Thursday, March 02, 2006

3 Nephi 5, 6, 8, 9 & 10 - The Bread of Life

To move forward in our lesson for today, I felt I needed to step back to bring out points I'd not had time yesterday to address.

So I started by having a student read 3 Nephi 5:1:
"And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken..."

Then we read 3 Nephi 6:5:
"And now there was nothing in all the land to hinder the people from prospering continually, except they should fall into transgression."

I REALLY wanted the students to have a birds-eye view of how quickly this people fell.

We walked through a brief timeline from 21 A.D. (3 Nephi 5), 26-27 A.D. (3 Nephi 6:1-5 ), and then walked step by step through the wicked events occurring by 30 A.D. (3 Nephi 6:7-17).

We touched briefly again on prophets being called forth to warn the people, those prophets being murdered, a band of secret combination/covenant makers being formed, and all manner of increasing wickedness. The church breaks up, the government breaks up - all this in such a short matter of time.

I had the students then read one more time 3 Nephi 5:1. Truly a puzzle, a mystery, yet a warning Mormon gives us for our day - that a civilization can implode in such a way is nothing but alarming. How does it start? I wanted the kids to think about that.

We touched on Nephi, a man so in tune with God that angels visited him daily. He raises his brother from the dead, he preaches, he strengthens all those who will listen. When we unite ourselves with the Lord's leaders, we can find peace and hope even during "the face of suffering," as the teacher's manual puts it on page 215.

This all was a reminder for the students of what we'd just studied. Understanding the scenario we are reading about is important so they can better grasp the Lord's reasoning for causing such destructions as are recorded in 3 Nephi 8-10.

And understanding the loneliness of the few righteous is helpful, I think, for the students today who may feel alone in their righteous decisions.

NOW we began our block of reading. As the manual suggested, we read 3 Nephi 8:1-23. Verse by verse, the students read, taking turns. Halfway during the middle of reading, I got choked up as I tried to explain that there were little children who experienced the difficulties along with the adults.

No wonder we read what we do later in 3 Nephi 17:21-25. The students eyes were big as I could see them processing this information, especially those who have little siblings, no older than three.

Then to give a break from the reading (and to rouse the sleepy-headed students), I passed out a "3-Minute Test." This was a quick little quiz to test "obedience" and precision to directions.

You can easily make your own. Start off by announcing that they are to read through the entire test before doing anything. But then have a series of at least 20 "commandments", like writing their name on the paper, standing and twirling in a circle, answering a math problem in the corner of the page, etc. THEN have as the final direction on the page (number 20 or so), "Do none of the above."

The whole point of the activity is to test how carefully they listen to directions - all directions - before making choices in life. The first direction they received was from you, the teacher. The teacher announced they were to read through the entire test BEFORE starting. Had they done so, they would have reached the final question and saw that they really were to do none of the preceding questions.

I found this idea in 100 Training Games, by Gary Kroehnert, and thought it an excellent lead-in to very telling and potent verses in 3 Nephi 8:24-25.

And isn't this the whole point? To listen before it is too late? So I asked them: Are they listening to the crazy communications of the world, telling them to do all manner of unthinking things, just like on the test? Or are they listening to the prophet which tells them to "read through the entire test" and "to do none of these things"?

We finished off by reviewing the rest of 3 Nephi 9 and 10. They then took their two slices of bread for their "Spiritual Feast Sack" we're working on for the month, and wrote two of the most important verses on the "bread" that they could find in 3 Nephi 8-10 - something that would help them avoid the same fate as the wicked amongst the Nephites.

The whole point of today's lessn was Christ receives all those who will turn to Him. May we go and do likewise.

Until tomorrow,

just another early-morning-seminary-teacher mom :0)

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