I have completed the year! My seniors have had their last day of seminary for the rest of their lives (until they're called to be seminary teachers)! I have 14 seniors graduating this year, and I am so proud of them. I wasn't too diligent with blogging my lessons toward the end. But here are my last thoughts for the book of Moroni.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The more I read the Book of Mormon, the more I recognize how the Lord requires the inhabitants of this highly coveted Promised Land to be worthy of it's possession. This free land has been preserved for a righteous people for a specific purpose. The work of the gathering of Israel was meant to originate from this land in the latter-days, and the freedom of this land must be protected. The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ occurred on this land. Records of the early inhabitants of this land were buried in this soil. The Lord requires us to serve Him while on this soil, or be swept off of it. The Book of Mormon contains a record of two groups of people who were swept from this land because of their refusal to worship God.
Today we discussed the sad scene at the end of the book of Ether of a king named Coriantumr. He has been educated on the "arts of war and all the cunning of the world" (Ether 13:16). He refuses to repent of his worldly ways, and so do his people. Secret combinations are prevalent everywhere, war is continual, and many lives have been lost. The prophet Ether has been sent to Coriantumr and warns him that: "if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people— Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr."
As recorded in Omni 1:21, Coriantumr did, in fact, live to see another people (Nephites & Lamanites) receive this Promised Land as their inheritance. The priviledge was taken from the Jaredites. Coriantumr's pride to be the most powerful, worldly king overshadowed his judgment to honor the land and the God who blessed him with it.
The Book of Mormon has made me more aware of the land I live on. The Lord gave the Children of Israel the land of Canaan as their inheritance if they would worship Him. They were scattered from it because of their wickedness. There are priviledges associated with honoring God on the land He's given us. The land doesn't come free of obligation. He needs us to serve Him and build the kingdom of God on the earth. Our blessings come through the land. Our prosperity is revealed through prospering with the growth of families and relationships on the land. As the righteous gather, they are required to build temples, make covenants, and receive instruction on how to rise above worldliness and become more like Him, with the promise of exaltation to follow.
Something I learned, and something to ponder.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Today I let the natural man take over. Before class, I hid several dollars worth of money in bills and coins throughout the classroom. I hid them under shelves, under chairs, on the side of picture frames, under the piano bench, under my ipod dock, over the chalkboard; everywhere. I wrote the word "SEEK" on the chalkboard, and told them they had 5 minutes to scour the room for as much money as they could find. And yes, they could keep what they found. (I spend more on them buying them a box of donuts than I did on this lesson.) I can never predict what they are going to do with these object lessons, so I watched and observed them as they were busy searching.
- The students who usually fall asleep were up on their feet.
- One of my quiet boys, I discovered, is a chatterbox.
- One young lady found a dollar bill and sat down.
- One young man got discouraged after finding a dime and sat down.
- 5 students didn't leave their seat ("Mormons do too many object lessons").
- Everyone who looked for money found something, even if it was just a penny.
- The longer they looked, the more they found.
- After the 5 minutes were up, I revealed another 75 cents they hadn't found.
In Ether 12, the prophet Ether teaches us so beautifully about FAITH and HOPE (an expectation of something in the future); and not just faith itself, but faith in God and His power to bless us. Moroni adds his own testimony on faith to Ether's in our Scripture Mastery verse Ether 12:6: "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Moroni then shows us that Christ SHOWED HIMSELF to MANY PEOPLE, including the Nephites at the Bountiful temple, because of their faith. It was their faith that allowed them to see Him. There had to be a point where they SOUGHT AFTER HIM in order to have Him manifested unto them.
Moroni himself then tells us at the end of the chapter, "And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things; And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." (Ether 12:39-41)
Moroni has challenged us to SEEK HIM. How do we go about doing that? That's where our object lesson comes in. My question to the class was, "What did it take to SEEK and find the money in the room?"
Some points they brought up were:
-They knew me and that I wouldn't lie to them so they KNEW the money was there, somewhere even if they couldn't see it.
-They wanted the money (DESIRE)
-They had to get up off their chairs and move (WORKS)
-They had to KEEP LOOKING (persistence, endurance)
I asked them to apply this to themselves with the money representing a blessing/prompting from the Lord. Using prayer and scripture study as an example, the young lady that found a dollar bill and sat down might reflect someone who prays for something, receives an answer, and doesn't pray again until she needs to. One student said this would be someone who reads her scriptures only when forced to in class. Or perhaps even someone who reads for 10 minutes a day just to say she did it rather than to get a message out of it.
I shared with them how I prepare to go to the temple. This was my example of SEEKing the Lord. I told them that before I enter a session, I take a few minutes to pray for the Lord to teach me something. I don't always go with something specific on my mind. But I do want to be open to what He has to teach me. This prayer opens my senses. I hear better, see better, think better, and I feel more from my experience there. There have been times where I've left not feeling I had been taught by the Spirit.........only to have an impression come to me days later as a result of my temple experience. The prayer I have before entering the temple, is an exertion of my FAITH that the Lord CAN and WILL teach me what I need to know. It is my way of SEEKing Him.
