Monday, September 15, 2014

The Lesson - How can I explain the importance of marriage and family to others? - What I did.

I must have skipped the introductory part, because we jumped right into this part:
  • Invite the youth to think of and list on the board questions that others not of our faith may have about marriage and the family, such as, “Why should I get married and have children?” or “Why should marriage be between a man and a woman?” Ask the youth to select some of the questions listed and find answers in the scriptures (for example scriptures, see those referenced in the “Marriage” and “Family” sections of True to the Faith and in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”). Encourage the youth to prepare a one-minute answer to the questions they chose, avoiding words and phrases that might not be easily understood by others, such as celestial marriage or sealing. Give them time to share their answers.

Again, my class was small, so I probably gave each one of them this worksheet - each one is different:

Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  People in your faith seem very focused on marriage.  Why is it so important to be married?

                 D&C 131:  1-4
                 Genesis 2:18
                 Moses 3:18

Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  Many people in your faith care a lot about marriage between a man and a woman.  Why is that so important?

-”We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” - The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, paragraph 1

                 1 Corinthians 11:11
Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  So you believe that you need to be sealed to your spouse in the temple in order to be married for eternity.  What happens if you didn't get a chance to be sealed to them? What if you died before you had that chance?

                 “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”  - The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph 3


Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  People in your religion seem to have a lot of kids.  Why is it important to have kids?

                 Genesis 1:27-28
                 Moses 2: 28
                 Psalm 127:3
                 “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.” - The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph 4
  
Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  I heard that men are supposed to preside in the home.  What does that mean?  Does the Church think of women as less important?

                 Ephesians 5:23

                 “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” - The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph 7


Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  What happens to our families when we die?

                 “In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.” - The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph 3
  
Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  I've noticed that many mothers in your church are stay-at-home mothers.  Is that a commandment?  What about mothers who have to work?

                 By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.” - The Family: A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph 7

  
Questions They Might Ask

Directions:  Below, I have written a question that someone not of our faith might ask you concerning principles of marriage and family in our gospel.  Below the question, I'll give you some scriptures to look up and/or a paragraph from The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  Read these scriptures and/or paragraphs, then prepare an answer to the question.  When you tell us your answer, pretend you're talking to someone not of our faith.  Avoid using words or phrases that might not be easily understood by others.

Question:  I've been told that you wait until you are married to have sexual relations.  Why do you have to wait?


- “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.  We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed.”  - The Family:  A Proclamation to the World, Paragraph #4

Next part I hit in this lesson:

Divide the class into two groups, and ask one group to prepare to teach about eternal marriage and the other group to prepare to teach about temples and family history, using the resources suggested in this outline (or others they can find). After they have prepared simple and brief explanations of their topics, invite the youth to teach someone from the other group the doctrine they studied.

This is my tweaking of this exercise - I knew the groups would be unbalanced, since the Eternal Marriage readings were longer than the Temples and Family History readings.  So I just gave each kid one of these worksheets, and then they would teach the other group as a whole, instead of an individual member of the group.  I hope that makes sense.  There aren't even pairings for sharing.  Hey, that rhymed.


Eternal Marriage

Directions:  Your group is going to prepare to teach the other group about eternal marriage.  I've divided the readings into smaller sections.  Your job is to read the following portion of True to the Faith and be prepared to teach it to the other group.

In the world today, many people dismiss and even mock marriage and the family.  Amid such confusing and destructive voices, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles provide the consistent voice of truth.  They “solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

Life's greatest joys are found in the family.  Strong family relationships require effort, but such effort brings great happiness in this life and throughout eternity.  Even if you have not had a happy family life in the past, you can seek to have a happy, eternal marriage and a loving relationship with family members.

The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage

In our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness, a man and a woman can be sealed to one another for time and all eternity.  Those who are sealed in the temple have the assurance that their relationship will continue forever if they are true to their covenants.  They know that nothing, not even death, can permanently separate them.

