Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Lesson - How can I help others understand the doctrine of Christ? - What I did.

Um, yeah, this was back at the end of February.  My gramps died at the beginning of March, and we were so busy preparing for his graveside service and special dinner that I didn't get a chance to type this up that week.  But I want to put this up here and link it to my gospel page so that I have it for next year.

Before Class Starts:

Pre-write at the top of the chalkboard, "What is the doctrine of Christ?"  Hand out the two following quotes to two students:

Quote #1:

The “doctrine of Christ” is that all men everywhere must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. The doctrine of Christ is the only way to be saved in the kingdom of God. It is the foundation of the Church and the central message of its missionaries.

  • Online Youth Sunday School Manual, February, “How can I help others understand the doctrine of Christ?”, paragraph 1

Quote #2:

This is our message, the rock upon which we build, the foundation of everything else in the Church. Like all that comes from God, this doctrine is pure, it is clear, it is easy to understand – even for a child. With glad hearts, we invite all to receive it.

- Elder D. Todd Christofferson, General Conference, April 2012

1.  What is the doctrine of Christ?

I had pre-written at the top of the board, "What is the doctrine of Christ?"  I had the students volunteer answers.

We are told to learn the doctrine of Christ, and Christ is very specific about the things we need to learn first

You don't go to college before you go to kindergarten.  You can't learn to add numbers before you learn to count.  You can't run before you learn to walk.  When you learn something, you start with the simplest part of it, then move to a deeper part. 

Let's find out the things we need to learn first.

2.  Activity - Fourth Article of Faith

I had broken up the fourth article of faith into little phrases - enough so that each member of my class would have one.
I taped one piece onto each student's back.  I had them rearrange themselves so that, when they're standing with their backs to me, I could read it in order.  Then I took the signs off their backs and had them sit down.

So what Christ wants us to learn first - the building blocks of our knowledge of the gospel - are the principles in the fourth article of faith, plus endure to the end.

3.  Marking of Scriptures

There are three scriptures in the lesson that I wanted to look up.  Each scripture has several verses, so what I did was have them do sectionalizing with each, then have them underline the principles we've just talked about.

a.  2 Ne. 31.  So I had them draw a line above chapter 31, then at the end of chapter.  Somewhere in the margins of this chapter, I had them write "The doctrine of Christ - what He wants us to teach first."  Then, instead of reading the entire chapter, I just had them read the verses that had the principles in them and underline those principles. 

1)  Read verse 2, and underline "doctrine of Christ" in that verse. 
2)  Read verse 5, and underline "be baptized" in that verse. 
3)  Read verse 8, and underline "Holy Ghost" in that verse. 
4)  Read verse 11, and underline "Repent" in that verse. 
5)  Read verse 15, and underline "endureth to the end" in that verse. 
6)  Read verse 19, and underline "faith in Him" in that verse.

b.  3 Ne. 11: 32-41.  Sectionalize like we did in 2 Ne.  But this time, you draw a line above verse 32 and a line underneath verse 41.  Again, write in the margins, "The doctrine of Christ - what He wants us to teach first."

1)  Read verse 32, and underline "repent" and "believe in me" in that verse.
2)  Read verse 33, and underline "baptized" in that verse.
3)  Read verse 35, and underline "Holy Ghost" in that verse.

c.  3 Ne. 27: 13-21.  Sectionalize by drawing a line above verse 13 and below verse 21.   Again, write in the margins, "The doctrine of Christ - what He wants us to teach first."

1)  Read verse 16, and underline "repenteth," "baptized," and "endureth to the end" in that verse.
2)  Read verse 19, and underline "faith" in that verse.
3)  Read verse 21, and underline "this is my gospel" in that verse.

4.  Why we need to learn these principles first

At this point, I had the two students to whom I had given the two quotes, read them.   From these quotes, we understand that we learn these principles first because they are pure and they are simple.  There are two other reasons we need to know these five principles.  To discover the other two reasons, we'll do the following:

I gave half of the class slips of paper that said this:

Read 3 Ne. 11:39-41. According to these verses, why is it important that you, our youth, understand the doctrine of Christ?

