Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sunday School Lesson Recap: Having a Form of Godliness but Denying the Power Thereof

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.

Last Sunday, 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

We 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. 


Thomas Parkin said...

Thank goodness for you, Ray!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the doctrines of the kingdom that I cherish most, and the only definition of godhood that I can find acceptable. I find it difficult to see that there may have been some placing of this in the background rather than at the fore of the church's message to the world of late perhaps as it is so unacceptable to othert christians. This is a great emphasisi in teaching, drawing your students closer to godhood. Wish my son were in your class!