Visiting Teaching March 2015: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Long-suffering and Patient

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation

hourglassFrom about the age of 18 and well into my 20’s, every single blessing I had—blessings for study, blessing for heath in illness, being set apart— you name it, the blessing told me to “be patient.” This includes the time I declared my patriarchal blessing was a mistake, so my grandmother made some calls that resulted in a “new” blessing. This “new” patriarchal blessing told me my “old” patriarchal blessing was fine and in force, but, among a few important and intensely private additions—primarily reminded me that I needed to be patient. I grew to dread hearing the word, and by my mid-20’s, I began avoiding blessings from anyone just in case the term “patient” came up.

 

So when I saw that this month’s visiting teaching message was focused of Christ’s attributes of long-suffering and patient …. I was well-familiar and versed in the included admonitions.

 

But guess what? I’m still terrible at being patient.

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Relief Society Lesson 6: Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer

Jesus-Picture-Christ-Teaching-Samarian-Woman-At-The-Well

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation
Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

I think this lesson is more challenging than it looks at first glance. The life, death, and resurrection of the Savior is the foundation of the gospel and is very dear to us in individually. Because it’s both foundational and personal I think it could be challenging to teach a lesson that is meaningful for each member of the class. As teachers we risk repeating obvious platitudes or leading the discussion into topics that only a subset of the class can relate to. This is also the risk of a manual that uses quotations from only one person. Even though that person is a prophet, his voice will resonate with some people more than with others.

What is your goal as you prepare this lesson? What do you want the women in your Relief Society class to experience in your precious 40 minutes with them? Here are a few possible goals I can think of, no doubt there are many others.

  • Feeling the love Jesus Christ has for them
  • Increased faith in the reality of Jesus Christ (Sections 2 and 3 in the lesson)
  • Feeling hope in the resurrection and being reunited with loved ones who have died (Section 1 in the lesson)
  • Feeling hope in the possibility of personal change through the atonement (Section 1 in the lesson)
  • Increased gratitude for the gift of the atonement
  • A new insight into what it looks like to rely on the Savior (Section 4 in the lesson)
  • Increased knowledge/awareness of how Ezra Taft Benson testified of the Savior (lesson introduction)
  • Increased desire to share our testimony of Jesus with friends and loved ones (Section 3 in the lesson)
  • Refreshed our thoughts on what it means to “be like Jesus.” (Section 5 in the lesson)

Depending on the what you decide to focus on, I suggest using a few quotes from the manual that are relevant to your topic, then supplementing that with additional voices and stories on that topic. Here are some suggestions:

  • Read a favorite story from the life of Jesus and explain why it’s meaningful to you
  • Carefully choose hymns that teach about the aspect of the lesson you’d most like to emphasize
  • Ahead of time, ask women from the class to prepare thoughts on a personal experience with the atonement that they will share with the class; give other class members the same opportunity
  • Recall stories from family history, church history, scripture, or literature that illustrate the points you would like to make.
  • Share New Testament stories in which Jesus interacted with women

It’s impossible to tell what will speak to each woman in the class, and impossible to say something meaningful to each one individually. But every woman is coming to Relief Society with something weighing on her heart, and each one needs the Savior’s love. Stories have the power to teach and lift in ways that feel miraculously personal because each person brings her own experiences to the story. I think this is why Jesus taught in parables, and I think a lesson on Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, begs that we re-tell the “stories of Jesus, things that he would tell… if he were here.

Leçon de la Société de Secours n°6 : Jésus-Christ, notre Sauveur et Rédempteur

Jesus-Picture-Christ-Teaching-Samarian-Woman-At-The-WellJe pense que cette leçon est plus difficile qu’elle n’a l’air. La vie, la mort et la résurrection du Sauveur sont la fondation de l’Evangile et nous sont très chers individuellement. Comme elles sont à la fois personnelles et fondamentales, je pense que c’est difficile d’enseigner une leçon qui soit significative pour chaque membre de la classe. En tant qu’instructrices, nous courons le risque de répéter des platitudes évidentes ou d’amener la discussion dans des directions qui parlent à seulement une partie de la classe. Ceci est un risque également d’un manuel qui cite seulement une personne. Même si cette personne est un prophète, sa voix résonnera plus avec certaines personnes qu’avec d’autres.

Quel est votre objectif en préparant cette leçon? Que voulez-vous que les femmes de votre classe expérimentent pendant les 40 minutes que vous passez ensemble? Voici quelques objectifs possibles auxquels je pense, il y en a surement d’autres :

  • Ressentir l’amour que Jésus-Christ à pour nous
  • Agrandir la foi dans la réalité de Jésus-Christ (les sections 2 et 3 de la leçon)
  • Ressentir de l’espoir dans la résurrection et la réunion avec ceux qui sont morts (la section 1 de la leçon)
  • Ressentir de l’espoir dans la possibilité de changer par l’intermédiaire de l’Expiation (la section 1 de la leçon)
  • Agrandir la reconnaissance pour le don de l’Expiation
  • Créer une nouvelle vision de ce que c’est dépendre du Sauveur (la section 4 de la leçon)
  • Apprendre comment Ezra Taft Benson témoignait du Sauveur (l’introduction de la leçon)
  • Nourrir le désir de partager notre témoignage de Jésus avec nos amis et nos proches (la section 3 de la leçon)
  • Nous rappeler de ce que cela veut dire « être comme Jésus » (la section 5 de la leçon)

