This is a lesson that is not specific to one of the questions asked on the "Come Follow Me" website, but which covers the topic generally, overviewing what it means to know the Godhead, and what blessings They bring to our lives, and what They then expect of us.
At home, download all the videos from Mormon Channel linked below. (The videos total 30 minutes.)
Before class, write all the words in blue on the board, leaving space for the names of the videos.
Read the scriptures (in red) with your class.
Read the first word on the board.
Fill in the name of the video and watch the video.
Repeat with all scriptures, words and videos. As you add each new video, recite together as a class what is written on the board to that point.
(The complete message on the board will end up being: "Because I know I am a child of God, I can know that Jesus Christ is the Way. Because I have been given much, I can be an instrument in His hands. Since I have been rescued by Christ, I can show others that God will lift us up. So I ask myself, "Have I done any good in the world today?")
Moses 1:6 [God said to Moses] "I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten..."
D&C 18:10 "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God."
BECAUSE I KNOW...
"I AM A CHILD OF GOD"
2 Nephi 25:26 "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
I CAN KNOW THAT...
"JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY."
D&C 18:15 "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"
"BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN GIVEN MUCH"
I CAN BE...
"AN INSTRUMENT IN HIS HANDS"
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
SINCE I HAVE BEEN...
"RESCUED BY CHRIST"
1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
I CAN SHOW OTHERS THAT...
"GOD WILL LIFT US UP"
John 13:35 "By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
SO I ASK MYSELF...
'HAVE I DONE ANY GOOD IN THE WORLD TODAY?"
HOW CAN STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES HELP ME LEARN ABOUT HEAVENLY FATHER?
After reading the scriptures in the lesson, teach more about "The Amazing King James Translation" using lesson at this link, and follow up with the video in the lesson, "The Blessings of Scripture."
Follow this link to my Gospel Doctrine Plus lesson which uses Moses chapter 1 to teach about discerning between messages from Heavenly Father and messages from the devil. This lesson particularly involves avoiding pornography, but can apply to all other differences between truth and error as well.
INTRODUCTION TO "COME FOLLOW ME"
Use Elder Robert D. Hales' October 2012 General Conference address, "Becoming a More Christian Christian," as an introduction to the whole "Come Follow Me" program. In his address he asks, "What is a Christian?" a question which, unfortunately, confuses many LDS youth (at least I find that the case here in Utah). Many think only of born-again Christians as Christians, and often do not recognize themselves as falling into this category, so this question would be a good discussion-starter.
Then Elder Hales answers his own question, and hopefully your students will hit upon some of his answers, and you can fill in the rest.
Following this, he itemizes several ways in which we can become more Christian, which can each lead to sharing of ideas and experiences by class members.
His talk ends with Christ's plea to "Come Unto Me," at which point you can introduce the "Come Follow Me" curriculum, and get the class excited about it.
I plan to challenge my 12-14-year-old class to memorize one scripture each month, with its reference, relating to the doctrine presented. It can be one of the scriptures we discuss, or it can be one of their own choosing. The last Sunday of each month will be their opportunity to share their scripture. I'll have small treats for everyone, just for coming and participating, but really good treats for those who memorized their scriptures (helping out those who may have learning disabilities or memory deficits, such as a couple of my class members do). I think this will be a great way for them to internalize the doctrines, strengthen their testimonies, and build a "spiritual supply" of scriptures for their own times of trial, for their life missions as teachers in the church and family, and particularly to get the doctrines stuck in the heads of those who many wander from the gospel path in their later teenage years.
HOW DOES THE HOLY GHOST HELP ME LEARN?
How do you know that the Holy Ghost is telling you something? (As class members respond, you can use the notes below to validate or expound upon what they say. Any that are missed, you can fill in for them.)
