Tag Archives: sunday school

LDS youth excited, ‘anxiously engaged’ in new church curriculum

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First off, let me say that I really don’t mean for this post to be negative. I think the new youth curriculum is a step in the right direction. However, we are still teaching youth, so there are always going to be challenges…

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, ┬áin January of this year the youth (Sunday School classes, Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings, and YW classes) started using a new curriculum called Come, Follow Me. The old manuals were dated and had stories and analogies that the youth just couldn’t relate to. If you stuck to the material (like some teachers feel you have to do), then the youth weren’t interested. If you chose to go off on your own, that would work, but it was a lot more work. The new material is based on recent talks by General Authorities and a lot of the Mormon Messages for Youth videos. The material is current, and the youth are to be more involved in the lessons.

Recently KSL TV in Salt Lake City had an article and video about how youth are excited about the new curriculum. As I watched the video, I thought to myself, “Yeah, right!” (said with a sarcastic tone). The experience we’ve had around here is not quite like the video is describing. Don’t get me wrong. I love the YM that I work with and my wife loves the YW she works with (she is the YW President), but the youth are far from excited about much Church-related things these days. That to me is the big challenge. Our youth have at most 10 members attending their high school of 1,000 people. They are surrounded by people who swear, look at pornography, drink, are sexually active, and more, and it is hard. I think they ultimately want to do what is right, but they sometimes seem beaten down by the realities of life.

This isn’t to say that I’m giving up. Far from it. But I just wanted to post something in case there are other leaders out there frustrated. Sometimes we hear these glowing stories about how a new program is working miracles, but when we look at our own experiences we haven’t seen the success. I’m confident that as I continue to prepare lessons, treat the YM with respect, and love them, that they will be able to feel the love of God through me. That can only be a good thing!

Alma 5 questions

I substituted in Sunday School today and taught lesson 22 from the Book of Mormon. This covers Alma 5 – 7. Obviously we spent the whole time on Alma 5, and we only got halfway through.

I had prepared 30 copies of a handout that included all of the questions. There are 42 question marks, so I’ve left it at 42 questions. There are some long questions that are multi-part, so at one point I counted that there were 47 questions.

Anyway, here are the questions.

  1. Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? (v6)
  2. Have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? (v6)
  3. Have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell? (v6)
  4. Were they destroyed? (v8)
  5. Were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? (v9)
  6. On what conditions are they saved? (v10)
  7. Grounds had they to hope for salvation? (v10)
  8. Is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell? (v10)
  9. Did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? (v11)
  10. Is he not a holy prophet? (v11)
  11. Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them? (v11)
  12. Have ye spiritually been born of God? (v14)
  13. Received his image in your countenances? (v14)
  14. Have you experienced this mighty change in your hearts? (v14)
  15. Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? (v15)
  16. Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body? (v15)
  17. Can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth? (v16)
  18. Do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say -Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth-and that he will save you? (v17)
  19. Can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God? (v18)
  20. Can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? (v19)
  21. Can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances? (v19)
  22. Can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil? (v20)
  23. What will these things testify against you? (v22)
  24. Do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white? (v24)
  25. How will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? (v22)
  26. Will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness? (v23)
  27. If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? (v26)
  28. Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? (v27)
  29. Can ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? (v27)
  30. Can ye say that your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins? (v27)
  31. Are ye stripped of pride? (v28)
  32. Is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? (v29)
  33. Is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions? (v30)
  34. If ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? (v39)
  35. If you are not sheep of the good shepherd, the devil is your shepherd. Who can deny this? (v39)
  36. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? (v45)
  37. Do ye suppose that I know of their surety? (v45)
  38. Can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches? (v53)
  39. Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance-Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them? (v54-55)
  40. What have ye to say against this? (v58)
  41. What shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? (v59)
  42. If a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? (v59)

Using our time wisely

I don’t have any quotes from a General Authority to share, but I do have a quote to share from my wife (who in my life carries as much or more influence as the GAs). A couple of weeks ago in Sunday School we were talking about King Benjamin and his admonition to serve others. The teacher got a discussion going about having time for service, and how hard it can be. Among the comments made, my wife said the following:

“If we use our time properly, the things that don’t matter will fall out of the way or we’ll find a way to get things done. We won’t feel like we’re busy. If we find that we are busy, it is because we are focusing on the wrong things.”

I think that is one of the most profound things she has ever said, and I totally agree. If I feel myself getting bogged down with things, it is almost always because I am focused on things that don’t really matter. On the other hand, I can have a really “busy” week of Church things (my wife out on a Tuesday for a Relief Society activity, my wife out Wednesday for a YW activity, my teaching Institute on Wednesday, Ward Temple Night on a Thursday, etc), but it doesn’t feel busy. It just feels like life, and it is a good life.