I gave the other half of the class slips of paper that said this:

Read the following paragraph from Preach My Gospel. It's the very first paragraph of the entire book:

“Your Purpose: Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”

According to this paragraph, why is it important that you, our youth, understand the doctrine of Christ?

I gave each of them pens, and I had them write their answers.  Then I had them share.  Basically, the "answer" to the 3 Ne. 11:39-41 question is so that the gates of hell won't prevail against them.  The "answer" to the Preach My Gospel question is so that we can help others come to him.

I pointed out to them that they are going to be teaching these principles, whether on their missions, to non-member friends, to Primary kids, to the inactive sisters you visit teach, etc.

This reminded me of one of my favorite stories that Spencer W. Kimball told in a General Conference.  I had to pare it down a little bit for time's sake, but I felt that it was perfect for this topic.  I gave each student a copy, and then had each one of them read a paragraph at a time.

Some years ago a young Primary boy was on a train going to California in the days when we traveled on trains. He was all alone. He sat near the window watching the telephone poles go by. Across the aisle from him was a gentleman who also was going to California. The attention of the gentleman was called to this very young boy traveling all alone without friends or relatives. He was neatly dressed and well-behaved. And this gentleman was quite impressed with him.

Finally, after some time, the gentleman crossed the aisle and sat down by the young man and said to him, “Hello, young man, where are you going?”

He said, “I am going to Los Angeles.”

“Do you have relatives there?”

The boy said, “I have some relatives there. I am going to visit my grandparents. They will meet me at the station, and I will stay with them a few days during the school vacation.”

The next questions were “Where did you come from?” and “Where do you live?”

And the boy said, “Salt Lake City, Utah.”

“Oh, then,” said the gentleman, “you must be a Mormon.”

And the boy said, “Yes, I am.” There was pride in his voice.

The gentleman said, “Well, that’s interesting. I’ve wondered about the Mormons and what they believe. I’ve been through their beautiful city; I’ve noticed the beautiful buildings, the treelined streets, the lovely homes, the beautiful rose and flower gardens, but I’ve never stopped to find out what makes them as they are. I wish I knew what they believe.”

And the boy said to him, “Well, sir, I can tell you what they believe. [The boy then recited the first three articles of faith to the man.]

And the gentleman was amazed at the knowledge and understanding of a mere boy—he was yet to be a Scout. But he continued and gave the fourth Article of Faith A of F 1:4 and said, “‘We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.’”
“That is wonderful,” said the gentleman. “I am amazed that you know so well the doctrines of your church. I commend you.”

With a good start and with encouragement, Johnny [recited the rest of the articles of faith].

The gentleman was clearly excited, not only at the ability of this young boy to outline the whole program of the Church, but at the very completeness of its doctrine.

He said, “You know, after I have been to Los Angeles a couple of days, I expect to go back to New York where my office is. I am going to wire my company that I will be a day or two late and that I am going to stop in Salt Lake City en route home and go to the information bureau there and hear all the things, in more detail, about what you have told me.”

I am wondering how many of you know the Articles of Faith? ... Do you know them? Have you repeated them? You are always prepared with a sermon when you know the Articles of Faith. And they are basic, aren’t they? I would think it would be a wonderful thing if all the boys, as they learn them, would learn them word perfect. That means that you don’t miss and you don’t forget.

- President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, October 1975

5.  Preach My Gospel Activity

I gave each student one section from Preach My Gospel.  Each paper had instructions on it, like so:

Read the following section from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. Be prepared to do three things:
  1. Teach the rest of the class what you learned from this section.
  2. Choose one of the scriptures listed in the section and share it with the class.
  3. Use an example or a personal experience that has to do with the principle in your section.

Faith in Jesus Christ

The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Having faith in Christ includes having a firm belief that He is the Only Begotten Son of God and the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We recognize that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father only by relying on His Son’s grace and mercy. When we have faith in Christ, we accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings. We trust Him and what He says. We know that He has the power to keep His promises. Heavenly Father blesses those who have faith to obey His Son.

Faith in Christ leads to action. It leads to sincere and lasting repentance. Having faith causes us to try as
hard as we can to learn about and become more like our Savior. We want to learn what His commandments are and then obey them. Even though we will still make mistakes, we show our love for Him by striving to keep His commandments and avoid sin.

