The topic for this month is "The Godhead", so I am focusing on the members of the Godhead in the order in which they are listed in the first article of faith: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
I asked the students what they believe is the single most important
aspect of the Gospel - not allowing anyone to repeat what someone else
said previously. The list ended up including love, the Atonement,
prayer, Priesthood, obeying the commandments, missionary work / sharing
the Gospel, etc. I then asked them what they believe the most critical
thing is that was "lost" as a result of the Great Apostasy, and they
struggled a little more to come up with answers quickly to that
question. I explained that the difference between the ease with which
they answered those questions is due mostly to their better
understanding of what we believe, in isolation, than what we believe
that is unique - and especially what we believe now that is taught in
the Bible as included in what Jesus taught but not taught, generally, in
the rest of Christianity.
I told them that I personally
believe the most important difference that Jesus taught but was "lost"
over time is the nature of Godhood: both the nature of God, the Father,
and the existence of God, the Mother. I told them that understanding
that difference is important, so we turned to JSH 1:19 to see what
Joseph was told (and what he wasn't told) about WHY he shouldn't join
any other sect.
Rather than have to spend a
lot of time reconstructing that discussion, I am linking to a post I
wrote back in 2008 on Mormon Matters in which I laid out almost exactly
what we discussed. Please read that post, then return here for the end
of the lesson summary.
Common Scriptures in Review: JSH 1:19
then talked about what it means to "have a form of godliness but deny
the power thereof". We talked about how there is no power in having
spirits sit on clouds and praise you forever - that real power is taking
something that is not godlike and making it godlike - of bridging the
"unbridgeable gap", to put it in Protestant terms. Thus, when I speak
of the central truth lost in the Great Apostasy, I focus on the idea
that "I am a child of God" in a very real, evolutionary way - that we
have heavenly parents and can become like them. Thus, throughout the
entire year, we will be talking about everything within that framework -
how every topic and every lesson relates to becoming like God.
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