“Introduction to the Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual,” 2017 Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)
“Introduction,” 2017 BoM Seminary Teacher Manual
“Our purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven” (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion , 1).
To achieve our purpose, we teach students the doctrines and principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets. These doctrines and principles are taught in a way that leads to understanding and edification. We help students fulfill their role in the learning process and prepare them to teach the gospel to others.
To accomplish these aims, you and the students you teach are encouraged to incorporate the following Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning as you study the scriptures together:
Teach and learn by the Spirit.
Cultivate a learning environment of love, respect, and purpose.
Study the scriptures daily, and read the text for the course. [Charts for tracking scripture reading of the entire Book of Mormon can be found in the appendix of this manual.]
Understand the context and content of the scriptures and the words of the prophets.
Identify, understand, feel the truth and importance of, and apply gospel doctrines and principles.
Explain, share, and testify of gospel doctrines and principles” (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 10).
This teacher manual has been prepared to help you successfully accomplish these aims.
In addition to accomplishing these aims, you are to help students be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and learn to discern truth from error. Students may have questions about the Church’s doctrine, history, or position on social issues. You can prepare students to address such questions by helping them to achieve Doctrinal Mastery. (See the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and the Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material.)
The Lord commanded those who teach His gospel to “teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel” (D&C 42:12). He further instructed that these truths should be taught as “directed by the Spirit,” which “shall be given … by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:13–14). As you prepare each lesson, prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit to help you understand the scriptures and the doctrines and principles they contain. Likewise, follow the promptings of the Spirit as you plan how to help your students understand the scriptures, learn to be taught by the Holy Ghost, and feel a desire to apply what they learn.
In this course, the Book of Mormon is your primary text as you prepare and teach. Prayerfully study the chapters or verses you will be teaching. Seek to understand the context and content of the scripture block for each lesson, including the story line, people, places, and events. As you become familiar with the context and content of the scripture block, seek to identify doctrines and principles it contains and decide which truths are most important for your students to understand and apply. Once you have identified what your focus will be, determine which methods, approaches, and activities will best help your students learn and apply the sacred truths found in the scriptures.
This manual is designed to aid you in this process. Carefully review the lesson material corresponding to the scripture block you will teach. You may choose to use all or part of the suggestions for a scripture block, or you may adapt the suggested ideas to the needs and circumstances of the students you teach.
It is important that you help students study the entire scripture block in each lesson. Doing so will help them grasp the full message the scripture writer intended to convey. However, as you plan your lesson, you may discover that you do not have enough time in a class period to use all the teaching suggestions in the manual. Seek the direction of the Spirit and prayerfully consider the needs of your students as you determine which portions of the scripture block to emphasize in order to help them feel the truth and importance of gospel truths and apply them in their lives. If time is short, you may need to adapt other portions of the lesson by briefly summarizing a group of verses or by guiding students to quickly identify a principle or doctrine before moving on to the next group of verses.
As you consider how to adapt lesson materials, be sure to follow this counsel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“President Packer has often taught, in my hearing, that we first adopt, then we adapt. If we are thoroughly grounded in the prescribed lesson that we are to give, then we can follow the Spirit to adapt it” (“4.3.4 Decide through Inspiration,” from “A Panel Discussion with Elder Dallin H. Oaks” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 7, 2012], LDS.org).
As you prepare to teach, be mindful of students who have particular needs. Adjust activities and expectations to help them succeed. Communication with parents and leaders will help you be aware of students’ needs and help you succeed in providing a meaningful and edifying experience for the students.
During your lesson preparation, you might choose to use the notes and journal tools on LDS.org or in the Gospel Library app for mobile devices. You can use these tools to mark scriptures, conference addresses, Church magazine articles, and lessons. You can also add and save notes for use during your lessons. To learn more about how to use these tools, see the “Notes on LDS.org” help page on LDS.org.
Some materials in this manual were adapted from the Book of Mormon Student Manual (Church Educational System Manual, 2009).
Book introductions provide an overview of each book. Among other things, they explain who wrote each book, describe some distinctive features of each book, and provide a summary of the content of each book.
Scripture block introductions give a brief overview of the context and content of the scripture block for each lesson.
Scripture blocks are often divided into smaller segments or groups of verses that focus on a particular topic or action. The reference for each verse grouping is followed by a brief contextual summary of events or teachings within that group of verses.
Teaching helps explain principles and methods of gospel teaching. They can assist you in your efforts to improve as a teacher.
The body of the lesson contains guidance for you as you study and teach. It suggests teaching ideas, including questions, activities, quotations, diagrams, and charts.
As doctrines and principles naturally arise from the study of the scripture text, they are emphasized in bold to help you identify and focus on them in your discussion with students.
Pictures of Church leaders and events from the scriptures represent visual aids you could display, if available, as you teach.
The 25 doctrinal mastery passages found in the Book of Mormon are highlighted in context in the lessons in which they appear. For additional information about Doctrinal Mastery, see the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and the Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material on LDS.org or in the Gospel Library app.
