Learning Together as the Peaceable Followers of Jesus Christ

“Lesson 2: Learning Together as the Peaceable Followers of Jesus Christ,” Answering My Gospel Questions Teacher Material (2022)

“Learning Together as the Peaceable Followers of Jesus Christ,” Answering My Gospel Questions Teacher Material

young women talking

Lesson 2

Learning Together as the Peaceable Followers of Jesus Christ

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency said, “The ‘father of contention’ is the devil; the Savior is the Prince of Peace” (“Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 26). During this class, and throughout their lives, students will encounter people with differing opinions. In this lesson students will consider how they can engage in discussions about doctrine, teachings, policies, and history of the Church in a spirit of Christlike love, respect, and kindness.

Suggestions for Teaching

Improving Our Teaching and Learning

Invite students to seek the Spirit. In this course students will explore different sources to find answers to their questions. Remind them that the Holy Ghost is the ultimate source of truth and essential in their search for answers to gospel questions. He testifies of the Father and the Son (see 3 Nephi 28:11), reveals the truth of all things (see Moroni 10:5), and helps us to know how to apply what we are learning (see Doctrine and Covenants 11:12). Throughout the course, reinforce the following truth taught by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Inviting the Holy Ghost to be the teacher is a central purpose in all of the Lord’s patterns for learning” (“Learning in the Lord’s Way,” New Era, Oct. 2018, 4).

“What’s New?”

Remind students that in preparation for class they were invited to find a news story from the Newsroom site or Church News app that interested them. If necessary, provide students a few minutes to prepare. Then ask students to form small groups and share what they found. You could display or share a copy of the following questions to help facilitate discussion:

  • Why is this story interesting to you? What did you learn?

  • What did you notice about the approach taken in this news release or story?

  • How does this news release or story draw on the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

  • As you read and thought about this story, did you receive any thoughts or impressions from the Holy Ghost? If so, how did they influence you?

  • Who do you know that could be blessed by the information in this news release or story? What might be the best way to share it with them?

Fostering a sense of belonging

Consider presenting the following scenario or one you feel may be more relevant to your students:

During an institute class, the teacher brings up the topic of same-sex marriage. One student, Marcel, immediately feels anxious. His brother, who identifies as gay, no longer attends church because he does not agree with the Church’s teachings on this topic. Marcel raises his hand and asks, “Do you think the Church will eventually change its position on gay marriage?” Before the teacher can respond, a class member forcefully states, “Of course not! Do you really think God changes His laws just because of trends in society?” Suddenly, another person speaks up and with anger counters, “I think you are wrong! How do you know what God will do in the future? Maybe you shouldn’t be so closed-minded!” As Marcel listens to this exchange, he regrets asking his question.

  • What problems do you see with this discussion?

  • What can happen to Marcel’s faith and testimony if he does not feel safe discussing his sincere questions with other members of the Church?

  • How might others feel who are attending this class?

Display the following incomplete statement on the board: We can feel safe asking difficult questions and discussing sensitive topics if …

Invite students to form small groups and search the following scripture passages, looking for different ways they could complete the displayed statement: Proverbs 15:1; Ephesians 4:15; Mosiah 18:21; 3 Nephi 11:29; Moroni 7:3–4; Moroni 7:45.

After sufficient time for discussion, ask some students to share how their group completed the statement on the board. As students share, you could write their principles on the board. (You may want to record these truths and then display and review them throughout the course.)

To encourage righteous action, you could ask some of the following questions:

  • How might our class be blessed if we embrace and practice these principles?

  • How did Jesus Christ exemplify these principles? (If time permits, you may want to read and discuss John 8:1–11.)

  • When have you seen these principles work in a discussion dealing with a difficult question or sensitive topic?

  • Which of these truths do you need to understand better and apply more fully in your life? (Provide students time to ponder and record their thoughts.)

Consider concluding with the following statement by President Oaks:

President Dallin H. Oaks

Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. (Dallin H. Oaks, “Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 27)

For Next Time

Remind students that in lessons 7–14 we will address topics the class selects. Invite students to write down one question they have about the doctrine, teachings, policies, or history of the Church and bring it to your next class. You may want to use some of these questions to help you choose topics to discuss for those later lessons.