March Young Women Lesson: What does it mean to have faith in Jesus Christ?

jane-manning-james

This Young Women’s lesson can be found here; the Young Men’s version is here. Questions for the class are in italics.

Introduce the doctrine

I would start this lesson with Moroni 7:33, 40-41

 33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

And/or “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” (I’m partial to this version from the group Eleyni and love that, as a group with Latina members, they chose to sing it in both English and Spanish.)

What does it mean to you to have faith in Jesus Christ?

The manual offers this suggestion: Ask the young women to write down the name of a woman in the scriptures who showed great faith. Collect their papers. Read the names aloud, and invite the young women to tell the stories of these women.

I love this idea. Given the scarcity of women in the scriptures, we can assume that any woman coming forward to do something God asked of her had great faith.

Learn together

The talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen: “How does the Savior see my faith?” (see “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice”) is listed as a resource for this lesson. This talk has several good stories that might be good for discussion in your class.

This quote is my favorite part of Elder Andersen’s message, “Addressing honest questions is an important part of building faith, and we use both our intellect and our feelings. The Lord said, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart.”13 Not all answers will come immediately, but most questions can be resolved through sincere study and seeking answers from God. Using our mind without our heart will not bring spiritual answers. “The things of God knoweth no man, but [through] the Spirit of God.”14 And to help us, Jesus promised us “another Comforter” and called Him “even the Spirit of truth.”15.”

I would love to have someone in the class or a leader tell a story of asking hard questions and the faith that was built by asking the question even (perhaps particularly) if the answer didn’t come.

Another couple examples of people living by faith in Jesus Christ despite systemic and overt racism is seen in this blog post by Zandra Vranes. She talks about moving from Atlanta, where she was often the only member of the Church, to Utah, where she was often the only person of color in her youth activities. She goes on to tell the story of Jane Elizabeth Manning James and how Jane’s live gave her faith and the strength to stay strong. If I was teaching this lesson, I would have one girl read Zandra’s story ahead of time and present it to the class and another girl read and prepare to present on Jane’s story.

Are there problems in our society that make you feel isolated or find it difficult to have faith?

Another talk referred to in this lesson is President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s “A Summer with Great-Aunt Rose.” This is a lovely story about Aunt Rose, a woman who never married or had children, teaching her great niece. It is a shame that the Young Men do not have this story included in their lesson plan for this same topic, and if you teach Young Men, I hope you will consider sharing this story with them.

My favorite quote from this story is here:

“It is love—the pure love of Christ,” Rose said. “You see, everything else in the gospel—all the shoulds and the musts and the thou shalts —lead to love. When we love God, we want to serve Him. We want to be like Him. When we love our neighbors, we stop thinking so much about our own problems and help others to solve theirs.”

How do the should and musts help you build faith?

We talk about obedience so often. How does obedience bring about love?

Live what we are learning

As Latter-day Saints, we believe that we are not saved only in our faith alone but also by the good works we do. Have a class member read James 2:14–20.

There are a lot of complicated arguments on both sides. Isn’t faith sufficient because of Christ’s sacrifice? Or, we can’t rest on our laurels and therefore, must have both faith and continually be doing good.

I would say the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Because we want to build our faith, we try to do good because doing good helps us become better people. As we become faithful, we eventually (I’m still waiting for this, I’ll admit) find it easier to do good continually in healthy and productive ways.

Encourage your class to think about what good they can do and how it might help build their faith in Jesus Christ.

Close with testimony.

EmilyCC

EmilyCC works for a national non-profit and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her spouse and three children. She is a former editor of Exponent II and a founding blogger at The Exponent.

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