September: Commandments


Write the numbers 1-10 on the board.  Have class members fill in from memory the Ten Commandments.  Discuss these commandments--how we can keep them today, how we can break them today, and what the blessings are for each of these commandments.

Ask what other commandments they can think of that are not in this list.  These could include Repent, Be Baptized, the Word of Wisdom, Marry in Temple, Go on Mission, Pray always, Forgive, Serve Others, Be of Good Cheer (See April 2007 General Conference, July 2011 Ensign, and GospelDoctrinePlus), Be Hopeful (See September 2013 Ensign).  (These last five are very important to happiness in the teenage years, but also very hard to keep.)  Discuss what blessings we will receive if we keep these commandments.  Anytime we find ourselves unhappy, we can usually trace it to breaking one of these commandments.

Now go through the list of commandments and as you itemize each commandment, place a marble on the table.  As you add more marbles, try to keep all the rest of the marbles from rolling off the table.  It will end up looking like a rather frantic pursuit.  Ask, how do we keep all these commandments?  It's such a juggling act!  Ask the students to look up Matthew 22:36-40 (while you continue to try to contain the marbles on the table).  

Pull out a drawstring marble bag (or any other container).  Say, this bag represents the great commandment, to love.  Within that commandment are contained all the other commandments.  When the scripture says "on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" it is refering to the scriptures of the Old Testament, the law being the first 5 books of Moses, and the second being the rest of the writings of the Old Testament.  For us today, we could say the law refers to all the scriptures and the prophets refers to the words of our present-day prophets and apostles.  Go back over each commandment on the board and discuss how LOVE will automatically fulfill that commandment.  As you do, put each marble in the bag.  All of the commandments are just different aspects of loving God, and even loving our neighbor is just another aspect of loving God.

Ask each class member to choose which of these commandments they could most stand to work on this week.  Give them each one marble and ask them to carry this in their pocket throughout the week to remind them to work on that commandment throughout the week.  Anyone who brings the marble back next Sunday and reports on their experience will be rewarded a special treat.  (Perhaps a small bag of round candies such as gumballs, sixlets or jawbreakers.



Paper Bag Principles.  Print up the chart above, or copy it onto the chalkboard.  Discuss how these gospel principles and ordinances affect our lives, as well as our eternal salvation. 

  • Galations 5:22 (Fruit of Spirit)
  • Mosiah 4 discusses the elements of the Gospel Cycle
  • 2 Nephi 31:13, 20-21 (endure to the end)
  • 3 Nephi 27 27:15-16,19-20

 When we receive the ordinances, the Gift of the Holy Ghost further strengthens our faith.  What makes the cycle continue and even spiral upward in increased spiritual development (what turns the wheel) is enduring to the end.  As we keep our covenants, the confirmation of the Spirit and its validating joy and peace further increases our faith.
Divide class into four groups (if you have more than four students!  If not, give one to each student).  Give each group one of the circles from the gospel cycle diagram and one of the bags.  Assign them to brainstorm ways that they could teach about their principle or ordinance using the items in their bag (can use Bible Dictionary if they like).  Give them time to share their ideas.  As they do, post each arrow on the board.
Here is what my adult gospel doctrine class came up with, in case you need ideas:
  • Empty bag – Everything in the room could be put in this bag as an example of faith.
  • Flashlight – Faith requires some effort on our part to turn it on and find Christ, the Light.
  • Matches – The Spirit of God is like a fire.
  • Ball of yarn – Faith is the first string in the Gospel.
  • Battery – Faith has power even though you can’t see the power.
  • Screwdriver – Sometimes we mess up and poke holes in our lives.
  • Glue – Through repentance, the Lord helps us fix those mistakes.
  • Cassette tapes – Even though our mistakes are recorded in Heaven, through repentance, the recording can be erased and overwritten.
  • Kleenexes – Repentance requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit, tears of godly sorrow for our sins.
  • Legos – Baptism is a brick in the foundation of the Gospel.
  • Pencil – The eraser is like baptism in correcting our mistakes.
  • Animal shaped vitamins – The Lord baptized the earth at the great flood in Noah’s time.
  • Nails – Baptism puts the nails in the coffin of the natural man.
  • Keys – Baptism is the key that unlocks the gate to the Kingdom of God.
  • Spearmint gum – Baptism refreshes our life.
Gift of the Holy Ghost
  • Treasure box – The Holy Ghost is a great treasure.
  • Empty picture frame – This is what the Holy Ghost looks like. OR The Holy Ghost protects us from the stains of the earth like the glass protects the picture.
  • Swimming goggles – The Holy Ghost helps us to see in the murky earth existence, like goggles help us see in the chlorinated swimming pool.
  • Seashell – To hear the Holy Ghost requires that we be still, like we must be to hear the ocean in the shell.


Please check out my gospel doctrine lesson on Mormon as a great example of one who was managed to be always Christlike even while living in a corrupt, immoral, warring, degenerate society at this link.  This link includes a link to a fun origami sailboat mobile the students can make.  
If you want a cute take-home treat for your students, make candy sailboats:
  • orange gummy fruit slice for the boat
  • pretzel stick for the mast
  • light-colored fruit roll cut into triangle and skewered onto the mast for the sail
  • white lifesaver for decoration, stuck on with a bit of cut gummy candy.  
  • two options for the necessary anchor:  
    • put chocolate frosting into a sturdy plastic bag, clip the corner to make a frosting "tip", and pipe it onto the side of the boat. 
    • melt chocolate with a little shortening, put in the bag, and pipe into the shape of an anchor on baking parchment or foil.  When it hardens, peel off the foil and stick to the boat with a bit of cut gummy candy.
A quicker and easier option:  Make the origami boats and fill them with individually-wrapped white Lifesavers.


  1. I just wanted you to know that you are an inspiration to everyone you have helped. I have a very difficult class of teens that makes it very hard to teach them. I just want you to know that your hard work, time and talents are not going to waste and that you are very much appreciated. Thank you and may the Lord be with you and your family.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your inspirations, talents and creativity!!! I just got called to Sunday School and I am working on retraining my brain to the new way of teaching. It's been 9 years sense I've taught and the style has really changed. I like it though. Thank you for being so kind to share, you saved my day ;)

  3. I LOVE this blog! While I love teaching the youth...I feel like I run out of ideas to keep them interested. You always have wonderful, thoughtful ideas that interest the kids and help me so much.

  4. I LOVE this blog! While I love teaching the youth...I feel like I run out of ideas to keep them interested. You always have wonderful, thoughtful ideas that interest the kids and help me so much.

  5. thank you so much for this blog you save me!

  6. Maybe a silly question, but for the marble activity, when you say itemize the list, do you mean categorize it?

    1. No. Categorizing is not involved. Just put down a marble as you state each of the commandments you come up with. The idea is to have a whole bunch of individual marbles that are uncontrollable. Then when you place all the marbles in a bag, symbolizing the commandment to love, you show that it is easy to keep all the commandments if you are motivated by the commandment to love. All of the commandments just itemize different ways of loving God or loving our neighbor. Does that make sense?

  7. Thank you! Just happened upon your website while trying to look up my lesson. I'll be back ;)


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