Friday, March 13, 2009

What to Say, What to Say?

OK, I admit it. I am having a hard time deciding what to do with Lesson 11. As commenter Mormon Heretic stated in a recent post here at GDU, what is the point of including all these mission calls to specific individuals in the Doctrine & Covenants? What are you and I supposed to glean from them? I am having a hard time coming up with the themes I want to talk about. The manual focuses on serving with your heart, might, mind and strength, preparing to serve, blessings of service, etc. There are some nice ideas there, but I am wanting more.

Here are two ideas that have occurred to me.

1. These sections highlight the idea that the core of service to God is saving souls. Section 18 teaches this in very clear terms. Maybe your calling is gathering sheaves in the missionary field, or maybe, like Thomas Marsh, you are called to be a “physician unto the Church, but not unto the world.” D&C 31:10. Whatever your calling, it is about bringing souls to Christ.

2. I also like the “if you have desires to serve, ye are called to the work” idea. If you are like me, you have great intentions, but lots of reasons not to jump in and serve. The timing isn’t right. You don’t really know that person. You don’t want to overstep your bounds. You are busy. A prominent theme in these sections is that we need not wait for a special calling or assignment. (Interestingly, the message of Section 11 is a little different). There are opportunities to save souls all around us, and we should jump in feet first. I think this idea ties in with the Pres. Eyring quote in the manual, although he is really addressing missionary work.

So, what do you think? What do these sections say to you? How would you present Lesson 11?


  1. I posted what I taught in Section 4 that might be helpful a little.

    I believe that the "one soul" that you bring must be your own first. Next should be your family...etc. (this includes genealogy research.)

    I like to concentrate on the fact that we individually are the "marvelous work" ( most people just look at that phrase as referring to the Book of Mormon and the Church..) Our path in this life is a "marvelous work in progress."

    WE are His work and His glory. Understanding who we are is pivotal IMHO to our ability to help others understand that as well.

    Just some ideas..not the normal missionary work concepts I guess.

  2. I just read over the lesson, and it is really weak on giving anything new. It seems to want to concentrate on getting members to share missionary experiences, which isn't a bad thing, but it's not spiritually deep either.

    I must say I liked the introduction about Samuel Smith, which said he would convert thousands, yet only converted Phineas Young and John Greene's family He felt like a failure. I think we can all relate to having our bubble burst after being promised great things, which causes us to re-evaluate things.

    Phineas was brother to Brigham Young, who was obviously instrumental in converting thousands, so answers to our prayers certainly do come in unusual ways. I'd go into detail and talk about these conundrums.

    Marlin Jensen talked about the background in D&C 4, which was originally addressed to Joseph's father. I don't have my notes, but as I recall, Joseph and Emma had just lost a baby, and Father Joseph had come to comfort when the revelation that every missionary quotes was received. Jensen gave some other background, but I don't have my notes here now--sorry.

  3. I've been reading a Sidney Rigdon book, and I will add that many of the people who were told the field is white, went on to face some considerable opposition and baptize very few. Obviously this had to be a tough thing to reconcile.

  4. IntheDoghouse: I actually had meant to include a reference to Moses 1:39 in my saving souls point. Thanks for tying that in. And the individualized interpretation of "marvelous work" really has me thinking.

    Heretic: I would be interested to hear the background on Section 4. I have to say, I think Joseph's relationship with his father is a very poignant backstory to the Restoration. I imagine that both were very moved by the words in Section 4.

  5. IntheD: I meant to ask, are you already past Lesson 11? We had stake ocnference in Feb, and I assumed that our regular class is a week behind most everyone else. I have tried to stay on schedule with where I assumed most wards are, but maybe my schedule is off?

  6. Teacher,
    I am not teaching Gospel Doctrine class so my schedule is not the same as yours is. I am teaching Young Adult Institute, the Doctrine and Covenants course of study. We actually are going section by section which is a little different than the Sunday School schedule. I am working on Section 25 for next week.
    When I did teach Section 4 we had a really great discussion about the "individual" being His work. That took the other instruction in Section 4 to a whole new level I think.
    Good luck with your lesson.

  7. So I guess my ward is a week behind, since we'll be on this lesson on Sunday (due to a Ward Conference a few weeks ago). I'd be interested to hear how various ideas that were presented came across.

    Teach, I wonder if it would be useful to have such a section on this site - where we could sound off on what works and what didn't and why. What do you think?

  8. Easton: I think that is a great idea. Maybe I should just add a post each Sunday night. Or, I could make it part of my usual Monday post on resources for the upcoming lesson.

    Thanks for the idea, and good luck with lesson. I would be very interested to hear additional thoughts you come up with (I am teaching this on Sunday, too!)

  9. Ok, I found my notes from Elder Jensen regarding the background of D&C 4.

    Joseph and Emma were married in January 1827. Joseph got the plates in Sept 1827. Martin Harris was made a scribe in Feb 1828. In June Harris too the 116 pages.

    Emma gave birth to a boy, who died soon after birth. Then Joseph learned Martin had lost the manuscript. Joseph's parents visited to buoy Joseph up in light of all the things going wrong. At this point, Joseph received D&C 4, which was addressed to Joseph Sr. It must have been a really rough time period for Joseph and Emma.

  10. As followers of Christ we are all called as missionaries. Mathew 28:19-20 tells us what we should do and why we should do it.

    A born again believer should be concerned first about their knowledge of the truth in what they are teaching.

    For example, Jesus' ministry completed everything. Nothing is needed outside the word to lead a person to a correct knowledge of who his or her God is and their need for salvation due to their unholiness compared to God.

    Man has twisted the word for generations making it more and more difficult for even the very elect to maintain focus on the truth.

    A quote by a notorious dictator stated that if he could rule the testbooks within the schools then he could rule the world. The same thing goes for the ruling of the church.

    If one man can dictate what goes into the word and what can be taken out then ultimately he can rule the church. If false teachings can be introduced into "Sunday School" classes then those young people will grow up only to reproduce the lies they have come to know as truth.

    Missionaries of the trew word are desperately needed on every square inch of the globe but unfortunately there are few laborers equiped for the call.


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