Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why is it Important to Listen to and Follow the Living Prophets?

I typed this up as an outline of a Sunday YW lesson, but it was also easily adapted to our family's FHE lesson the next night.  For both the young women and my children, I found that the process of highlighting and subsequently writing the prophet's words on the wall surrounding a picture of President Monson was a very powerful and memorable illustration. Click here for printable version of all images.
 Why is it Important to Listen to and Follow the Living Prophets? 
Lesson by Lara Goold


Suggested Songs:

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,"  Hymns, page 19
"Latter-day Prophets," Children's Songbook, page 134
 "Follow the Prophet," Hymns, page 110

Lesson Purpose:  To help the young women to understand what a great blessing it is to have a living prophet on the earth to give us guidance and direction for these latter-days.

Scripture:  "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."  Amos 3:7


1.  print enough copies of the talk,  Believe, Obey, and Endure for every YW (or member of your family)
2.  gather pens or pencils for every YW, also chalk and tape 
3.  Print off large picture of President Monson
4. (optional) print off wallet size pictures of President Monson for each of the YW to tape into their notebooks while they take notes


ANALOGY OF THE GARDEN MAZE (see this link for printable version of pictures):     Imagine you are in a maze that is made up of tall hedges.  The bushes are too thick to see through, too tall to see over, and you can't tell whether you are heading towards a dead-end until you are right there. (SHOW PICTURE OF PEOPLE INSIDE THE MAZE) You start off knowing the approximate direction of where the exit is, but quickly lose your bearings and can't do anything more than wander aimlessly until you find the correct path out.  Then you notice a little look-out tower.  (SHOW PICTURE OF MAZE FROM THE LOOKOUT) You climb the tower and you can regain your bearings again and  plot a path to the exit.

Relate being lost in the maze to being lost in the maze of our lives.  Talk about how easy it is to get caught up in the "maze of life" and focus only on what is right in front of us.

ASK:  What are some of the concerns that are in your maze of life?  (you're looking for answers like a hard physics test, getting into college, boys, friends,  etc)

WRITE:  Have one of the YW come write on the picture of the people inside of the maze, some of the answers received.

TEACH:  There is someone we can look to who has been given the keys to be on the look-out  for our day and time.  They have the perspective of being able to see all the twists and turns in the maze and give us guidance and direction that will help us to the finish line (eternal life).

SHOW PICTURE OF PRESIDENT MONSON and tape to the top of the chalkboard.

DRAW a simple watchtower underneath the picture and explain that God has given him the authority to see.

Hand out a pen and copy of the article to each student:  Divide the YW into groups and assign each  group a page of the article to read and to circle important messages that President Monson has given to the YW for this day and this time.

HAVE EACH PERSON SHARE SOMETHING THEY'VE CIRCLED IN THE ARTICLE:   and ask for a volunteer to come make speech bubbles around the prophet and write in the words of the prophet that the YW shared from the article.   If the girls have class journals, have them glue in a  wallet size picture of President Monson and reproduce this in their notebooks while you go around the room.

 Here are some of the things that our girls came up with:  Decisions determine destiny, seminary changes lives, they are a daughter of Heavenly Father, pray for guidance, fan the flame of your testimony, choose to obey, there is a way back!  

VIDEO:   watch this video  and discuss. 

and the blessings you received.  Bear your testimony about what a remarkable blessing it is to live in a day and a time that there is a living prophet.


HANDOUT (printable version below):

Additional Reading Material: 
YW Lesson:  Why is it Important to Listen to and Follow the Living Prophet?


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Teaching the Gospel Using Questions

Today's youth are used to information being presented in short little bursts.  Twitter and Facebook have shortened their attention spans to the point that it's difficult for them to concentrate on the same thing for 5 minutes, yet alone the length of the average church lesson. We all know that we learn better when we are engaged in the lesson being taught, but as a teacher sometimes the task of engaging the students is difficult in practice, because engaging the students means that as teachers we need to be better prepared and more engaged ourselves.

 In my article 14 Ways to Engage Students in the New Youth Curriculum, I presented some ideas of helping students to use both sides of their brain as they learn.  In this article I will present some more ideas from the same teacher training and talk about using questions to help students learn the gospel.

When Jesus Christ taught the people, he taught them with patience and understanding.  He sought to know his students enough, that he could teach in a way that connected with them. We've all read the accounts of Christ using parables and real life examples that illustrated what he was teaching far better than an hour long dissertation on the philosophy of it ever could.

Think of  when Christ answered the Pharisee's accusations in Luke 5 with the simple question, "Whether [it] is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?"  The act of curing the palsied man would have been remarkable enough, but with the question to provoke some deeper thinking, it was all the more a powerful teaching moment.  We can harness that same power when we teach.  Think of questions that invite thought and allow them to reach their own conclusions about what you are teaching.  Those kind of lessons will stick with them much longer than when all the information is spoon fed to them.


The following are presented as a series of questions, in order from least to most thought provoking.  Our teacher encouraged using them in order as a way to build understanding during a lesson.

Different Types of Questions to use during lessons (with examples of how to use them)

1.  Search for information
Example:  What are the steps of prayer?

2.  Analyze for understanding
Example:  What things are appropriate to pray for?

3.  Invite feelings / testimony
Example:  What are your personal experiences with prayer?

4.  Encourage application
Example:  What will you work on this week to improve your prayers?