The covenant of eternal marriage is necessary for exaltation.  The Lord revealed through Joseph Smith:  “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it.  He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase” (D&C 131:1-4).

After receiving the sealing ordinance and making sacred covenants in the temple, a couple must continue in faithfulness in order to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and exaltation.  The Lord said:

“If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; . . . and if [they] abide in my covenant, . . . it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world” (D&C 132:19; for an explanation of the Holy Spirit of Promise, see page 82).
  
Eternal Marriage

Directions:  Your group is going to prepare to teach the other group about eternal marriage.  I've divided the readings into smaller sections.  Your job is to read the following portion of True to the Faith and be prepared to teach it to the other group.

Preparing for Marriage

If you are single, prepare yourself carefully for marriage.  Remember that there is no substitute for marrying in the temple. Prepare to marry the right person in the right placeat the right time. Live worthy now of the kind of person you hope to marry.

Date only those who have high standards and in whose company you can maintain your high standards. Carefully plan positive and constructive activities so that you and your date are not left alone without
anything to do. Stay in areas of safety where you can easily control yourself. Do not participate in conversations or activities that arouse sexual feelings.

Look for a companion of your own faith. Look for someone you can always honor and respect, someone who will complement you in your life. Before you marry, be sure you have found someone to whom you can give your entire heart, your entire love, your entire allegiance, your entire loyalty.

Counsel for Those Who Do Not Marry

Some members of the Church remain single through no fault of their own, even though they want to marry. If you find yourself in this situation, be assured that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). As you remain worthy, you will someday, in this life or the next, be given all the blessings of an eternal family relationship. The Lord has made this promise repeatedly through His latter-day prophets.

If you are single and desire to be married, do not give up hope. At the same time, do not allow yourself to become preoccupied with your goal. Instead, become anxiously engaged in worthwhile activities. Look for ways to serve in your extended family and in your community. Accept and magnify Church callings. Keep yourself clean, both physically and spiritually. Continue to learn and develop and progress in your personal life.
   
Eternal Marriage

Directions:  Your group is going to prepare to teach the other group about eternal marriage.  I've divided the readings into smaller sections.  Your job is to read the following portion of True to the Faith and be prepared to teach it to the other group.

Achieving a Happy Marriage

If you are married, remember that the friendship and love between you and your spouse should be your most cherished earthly relationship. Your spouse is the only person other than the Lord whom you have been commanded to love with all your heart (see D&C 42:22).

Remember that marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither person exercising dominion over the other, but with each encouraging, comforting, and helping the other.

Because marriage is such an important relationship in life, it needs and deserves time. Do not give higher priority to less-important commitments. Take time to talk together and to listen to one another. Be thoughtful and respectful. Express tender feelings and affection often.  Determine that nothing will ever come between you and your spouse to disrupt your marriage. Resolve to make your marriage succeed, in spite of challenges that may arise.

Be loyal to one another. Be faithful in your marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. Remember that the Lord has said, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). The phrase “none else” teaches that no person, activity, or possession should ever take precedence over your relationship with your spouse.

Stay away from anything that could lead you to be unfaithful in any way. Pornography, unwholesome fantasies, and flirtations will erode your character and strike at the foundation of your marriage.

Work together to manage your finances. Cooperate in establishing and following a budget. Discipline yourselves in your spending, and avoid the bondage of debt. Wise money management and freedom from debt contribute to peace in the home.

Center your lives in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Help one another keep the covenants you have made. Attend church and the temple together. Study the scriptures together. Kneel together in prayer at the beginning and end of each day to thank your Heavenly Father for one another and to unite in asking for His blessings on your lives, your home, your loved ones, and your righteous desires. God will then guide you, and your daily conversations with Him will bring the peace and joy that can come from no other source. Your companionship will sweeten through the years; your love will strengthen. Your appreciation for one another will grow.
   
Eternal Marriage

Directions:  Your group is going to prepare to teach the other group about eternal marriage.  I've divided the readings into smaller sections.  Your job is to read the following portion of Preach My Gospel and be prepared to teach it to the other group.