We believe in Christ, and we believe that He wants us to keep all His commandments. We want to show our faith by obeying Him. We pray in faith for strength to conquer temptation. We can also develop faith in a particular principle, such as the Word of Wisdom or tithing, by first believing in Jesus Christ strongly enough to obey His commandments. As we live a specific commandment, we learn the truthfulness of it by experience (see John 7:17). We also grow in faith by hearing the word of God (see Romans 10:17) and by reading the word of God (see Helaman 15:7–8).

As we obey God, He blesses us. He gives us power to meet life’s challenges. He helps us change the desires of our hearts. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, He can heal us, both physically and spiritually.

Scripture Study

Faith, Power, and Salvation - 1 Nephi 7:12, Moroni 7:33–34, 2 Nephi 9:23, Moroni 10:7, 2 Nephi 25:23

The Doctrine of Faith - Alma 32, Bible Dictionary, “Faith,” Ephesians 2:8

Examples of Faith - Ether 12, Hebrews 11

Works and Obedience - 1 Nephi 3:7, James 2:17–26, D&C 130:20–21

Faith unto Repentance - Alma 34

Read the following section from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. Be prepared to do three things:
    1. Teach the rest of the class what you learned from this section.
    2. Choose one of the scriptures listed in the section and share it with the class.
    3. Use an example or a personal experience that has to do with the principle in your section.


The second principle of the gospel is repentance. Our faith in Christ and our love for Him lead us to repent, or to change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with His will. Repentance includes forming a fresh view of God, ourselves, and the world. When we repent, we feel godly sorrow, then we stop doing things that are wrong and continue doing things that are right. Bringing our lives in line with God’s will through repentance is a central purpose of our lives. We can return to live with God the Father only through Christ’s mercy, and we receive Christ’s mercy only on condition of repentance.

To repent, we recognize our sins and feel remorse, or godly sorrow. We confess our sins to God. We also confess very serious sins to God’s authorized Church leaders, who can help us repent. We ask God in prayer to forgive us. We do all we can to correct the problems our actions may have caused; this is called restitution. As we repent, our view of ourselves and the world changes. As we change, we recognize that we are children of God and that we need not continue making the same mistakes over and over. If we sincerely repent, we turn away from our sins and do them no more. We resist any desire
to commit sin. Our desire to follow God grows stronger and deeper.

Sincere repentance brings several results. We feel God’s forgiveness and His peace in our lives. Our guilt and sorrow are swept away. We feel the influence of the Spirit in greater abundance. And when we pass from this life, we will be more prepared to live with our Heavenly Father and His Son.

Even after we have accepted Christ and repented of our sins, we may fall short and sin again. We should continually try to correct these transgressions. In addition, we should continually improve—to develop Christlike qualities, to grow in knowledge, and to serve more effectively. As we learn more about what the Savior expects of us, we will want to show our love by obeying Him. Thus, as we repent daily, we will find that our lives will change and improve. Our hearts and our behavior will become more Christlike. We will come to feel great joy in repenting daily.

Scripture Study

We All Sin - Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:7–8

Redemption and Forgiveness - Helaman 5:10–11

Repentance - Alma 34:8–17, D&C 58:42–43, D&C 61:2, 2 Corinthians 7:9–10, Bible Dictionary, “Repentance”

Mercy Claims the Penitent - Alma 12:32–35, D&C 18:10–13, Alma 42:13, 21–24

Read the following section from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. Be prepared to do three things:
    1. Teach the rest of the class what you learned from this section.
    2. Choose one of the scriptures listed in the section and share it with the class.
    3. Use an example or a personal experience that has to do with the principle in your section.

Baptism, Our First Covenant

Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance prepare us for the ordinances of baptism and confirmation. An
ordinance is a sacred ceremony or rite that shows that we have entered into a covenant with God.

God has always required His children to make covenants. A covenant is a binding and solemn
agreement between God and man. God promises to bless us, and we promise to obey Him. God sets the
terms of gospel covenants, which we either accept or reject. Keeping covenants brings blessings in this
life and exaltation in the life to come.