Column space in the printed teacher manual can be used for lesson preparation, including writing notes, principles, experiences, or other ideas as you feel prompted by the Holy Ghost.
In the web and mobile app versions of this manual, additional quotations and explanations are provided at the end of some lessons to add to your understanding of historical context, specific concepts, or scripture passages. Use the information in this section to prepare to answer questions or give additional insights as you teach.
In the web and mobile app versions of this manual, supplemental teaching ideas appear at the end of some lessons. These provide suggestions for teaching doctrines and principles that may not be identified or emphasized in the body of the lesson. They may also provide suggestions on using visual media, such as DVD presentations or videos on LDS.org.
This manual contains the following elements for daily seminary teachers: book introductions, 160 daily teacher lessons, and teaching helps.
Book introductions are placed before the first lesson of each book of scripture. The book introductions provide an overview of each book by answering the following questions: Why study this book? Who wrote this book? To whom was this book written and why? When and where was it written? and What are some distinctive features of this book? The introductions also briefly outline the content of each book. Teachers should integrate the context and background information from the book introductions into the lessons as needed.
Each lesson in this manual focuses on a scripture block rather than on a particular concept, doctrine, or principle. This format will help you and your students study the scriptures sequentially and discuss doctrines and principles as they arise naturally from the scripture text. As students learn the context in which a doctrine or principle is found, their understanding of that truth can deepen. In addition, students will be better able to see and understand the full scope of the messages the inspired scripture writers intended to convey. Teaching the scriptures in this way will also help students learn how to discover and apply eternal truths in their personal scripture study.
In each lesson, not all segments of a scripture block are emphasized. Some segments receive less attention because they are less central to the overall message of the inspired writer or because they might be less applicable to youth. You have the responsibility to adapt these materials according to the needs and interests of the students you teach. You might adapt lesson ideas in this manual by choosing to give greater emphasis to a particular doctrine or principle than is given in the lesson material or by choosing to give less emphasis to a segment of the scripture block that is developed in depth in the manual. Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost to help you make these adaptations as you prepare and teach.
In the body of each lesson, you will find that several key doctrines and principles are emphasized in bold. These doctrines and principles are identified in the curriculum because (1) they reflect a central message of the scripture block, (2) they are particularly applicable to the needs and circumstances of the students, or (3) they are key truths that can help students deepen their relationships with the Lord. Be aware that the Book of Mormon teaches numerous truths beyond those identified in the curriculum. President Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the scriptures contain “endless combinations of truths that will fit the need of every individual in every circumstance” (“The Great Plan of Happiness” [CES Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History, Aug. 10, 1993]).
As you teach, consistently provide students with opportunities to identify doctrines and principles in the scriptures. As students express the truths they discover, they may often use words that differ from how a doctrine or principle is stated in this manual. They may also discover truths that are not identified in the lesson outline. Be careful not to suggest that students’ answers are wrong simply because the words they use to express them differ from those used in the manual or because they identify a truth that is not mentioned in the curriculum. However, if a student’s statement is doctrinally incorrect, it is your responsibility to gently help the student correct his or her statement while maintaining an atmosphere of love and trust. Doing so may provide an important learning experience for the students in your class.
This manual contains 160 daily seminary lessons. You may adapt the lessons and pacing as needed for the length of time you have to teach this course. See the appendix of this manual for a sample pacing guide. The pacing guide is based on a 36-week or 180-day school year and includes 20 “flexible days” that you may use to adapt daily lessons, teach the Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material, review previous material, administer and review required learning assessments, and allow for schedule interruptions.
The Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students can be used in the daily seminary programs as a resource to provide students with makeup work. The lessons in the study guide for home-study students parallel those presented in this manual. Students who have excessive absences could be assigned to complete the assignments in the study guide that correspond with the content they missed in class. Assignments can be printed from LDS.org, so you do not need to provide the entire manual to students who need to do makeup work. More information concerning the Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students is provided in the section titled “Home-Study Seminary Program” in this manual.
Teaching helps appear throughout this manual. These teaching helps explain and illustrate how you and the students you teach can apply the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning in your study of the Book of Mormon. They also offer suggestions on how to effectively use a variety of teaching methods, skills, and approaches. As you come to understand the principles contained in the teaching helps, look for ways to practice and apply them consistently in your teaching.
The summary will help you familiarize yourself with the context and the doctrines and principles students studied during the week in the student study guide.
The introduction to the lesson will help you know which principles from the scripture block will be emphasized in the lesson.
Verses are grouped according to where changes in context or content occur throughout the scripture block. The reference for each verse grouping is followed by a brief contextual summary of events or teachings within that group of verses.
The body of the lesson provides guidance for you as you study and teach. It suggests teaching ideas, including questions, activities, quotations, diagrams, and charts.
As doctrines and principles naturally arise from the study of the scripture text, they are emphasized in bold to help you identify and focus on them in your discussion with students.
