Monday, January 16, 2012

Church Manuals Can Lead to Very Meaty, Filling Lessons

I hear somewhat frequently online complaints that it's next to impossible to teach a "meaty" lesson from the Church manuals - that it's all milk. 

I taught 1 Nephi 1 & 2 in Seminary years ago, and the majority of the time ended up being spent on how the people who are not the extremes (those in the middle) generally get ignored. They are viewed as the "followers" by those who write the histories, and the leaders rarely want to talk about the followers. This was a result of the questions and comments from the students. 

We also talked about how none of Lehi's kids initially believed him on their own - that Laman and Lemuel rebelled, Nephi asked the Lord and Sam believed Nephi. We then discussed how Sam seems to have been a good, sincere, righteous person - who perhaps never "knew" but rather "believed". He was not a "leader" - so his personal story wasn't deemed worthy of taking up space on the plates.

I really enjoyed the lesson, and the kids walked away from it thinking about where they fit in those categories - and understanding that it's OK to be "just" a believer who never gets mentioned in official histories.

All of that was taught from the verses suggested in the manual.


Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

Reminds me of the scripture about Helaman and others being 'no less serviceable' than Moroni.

The great Leader of all can confirm what you have shared in our hearts. I think the reality that not many of us are in the limelight can be a blessing because it can drive us to lean on God and His approbation. What is it that Joseph said about how part of faith is having a knowledge that the path you are on is pleasing to God?

Christy said...

I am having trouble having meatier discussions like that in seminary. Any tips on how you get them thinking, types of questions or anything else?

Papa D said...

MWWWA (I want to add a 'haha'to make "Mwwwahaha", but I will refrain. lol), I really like the description of those who are "no less servicable".

Christy, I realize I am fortunate now, since our class is very small and, thus, much more intimate than a typical Seminary class. I don't know how you have been approaching your lessons, but the only suggestion I can offer is to not worry in the slightest about how much of the lesson you cover or how many concepts you teach or how many verses you read. Rather, pick the 1-3 most important things you want the students to learn from the chapters covered each day and teach them, one-by-one, until you are satisfied that they have been covered enough.

In practical terms, that means if I end up teaching only one thing and reading only one verse from a lesson that covers 5 chapters, so be it. (That's a real example from one of our recent classes. We talked about the good things AND the bad things that can result when someone believes God is commanding them to kill other people, how those commands could be interpreted by different people, what could be learned by a literal reading etc. - and only read the scripture mastery verse.) I am much more interested in helping them learn to think deeply than to read everything possible, so I teach by concept rather than by chapter or verse.

Papa D said...

"what could be learned by a literal reading etc."

I meant to type "what could be learned by a literal or figurative or allegorical reading, etc." That's an important clarification.

Michelle said...

"MWWWA (I want to add a 'haha'to make "Mwwwahaha", but I will refrain. lol),"

LOL!!!! Love it. Never noticed that before. Thanks for the chuckle. I needed that.