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.