- A "burning in the bosom." See D&C 9:8. The Spirit can cause our hearts to pound and a feeling of high heat to come inside our chest. This, however, is a more uncommon way for people to experience the Holy Ghost than we sometimes think, so if you have never felt that way, don't worry. But if you have, that was a powerful message from the Holy Ghost. President Kimball said that most revelations that come from the Spirit, even to the Prophet of God, come as deep impressions, rather than dramatic events. “The burning bushes, the smoking mountains, … the Cumorahs, and the Kirtlands were realities; but they were the exceptions. The great volume of revelation came to Moses and to Joseph and comes to today’s prophet in the less spectacular way—that of deep impressions, without spectacle or glamour or dramatic events. Always expecting the spectacular, many will miss entirely the constant flow of revealed communication.” (In Conference Report, Munich Germany Area Conference, 1973, p. 77; quoted in October 1991 General Conference.
- A good, strong feeling. Let me tell you about Karen Beckham. When she was just a little girl, she started reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. When she got to a particular verse "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded..." she just had a strong feeling about this verse, so she got up and found a red pencil and marked that verse in her Book of Mormon. (New Era, August 1998, p. 46) Have you every been reading the scriptures and just felt a strong feeling about one of them, strong enough to love it and want to mark it? You were being instructed by the Holy Ghost. John 5:39 tells us the scriptures testify of Christ, and they do it through the Holy Spirit. Do you have a strong feeling that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God or that President Monson is the Lord's prophet today? You got that feeling from the Holy Ghost.
- A good idea. Have you ever felt like you were guided to love your family or friends more by forgiving them or helping them in a particular way? The Holy Ghost guided you to do that. (D&C 11:12) The Spirit leads us to do good.
- Clear and distinct directions. After praying about a problem, have you ever suddenly received a thought in your mind about what you should do? The Holy Ghost put that thought there. (D&C 11:13,14) The Spirit enlightens our minds. Joseph Smith said that you may "feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas..." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 151) (There is a beautiful and amazing story about how the Spirit guided an LDS police officer to find a kidnapped baby in the February 2001 Ensign, "Turn Here!")
- Belief in Jesus Christ. Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior of the World? You gained that testimony through the Holy Ghost. President Marion G. Romney said, "Every person who knows or has ever known that Jesus is the Christ has received that witness from the Holy Ghost." (April 1974 General Conference) (See Matthew 16:13-18) What is the Rock upon which Jesus was going to build His church? Joseph Smith commented on this scripture, "What rock? Revelation." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 274) You know, just like Peter the Apostle did, not because someone else told you, but because your Father in Heaven revealed it to you through the Spirit. Each member of the Church is invited to build upon this rock, the rock of personal testimony revealed through the Holy Ghost.
- Warning. Have you ever wanted to do something and had a strong feeling that it was a bad choice? The Holy Ghost warns us away from mistakes or sins. (Alma 14:11). Elder Kenneth Johnson, one of our General Authorities, even before he was a member of the Church, felt the influence of the Holy Ghost warning him away from danger. As a young boy, never having heard of the Word of Wisdom, he went out to play with his friends one time, and found them huddled in a circle with smoke rising in the air above them. One of them had found a package of cigarettes and they were all smoking them. They tried and tried to get Kenneth to join in, but he had a strong feeling that he should not do it. As he walked home, without being able to play with his friends, he had a good feeling inside. That, of course, was also the Holy Ghost, this time telling him that he chose right. Even our friends who are not members of the Church and have not yet received the Gift of the Holy Ghost can at times have the guidance of the Holy Ghost. In fact, that is how they are eventually led to the gospel.
- Comfort of forgiveness. Have you ever prayed for Heavenly Father to forgive you of something you did wrong, and afterwards you felt that you were forgiven? God communicates those feelings to us through the Holy Ghost. (See Enos 1:1-5)
- Peace. Have you ever felt a comforting feeling, even while you were going through a time of sadness of hardship? That most certainly was the Holy Ghost. (D&C 6:23)
- Love and Joy. Have you ever felt spiritually uplifted--filled with love, peace or joy--during the sacrament, while listening to a talk, in a class, or after offering sincere prayer? That was the Holy Ghost. "Verily, verily, I say unto you..." --remember that whenever the scriptures say this phrase, it is a signal that something very important is about to be said-- "...I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy." (D&C 11:13) In fact, that is a very good way to tell whether something is just your own imagination or whether it is the Holy Ghost: The Holy Ghost brings joy.
