Come Follow Me – 1 Nephi 1 – 7

The religious study for 2020 for Primary, Sunday School, Seminary and families and individuals for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Each week as families and individuals we strive to study this information and then in Sunday School (held every other week for those 12 and older) we discuss together in detail.

This week we read 1 Nephi chapters 1 – 7. These opening pages of The Book of Mormon tells of a family living in Jerusalem about 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament teaches us that during this time period Nebuchadnezzar defeats the king of Judah (Jehoiakim) due to his wickedness. Nebuchadnezzar also ransacked the temple, and Jehoiakim’s 8-year old son (Jehoiachin) became king. Sadly this 8-year old didn’t learn from the mistakes of his father and during his 3-month and 10-day rein he continued in the wickedness of his father. Nebuchadnezzar has Jehoiachin taken into Babylon and another son of Jehoiakim, 21-year old Zedekiah became king of Judah. (2 Chronicles 36:5-11)

During this period of wickedness the Lord continued to send various prophets warning the people to repent or Jerusalem would be destroyed and many people would be killed and many would be carried into Babylon. (1 Nephi 1:4, 13, 18, compare 2 Chronicles 36:16-16, Jeremiah 25:4). The Old Testament names 9 prophets active during this general time period, including Zephaniah, Nahum, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Huldah, Urijah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Obadiah.

With this quick history in mind, Lehi, a man who has lived in Jerusalem his whole life is introduced in 1 Nephi in The Book of Mormon. He went to his home and had a vision of our Father in Heaven and the premortal messiah Jesus (1 Nephi 1:8-9). They teach him and then Lehi goes and preaches in Jerusalem. The people grow angry with him (although Nephi doesn’t tell us why I believe the people thought Lehi was being blasphemous) and decide they want to kill Lehi. (1 Nephi 1:20, Leviticus 24:16). As a result the Lord directs Lehi and his family (wife Sariah, 4 sons – Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi and at least 2 unnamed daughters) to travel into the wilderness to a land of promise. The two older sons don’t believe that Jerusalem will be destroyed while the two younger do. As a result there is family conflict as to the prophetic mission of their father. These 4 sons end up having to head back to Jerusalem twice – first to get a genealogical and scripture record known as “the brass plates” and later to get another family that has daughters these sons end up marrying.

There are many fascinating things in these chapters.

First, a most remarkable parallel that I have read hundreds of times but didn’t really sink in until this week. Most of the readers of this post likely know later this year will be the 200th anniversary of the First Vision of Joseph Smith where God the Father and the resurrected Jesus Christ appeared to him, setting into motion the restoration of the gospel. In like manner God the Father and premortal Jesus Christ appeared to Lehi, setting into motion everything else in the Book of Mormon.

Second, Nephi fought his own Goliath. The brothers Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi return to Jerusalem and attempt to get the brass plates from a man named Laban who is a “might man [that] can command fifty” (1 Nephi 3:31). The oldest Laman first tried to get from Laban, who false accuses Laman of being a robber and threatening to kill him. Fearful of Laban (and his 50 solders) Laman runs. He and Lemuel want to give up but Nephi has them take all the gold and silver they had left at their house when the family left and attempt to buy the brass plates from Laban. Laban again falsely accuses the brothers of being robbers, threatens to kill them, and the brothers escape, leaving all their gold and silver behind. Now angry the older brothers start hitting their younger brothers with a rod until an angel comes to all of them and tells them again to get the plates. This time just the youngest, Nephi, goes out in the city and finds the drunked Laban passed out on the ground. The spirit tells Nephi to kill him. After some internal struggle Nephi obeys the Lord, takes Laban clothes, and meets one of the servants of Laban, who believing Nephi to be Laban gets him the brass plates. This has a strong parallel with the story of David & Goliath. Compare 1 Nephi 4:7-18 with 1 Samuel 17:48-51. Especially note how in both cases the young man drew the might and powerful man’s sword out of the sheath and cut the other’s head off, using nearly identical language (1 Nephi 4:9,18 and 1 Samuel 17:51). In both of these cases this was the youngest brother and, in both of these cases, they are to become the king, instead of one of their older brothers.

