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.
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
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.”
Not 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.”Read More
La 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.
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.Read More
Due to a scheduling snafu (my bad) this lesson was due to go up next week, but I’ve learned that many Relief Societies are teaching this lesson tomorrow. So, I wanted to throw up a few thoughts, quotes, and links gathered from the collected input of Exponent bloggers on the subject of prayer, in the hopes that something here might be useful. We would love your input as well! Please comment if you have ideas on how to teach this lesson. Let’s use this post as a chance to share thoughts and approaches.
EmilyCC suggests that a great place to go for thoughts about how to teach on prayer is the Exponent archives. This is what I’ve found.
- A terrific lesson by April on prayer.
- A great Young Woman lesson on prayer by Jessica, a guest poster.
- Deborah’s lovely lesson on prayer.
- Jana’s thoughtful lesson on prayer and personal revelation.
I read the manual version today, and was interested in ETB’s remark that “After making a request through prayer, we have a responsibility to assist in its being granted. We should listen. Perhaps while we are on our knees, the Lord wants to counsel us.” It reminded me of something the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said about the lily in the field:
“But the lily who is the teacher is profound. It does not enter into conversation with thee, it keeps silent, and by keeping silent it would signify to thee that thou art before God, that thou shouldst remember that thou art before God—that thou also in seriousness and truth mightest become silent before God.”Read More
Chapter 1: The Great Commandment—Love the Lord
Click for French Translation/Traduction en français
Click for Spanish Translation/Traducción española por Denisse Gómez
President Benson defined loving God as, “To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord.
The breadth, depth, and height of this love of God extend into every facet of one’s life. Our desires, be they spiritual or temporal, should be rooted in a love of the Lord. Our thoughts and affections should be centered on the Lord. “Let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord,” said Alma, “yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).”