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Obtaining the Brass Plates

Primary 4: Book of Mormon Lesson 3

Obtaining the Brass Plates

1 Nephi Chapter 3- 5, although early chapters in the the Book of Mormon, they are chapters that immediately put you into a position where you need to ask Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon is true.  They are chapters that cause questions for some and chapters that cause some people to quit reading.

I remember there was a time when I first read these chapters and realized just how important they are to the foundation of the rest of the Book of Mormon.

As we study these chapters together, if you haven’t already read the Book of Mormon, you will understand why it is important to spend a moment and understand how the Lord works, why it is important to us to always follow His commandments.  Even when we don’t understand them.  There are very few things He requires of us, and sometimes they don’t make sense.  If we can be as Nephi, filled with faith that He will only ask us to do that which is right, we will have the strength to withstand temptation and teasing.

Can you tell me what this sign says?

Why can’t your read it?  Sometimes we are given only part of a message and we require more information to understand it.  Over the years we have been asked to do many things by our parents, our teachers, our grandparents and our church leaders.  We may not have all of the information nor understanding of why they are asking us to do something, but do you think they have a reason that they just might not be ready to tell us?

When your mom asks you to do something, do you ever say “Why?”?

What kind of reaction to you get from your mom when you ask why?

The message that I shared above is an important message and it is one that I will ask you to memorize.  Which right now that may seem like a lot to ask.

There are times that Heavenly Father will ask us to do something that He isn’t ready to give us the full understanding of why.

For the past 40 years, our prophets have been telling us to have our food storage ready.  In my 40 years, my family has never had to use ours.  In fact, a lot of the food has gone bad and had to be replaced without ever opening a can.  Now part of that is our own fault for not rotating it but it is also because we have not been in a position to need to use it.

What are some reasons we would need to have food storage? – A flood like in New Orleans not too many years ago.  An earthquake like in Japan that happened just last year.  Or a tornado that hits in the mid-west several times a year.  Those who had their food storage were able to live and help their neighbors and friends.

Can you imagine if they hadn’t put together their food storage and a tragedy happened?  Sometimes a tragedy just hits one family – the dad loses his job, or a family member gets really sick and the family is left without any money.  Their food storage could save their lives.  As long as they obeyed the prophet and readied their food storage.

The story that we are going to study today, is one of those times that the Lord told Nephi and his brothers what they had to do, but didn’t tell them how to do it, nor why it was so important.

{In my class, I will be sharing the story from the Children’s Book of Mormon Stories and also from the Liken story “Nephi and Laban”.  As we read and watch, I will stop and ask the following questions..}


1 Nephi 3

2 And it came to pass that he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem.
3 For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass.
4 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brothers should go unto the house of Laban, and seek the records, and bring them down hither into the wilderness.
5 And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.

What did Lehi’s ask Nephi to do?

Who told Lehi to have him do it?

Why was it important for Nephi (and his brothers) to retrieve the plates of brass?

7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Did Nephi have a plan about how to get the plates?

Did he understand what he was supposed to do to get them?

What was his response?

Laban was not a nice man.  He was greedy.  He was ruthless,  He was angry.  He was dangerous.  Because of who he was, neither of the brothers desired to be the one that would go and ask Laban for the plates.  So, they drew straws.

Laman was the first to go to Laban.  He introduced himself as Lehi’s son and asked politely.  Of course, Laban denied him and called him a robber.  So Laman ran away.

The brothers were preparing to return to Lehi without the plates and Nephi came up with a plan to go and get them.  He knew the Lord would provide a way.  So they went to their home and gathered all of the gold and silver to give to Laban as a trade for the plates.

What do you think Laban did?

25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain our property.

This did not go well.  So after they ran away and hid, Laman and Lemuel (Nephi’s brothers) began to Nephi and his younger brother, Sam.

When things don’t go your way, do you ever get really angry and blame other people for your problems?  Sometimes it is hard to accept that bad things can happen to good people.  Even when they are doing the right thing.  These brothers were trying to do what they were ask, but they had been denied twice.

29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

Did you know, that even after an angel appeared to them, Laman and Lemuel still complained?

1 Nephi 4

Nephi told his brothers that they should stay in the wilderness and that he would go in on his own to retrieve the plates.  The brothers did not that he could do it.  But Nephi knew that they Lord would provide a way.  These plates were extremely important to their family and their believes.

As Nephi walked through the city, he came upon a drunk man who had passed out.  This man was dressed in fine clothing and Nephi realized it was Laban.  Nephi felt like he should kill Laban.

What?  A good man felt that he need to kill this bad man?

This is what the Lord answered to him…

11 And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.
12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;
13 Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.

So, Nephi killed Laban and put on his clothes.  As he was walking away, one of Laban’s servants called to him.  As Nephi pretended to be Laban, he answered him and asked the servant to take him to the plates and then to the outer wall of the city.

Nephi’s brothers were scared as they saw who they thought to be Laban coming to them with the plates.  But once they knew it was him, they rejoiced and returned to their father.

When they returned, the family gathered and Lehi read from the plates.  These plates told them all about their genealogy and their believes.


Let’s take a look again at the message above that we couldn’t read.  Here’s is a handout that includes the code that is needed to translate the message.  We can take a minute now and solve the puzzle of the message that is so important that we are going to memorize it after we are done translating it.

It is important to remember that in 1 Nephi 3:7 we read “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”  This is a scripture that we can repeat over and over in our minds and out loud anytime we are questioning what is the right thing for us to do.

In closing, I’d lie to share my testimony of the importance in following all of God’s commandments.  As a grown up, there are a lot of things that He has asked us to do.  Sometimes we are tempted to ignore the commandments.  Sometimes we’re tired and lazy.  And other times we are very eager and willing to follow everything He has asked us to do.  I know that at all of those moments, I can repeat to myself that I will go and do the things that the Lord has asked me to do and know with all my heart that I will be blessed.  I will be comforted by the Holy Ghost and receive the help that the Lord has promised us.


What have you learned today?  When is it difficult to do what you have been asked to do – either by your parents or by Heavenly Father?



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