Selon l’axe que vous choisissez, je suggère de prendre quelques citations du manuel qui sont pertinentes et d’utiliser d’autres histoires et sources sur le même sujet. Voici quelques suggestions :

  • Lire une histoire préférée de la vie de Jésus et expliquer pourquoi elle est significative pour vous.
  • Choisir un cantique qui parle de la partie de la leçon qui vous voudriez souligner.
  • Demander à quelques sœurs à l’avance de préparer quelques pensées sur l’Expiation; donner l’occasion aux autres de partager une expérience.
  • Raconter des histoires de l’histoire familiale, l’histoire de l’Eglise, les Ecritures ou de la littérature qui illustrent les points que vous voudriez souligner.
  • Partager des histoires du Nouveau Testament où Jésus interagit avec des femmes.

C’est impossible de savoir ce qui va parler à chaque femme de la classe et de dire quelque chose de significative à chacune d’entre elles. Mais chaque femme vient à la Société de Secours avec quelque chose qui pèse sur le cœur, et chacune a besoin de l’amour du Sauveur. Les histoires ont le pouvoir d’enseigner et de relever d’une façon qui semble miraculeusement personnelle car chaque personne apporte ces propres expériences à l’histoire. Je pense que c’est la raison pour laquelle Jésus a enseigné par des paraboles. Je pense qu’une leçon sur Jésus-Christ, notre Sauveur et Rédempteur requiert que nous racontons les histoires qu’il raconterait lui-même s’il était là.

 

Sociedad de Socorro
Traducción por Cesar Carreón Tapia
Lección 6: “Jesucristo, nuestro Salvador y Redentor”

Esta lección puede ser más difícil de lo que parece a primera vista. La vida, la muerte y la Resurrección del Salvador son el fundamento del Evangelio y es un tema muy apreciado individualmente. Ya que es algo tan fundamental y personal a la vez, puede ser un reto enseñar una lección que sea significativa para todas las hermanas en la clase. Como maestras nos arriesgamos a repetir clichés obvios o llevar la discusión a temas con los que sólo una parte de la clase puede relacionarse. Este es también el riesgo de un manual que utiliza citas de una sola persona. A pesar de que esa persona es un profeta, su voz resonará con algunas personas más que con otras.

¿Cuál es su objetivo al preparar esta lección? ¿Qué quiere que las mujeres en su clase de Sociedad de Socorro experimenten en esos preciosos cuarenta minutos? Aquí hay algunas metas posibles, aunque sin duda hay muchas otras:

  • Sentir el amor que Jesucristo tiene por nosotras.
  • Aumentar nuestra fe en la realidad de Jesucristo (Secciones 2 y 3 de la lección).
  • Sentir esperanza en la Resurrección y en reunirnos con nuestros seres queridos que han muerto (Sección 1 de la lección).
  • Esperanza en la posibilidad de un cambio personal a través de la Expiación (Sección 1 de la lección).
  • Sentir mayor gratitud por el don de la Expiación.
  • Una nueva visión de lo que es confiar en el Salvador (Sección 4 de la lección).
  • Mayor conocimiento y conciencia de cómo Ezra Taft Benson testificó del Salvador (introducción de la lección).
  • Aumentar el deseo de compartir nuestro testimonio de Jesús con nuestra familia y seres queridos (Sección 3 de la lección).
  • Refrescar nuestras ideas sobre lo que significa “ser como Jesús” (Sección 5 de la lección).

En función del enfoque que desee dar a la lección, se sugiere utilizar algunas citas del manual que sean relevantes para su tema y a continuación complementar con voces adicionales e historias sobre el mismo. He aquí algunas sugerencias:

  • Leer su historia favorita de la vida de Jesús y explicar por qué es significativa para usted.
  • Elegir cuidadosamente himnos que enseñen sobre el aspecto de la lección que más le gustaría enfatizar.
  • Pedir con anticipación a las mujeres de la clase que preparen pensamientos sobre una experiencia personal con la Expiación para que puedan compartir en la clase; dar a otros miembros de la clase la misma oportunidad.
  • Recordar anécdotas de la historia familiar, historia de la Iglesia, pasajes de las Escrituras o de la literatura que ilustren los puntos que enseñe.
  • Compartir historias del Nuevo Testamento en las que Jesús interactuó con las mujeres.

Es imposible saber lo que va a decir cada mujer en la clase, y es imposible decir algo significativo para cada una de ellas individualmente. Pero toda mujer llega a la Sociedad de Socorro con algo que pesa sobre su corazón, y cada una necesita el amor del Salvador. Las historias tienen el poder de enseñarnos y elevarnos en una manera que se siente milagrosamente personal, ya que cada persona aporta su propia experiencia a la historia. Creo que esto es por lo que Jesús enseñó en parábolas, y creo que una lección sobre Jesucristo, nuestro Salvador y Redentor, requiere que volvamos a contar las “historias de Cristo, las cosas que Él diría… si Él estuviera aquí”.

