Monday, February 9, 2009

Lesson 7: The First Principles & Ordinances

So, as you have noticed by now, I like to start off the week thinking in general terms about my upcoming lesson. This week it is Lesson 7, The First Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel. As usual, I am linking to some sources to get your mental wheels turning. I really like reading the old lesson materials at Keepapitchinin. I find this information to be a little meatier than the current manuals. I also ran across which has ideas and quotes from Church leaders on passages from the Doctrine & Covenants.

So get ready for Faith, Repentance, Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The challenge in this type of lesson is, of course, that everyone has heard these topics a million times. The basics can, however, yield very interesting discussions. If you have thoughts about generating discussion on these topics, please share.


  1. Just a couple of thoughts so far, as I've been going through the material.

    I was wondering how Joseph so succinctly outlined the first principles and ordinances. I don't have it in front of me, but I believe that Paul the Apostle wrote something similar to Article of Faith 4, and that's where Joseph got it. But why haven't other Christian religions picked up on that?

    Also, I love the scriptures in this reading block: D&C 88:118 is a mantra. D&C 19:15-23 - where else do you get such intimate information about the actual atoning sacrifice? And then the concept of only teaching repentance. I plan to explore that and bounce an idea off ya, when I get more time.

  2. Easton,

    I remember attending a Church of Christ evening meeting on my mission. I was amazed because they talked about "the first 5 principles of the gospel", and "which church is the true church?"

    I wish I could remember their 5, but they were quite similar to our 4. I've also heard that the Church of Christ was formed from former mormons, though I have been unable to get confirmation on that.

  3. Easton: I am not familiar with Paul's formulation of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, but if you run across it, please share. And I, too, like the scriptures to be used this week. D&C 88:118 caught my attention. Do you think it means that study and learning bolsters our faith, or that faith can help our study? Or both? I also think Alma 32:27 is interesting. The idea that we are to "give place" in our hearts to the seed says something about faith as a matter of choice.

    Mormon Heretic: Interesting to hear about your experience with the Church if Christ. I think it they do share common roots with the LDS Church. Was this the temple lot church in Independence?

  4. I taught the lesson last week (we combined 6 and 7 to get ahead). We never got past faith.

    7. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, in the eleventh chapter of that epistle and first verse, gives the following definition of the word faith:
    8. "Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
    9. From this we learn that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen, and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.
    10. If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thought and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action in them; that without it both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.
    11. Were this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity in all their lawful avocations, callings, and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which they had of the existence of things which they had not seen as yet? Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom, and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown, if you had not believed that you would reap? Should you have ever planted, if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked, unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought, unless you had believed that you would have found? Or, would you have ever knocked, unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there anything that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions of every kind, dependent on your faith? Or, may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and, if the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?

    This quote from the Lectures on Faith generated much discusion.

    Another good quote:

    Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. ~Martin Luther King Jr.

    Then we talked about Faith as a choice and compared it to love.

    In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't. ~Blaise Pascal

    Very interesting disucsion about the blessings of choosing faith/doubt and the dangers of choosing faith/doubt in our everyday lives.

  5. We combined lessons 5 and 6 (not 6 and 7 as I said above)

  6. Hal: Thanks for the material. I had heard the Pascal quote before - - it is a favorite. I really like the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, too, because it ties choice, commitment and work into the idea of faith.

    I hope to get a faith post up this week, but there is so much information in this lesson to explore. It is like trying to teach the whole gospel in 40 minutes!

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  8. Clair: I am very impressed with your site. It looks like you have put a lot of work into it. It will be a great resource for studying the D&C. Do you mind telling us how you compile the information?

  9. "Easton: I am not familiar with Paul's formulation of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, but if you run across it, please share."

    The reference I had in mind was Hebrews 6:1-2. Obviously anyone without the powers of prophecy and the mantle of restoration would not be able to express the first principles and ordinances in such clear and logical terms. I can't escape how fortunate we are to have such clarity.

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