Monday, February 8, 2010

"Down" with the old, "Up" with the new

I'm sure I'm in deep trouble, but it was all for my class.  I promise never to do anything like that ever again. If someone tells on me I'll deny it.  (I suppose that would be lying.)  It wasn't that big.  I made sure it was small and shallow.  But it was sure worth it. Sorry.

 In the rear of our church building there is a large grassy field. Joe, my partner in crime, helped me dig a hole off to the side, close to the bushes in this field late lastnight. It was small and shallow!  This morning, as I taught Alma 23-24 about the amazing Anti-Nephi-Lehi's, I had my class write down a behavior of theirs, if they had one, which might be considered an act of "rebellion to God" on a paper sword.   Examples of this could be: foul language, disobedience to parents, choosing not to listen to General Conference, immodest clothing, wearing the "messy" look, listening to inappropriate music, willingly breaking the Word of Wisdom, a bad attitude, watching an inappropriate t.v. show, etc.  Their challenge was to pick one thing they were serious about stopping.  I asked them to pick something they felt they could put aside.......forever.  This would be a conscious adjustment for them. In the scriptures, as these converted Lamanites made a permanent change, they desired to unify themselves by taking on the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehi's and covenanting, as a group, to never take up their spiritual or physical weapons of war.  My class made a promise together to work on letting go of the behavior they had chosen, and offer support to one another. 

As we walked outside with our "weapons of rebellion" in hand, I brought them to the hole in the ground we dug lastnight.  It was quiet as we laid our swords in the ground and covered them up with dirt.  When I looked down, it struck me that this was really like burying something; like a person. It was a grave of some sort.  We now had a fresh start.  Isn't that what Jesus Christ does for us?  He makes it possible for us to become renewed, alive again, forgiven, to restart!  We put down our earthly, mortal weaknesses, and raise up a Christ-like countenance.

According to Aaron (Alma 22:16), our change would be permanent if we:
* Had a desire to change
*Humbled ourselves
*Truly repented
*Asked for the Lord's help (Atonement) in prayer

The Anti-Nephi Lehi's fresh start included:
* Never falling away from the gospel of Christ
* Industrious and hard-working
* No longer cut off from God
*Softened hearts
*No longer had a desire to do evil
* Assurance of eternal life
  I was really touched by the experience of burying our bad habits and behaviors in the physical earth.  The Anti-Nephi-Lehi's had tremendous courage to put away the one thing that would preserve their lives temporally. They would be susceptible to being killed and consciously desired that rather than sin against God. They were spiritually saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ brought through their sincere repentance and acceptance of Him. Truly inspiring.

If I get in trouble for the hole, so be it. It was well worth the experience with my class.


  1. Great "hole" idea! I promise I will never tell!

  2. Enjoyed reading this post, what an excellent way to help your students understand what these righteous people did and why.

  3. I have always loved that story and the symbolism it has - what you did with your class will be something they will never forget! Who cares that you dug a whole- you filled it with bad behaviors and burried it! You are an amazing teacher Lori!

  4. love the symbolism's another idea (not so scripture-like though, and clearly not as cool)...take your thought, trouble or discomfort, tie it onto a red balloon...(dont know if the red means anything)...and let it go, high up in the sky till you dont see it anymore. bye bye sad thoughts, bye bye discomfort, bye bye remorse.