Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chapter 12: An Enthusiastic Desire to Share the Gospel

Purpose: Our brothers and sisters throughout the world need the message of the restored gospel, and it is our privilege to share it with them.
Ponder: Review “From the Life of George Albert Smith” (pages 123–24). Why do you think President Smith was so enthusiastic about missionary work? What does it mean to you to be “first and foremost a missionary for the Church”?

1. The world needs what we have—the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored in its fulness.
President Smith taught, "The world is in distress, in travail, from one end of it to the other. Men and women are looking here and there, seeking where they shall go to do the things that will bring them peace. … The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. The truth revealed from heaven is here and it is that truth, that gospel, which, if the world only knew it, will be a panacea for all their ills. It is the only thing that will bring them peace while they remain upon the earth.3"
Ponder: What does the restored gospel offer the world in addition to the “moral lessons” offered in most religions? (see pages 124–25.)

2. There are many people who would embrace the truth if given the opportunity.
Read the section that begins on page 125 (see also D&C 123:12). What examples have you seen of people overcoming misconceptions about the Church by accepting the invitation to “come and see”? What are some effective ways to extend such an invitation?

3. We are enthusiastic about sharing the gospel because we love our neighbors.
President Smith was an enthusiastic missionary and taught the following:

When a man is sick, if he is our neighbor, we minister to him gladly; if there is a death in his family, we try to comfort him. But year in and year out we allow him to walk in paths that will destroy his opportunity for eternal life, we pass him by, as if he were a thing of naught.15
Do we realize that every man is in the image of God and is a son of God, and every woman his daughter? No matter where they may be, they are his children, and he loves them and desires their salvation. Surely as members of this Church we cannot sit idly by. We cannot receive the beneficent favor of our Heavenly Father that is bestowed upon us, the knowledge of eternal life, and selfishly retain it, thinking that we may be blessed thereby. It is not what we receive that enriches our lives, it is what we give.16
Let us be sufficiently interested in the salvation of men to exercise a holy zeal for their conversion: that we may enjoy their eternal gratitude and love, and the appreciation of our Heavenly Father, because of our unselfish interest in His children.17

Read the third full paragraph on page 128. Why do you think we are sometimes reluctant to share the gospel with our neighbors? As you study pages 127–29, think about what we can do to overcome that reluctance.

4. The Lord will hold us accountable for our efforts to share the gift of the gospel.
As you read the section that begins on page 129, ponder whether you are doing what the Lord expects you to do to share the gospel. Prayerfully consider how you might keep this commandment more fully.

Conclusion: If we share the gospel with God’s children, our reward will be great joy with them in the celestial kingdom.
Review the last section of teachings (pages 130–32) and think about the person who first introduced you or your family to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. What can you do to show or express your gratitude to that person?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chapter 10: The Scriptures, the Most Valuable Library in the World

Purpose: To help students understand that God has given us the holy scriptures to help us and our families prepare for eternal life.    

1. The truths contained in the scriptures are far more valuable than the philosophies of men.
*As you read the first paragraph on page 103, think of a time when a verse of scripture has inspired you in a similar way. How did you come to know that the scriptures are true? What experiences have you had with them recently that have strengthened that testimony?

2. The Lord gave us the scriptures to help us overcome our trials and prepare for exaltation.
*Read the section that begins on page 104 and consider what place the scriptures have in your personal library (among the other things you read, watch, or listen to). What can you do to give the scriptures a more prominent place in your home and in your life?

[The scriptures are] the greatest library to be found in all the world. What does it contain? It contains what your Father and mine has thought of enough importance to preserve and give to the children of men and make accessible in many languages of the World. These scriptures are all important and should be understood by the Latter-day Saints. I am not going to ask you to hold up your hands to ascertain how many here assembled have ever read these books, but I desire to call your attention to the fact that these are precious truths, and they contain the revealed word of the Lord printed and published to the world for the purpose of preparing his children for a place in the celestial kingdom. That is why I say they are so valuable. … How thankful we ought to be that we live in a day and age when we can read his advice and counsel and have things explained that otherwise might be obscure and uncertain to us.11

*Review the section that begins on page 105. How have the scriptures helped you face the calamities of the last days? Consider how you might use the scriptures to help someone you know who is facing a difficult trial.