My challenge to my class was to SEEK the Lord throughout their day. Pay attention to small blessings He grants them through their FAITHfulness. Acknowledge those blessings in prayer frequently. Before leaving home for seminary, pray for Him to teach you through the Spirit what you need to hear. Do the same for Sunday instruction and in sacrament meeting. Petition to be taught. I think they'll be amazed at the inspiration and small miracles they are open to receiving if they do this.
Monday, May 3, 2010
I have been so lazy with this blog lately. I cruised through Mormon with my class. I found Mormon to be a sad, but necessary, book to cover. We're in Ether right now. I see the parallel and the purpose behind the insertion of this book at the end of the Book of Mormon. If I find the energy, I'll blog about tomorrow's lesson in Ether 2. I have a good point to make in our lesson. 'Hoping the Spirit will help me get that point across to them.
I have been spending at least 10 minutes each day with my class preparing for our annual Scripture Olympics. This activity is for all the youth in our stake that are enrolled in seminary. We compete as classes. We review Scripture Mastery for the year and although it's meant to be fun, there are those of us who are competitive by nature who will not settle for anything but WINNING. Win or go home! Argggggg! I've been working on memorizing all 25 SM with my class, but I have to say, the Book of Mormon SM are the hardest of all 4 years. It's hard work but worth every ounce of energy.
Just wanted to let y'all know that the lazy in me has prevailed, but I'll catch my second wind and be back to blogging my lessons soon. I'll be concluding my blog this month. This is my last year teaching seminary. It has been quite a journey. It's true. The teacher always learns the most. Very true.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
It starts on the left and moves to the right. We begin in Jerusalem ("J" with the castle wall) in 600 B.C., and the "zig-zag" is Lehi's journey in the wilderness for 8 years. The "r.i.p." is for Ishmael who dies before they get on Nephi's boat and sail to the Promised Land. The next "r.i.p" is for Lehi who dies before "Nephi & Co." settle in the land of Nephi ("N" with the castle wall) after a separation from Laman and Lemuel. That places us roughly around 2 Nephi 5.
The "Z" at the top of the timeline stands for Zarahemla. There are 3 kings who reside in Zarahemla (Mosiah I, Benjamin, and Mosiah II), and 3 kings who end up in the land of Nephi (Zeniff, Noah, and Limhi). The kings are represented by the crowns.) Zeniff's people travelled to the land of Nephi and ended up being in bondage to the Lamanites until Limhi's people were brought back to Zarahemla, thus the "squiggly lines". This takes us to the end of the Book of Mosiah.
The "r.i.p" after the kings is for the death of King Mosiah II. He was the last king before they switched to a system of judges, which explains the "no kings" and "gavel" icons. During that period, we have the 4 sons of Mosiah doing missionary work with the Lamanites in the land of Nephi for 14 years, and concurrently we have Alma (the younger) and Amulek on a mission to re-activate saints in the Land of Zarahemla. This leads us up to Alma 42.
The flag with the "T" represents Captain Moroni's Title of Liberty. The "2000" shield represents Helaman's Stripling Warriors, and the stick figure standing on a wall being shot at with stones and arrows represents Samuel the Lamanite. That takes us through to the end of the Book of Helaman. The resurrected Christ visits the Nephites (3 Nephi), 200 years of peace (4 Nephi), Mormon and Moroni fight for their lives (Mormon), and the end of the record leaves us at 421 A.D. (Moroni). I didn't include the Book of Ether, which is placed between Mormon and Moroni, because those events happened centuries before and not on this timeline.
I am a visual learner and it helps for me to see something like this drawn out for reference. I photocopied all of these icons, reduced them in size, and cut them up. I gave each student in my class a miniature version of this storyline/timeline in a plastic bag. Periodically I hide my bulletin board and I have them take their timeline pieces out and put them in order from 600 B.C. through 421 A.D. It's good review and I KNOW IT HELPS THEM!!! Again, this timeline wasn't my idea, but I sure love it. I'm happy to share my version with you if it helps you to better understand the events in Book of Mormon.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
This is one of the game shows I used to watch as a kid. I found a great idea online from another seminary teacher using the concept of this game to teach 3 Nephi 28. I usually have to take these online ideas and morph them to accomodate my class size and personalities. What we re-named "Seminary Student Squares" turned out to be a great way to learn this chapter. I have to admit, we're all pretty wiped out by the time Fridays roll around. This game was a welcome change from the norm.....