HOW DOES THE HOLY GHOST HELP ME LEARN? (ANOTHER IDEA)
You can also approach this topic by using a game that will facilitate discussion. Click here for a link to a Jeopardy game on this topic in my Gospel Doctrine blog. This is a fairly challenging game, and would probably be fun only for older teens--younger ones probably wouldn't know any answers--but you could use the Jeopardy format with simpler questions you worked out from the reading material for younger kids.
HOW CAN STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES HELP ME LEARN ABOUT HEAVENLY FATHER?
A little game, which can be played with teams in which students earn points for their team with correct answers, or you can just ask the questions and give individuals the chance to answer. (If your class gets too competitive to the point of bringing a spirit of disunity into the classroom, I suggest the second option.) Stop and open scriptures to discuss each "What can we learn..." question. Substitute any other scripture story for the examples that I used from each book, but use the final question, as it sums up the point of the lesson.
- Who can name our standard works of scripture?
- Bible [Old and New Testaments], Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price. Someone may mention the most recent Conference edition of the Ensign, which would also be correct, even though it has not be canonized.
- In which book would we find the story of Nephi's broken bow?
- The Book of Mormon
- What can we learn about Heavenly Father from this story?
- He does not always prevent problems from happening even when we are following His direction. (Nephi's broken bow.)
- He expects us to seek solutions through the proper authority. (Nephi asked his father, the priesthood leader for the family, for direction in solving the problem.)
- He respects the patriarchal order in the family, even when the patriarch is temporarily not in top form. (Lehi was murmering along with the rest of the family.)
- The solutions may still require a lot of work on our part (making a new bow out of lesser materials).
- He'll help us when others who obviously ought to be helping are just whining (all the rest of the family except for Nephi). (And, by the way, how come everyone blamed Nephi even though his was the last bow to be broken?)
- In which book can we find the story of Moses' first encounter with the devil?
- The Pearl of Great Price
- What can we learn about Heavenly Father from this story?
- In which book can we find the prayer of dedication for the Kirtland Temple?
- The Doctrine and Covenants
- What can we learn about Heavenly Father from this prayer?
- In which book can we find the story of the conversion of Paul the Apostle?
- The New Testament of the Bible
- What can we learn about Heavenly Father from Paul's conversion?
- In which book can we find the story of the Creation?
- The Old Testament and the Pearl of Great Price
- What can we learn about Heavenly Father from the Creation?
- In which book can we find stories about Jesus's interactions with people on the earth?
- Hah! Trick question! All of the books are full of information about Jesus's interactions with people. Since Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are One in purpose, we can learn about each from the actions of the other, and there is a great deal about both of them as well as the Holy Ghost in all of our scriptures.
Marking the scriptures in special ways can greatly help us to understand, identify and later to find again important messages about the character of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and their methods of dealing with their children here on earth. I like marking the words spoken by Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, or an angel authorized by them in the scriptures with one color (I chose yellow for the Light of Christ and His countenance). Marking the passages which describe their actions in another color (I chose orange for fire from heaven, like the burning bush, the lightning that started Elijah's sacrifice on fire, the Spirit of God burning like a fire, etc.), makes it clear and easy to see many things They do which we would otherwise overlook. It also makes it easier to find things you are looking for later when you want to share them on your mission or with your children. I also color in orange the names of God (you'll be surprised how many there are). You really can't experience it until you try it, so you may want to challenge your students to try it for a month and see what they think.
Here are other colors I use, in case anyone wants to really get into scripture color-coding. It greatly speeds up your perceptions of key concepts in the scriptures.
