I followed up on our challenge to introduce ourselves to new move-ins and seek to welcome them to our ward at the beginning of class. No stories to share, but I'll follow up again later.
Last week we did not get to the gifts of the spirit in D&C 46, and since a student mentioned it was some of her favorite scripture, I asked her to do a 15 minute presentation at the beginning of class. She did so, and did a great job. There were a couple of questions about what some of the more obscure gifts of the spirit are, and I explained those. Easy.
To start off our lesson on the Shakers and D&C 49, I had students read Article of Faith 11 to remind them not to treat other's beliefs respectfully even if we think some of those beliefs are odd. I explained their beliefs as I understood from their website (their site says Ann Lee did not claim to be the returning Savior, but that some of her followers believed she was) and from the chapter header. D&C 49 addresses some of their beliefs. There are many religions/creeds in the world. How are we to know if someone is speaking the truth from God? There's a key pattern found in DC& 50, 52.
D&C 50:17-25, 31 - What did this passage teach us about how to identify truth?
D&C 52:14-19 - What pattern can we use to identify those who speak truth?
Because I arrived late for class, I didn't have time to write out my three step scavenger hunt ahead of time as suggested in the lesson. I improvised by asking for a volunteer. After instructing the class to carefully watch her with their "spiritual eyes", I directed her outside the classroom to a sign in the hallway. I then directed her back into the classroom, and we read D&C 52:1-6 aloud, asking students to look for ways that our object lesson was similar to the principles taught in these verses. This almost could not have gone better. I led the discussion with some questions, including
- What can happen as we follow the Lord's instructions faithfully?
- What do you feel are benefits to receiving the Lord's guidance little by little than all at once?
My class was very good at identifying key patterns about following instruction and we had a fun, lively discussion.
Next I transitioned (awkwardly) to D&C 56, where we learned from the story of Ezra Thayre. He was called on a mission, but did not leave on time. The Lord should have known he was going to fail and shouldn't have called him in the first place, right? Does this mean the initial revelation was false? I used the ideas from the manual to guide this discussion to a talk about how Moses initially came down the mountain with the higher law, but ended up with the ten commandments; the Manifesto; initially the gospel was sent to just the Jews, then the whole world, etc.
This started a pretty good discussion. One of my students is older but new to the gospel in many ways, and it was interesting to see her come to understanding some of these more difficult principles.
Next we spent a good deal of time talking about D&C 56:16-18 regarding getting our hearts right. I used some manual questions like
- Why can greed be common among rich and poor?
- What similarities can you see in the rich and poor whose hearts aren't right?
- What should one's heart be like?
This was not my most technically excellent lesson. I had prepared in a rush, but it worked out fine. The object lesson with the volunteer following my instructions worked great, and I even referred to it a couple of times during our next lesson because it was so obviously effective.
After this lesson, one of our cute ladies got up and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting about how happy and blessed she was to be able to attend our class. Sunday is church, Mondays she spends with her daughter, and Tuesday is our class. This particular woman is seriously hearing and vision impaired, and so it's a relief to hear that she's able to get something out of the lessons, even if she doesn't always follow the discussion closely. This class does serve a valuable purpose for the women who are able to attend, and I'm glad the bishop is letting us do it.
Now if I could just get us set up "legally" with BYU Continuing Education.....