The last paragraph of each lesson provides a glimpse into the next unit. Share this paragraph with your students at the conclusion of each lesson to help them look forward to studying the scriptures during the coming week.
Under the direction of local priesthood leaders and a Seminaries and Institutes (S&I) representative, home-study seminary classes can be organized in places where students cannot attend a daily class because of distance or other factors (such as a disability). Home-study seminary classes are generally not available where daily (weekday) classes are provided through early-morning or released-time seminary.
The home-study program allows students to receive credit in seminary by completing individual lessons at home rather than attending weekday classes. These lessons are found in a separate manual called the Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students. Once a week, students meet with a seminary instructor to submit their work and participate in a classroom lesson. The student study guide and weekly classroom lessons are further explained below.
The Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students is designed to help the home-study student receive an experience in studying the Book of Mormon similar to that of the seminary student who attends weekday classes. Therefore, the pacing of the student study guide as well as the doctrines and principles it emphasizes parallel the material in this manual. Because the student study guide has not yet been revised to include Doctrinal Mastery, it also includes scripture mastery instruction. Scripture mastery passages are addressed in context as they appear in the scripture text, and often writing activities are provided in the lessons in which the passages are covered. Until the Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students is revised to include Doctrinal Mastery, home-study students are to complete the scripture mastery assignments as outlined in the manual.
Each week, home-study seminary students are to complete four lessons from the student study guide and participate in a weekly lesson given by their seminary teacher. Students complete the numbered assignments from the study guide in their scripture study journals. Students should have two scripture study journals so they can leave one with their teacher and continue working in the other. As students meet with their teacher each week, one journal is turned in to the home-study teacher and the other is given back to the student to use for the next week’s lessons. (For example, during one week, the student completes assignments in journal one. The student then brings this journal to class and gives it to the teacher. During the next week, the student completes assignments in journal two. When the student hands in journal two, the teacher returns journal one. The student then uses journal one to complete the next week’s assignments.)
All seminary students are encouraged to study the scriptures daily and read the text for the course, but home-study students should understand that they are also expected to spend 30 to 40 minutes on each of the four home-study lessons in each unit and attend the weekly home-study lesson.
Each unit in the Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students corresponds to five lessons in the daily teacher manual. After every fifth lesson in this manual, you will find one weekly home-study teacher lesson. The home-study lessons will help students review, deepen their understanding of, and apply the doctrines and principles they learned as they completed the lessons in the student study guide during the week. These lessons may also explore additional truths not covered in the student study guide. (For help in planning your lesson schedule, see the pacing guide for home-study teachers in the appendix of this manual.)
As a home-study teacher, you should have a thorough understanding of what your students are studying at home each week so you can answer questions and create meaningful discussions when you meet with them. Ask students to bring their scriptures, scripture study journals, and student study guides to the weekly class so they can refer to them during the lesson. Adapt the lessons according to the needs of the students you teach and according to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. You may also want to refer to the daily teacher lessons in this manual as you prepare and teach. A study of the teaching helps and methods used in the daily lessons can help enrich your weekly teaching. Accommodate any particular needs of the students you teach. For example, if a student has difficulty writing, allow him or her to use a voice-recording device or dictate thoughts to a family member or friend who can write down his or her responses.
At the end of each weekly lesson, collect students’ scripture study journals and encourage them in their continued study. Provide them with a scripture study journal for the next week’s assignments, as explained above in the section called “Study Guide for Home-Study Students.”
As you read through assignments in students’ scripture study journals, respond periodically to their work by writing a small note or commenting the next time you see them. You may also want to seek other ways to provide support and meaningful feedback. This will help students know that you care about their work and will help motivate them to be thorough in their answers. (Under the direction of priesthood leaders and parents, stake [called] seminary teachers may communicate electronically with seminary students enrolled in home-study seminary.)
Most of students’ efforts to master key scripture passages will be made as they complete their home-study lessons. Home-study teachers can follow up on students’ efforts during the home-study lessons by inviting students to recite or review scripture mastery passages that arise in the text for that week’s unit of study.
The Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (bmtm.lds.org) and the Book of Mormon Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students are available on LDS.org and in the Gospel Library for mobile devices. The web and mobile app versions of the teacher manual contain additional Commentary and Background Information, Supplemental Teaching Ideas, and media resources that are not included in this printed manual because of space limitations.
Teachers and students may use the online and mobile notes and journal tools to mark and add notes to the digital versions of these manuals as they prepare lessons and study the scriptures. Teacher manuals and student study guides are also available on LDS.org for download as PDF files.
The following resources are available online, through your supervisor, through local Church distribution centers, and through the Church’s online store (store.lds.org):
- Book of Mormon DVD Presentations 1–19 (item no. 54011)
- Media Library on LDS.org
- LDS Media Library App for mobile devices
- Gospel Art Book (2009) (item no. 06048)
- Study Journal (2016)
- True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004) (item no. 36863)
- Gospel Topics on LDS.org
- For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011) (item no. 09403)
- Book of Mormon Student Manual (Church Educational System manual, 2009) (item no. 32506)