When was 1st Nephi written?

I believe most readers of The Book of Mormon believe that 1 Nephi was written basically as a daily journal or soon after it happened. However, that is not what the scriptures indicate. The small plates of Nephi, which 1 Nephi is the first part, were not created until 30-40 years later! The Lehites will spend 8-years traveling to the promised land, Lehi will die, the brothers will divide into seperate nations (“Nephites” and “Lamanites”), and they will have fought wars together, before Nephi will be instructed by the Lord in 2 Nephi 5:30-31.

I believe The Book of Mormon is scripture and hope to better understand it this year as we study it.


  3. The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Book of Mormon’s Missing Stories by Don Bradley

Aaronic Priesthood

I know I should keep a journal, but have been bad for years. I felt today was worth writing a brief journal entry and, for lack of a better place, decided to write it here.

My oldest child, Mikey, will be turning 14 later this month. My second child, Josh, will be turning 12 in March. As a result, today in Sacrament meeting, they were both sustained to be ordained, respectively, Teachers and Deacons in the Aaronic Priesthood. After Church I had the privilege to do these ordinances. I first confer the Aaronic Priesthood on Josh and ordained to the office of Deacon. For a few minutes today I had two Deacons in my household. Afterwards I ordained Mikey to the office of Teacher. My dear, sweet wife Amanda was set apart to be a nursery teacher.

Today was a blessed day for my family.

What does it mean to become “born again”?

During Sunday School today we were reading John 3:2-6. The discussion came up of what the Lord meant by being “born again”. The typical answer of being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and other comments where made. As everyone was speaking and quotes were read from various Latter-day Prophets and Apostles I had a though come to mind.

Recall that the Lord is speaking to a member of the pharisees – nicodemus to be exact. I believe that the Savior is trying to expand the mind of Nicodemus and, by extension the Jews then and the readers today. The Jews in the days of the Savior thought that being born through the lineage of Abraham was enough for them to be saved in the Kingdom of Heaven, yet the Lord is trying to let them know that being a descendant of Abraham simply isn’t enough. We are “born of water” when we are first born, however we must be born again “of the spirit” which is a process that includes faith, repentance, and baptism.

This is a great parallel for us. Just being Christians and members of His church isn’t enough. We must become converted, increase our faith, receive the necessary ordinances (including baptism), and endure to the end.

An Angel preaching another gospel

A common criticism of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is it is “violating” scripture by adding to the Bible. Over several blog articles I will attempt to explain what the prophets were saying, giving context and showing how this concern is unfounded. For this post I will discuss the criticism found by misunderstanding Galatians 1:6-9 and how Latter-day Saint belief that Moroni, a resurrected being (and commonly called an angel), delivering the gold plates to the prophet Joseph Smith, is exactly what the Apostle Paul was warning about when he wrote: Continue reading

Primary 6 Lesson 1 – Heavenly Father’s Plan for Us

I am continuing 2018 serving as the Valiant 10B teacher in my local LDS Ward (Congregation). I am teaching 5 boys and 3 girls who are 10 (and turning 11 this year) about the Old Testament.

This weeks lesson (lesson 1) is titled “Heavenly Father’s Plan for Us”. It helps us understand our purpose on the earth and answers that age old question of “who am I” and “why am I here”.

The lesson text is available on the webpage. I like to use incorporate other sources to help, including “Short Attention Span Sunday School“.

I often to use a Slide Deck (created on iOS’s Keynote) to display wirelessly onto a TV in the classroom. Here is [download#53#nohits] for anyone interested. I saved it in PDF format, but if someone wants it a different version, let me know, and I can send it to them.


Primary 5 Lesson 35 – The Nauvoo Temple Is Used for Sacred Ordinances

I have recently been called (given the responsibility) as a Primary Teacher in my Ward for 10 and 11 year old children, including my oldest, 11-year old Mikey. This year they are studying the Doctrine and Covenants and LDS Church History in the Primary 5 manual. Yesterday was my first time teaching. I wanted to add some A/V to the lesson in hopes of keeping their attention. I found a blog called “Short Attention Span Sunday School“.