3. We inspire faith in our families by reading the scriptures with them.
* Ponder President Smith’s counsel to families on pages 107–9. What blessings come to families who study the scriptures together? What are some effective ways to inspire our children’s (or grandchildren’s) interest in the scriptures? Prayerfully consider what you can do to be more diligent in studying the scriptures with your family.

Conclusion: President Smith said, "Now, I want to say, my brothers and sisters, that the advice of Jesus Christ, is still in force with us wherein he said, “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] Do not neglect the old family Bible; do not put it away upon the shelf and forget it. Find out, if you do not already know, what it says, and if you have read it before, read it again often to your children and to your children’s children. Read them not only the Bible, but other books of scripture that the Lord has given us for our exaltation, for our comfort and for our blessing.16

I admonish you, O Israel, search the scriptures; read them in your homes; teach your families what the Lord has said, and let us spend less of our time reading the unimportant and often harmful literature of the day, and go to the fountain of truth and read the word of the Lord.17 "

**note from the administrator: Weigh in and vote if it we should have another sweet treat Sunday. Email me or leave a message!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chapter 8: Temple Blessings for Ourselves and Our Ancestors

The purpose of temples is to provide a place where holy
ordinance are performed for the living and for the dead.

 Teachings of George Albert Smith
1. In the temple we receive sacred ordinances, including ordinances that bind families for eternity.

**Ponder the feelings you have when you attend the temple, and think about the experiences that have strengthened your testimony that the temple is the house of the Lord.

2. Through temple work we make eternal blessings available to our deceased ancestors.
Each [temple] has been built to one great eternal purpose: to serve as a House of the Lord, to provide a place sacred and suitable for the performing of holy ordinances that bind on earth as in heaven—ordinances for the dead and for the living that assure those who receive them and who are faithful to their covenants, the possession and association of their families, worlds without end, and exaltation with them in the celestial kingdom of our Father.5
Grateful should we be for a knowledge of the eternity of the marriage covenant. If in this life only had we hope, we would indeed be of all men most miserable [see 1 Corinthians 15:19]. The assurance that our relationship here as parents and children, as husbands and wives will continue in heaven, and that this is but the beginning of a great and glorious kingdom that our Father has destined we shall inherit on the other side, fills us with hope and joy.6
If I were to think, as so many think, that now that my beloved wife and my beloved parents are gone, that they have passed out of my life forever and that I shall never see them again, it would deprive me of one of the greatest joys that I have in life: the contemplation of meeting them again, and receiving their welcome and their affection, and of thanking them from the depths of a grateful heart for all they have done for me.
**What can we do to encourage young people to prepare to be married in the temple?
**What are some simple ways for someone with many other responsibilities to participate in family history work? What can priesthood quorums and Relief Societies do to participate?

3. The Lord will assist us in searching for our kindred dead.
**How has the Lord helped you as you’ve tried to find information about your ancestors? What other blessings have you received as you have participated in family history work?

This is another "sweet treat Sunday". Read the lesson and leave a comment in the blog, or simply email me, and I will have a little something for you in class.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blogging Again

Note from the Editor: This blog was created and used as a resource for a Gospel Doctrine course that I taught in our last ward. When we moved I was released from the call to teach and it no longer made sense to continue posting each week for a class and discussion that I was no longer privileged to lead. I was recently called to teach Relief Society and am thrilled to be able to utilize this blog as a resource for preparation once again. It seems appropriate to share the responsibility for the success of our class with each of you, Doctrine & Covenants 50 explains " Wherefore, he that preacheth (by the spirit) and he that receiveth (by the spirit), understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." I hope that together we are edified and can rejoice together. Of course we will both have to be prepared by the spirit in order for that to happen.

I will teach the 2nd week of each month. The material for this course comes from Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith.

In preparation for our lesson on April 8th, please review the following:

Chapter 6: Sustaining Those Whom the Lord Sustains (pg57)

PURPOSE: Help students understand that leaders are chosen by the Lord, and He expects us to sustain them in word and action.

Discussion Outline
1. Those who preside over the Church are prepared, chosen, and inspired by the Lord.
2. Through His servants, the Lord teaches us the pathway to happiness and safety.
3. Those who are humble and faithful sustain and defend the Lord’s servants.
4. When we criticize our leaders or disregard their counsel, we allow the adversary to lead us astray.
5. When we sustain our leaders, we commit to follow their counsel and magnify our own callings.

