Primary 4: Book of Mormon 10 (King Benjamin Teaches His People)
Posted by robf on March 16, 2008
According to the official lesson materials, the purpose of this lesson is:
To strengthen the children’s commitment to keep their baptismal covenants and follow Jesus Christ.
After reading King Benjamin’s address several times this week, and reading some of Joe’s comments on the Feast Wiki, I had no idea how to work through this lesson with the 10-11 year old Primary class I was subbing for again this week.
So I started asking the kids about their week, then I asked them if they remembered what we talked about last week–fortunately they remembered the Enos story, wrestling with God, joy, and eternal life. Whew! That made my day! I wrote all that stuff back up on the chalkboard.
I asked the kids who Enos’s dad was, and wrote Jacob above Enos. Then asked who Jacob’s father was and wrote Lehi above that. Then we looked at the chronology. They were surprised that 179 years had passed away between Lehi leaving Jerusalem and the death of Enos. We figured out that Jacob must have been pretty old by the time Enos was born. We figured out that 179 years from today would put us back to 1829, before the restoration of the Church. That’s a long time!
Then we wrote down the books in the Book of Mormon up to Mosiah, and looked at that chronology. We read in Omni how several generations didn’t really write anything. We finally got to Mosiah and King Benjamin and saw that there were 470 years between Lehi and Benjamin, and we don’t really have much written about that.
We read about Mosiah I in Omni, and talked about how he probably wasn’t originally the king in the Land of Nephi (the kings were called Nephi), but that he fled after being warned by the Lord. Kids made the connection between Mosiah and Lehi leaving Jerusalem. Then we had to talk about the Mulekites. We talked about how we don’t really have a history of the Nephi kings, or of the Mulekites. The kids wanted to know where they lived, so I drew a map of Mesoamerica, and said we don’t know exactly where they lived but that those who have studied it the closest think probably the Land of Nephi was in Guatemala, and the Land of Zarahemla may well have been in southern Mexico.
Then one of the kids wanted to know who were the ancestors of the American Indians. One kid said they came over from Asia across the Bering Land Bridge. One kid said one of her ancestors was the Apache chief Geronimo. I told them that lots of people came to the Americas, and just like we don’t have a history of the Nephis and the Mulekites, we don’t have a history of everyone who came. A little digression into Athabascan migrations and the Apaches and Navajos (another kid has some Navajo ancestry).
Then we looked at the math again (the kids got a kick out of doing math on the weekend!), and figured out that its been at least 2588 years since Lehi and his family got to the Americas. I asked them if they knew where there ancestors were that far back. Then told them that we are basically all related once you get back that far, and that through intermarriage probably most Native American tribes are related and that Lehi was probably one of their distant ancestors, though they had lots of other ancestors too.
At this point I was wondering how we would ever get back to King Benjamin and our baptismal covenants! But it was pretty neat. We got back to Omni and how Mosiah was made king over the Land of Zarahemla. The kids really wanted to know how that happened. We read the few verses about this, which don’t really tell us much. But however it happened, I told them that from now on in the Book of Mormon, when we talk about Nephites, we’re really talking about the mixture of the people who came with Mosiah, and the people of Zarahemla.
We then jumped, finally, to King Benjamin. We talked about how when he was old he wanted to do two things. One, he wanted to appoint his son Mosiah to be king. We talked about how that might have been tricky, what with there possibly being heirs of Zarahemla around who might also have aspired to being the king. We then read how Benjamin also wanted to give his people a name–which was important so the Nephites and Mulekites could become one.
We talked about the people gathering to the temple, and about how Benjamin received a visit from an angel the night before. We read the prophecy of Christ, and how the people then all wanted to make a covenant to follow Christ. About this time we got the 5 minute warning knock on the door! Ouch!
I told the kids that the name Benjamin gave them was the name of Christ, and that they got it after willingly taking it on them and promising to live the commandments. I then asked the kids if we do the same thing. Thankfully, they said we did during baptism and then again during the sacrament. A perfect setup!
I wrote baptism up on the board and we talked about what we promise when we are baptized. Then I wrote sacrament up on the board and we talked about what it means to renew our covenants (after talking about what it means to renew a library book). Then I asked how often we are baptized, and wrote “1″ next to it on the board. Then I asked how often we take the sacrament, and wrote “weekly” next to sacrament on the board. Then I asked them how we renew our covenants daily and wrote “daily” on the board.
Then we read Mosiah 4:26 about how we need to serve others to retain a daily remission of our sins (we didn’t have time to get to Mosiah 4:11-12 which also relates here). I wrote “service” next to “daily” and we read Mosiah 2:17, which the kids all knew. We then read how all these things need to be done in order, etc. and how we need to find someone to help each day somehow.
Man, what I wouldn’t have done for an extra 10 minutes, but the Junior Primary was in the hall waiting to get in, so we had to wrap it up here. I asked the kids if the lesson was helpful, and they said it was great, that I would be a great professor. Since that’s not really the point, in my heart I just hope that somehow something from this roundabout lesson made it into their hearts–preferably something from the end of the lesson, and the take home message of serving others daily to retain a remission of our sins and renew our baptismal covenants.