- Yellow--words of God
- Orange--actions of God
- Black outline or underline--works of evil
- Purple--temple, priesthood
- Light Green--parables, symbols, and their meanings
- Brown--history, numbers, details about what is going on in a story, names of characters involved
- Red--prayers and testimonies
- Pink--prophecies about the future, promises
My scriptures are also full of Post-It Notes and Post-It Note glue. I write great comments from the prophets relating to particular scriptures in teeny writing on Post-It Notes, and put them in that spot in my scriptures. The note can easily be moved to read the scripture, but is always there for any teaching purpose. If you can't write tiny, you can type up notes in a tiny font size, rub Post-It Note glue (or any other "repositionable" glue stick) on the back, and that works, too.
I also have spiral bound blank books that I've used for keeping notes during lectures, church meetings, classes, and my own personal study. I number the notebooks, and number the pages, and then I can write references to them in the margins of my scriptures such as NB 5:57 for Notebook 5, p. 57.
If your class members have access to the internet, ask one of them in advance to research and then introduce to the class the personal online scripture marking and referencing tools on www.lds.org. (You log in with your individual membership record number, available from your bishopric or off your tithing settlement printout, go to "scriptures," and just start reading anywhere, clicking to add bookmarks, notes, and underlings by following the directions. Markings can be filed electronically by topic for easy look-up later.) Check out the availability of the internet at your church-house first and make sure your computer will connect. (At ours, there are only a few classrooms that the wifi reaches, and of course, you have to know the password.)
Personally, I still prefer the Post-It Note method, because it is not reliant on the internet or other data networks or devices and can be taken to any third-world country, plus it's just easier for me to see the colors, thumbing through the actual pages. I recommend this option for missionaries who are not allowed to take smart phones or tablets on missions, although the other may be great for teachers in developed countries.
But the point is, we need to go beyond just reading the scriptures over and over. We need to study, research, build testimony, and prepare to teach from them.
HOW CAN I RECOGNIZE GOD'S HAND IN MY LIFE?
A good way to initiate discussion on this topic is to write on the board "Does God get angry?" and "Do God's feelings ever get hurt?" Ask the class for answers, and then read aloud D&C 59:21.
HOW DOES THE HOLY GHOST HELP ME TEACH OTHERS?
For this lesson, you can print up Elder Oak's talk, cut it up into sections, and give a section to each student the Sunday before, asking them to prepare to present this section to the class and lead a discussion on it.
HOW CAN I HELP OTHERS LEARN ABOUT HEAVENLY FATHER?
- God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children.
- He has a body of flesh and bone that is glorified and perfected.
- He loves us.
- He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right.
- He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer.
- He has given us this experience on the earth so we can learn and grow.
- We can show our love for Him through our choices and our obedience to His commandments.
- Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to be successful in this life and to return to live in His presence.
- However, we must be pure and clean through obedience in order to do so.
- Disobedience moves us away from Him.
- Central to our Father’s plan is Jesus Christ’s Atonement.
- The Atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as His suffering and death on the cross.
- Through the Atonement we can be freed from the burden of our sins and develop faith and strength to face our trials.
Alma 18:24–40; 22:4–23 (Ammon and Aaron teach Lamanite kings about God)
Become friends. Serve them. See other people as children of God no matter how different they are from you. Start where they are. Find the common ground. Teach the REAL plan of salvation (the Atonement), not just the chronology of our existence (the pre-existence, earth-life, spirit world, etc.).
WHAT KIND OF OPPOSITION MIGHT WE FACE AS WE TRY TO TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT HEAVENLY FATHER?
Alma 30:12–15, 37–53 (Korihor contends with Alma about the existence of God)
Korihor's complaints echo the doctrine of atheists and humanists today. Make a list of points he makes. Ask the class how they would answer. Some ideas for supplementing:
- Bring a leaf rubbing--put a paper over a leaf and rub the paper with a crayon. The impression of the leaf remains on the paper. Even without the leaf, anyone can see that a leaf was there once.
- Even more amazingly, detectives can tell who a thief was if they dust for fingerprints. The person is gone, but the invisible fingerprints remain. We can see God’s fingerprints in everything good and beautiful on the earth.
- Ask the class to share how they saw the hand of God in their lives this week. Be prepared with a few ideas of your own to get them started.