I set up one of our long seminary tables at the front of the room. In front of that, I set up 3 classroom chairs, and in front of that, I set up 3 little children's chairs. (I teach in the Primary room, so the little chairs are readily available.) I had 3 students sit on the table, 3 in the regular chairs, and 3 on the Primary chairs so they formed a slant downward facing the rest of the class. Those were our "celebrities" who would form our Tic-Tac-Toe grid. The other students were separated into two groups; "X's" and "O's". They worked in these two groups to be our "contestants".
I started class by having them all read 3 Nephi 28:2-9. When they were finished, we started Round 1. I had 9 "celebrities" move into the Tic-Tac-Toe grid, I handed them the list of 10 questions AND answers from the scripture block, and we started the game. I gave them the questions so they would be prepared for what I would ask, and I gave them the answers so they could think of an alternate answer just in case they wanted to fool the "contestants". The "X's" began by choosing a "celebrity" in the grid. I'd ask that person a question. He/she would answer the question with a true answer, or an answer they made up. The "contestant" would either AGREE or DISAGREE with their answer (based on their knowledge of the scripture block they just read), and we'd give the "celebrity" either an "X" or an "O" to hold based on whether their answer was right or not. This ended up being tons of fun, and in between questions, we were able to discuss details of the chapter.
We continued the game playing a total of 3 rounds, covering the entire chapter. We actually brought out quite a bit of lesson material about the twelve Nephite disciples/apostles, the three Nephites, and translated beings. This account is quite fascinating. We discussed the blessings which were given to these men, and what was so special about the desire the three Nephites had that they would be promised eternal life. We discussed the difference between tranfiguration and translation, and I discounted every strange and weird rumor/speculation they had heard about the three Nephites. Hahaha.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I brought a glass of milk and some beef jerky on a plate to class today and put them side by side. We discussed what we would be able to ingest if we had or didn't have teeth. The milk goes down easier and it is easier to digest (if you're not lactose intollerant). No teeth necessary. The jerky has more flavor, is more filling, and sustains you longer, but it would be a struggle to ingest without teeth.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I was contemplating what a "broken heart" was, and I thought of Harley.
When we understand what a broken heart and a contrite spirit is, then we can focus on presenting that offering to him each week in sacrament meeting. It means letting go of our will in exchange for His, being submissive to Him and allowing Him to lead us by our faith in Him. It means being continually repentant, softened, humbled. Being truly repentant means godly sorrow for our sins to the point where we no longer want to take them up again. As we partake of the emblems of the sacrament, we recommit ourselves to keep the Lord's commandments, remember Him always, and take upon us His name. He promises to give us His Spirit to stay with us. With the Savior's sacrifice on our minds in sacrament meeting, we are brought into a state of humility and understand of our dependence on Him for our salvation. Gratitude.
There is so much more to the sacrament to be said. So much I'm leaving out. Trust me, I had a STACK of notes that I took with me to class on how to teach the sacrament to my class. I decided to linger on the topic of the broken heart and contrite spirit and take a chance (or follow the Spirit) that this was what they needed to hear.
Friday, April 16, 2010
"The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life." Sister Julie B. Beck, General Conference Apr. 2010
I obviously have General Conference on the brain. Every lesson I prepare can be supported by a General Conference talk within the last year. Yesterday it was Elder Christofferson; today it's Sister Beck. Our lesson today was on how 3 Nephi 17 shows us a pattern on how to receive revelation from God.
My hope is always that my class will take what they learned in seminary and practice those skills, like in a laboratory, at home or in the real world. Better yet, hopefully they were taught this stuff at home, it was reinforced in seminary, and THEN they can go out and use it!
In 3 Nephi 17, the resurrected Christ is about to leave the Nephites to show himself to his "other sheep", the lost tribes of Israel. He has just delivered an information packed, highly spiritual sermon to them. It was a lot to absorb in one sitting, I'm sure. He says to them in verse 2, "I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time." (Isn't this exactly like us after listening to 5 sessions of General Conference?) The Savior gives them a pattern on how to absorb, assimilate, remember, process, and comprehend all that he has said. They will need the help of the Holy Ghost as they follow these steps...
In verse 3 he says, "Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again."
It's interesting that he sends them home. We talked about why he would send them home to start the revelation process. They were sent back as families to possibly discuss together what they heard. Family prayer could have been how they chose to exert their faith in receiving revelation. Maybe that's where the parents were able to further instruct their children within their family stewardship. We're comforable in our homes. It was a place of privacy for them.
In a past post of mine titled, "Keep It Simple", we reviewed the pattern of how one receives his/her own personal revelation and testimony from hearing someone else's. This pattern that we find in 3 Nephi 17 relates to that. When truth is being taught, and in this case by the Savior himself, the Holy Ghost is able to teach the recipient through the exertion of their faith. The pondering, praying, and preparation to receive is one long gesture of faith. In looking ahead in the Book of Mormon, these Nephites DO REMEMBER all that he teaches. It stays with them long enough to last through a few generations of a zion people. This is a pattern for us to receive the "power" through revelation that they received!