Ether 4 & 5 – Building Spirituality

[example of student work – click on picture to see a close-up]

Today as a class we studied Ether 4 & 5. But there was so much meat in this part of the scriptures that I decided to hold what I call “Spiritual Midterms.” We’ve done this off and one throughout the year, but it is where I give them portions of the scripture block, activity suggestions, and an assignment to prepare a spiritual presentation. In essence, it is to test their level of maturity regarding spiritual topics.

As I’ve done this, I’ve noticed their maturity has increased with with gospel discussions and topics. For example, they are now much more comfortable in front of a group sharing the gospel than they were at the beginning of the year. This also has been excellent prep for their missions, future leadership opportunities, etc., in addition to making sure they stay involved and do not sleep through these early morning hours. As a result, some of them have shared they have really enjoyed seminary.

So I explained again to the class (they’ve heard this a couple of times, but I feel it’s good to remind them of their future). “In just a year or two, most of you will be serving in your college student wards. As a result, some of you may be Sunday School teachers, or teaching in Priesthood or Relief Society. Your presentations here in seminary, while shorter than an entire priesthood or sunday school lesson, can help you feel comfortable teaching about the gospel.”

I then remind them of several important points when sharing the gospel:

  1. Find a way to get the listeners into the scriptures themselves.
  2. Find the theme the spirit is leading you to in the assigned section of the scripture.
  3. Make a visual aid to help the hearer remember what you’re teaching.
  4. Seal the entire moment with your testimony.

(Sometimes I’ll write suggestions like this on the board, so that they can check themselves while teaching their peers.)

So today, I copied a portion of the teacher’s manual from page 259 to 260. I divided the topic

“Ether 3:21-4:18. When we are prepared, the Lord will reveal more sacred records to us”

into three smaller sections. Three teams received one each from that part.

Team four received the topic “Ether 5. The Lord uses the law of witnesses to testify of His work”.

And teams five and six received half each of “Ether 6:1-12. The righteous are often led by the Lord to safety”.

I gave the teams about fifteen minutes to research their scriptures, determine their theme and what they would bear witness to, and how they were going to involve the class in the scriptures. They also were able to illustrate their theme or main point through a triarama (you can see a few examples of what the kids did in the above picture) – although it is important for the kids to realize that normally the visual aid needs to be easily seen from the back of the room. Since we have such a small class of only twelve students and we meet in a home, things are quite cozy for us and our visual aids can be smaller.

Today the first four teams presented their portion of these gospel teachings. Tomorrow the final two teams will share their parts. I’m grateful for the witness and inspiration of some of these youth. Truly at times they astonish me with their insights.

Until tomorrow,

just another early-morning-seminary-teacher mom!
 

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