 

 

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Relief Society Lesson 4: Living Joyfully in Troubled Times

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation


It seems imperative that this lesson be taught alongside of and heavily referring to Elder Holland’s, “Like a Broken Vessel” talk from the October 2013 General Conference. Many of the quotes in this lesson imply that happiness is a choice and depression and depressive thoughts are caused by the devil and/or by poor decisions. It would be helpful to have other correlated material that pushes back on those beliefs, especially in regards to clinical depression and other mental and emotional illnesses.

Introduction

I would begin the lesson by having the members of the class make a list of things that bring them joy. This could be done individually and then brought to the class as a whole. Once you have gotten a significant list of activities and experiences that bring joy into their lives, ask them to ponder on a very difficult time in their life. Were any of the things they initially listed a part of their life during their time of difficulty? If so, did those things help to alleviate some pressure or emotional pain they were feeling? If not, do they feel that some of the things on their list would have been helpful? Did they feel those things were even a possibility during difficult times in their lives? Remind the sisters that not all things will always be possible (i.e. one sister may find that running brings much joy but if her time of difficulty included an injury or major illness, this activity may not be possible. Depression may also take away our desire to do the things that traditionally have brought us great joy). As women, we are often pushed to put aside our own care in favor of serving our families and the Church. Have a discussion about the importance of nourishing self-care, even if it is only for a short time each day.


With faith in our Heavenly Father, we can have hope for the future, optimism in our present tasks and inner peace

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February 2015 Visiting Teaching Message: The Attributes of Jesus Christ: Without Sin

Traduction en français/Click for French Translation

Let’s be real. Any discussion of sin makes me uncomfortable. Sure, we all sin. But because we all do it…. it can get weird when we are supposed to discuss it. Especially in such a personal setting such as Visiting Teaching. My sin is my business, and if I am visiting teaching you, or even if not, your sin is your business. So whilst I know that this month’s message is focused on Christ and His lack of sin… any discussion of sin, for me has a judgmental feeling when compared to spirit of healing that attends with discussion of atonement. In this, this month’s message made me feel a little like I was winding up to “cast the first stone.”

 

cafeNot wanting to do this, I pondered and how to teach it, with love. In this, I remembered a night. Long ago. I was a YSA, faithfully fulfilling callings at my ward, at Institute and even the stake. I never felt comfortable with the crowd I deemed to be “Unwelcoming Molly-ish” (the kind of folks I envision now write these messages). So although I served with many of those individuals in the cliques, I socialised more with church attending, but peripheral individuals. In this, I had become very close to one woman. I trusted her, which for me, was something uncommon. We served together in a presidency, sat together between LDS boyfriends in Sacrament meeting and sometimes shared transportation to church activities. Her background was as imperfect as mine… which in this case, meant some of her family attended church, some did not, neither of us were from Utah (or predominantly LDS communities) and her father was not an RM (neither was mine, a strange factor sometimes in church clique socialising for us). We weren’t fringe dissenters, but we weren’t “church culture clique,” either.

 

She asked me to go out with her to grab dinner, I think. It might have been dessert. She mainly wanted to talk. As she spoke, she told me that she had sex, “once by choice, once not.”

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Relief Society Lesson 3: Freedom of Choice, An Eternal Principle

woman sunsetLa liberté de choisir, un principe éternel/ Traduction en français/Click for French Translation
Traducción española por Denisse Gómez/Click for Spanish Translation

I wrote a lesson plan on this exact topic 7 years ago, so I’m going to heavily borrow from that earlier lesson, particularly in the beginning section.

Introduction

I like brainstorming questions to start out lessons. I think it gets people comfortable and immediately involved. So I might ask, what comes to mind when you hear the word agency?What associations do you have with it? You can list some of their ideas on the board. When you or someone else brings up some of these ideas (choice, respect, Christ, plan of salvation, action, etc.) throughout the lessons, you can refer to the list.

I might go into the root of the word. It’s from the Latin verb, ‘ago’ which means do, drive, discuss, or act. It’s a word that is clearly about acting, about doing. There’s nothing passive about it. We are the agents, the actors, the subjects of our lives. It’s up to us to use our agency wisely, to proactively make good decisions.

Section 1: Agency is an Eternal Principle

This section talks about the War in Heaven, in which God rejects Satan’s anti-choice plan in favor of one that honors agency. You might want to read through some verses about the war in heaven and ask your class: What insights do you gain about agency from the story? If you need to be more specific, you can narrow it a bit. What do you learn about God as our parent and agency? What do they learn about spirit children and agency? (This might seem a bit simplistic, and you may have to prime the pump by first talking about an insight you gain from the story, but I actually think there’s a lot to say here.)

These are some possible ideas that the class (or you) might want to bring up:

- that even God lost 1/3 of his children due to the bad choices – the agency – of those children. It strikes me that given the fact that God himself wasn’t able to succeed with a good number of his children, it’s rather a miracle that any of us succeed to any degree with ours.

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