This week we are wrapping up the epistles prior to our 3 week study of Revelation. We got a little nerdy this week….
2 Peter 1-3
For this class, I had students open up their scriptures to 1 Peter 1:2–10 and write a mathematical equation for the verses. Theirs was even better than mine — somehow I had ignored the word multiplied. Turned out pretty well. As a group we wrote their equation on the easel and talked about divine nature.
Ater using v 12, 15, 16 as transition material, I wrote False Prophets on the easel. We looked at 2 Peter 2:1–3, 19 for a list of characteristics of false prophets. Then I had students tell me what a true prophet would be like, opposite each item on the list. This discussion went well, too.
(I don’t have pictures of these on my phone, but I will take some and post them soon.)
My conclusion was 2 Peter 3:17–18. May we also be prepared.
1 John 1-5
For this class, I had made something special for a student. One of my students recently one a computer programming contest, and I knew that he would appreciate this.
So, the lesson went like this: I had students open to 1 John 4:12, and I told them I had now proven that Joseph Smith wasn’t a prophet and the church was false. What could they say? They pointed to the JST. I said, since Joseph Smith is a false prophet, I reject his attempts to change the Bible. What would you say? Several made pretty good stabs at it, but eventually I gave them the scripture reference to John 6:45–46, which backs up the JST incidentally, and qualifies John’s statement. It’s particularly effective since it comes from the same author. I had planned to have a student own me with this scripture reference by giving it to him before class and acting out the dispute before the group, but he arrived late and I didn’t think any of the others could do it effectively.
Then we looked at 1 John 2:22 and defined anti-Christ.
Then 1 John 3:9, which was difficult to understand, and I taught them that “his seed” in this verse is more properly “His seed”, or God’s seed. I think it’s a reference to the eternal things we get from God, characteristics, the traits we receive from our Father in Heaven.
The Basic Doctrines Assessment had showed that most of my kids don’t pray regularly, and I have been looking for a way to work prayer into these lessons. 1 John 3:21–23 was finally my opportunity.
You may or may not know that I started out my college career as a computer science major. It took about a month before I realized I didn’t have the math skills and wasn’t going to get them. Differential Whatever it was…. beat me down. I can still code a little bit, but I am not really good enough to write anything complicated. Anyway, that few semesters of exposure and a summer at the now-defunct BYU AHSSP program in 1993 warped me enough that whenever I read an if-then statement in the scriptures I always think of it as code. So I wrote a computer program for 1 John 3:21–23 for my student. Here’s what it looked like on Facebook where several friends commented on it:
Not all the students loved this, but the one I was targeting was all over it. On the board I had written
- What for? Alma 34:17–25
- Where? Alma 34:26
- How to get answers? Alma 34:28, 1 John 3:21–23, 1 John 5:14–15 (used my computer program here)
- How often? D&C 10:5, Alma 34:27
Then I wrote on the board: OBSTACLES, and we described some of the obstacles to praying regularly, like forgetting, falling asleep, having other people around, etc. Then I asked the class for how they are overcoming these — maybe a reminder sign or prayer rock. One used a prayer mat that was on the floor to remind her to pray. Praying when you eat is an easy way to remember. Does praying aloud or on knees help? The key was finding some way to work prayer into our routines.
I explained to the class that a majority of them had indicated they weren’t praying regularly. I told them I wasn’t going to scold them. They already know all of these things — I wasn’t teaching them anything new. They know they should be praying, for what, and when. Many of us should be praying more often. Even those who pray regularly can pray with more sincerity. No matter where you are on the praying scale, we can all pray with more sincerity and frequency to our Father in Heaven. They can pray over meals, even at school, they can pray when they get in bed. I suggested that we all commit to praying more regularly and more sincerely. This went over well.
2 John, 3 John
There isn’t much here, so I covered the introductory material from the manual, read 1 Nephi 3:6–8, Alma 38:3, and Moroni 8:1–2, and did the thing from the manual where you have the parents write a letter to each student saying how they feel when their children walk in truth.
I also showed a movie to the class that I recorded during General Conference this past time. It was called “The Turning of our Hearts” and showed on BYUTV between sessions. It was a really nice (church produced) documentary about a family in Illinois that was struggling, but through genealogy work, eventually had most all its members sealed in the temple over a multi-year period. It was a great story and short enough for class time, running about 27 minutes. All of the kids in the movie are of Seminary age or thereabouts, so it’s relatable. There are themes of divorce and stepfamilies with which many kids can identify, and one son shares his experience asking his father to be sealed to his stepfather. You know it’s going to be good when the opening line is “I met my wife in a bar…”
I showed this film because my kids indicated on the Basic Doctrines Assessment that a majority do not understand that the temple is essential. This video doesn’t really teach that specifically, but the temple/family/ancestor theme is really nice and brings the spirit. No pushiness or fakey-sounding “magic music” in this video. The family even argues on occasion, and mom nearly leaves dad. The only part that was silly was the reproductions of a ward council, which is saying a lot for a church film. The film wraps up with a few words from Elder Bednar.
I gave the students the quiz from Brother Simons on electronic scriptures. Three of my students weren’t present, and I definitely want one of them to respond when she is feeling better (stomach flu). I will probably go ahead and post the preliminary results in the next blog entry, but it will be a few days before I can get totally finished.
A relative went into the hospital with a pretty serious stroke this week, and I couldn’t get a sub. I had to cancel Seminary today, and we didn’t cover Jude.