"God grant that we who have been so bountifully blessed may hold up the hands of the servant of the Lord who presides over us; that we may help him not only by our faith and prayers but by loving kindness as opportunity offers; that we may march under the banner that he shall hold aloft as God continues to sustain him as President of the Church, as the prophet of the Lord in these latter days.20

Let us sustain these men whom God has raised up to preside over us. Let us bless them, not only by our lips, but by assisting in every possible way to carry this burden that rests so heavily upon their shoulders. … Pray for and bless them and help them."

Suggestions for Study - Consider these ideas as you prepare to participate.
1. As you study this chapter, consider ways you can show by your words and actions that you sustain the leaders of the Church.
2. How is the Lord’s way of choosing leaders different from the world’s way? What experiences have you had that strengthened your faith that our leaders are chosen by the Lord?
3. What specific counsel has the Lord given through the current President of the Church? through your stake or district president? through your bishop or branch president? What blessings have you received as you have followed this counsel?
4. What does it mean to you to sustain Church leaders? How does sustaining Church leaders strengthen our families and homes?
5. Why is it dangerous to criticize the leaders of the Church? What would be an appropriate way to respond if someone were to point out a fault in one of your local leaders?

**For those who read the lesson I am offering a sweet treat! Leave a message on this post and I will have a little something for you Sunday. Pass the word on so that everyone leaves with a treat!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lesson 16: I Was Blind, Now I See

Purpose: To help class members have a greater understanding and appreciation of Jesus Christ as the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd.

John 9–10
• Jesus healed a man who had been born blind (John 9:1–7). How did the healed man’s testimony grow as he continued to share it? (See John 9:11, 17, 33, 38.) How has your testimony grown as you have shared it?

• How did the parents of the man who had been blind respond when the Pharisees asked them about the miracle? (See John 9:18–23.) Why did the parents respond this way? (See John 9:22.) How are we sometimes like this man’s parents? How can you be more valiant in your testimony?

• In Jesus’ discussion of the shepherd and his sheep, whom do the sheep represent? (See John 10:4, 27.) Who is the shepherd? (See John 10:11.) What are some qualities of a good shepherd? (See John 10:3–4, 7, 9–15.) How is Jesus the perfect example of a shepherd?

Suggestion for Family Discussion
Read John 9:1–38, asking family members to look for ways the Savior helped the blind man see both physically and spiritually. Discuss how spiritual sight and physical sight are alike and different. Ask family members to discuss ways they can increase their ability to “see” gospel truths.

Scripture Chain: Jesus Christ—“The Good Shepherd”
Psalm 23:1–6
Isaiah 40:11

Ezekiel 34:11–12
John 10:11
Mosiah 26:21

Alma 5:60

Conclusion: Jesus is the Light of the World and the Good Shepherd. The Lord has helped me to see spiritually and to follow him both through trials and through time of celebration. My life would not be what it is without his guidance, love, and support. May each of us come to know the Good Shepherd so that we may be guided and protected through this life.

Lesson 15: I Am the Light of the World

Purpose: To strengthen class members’ testimonies that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that by following him we can gain true freedom.

John 7–8
• What did Jesus instruct the people to do to gain a testimony of his teachings? (See John 7:17.) How can you apply this instruction in your life?

• What does it mean that Jesus is the light of the world? (See the scripture chain in this section.) How can you help others see the light that Christ offers? (See Matthew 5:16; 28:18–20; Philippians 2:14–15.)

• What did Jesus promise to those who would continue to follow him? (See John 8:31–32.) What does truth free us from? (See John 8:33–34.) How does committing sin place us in bondage? (See Alma 12:11; 34:35.) How has knowing the truth made you free?

Suggestion for Family Discussion
Turn off the lights in the room, and close the curtains or blinds. Ask a family member to do a simple task requiring sight, such as reading a scripture or describing a picture. Then turn on the lights, open the curtains or blinds, and ask the family member to do the task again. Discuss why it is easier to do the task with the light on. Read John 8:12, and ask family members to discuss ways that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.

Jesus Christ—“The Light of the World”
Scripture Chain:

Conclusion: Jesus Christ is our Savior; only he can free us from the bondage of sin. May we follow Christ, “the light of the world,” so he may guide us to spiritual safety.

His Sacred Name - An Easter Declaration