The lesson yesterday was lesson 35 “The Nauvoo Temple Is Used for Sacred Ordinances”. I used a lot of the information from Short Attention Span Sunday School’s Primary 5 lesson 35 post.

I created a slidedeck on my iPad using Keynote and decided to share it in hopes that others may find it helpful. Note – this is a large file as I embedded a video in it.

Let me know if this is helpful to anyone.

God is Love

Yesterday I spoke in Sacrament Meeting for the Ward (local congregation) that I attend of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When I speak I like to write out my talk and then put some additional bullet points at the end of the talk, which I may or may not include. However, when I actually speak I do not usually actually read it word for word, other than quotes. While I was sitting in Church prior to speaking I went through and add some additional thoughts that are not included on this. After reading it, any feedback would be appreciated.

As most in this room likely are aware, today is February 12th. That means that Valentine’s Day is in just 2-days. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love. So today I want to speak with you about love.

Continue reading

12th Article of Faith

13 Weeks of FHE - 13 Articles of Faith

“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

 I ended up working late on Monday, so we ended up having Family Home Evening Tuesday night.  We started with a sing and a prayer.  We then had our family council, where each family member has the opportunity to share concerns, worries, problems, or anything else they want to.  Next, we practiced reciting the first eleven Articles of Faith.  Next, I read the 12th Article of Faith to the kids.  We talked about what these different rulers are and how we need to follow the law.  We played a fun game called [download#51#nohits].  I put the numbers 1 – 12 in a hat and Amanda and each of the 3 kids each drew 4 numbers.  I then would read them a situation that would allow them to answer what they would do in each situation. (Amanda seemed to really enjoy it).  Next we watched Zack & Zoey Explorer The Articles of Faith: 12.

We closed with a song and a prayer.

(Thanks SugarDoodle for the idea).

This is the twelve post in the Mike’s World News series
13 Weeks of FHE / 13 Articles of Faith

11th Article of Faith

13 Weeks of FHE - 13 Articles of Faith“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to
the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same
privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

Amanda was teaching a free coupon class last night, so we did Family Home Evening Sunday night.  We started with a song and a prayer.  We then had a family council where each family member can share problems or concerns they have.  We then reviewed each of the 1st 10 Articles of Faith.  Amanda had agreed to teach the lesson tonight, so I read the 11th Article of Faith and discussed with the kids what it meant.  She then took out a bowl of popcorn and told the kids the kernels that have popped represent those of us that have accepted the gospel and are bursting with potential. The unpopped popcorn represent those who have chosen not to listen, believe or accept the gospel. We can help be missionaries to them.  She then read the Parable of the Popper to them.  We all then enjoyed popcorn.

Next, I got out the 11th Article of Faith pages from the [download#50#nohits].  Kids liked that.  We ended up putting the back piece in a sheet protector and putting tape on the back of the puzzle pieces so the kids could use it during the week.

We ended with another song and a prayer.

(Thanks SugarDoodle for the ideas)

This is the eleventh post in the Mike’s World News series
13 Weeks of FHE / 13 Articles of Faith

10th Article of Faith

13 Weeks of FHE - 13 Articles of Faith

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

I had a meeting Monday night, so this week, we did Family Home Evening Sunday night.  I decided to post this Tuesday morning, however, as that has been the tradition these last 11 weeks.

We started with an opening song and opening prayer.  We then had a family council, where we discussed concerns the kids and parents had.  Next, we practiced the first 9 Articles of Faith.  I then read the long 10th Article of Faith to the family.  I discussed a few points of it and then read it again.  We next watched Zack & Zoey Explore the Articles of Faith #10

We finished with the [download#49#nohits] from A Year of Family Home Evenings.  We read it a few times and then hung it up on the wall.

(Thanks to A Year of FHE for the idea)

This is the tenth post in the Mike’s World News series
13 Weeks of FHE / 13 Articles of Faith