Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Building and Maintaining Our Wall

I don't usually get into too many "artsy-fartsy" lessons because I end up spending way too much time for little result.  But today we did revert back to our elementary school days and played with brown contruction paper.   I gave each student at least 2 rectangular pieces of paper (shaped like "bricks") and asked them to write on each paper something they have learned in church, or something they have read in the scriptures that has helped to build their testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They could pick any principle, doctrine, standard, or commandment they wanted.  


I asked each student to come up and tape their paper "bricks" to the board.   As they did that, I had them share with us what they wrote as they contructed our "testimony wall".  I adapted this activity from another teacher and decided to try it.  When I incorporated this into my lesson, I kept thinking that this activity was too childish for my juniors and seniors.  They're beyond this elementary school stuff.  I thought they might have felt silly doing it.  I pushed through my doubts and continued.  As they brought up their "bricks", I could see who had a testimony of what.  I loved seeing that.  Some of the "bricks" they brought to the board were: God lives, tithing, daily scripture study, the power of the Priesthood, prayer, modesty, the Atonement, service, attending church, the Holy Ghost is real, etc.

In Helaman 13-15, Samuel the Lamanite had the confidence of the Lord behind him to boldly stand on this wall in Zarahemla.   The Spirit of the Lord protected him as he called the Nephites to repentance.   There was nothing the Nephites could throw or shoot at him that would deter him from accomplishing what he was sent to do.  Samuel's testimony was based on the foundation of Christ, making Samuel "steadfast and immovable".  My interactive object lesson was designed to show them what their "testimony wall" consists of and how to maintain it. 

During our discussion, we talked about how each time we attend church and seminary, we layer our learning and add mortar to our structure.  With each "brick" representing a doctrine or principle we learn, and the mortar representing a confirmation from the Holy Ghost of the truthfulness of those things, we build a solid "testimony wall" to stand on.  

I was so happy to see that several people wrote prayer on their "brick".  They have a testimony of prayer; absolutely wonderful.  I used those "bricks" to show how our wall can crumble.  I asked them to imagine how the strength of the wall would be compromised if we just took away one thing.  As I pulled away the prayer "bricks", it left holes in the wall.  This visual alone was worth the elementary school activity.  I validated them in knowing how hard it is to live righteously in a world with so much opposition.  I also told them that it doesn't get any easier.  They must press on doing what they're doing, and don't lose any "bricks".  Once you gain a "brick", it just needs reinforcement.  The doctrines and principles will always be true.  We simply need to continue in our obedience, study and faith to strengthen our mortar.  No one expects them to build their wall in a day.  The layering is done over time.  The idea is that when they are called to stand on their wall, they can do so with confidence in the Lord and his gospel, knowing that it won't crumble beneath them. 

I see so many quiet students in my class who have such valiant testimonies.  With a larger class, we don't get to hear from them.  From now until the end of the seminary year, I really would like to create an atmosphere where we get to hear them bear their testimonies.  I think that would add mortar to many students' walls. 


  1. What an awesome idea. I was hoping to see a picture of the Sis. Wright's actual seminary wall!

  2. you always come up with the best stuff...wish i was in your seminary class...or better yet, my kids!!