Covenants place us under a strong obligation to honor our commitments to God. To keep our
covenants, we must give up activities or interests that prevent us from honoring those covenants. For
example, we give up shopping and recreational pursuits on Sunday so we can keep the Sabbath day holy. We should desire to receive worthily the covenants that God offers us and then strive to keep them. Our covenants remind us to repent every day of our lives. By keeping the commandments and serving others we receive and retain a remission of our sins.

Covenants are usually made by means of sacred ordinances, such as baptism. These ordinances are administered by priesthood authority. Through the ordinance of baptism, for example, we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. As we keep our part of the covenant, God promises the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, a remission of our sins, and being born again.

Through sacred ordinances, such as baptism and confirmation, we learn about and experience God’s power (see D&C 84:20). Jesus taught that we must be baptized by immersion for the remission, or forgiveness, of our sins. Baptism is an essential ordinance of salvation. No person can enter the kingdom of God without being baptized. Christ set the example for us by being baptized.

Baptism by immersion is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior. In a similar way, it represents the end of our old life of sin and a commitment to live a new life as a disciple of Christ. The Savior taught that baptism is a rebirth. When we are baptized we begin the process of being born again and become spiritual sons and daughters of Christ (see Mosiah 5:7–8; Romans 8:14–17).

We must be baptized to become members of the restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to eventually enter the kingdom of heaven. This ordinance is a law of God and must be performed by His authority. A bishop or mission president must give a priesthood holder permission to perform a baptism or confirmation.

Little children do not need to be baptized and are redeemed through the mercy of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 8:4–24). They are not to be baptized until they reach the age of accountability, which is eight years of age (see D&C 68:27).

Before baptism we show our willingness to enter a covenant to keep all the commandments for the rest of our lives. After baptism we show our faith by keeping our covenants. We also regularly renew the covenants we make when baptized by partaking of the sacrament. Partaking of the sacrament weekly is a commandment. It helps us remain worthy to have the Spirit with us always. It is a weekly reminder of our covenants. Jesus Christ introduced this ordinance to His Apostles just before His Atonement. He restored it through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Savior commanded that priesthood holders should administer the sacrament in remembrance of His body and His blood, which was shed for us. By partaking of the sacrament worthily we promise always to remember His sacrifice, we renew our promises, and we receive anew the promise that the Spirit will always be with us.

Scripture Study

Christ’s Example - 2 Nephi 31:4–18, Matthew 3:13–17

The Baptismal Covenant - Mosiah 5:8–10, D&C 20:37, Mosiah 18:8–10

Qualifications for Baptism - 2 Nephi 9:23, Moroni 6:1–4, Mosiah 18:8–10, D&C 20:37, Alma 7:14–15, Acts 2:37–39,
3 Nephi 11:23–27

The Lord Institutes the Sacrament - 3 Nephi 18:1–18, Luke 22:15–20

Promised Blessings of Baptism - Mosiah 4:11–12, 26, John 3:5, Moroni 8:25–26, Romans 6:4

The Sacrament Prayers - Moroni 4 and 5, D&C 20:75–79

Partaking of the Sacrament - D&C 27:2, 1 Corinthians 11:23–29

Necessity for Authority - D&C 22, Hebrews 5:4

Read the following section from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. Be prepared to do three things:
    1. Teach the rest of the class what you learned from this section.
    2. Choose one of the scriptures listed in the section and share it with the class.
    3. Use an example or a personal experience that has to do with the principle in your section.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Jesus taught that we must be baptized of water and also of the Spirit. Baptism by water must be followed by baptism of the Spirit or it is incomplete. Only when we receive baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost can we receive a remission of our sins and become completely spiritually reborn. We then begin a new spiritual life as disciples of Christ.

After a person is baptized by water, one or more authorized priesthood holders lay their hands upon the person’s head and confirm the person a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They then confer the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy can enjoy His companionship throughout their lives. The Holy Ghost has a sanctifying, cleansing effect upon us. The Holy Ghost testifies of Christ and helps us recognize the truth. He provides spiritual strength and helps us do what is right. He comforts us during times of trial or sorrow. He warns us of spiritual or physical danger. The Holy Ghost provides the power by which we teach and learn. The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of our Heavenly Father’s most precious gifts. Through the power of the Holy Ghost we can feel God’s love and direction for us. This gift is a foretaste of eternal joy and a promise of eternal life.