Eternal Marriage

The basic unit of the Church is the family. Within the family, people experience many of life’s greatest joys and sorrows. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is central to God’s eternal plan for the salvation of His children. The means by which mortal life is created is divinely appointed and is safeguarded by marriage. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to endure beyond the grave. Marriage, however, can be eternal only when authorized priesthood holders perform the sealing ordinance in sacred temples and when husbands and wives who have been sealed together keep the covenants they have made. Husbands and wives are to love each other. As they keep the commandments and live gospel principles, they are to honor their marital vows with complete fidelity (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102; see also D&C 42:22).

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ and when parents make their family their highest priority. “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Together, parents are to teach their children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them live it.

Satan is making a concentrated attack on families. Years ago Church leaders set aside Monday evening as a time for family home evening. Parents should use this time to teach their children the gospel, strengthen their relationships with them, and have fun together. Other ways of strengthening the family include daily family prayer and scripture study, worshiping at church as a family, and serving others. Heaven is a continuation of the ideal home. Through priesthood ordinances and righteous living, we can live as families in God’s presence eternally.

And here are the assignments on temples and family:

 Temples and Family History

Directions:  Your group is going to teach the other group about temples and family history.  I've split up the readings a little bit.  Your job is to read this portion from Preach My Gospel and be prepared to teach it to the other group.

God has commanded His people to build temples. In the temple we make sacred covenants and are endowed with, or are given, a gift of power and knowledge from on high. This power helps us in our daily lives and enables us to build God’s kingdom. In the temple we can also be married for time and eternity, thus making it possible for families to be together forever in God’s presence. After at least one year of membership, worthy adults may be eligible to receive from their bishop a recommend to receive their own endowment. After receiving their endowments, married couples may be sealed or married for eternity.

The Savior loves all people and desires their salvation. Yet millions of people have died without having any opportunity to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ or receive saving ordinances. Through His loving grace and mercy the Lord makes salvation possible for everyone who did not have the opportunity to receive, understand, and obey the gospel during their mortal lives. The gospel is preached to these deceased people in the spirit world. Members of the Church on earth perform the saving ordinances in behalf of their deceased ancestors and others. Deceased persons living in the spirit world have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel and the ordinances performed in their behalf.

For this reason, Church members search for information about their ancestors. They complete pedigree charts and family group records and submit the names of deceased relatives who need to have saving ordinances performed on their behalf in sacred temples. This is family history work. Worthy members ages 12 and over, including new members, may receive from their bishop a recommend to perform baptisms for the dead.

  

Temples and Family History

Directions:  Your group is going to teach the other group about temples and family history.  I've split up the readings a little bit.  Your job is to read this article from MormonNewsroom.org (an official Church-sponsored online newspaper) and be prepared to teach it to the other group.

Members of the Church believe that marriages performed in temples are “sealed,” or blessed to last for eternity. The concept that the family unit can continue beyond the grave as a conscious, loving entity, with the marriage partnership and parent-child relationships intact, is a core belief of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Once a couple is married and sealed in a temple, any children who are then born to them are automatically sealed to them at birth. If children are born before the couple is sealed, those children can later participate in a temple sealing with their parents. Children that are adopted also have an opportunity to be sealed to the adoptive parents.

The concept of eternal families comes from scripture and modern-day revelation. For instance, the New Testament reference in Matthew 16:19 records Jesus Christ telling the Apostle Peter: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The Church equates the word “bind” with “seal.”

According to research cited in a 2000 article in the Los Angeles Times, “in an era of divorce, Mormon temple weddings are built to last,” with only a 6 percent divorce rate. Another study, published in 1993 in Demography Magazine, concluded that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who marry in one of the Church's temples are the least likely of all Americans to divorce.

And that's it, baby!






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Karyn said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! It has helped me so much in preparing my lessons. I teach 14 year olds and they have told me my last few lessons have been awesome (thanks to you)! (And I don't even mind thatI can't take the credit for that :))

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