could you do to keep the Lord's commandment?
Make a picture timeline. Draw a timeline on the whiteboard, or give each person a piece of paper with a year written on it. Have each person draw a picture of the events that year as they are read. You'll probably want to spread this over more than 1 day.
- 72: Contentions increase; wars occur (v1)
- 73: Nephi prays for famine instead of war (v3-4)
- 74: Famine continues (v5)
- 75: People begin to repent and Nephi prays to the Lord on their behalf for rain (v6-10)
- 76: Rains; crops thrive (v17)
- 77: People prosper; church spreads; peace (v20-21)
- 79: Some strife but people heed the prophetic warnings (v23)
- 80: A war commences by dissenters (v24)
- 80: Plundering and robbing (v25)
- 81: Destruction by the robbers cause some to remember the Lord (v33-34)
- 82-85: People forget the Lord (v36-37)
Search: What is "the sealing power" described in the introduction of this chapter? Use the footnotes, Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide and other references if necessary. Why was Nephi blessed? How would you feel if the Lord said this to you? What was Nephi doing when the Lord spoke to him? How much time do you spend pondering?
Continue the drama.
- Nephi. Read v25-30. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
- Seantum, murderer. Read v31-36. Suggested costume: a toy weapon (make sure it's not dangerous).
- The 5 accused. Read v37-38. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
- The people. Read v39-41. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
Continue acting out this chapter. There are fewer parts in these verses:
- Judges. Suggested costume: a crown, a sceptre, and a robe.
- The 5 accused. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
- The people. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
Act out these verses as you read. Start with the murder of the chief judge which Nephi prophesies about in Hel 8:27. A part of the fun will be allowing the kids to make or find their own costume. You will need someone to play the parts of:
- Seezorum, chief judge. Read v9. Suggested costume: a crown, a sceptre, and a robe.
- Seantum, murderer. Read v7. Suggested costume: a toy weapon (make sure it's not dangerous).
- The 5 accused. Read v2,10. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
- Servants. Read v1,3-4. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
- The people. Read v5-6,8, Hel 8:27. Suggested costume: Nephite clothing: robe, headband, etc.
The suggested readings are organized so that when family members are not acting they will be reading (narrating) to keep everyone busy. There are 2 verses, v2 & 7, that are speaking parts. These 2 verses are to be read by the respective actors if possible. Adjust according to your family's readers and non-readers.
Did the 5 accused who were at the garden of Nephi actually commit the murder? Do you think they will be acquitted (set free)? What do you think they will say?
Search: See who can find the verse where the Savior said "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (it's 3 Ne 13:20 or Matt 6:20) These were the Savior's words, spoken AFTER Nephi passed away. Why did Nephi know the Savior's words before the Savior said them? Before the Savior was even born, in fact?
Play the game Clue if you have it - and if you can make time. Before you begin, discuss how a murder mystery game could relate to these verses. How did Nephi solve the mystery? How did he even know the chief judge was murdered?
What is the issue that is causing such a great controversy? Are there controversies today similar to the controversy in these verses?
Find examples in the newspaper or the internet. How are they similar to the controversy at Nephi's time? Give the kids an opportunity to share their thoughts on the subject. Try not to judge; try to listen and understand.
Allow the kids to build a "garden tower" using cushions, chairs, or whatever you have available. Ensure that is safe; not too high and sturdy enough to hold someone without falling. Then allow them to take turns sitting on it as they read these verses.
What would you do if someone was watching you while you were praying? What would you say to that person?
Draw a picture of Nephi praying on his garden tower with a multitude gathering around.
Why was Nephi praying? Was he praying loudly? Have you ever prayed loud enough that people passing by on the street could hear you?
Play Gadianton Hide and Seek after reading these verses.
What do you think will happen to the Nephites because they support the Gadianton robbers? What will happen to the Lamanites because they seek out and destroy the robbers?
What did the Nephites do when they found a robber?
What happened to the robbers who were among the Nephites? Why?
What did the Lamanites do when they found a robber?
What happened to the robbers who were among the Lamanites? Why?
The Nephites became increasingly wicked by supporting the Gadianton robbers and building them up. Some Nephites joined the Gadianton robbers. Meanwhile the Lamanites actively sought out and destroyed the Gadianton robbers from among them.
Pick specific boundaries for this game (your entire home, the main floor, your backyard, etc).
Game 1: Choose 1 person to be a Gadianton robber. Everyone else is a Nephite. The Nephites should count to 30 together while the robber hides. Then the Nephites can split up and find the robber. A Nephite who finds the robber becomes a robber and should quietly hide with the robber until everyone has found them. Play this once or twice.
Game 2: Choose 1 person to be a Lamanite. Everyone else is a Gadianton robber. The Lamanite should count to 50 while the robbers hide. Then the Lamanite can search for the robbers. When the Lamanite finds a robber, the robber becomes a Lamanite, and should search for the other robbers with the Lamanite(s) until everyone is found. Play this once or twice.
Play Gadianton Hide and Seek after reading these verses.
Do we have any groups today that are comparable to the Gadianton robbers?
When friends are telling unkind or bad jokes and you laugh or tell a joke yourself, how is that like the Nephites at this particular time? What could you do or say to be like the Lamanites?
Why was it easier for the Gadianton robbers to prosper among the Nephites at this time?
The formula of the economy in the Book of Mormon is simple. When the people follow the principles of righteousness, they prosper. When they ignore those principles, the economy slumps. It is the same today.
This chapter is a great example. Draw a timeline of this chapter. Put a hash mark for each verse. Make a dot above the timeline when the people prosper. Make a dot below the line when they become more wicked and prideful. Do you see a pattern in this chapter?
Have each person find an example of this in the Book of Mormon and in the news. Do you see this same pattern throughout the Book of Mormon? What about in your life?
Draw a picture of the multitude which had gathered at the prison. Have each person draw their own picture on a piece of paper, or have each person draw different parts of the picture on a whiteboard. Ask everyone to listen carefully so he doesn't miss details such as the cloud of darkness, the voice from heaven, and the prison walls shaking.
What did the voice say? What kind of voice was it? Why were they afraid?