How are we doing, teaching the Gospel Principles lessons in Relief Society? I’ve heard a mixture of groans and interest, but not a huge song of delight. They’re shorter lessons and I know some of you are wishing there was more material to draw from. Well, I have some thoughts and ideas for you, thanks to my daughter, who teaches, and has found her song.
The first thing to remember is this is the Gospel Essentials manual. These lessons are meant for new converts, who don’t have a long understanding of the gospel. In Relief Society, we have a mixture of gospel depth. We have to ask ourselves, why does the Church, once again, want us to return to the basics? I have learned for myself that as we dig deep in our learning, we see how pure, rich, and beautiful the gospel is in its simplest form.
I don’t know why it exists, but I’ve seen it everywhere. There is an attitude of fear when it comes to some women teaching truth and doctrine. It is definitely easier to teach opinion and tradition, but these do not bring the Spirit.
To the Teachers: If you focus on the Principles, and TEACH THE DOCTRINE that brings us understanding of the Plan, then TEACH HOW TO APPLY the principle that activates so wonderfully the Plan in our lives, the lesson will reach people in that remembered light, and the Spirit will come. I testify that your lessons will fulfill better their purpose, the sisters will be spiritually fed and fueled, and as a teacher, you will gain most of all.
Your objective isn’t to find more information to do the teaching for you. It is to study, prepare well, and bring the Spirit with you when you raise the comprehension level of your classroom. We’re not seeking after “clever or entertaining”, we are seeking only after the Spirit of Truth. By learning, or gaining, a deeper appreciation for this principle, the Spirit will show you how to touch your sisters, so they too can “go deeper”.
To the Sisters: If you go on your own quest for understanding, whether it be before the lesson is taught, or motivated by the Spirit of the lesson already taught, you can receive a personal testimony of love for the Savior, for that is the purpose of every lesson. Application, and experimentation, of the principles will change your life.
Each lesson is basic. We don’t need to feel bored with it, nor do we need to feel the lack of “new material” made available. We DO need to let the Spirit teach us how to teach with conviction. Some scriptures are offered, but there are many more within the standard works if we but do the footwork ourselves. This is an adventure every teacher can seek to engulf herself in the doctrine; learning every aspect, fitting it into its place in the Plan as we dig deep to accept, internalize, and love the gospel of Jesus Christ.
• Use the TOPICAL GUIDE, to create a list of scriptures from various subject headings that will give you a well-rounded view of the principle.
• ON-LINE you can find every manual used in the Church. Draw from other lessons that will expand your understanding. As well, past conference addresses are a treasure trove.
• Pull out the past TEACHINGS FROM THE PROPHETS manuals for examples and quotes.
We cannot be afraid to teach truth and doctrine. Each of us must learn for ourselves. Each of us needs to be willing to testify and preach of truth. We are not here to correct one another, or flaunt our bit of knowledge. We are here to help one another, bring others along to the light, and share our love of the Lord.
We all can learn to teach with power, conviction, and testimony of the truth we have seen in our own life, without fear, but with knowledge.