The priesthood authority needed to perform this ordinance, which was lost centuries ago through apostasy, was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Only through membership in the Church can one receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This authority makes the Church different from any other religion in the world. By the Lord’s own declaration, it is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).

Scripture Study

Nature of the Holy Ghost - D&C 130:22–23, Galatians 5:22–23, Bible Dictionary, “Earnest” and “Holy Ghost,” John 3:1–8

Blessings and Influence from the Holy Ghost - 2 Nephi 32:1–5, Moses 6:61, Topical Guide, “Holy Ghost, Comforter” and “Holy Ghost, Gifts of,” 2 Nephi 33:1–2, John 14:26

Importance of the Gift of the Holy Ghost - 2 Nephi 31:11–12, 18, 21, 3 Nephi 27:19–20, D&C 33:15, 3 Nephi 18:36–37, D&C 19:31, Acts 19:1–6, 3 Nephi 19:13

Read the following section from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. Be prepared to do three things:
    1. Teach the rest of the class what you learned from this section.
    2. Choose one of the scriptures listed in the section and share it with the class.
    3. Use an example or a personal experience that has to do with the principle in your section.

Endure to the End

Once we have entered the strait and narrow path by our faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, we must exert every effort to stay on the path. We do so by continually exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, making commitments, and following the Spirit.

Once we have been forgiven of our sins, we should try every day to remain free from sin so that we can always have the Holy Ghost with us. In the covenant of baptism, we promise our Father in Heaven that we will obey His commandments for the rest of our lives. If we fall short, we must repent in order to retain the blessings of the covenant. We promise to do good works, serve others, and follow the Savior’s example. In the scriptures this lifelong commitment is often called “enduring to the end.”

By following the gospel path, we can draw closer to God, conquer temptation and sin, and enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost more abundantly. As we patiently, faithfully, and consistently follow this path throughout our lives, we will qualify for eternal life.

Faith in Christ; repentance; making, renewing, and keeping covenants; and being cleansed by the Spirit become a pattern of living. Our actions in daily life are shaped and governed by these principles. Peace and joy come by following this way, and we gradually grow in Christlike attributes. Eventually, as we follow this way and “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ . . . and endure to the end,” we are promised, “Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20)

Scripture Study

Endure to the End - 2 Nephi 9:24, 3 Nephi 27:16–17, Matthew 10:22, 2 Nephi 31:14–20

Blessings for Those Who Endure - 1 Nephi 13:37, 3 Nephi 15:9, D&C 14:7

We ran out of time to share, but the students had prepared so well and wanted to share what they learned, so we made time the following week to have them share what they learned.  I had them put their names on the top of their papers and give them to me.  Then, the following week, I handed their papers back at the beginning of class, had them kind of review what they had prepared to share, and then we all shared, and it was really nice.  They did a good job.

And that, as they say, is that!


Christie said...

Some great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I used a couple of them in class this week.

Natasha said...

Thank you! I just discovered your blog and am very inspired by you. I hope you are doing better.

Heather Brown said...

Thank you so very much for sharing all of this information on your blog. I get so much out of your lessons and get so excited to share all of the information with my class. You are a spiritual giant and have a gift for truly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through word and deed!
I know you have been given some pretty intense challenges and struggles to overcome. We have been there when my 14 yr old daughter was diagnosed with Cancer in 2010. I hope and pray that your challenges are short lived and that your healing is swift and complete.
Again, thank you so much for your generosity of spirit. I have learned so much from you!

C Tullis said...

You are amazing. Thank you for all your effort to help us provide the best lesson's for our students. I like how you do not veer from the assigned lesson but arrange it to help spark the students interest. You save me every week! I truly appreciate this blog.

Kelley Hicken at said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! These lessons are such a help!

Senora Baker said...

I just wanted to express my appreciation for you taking the time out to share your lessons. I am a high school teacher by profession and I know how much time goes into planning these things. I love your blog and lessons because it gives me a "fresh spin" on how to conduct the lesson outlines or it will give me some ideas to incorporate in my own lesson. I LOVE the way you outline everything! It really is a big help! Especially this year where it's 8am church, I have kids to get ready, breakfast to make, and I didn't get around to preparing my your site has been a HUGE help! Thanks so much for sharing!

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