Monday, March 30, 2009

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 13: What Worked?

Here is your chance to share your successes with Lesson 13. What approach seemed to work? What topics generated intersting discussion? Did you try something new?

If you taught an earlier lesson, you can share your experiences here.

Give us your input!


  1. Due to an earlier ward conference and last week's General Conference, I haven't taught this lesson yet, so I'm still going through it. The previous posts got me thinking.

    I really am compelled by the Pearl of Great Price, and how it came forth. With a background in archaeology, I guess that goes without saying, but I think it would make for interesting conversation.

    How do we teach our children the divine origin of the Book of Abraham? Egyptologists both believers and non-believers attest that the scrolls cannot be translated the way Joseph did. How does one reconcile the differences? And what insights does that give into the process of revelation?

    I'm always eager to see how other teachers taught this (or whatever) stuff, so please let me know!

  2. I just taught this lesson today. Amidst all the other discussion, the class seemed to want to talk most about how we (LDS) call Joseph Smith by his first name (i.e. Brother Joseph) and non- LDS historian call him "Smith." Note that we call our current prophet by his last name (President Monson). Lots of comments and good discussion.

  3. So our class went pretty well. We just went through the canon of scripture restored/brought forth through Joseph Smith, spending most of our time on the background of the JST and the Pearl of Great Price.

    The class got really interesting after members of the ward choir left early to practice their number for Sacrament meeting. People really loosened up when the attendence got considerably smaller.

    I'd be interested to know (on a different subject) how much time you all spend on "lecture" vs how much time the class does the talking.

    Any thoughts?

  4. I taught this one today.

    After a brief discussion of the meaning of dispensations, reading three scriptures indicating that God would speak through Joseph Smith, and how all four standard works were either presented by or filtered through Joseph Smith, we read these three scriptures:
    D&C 21:1-2; D&C 107:91-92; and D&C 124:125 -- all of which name "translator" among Joseph's assignments in addition to the more familiar roles of prophet, seer and revelator.

    We then talked about the common meaning of "translate," which was a personal fit to our class since we have so many international members, some of whom have translated scriptures into their native languages, and/or translate at conference time. There were some nice testimonies of divine assistance in translation that would have been a good match for the upcoming Gifts of the Spirit lesson.

    Then the bulk of the time we discussed how the ordinary meaning of "translate" doesn't seem to fit what Joseph Smith did. We talked about how although he had an interest in learning Hebrew, his translation of the Bible did not involve manuscripts in Hebrew (or Greek, or Aramaic). We discussed what we know of how he made his Biblical emandations. Then we talked about the Book of Mormon, and how the familiar picture of Joseph translating the plates (you know the picture -- the one where Joseph has a finger of his left hand on the plates marking his place, while he writes with a quill pen in his right hand?) was misleading, because we have accounts from Joseph's scribes that Joseph translated without necessarily having the plates in the same room with him. We even talked briefly about his use of the hat (although we didn't mention the seerstone -- that was more than I wanted to get into, given the brief time we had). And we talked about the papyrii with the mummies, and the translation of Abraham. There were questions I couldn't answer (to what extent did Joseph use the Urim and Thummim? and how did that work?) and one guy, either a visitor or a first-time attender, who was more interested in showing off how much (or how little) he knew of Hugh Nibley than in communicating anything useful to the class, and a little frustration by one young sister who just wanted "the answer" to how Joseph did it. Mostly, though, it was a very good discussion of revelation, and the special gift given to Joseph that he called "translation," however it worked.

    I kept a close eye on the class, watching for signs that I was going too far or creating more consternation than enlightenment. To the best I could tell, it went well. We have a mixed class, half very well established members in their 70s, 80s, and 90s; half very young couples who haven't started their families yet. My main concern was to give a taste of the challenges to the younger half, so that when somebody throws a charge against Joseph Smith concerning translation, especially with Abraham, or mentions the hat, they could at least remember that they had heard something about those issues, and know that it wasn't anything the church tried to hide or that destroyed the testimonies of people who knew about them. And of course it's always appreciated (I can tell from the after-class comments) when the more experienced half of the class gets something to think about beyond the usual Sunday School catechism.

    We went into material that wasn't covered by the manual, but we stuck to the point that "this generation shall have my word through you," and focused on how much we owe to Joseph Smith in the matter of scripture. I don't think we went too far afield, and I certainly didn't get into melodrama or speculation.

  5. Ardis: Thanks for the comments. I would love to attend your class. The translation angle sounds very interesting. I think your statement that you observed your class carefully to make sure your were enlightening them, and not causing confusion or concern, is a great example of a teacher who teaches by the spirit that all may be edified.

  6. It is in reality a great and useful piece of information. I'm glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.
    Feel free to visit my web site buy cigarettes online

  7. Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes
    and actual effort to create a very good article…
    but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don't manage to get anything done.
    My site ... Work from home jobs

  8. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I've joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!
    My site - clean my pc

  9. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful
    & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help
    others like you aided me.
    Feel free to visit my weblog piano lessons

  10. Hiya! Quick question that's entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I'm trying to find a
    theme or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Appreciate
    Take a look at my weblog : Asunto Turkista

  11. Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your page.
    Im really impressed by it.
    Hey there, You've done an excellent job. I'll certainly digg it and individually suggest to my friends.
    I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.
    my web page >

  12. I do trust all of the ideas you've offered for your post. They're very convincing and can definitely work.
    Still, the posts are very quick for starters.
    Could you please extend them a little from next time?
    Thanks for the post.
    My web page - diablo 3 monk guide

  13. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right.
    This post truly made my day. You cann't imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!
    Feel free to visit my web-site :: Asunto Antalya


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.