“Introduction,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual (2009), 1–4
“Introduction,” Book of Mormon Teacher Manual, 1–4
As the instructor for this course of study, you have the privilege of helping students discover, understand, and live the saving truths in the Book of Mormon. In your preparation to teach, follow the Lord’s admonition to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost, “for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men” (2 Nephi 33:1). The most important things you can do to prepare to teach are to prayerfully study the scriptures and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This manual supplements your preparation. It provides introductory information for each scripture block, identifies important gospel principles in the scripture block, and suggests ways you may teach those principles to help students understand and apply them. Whether you are a full-time teacher or a volunteer, this manual will help you prepare to teach.
This manual contains 56 chapters and is designed to be used during an entire school year. It includes Religion 121, which consists of 1 Nephi 1 through Alma 29, and Religion 122, which consists of Alma 30 through Moroni 10. Each lesson should be taught in approximately 50 minutes. If you are teaching a semester course over 14 weeks, this allows for two lessons per week. If you are teaching once each week, adapt the material according to your circumstances. Do not be discouraged if you have insufficient time to teach every aspect of each scripture block or all the recommended doctrines and principles. Select and teach those you feel are most important for your students.
Each chapter has three sections:
Some Doctrines and Principles
Suggestions for Teaching
The introduction highlights general themes in the scripture block.
The section titled “Some Doctrines and Principles” contains a list of central doctrines and principles in the assigned scripture block. For example, chapter 23, which focuses on Alma 1–4, lists the following doctrines and principles:
Latter-day Saints must avoid priestcraft (see Alma 1).
God will strengthen us as we resist wickedness (see Alma 2).
Pure testimony combats pride (see Alma 4).
In addition to the doctrines and principles listed in this section, you might find other important truths that you feel should be taught. Under the direction of the Holy Ghost, carefully select any additional doctrines and principles you may desire to include. However, keep in mind that if a principle or doctrine from a scripture block is not addressed in one chapter, it may be presented in another chapter with a scripture block that teaches the topic more completely.
The “Suggestions for Teaching” section offers specific ideas for each item listed under “Some Doctrines and Principles.” In some chapters, the “Suggestions for Teaching” section also contains suggestions for significant ideas not listed under “Some Doctrines and Principles.”
Each teaching suggestion begins with this icon:
These suggestions act as a guide during your lesson preparation, and you may adapt them to the needs of those you teach. Remember, your responsibility is to teach as the Spirit directs, helping students understand doctrines and principles. You do not need to cover all the material. Instead, help the students understand the scripture block within the constraints of your teaching situation and according to their needs.
Throughout the manual, scripture mastery passages are highlighted with this icon:
Book of Mormon Student Manual: Religion 121–122 (item number 32506). Each chapter in the student manual contains sections titled “Points to Ponder” and “Suggested Assignments.” The questions in the “Points to Ponder” section and the activities in the “Suggested Assignments” section can help students deepen their understanding and apply the principles of the scriptures in their lives.
Several teaching ideas in the teacher manual refer you to the student manual. Consider using the student manual in every lesson to develop ideas, questions, and assignments.
Companion DVD. Packaged with this teacher manual is a DVD. The DVD contains audio and video recordings of latter-day prophets and other General Authorities and general officers of the Church, sharing words of counsel that are quoted in the student manual and the teacher manual. In the manual, the quotations that are available on the DVD are highlighted with this icon:
Words of Latter-day Prophets, General Authorities, and General Officers of the Church. As you study talks given in general conference and articles in Church magazines, look for additional teachings that can help you and your students understand and apply the scriptures.
Other Church-Produced Publications. This manual frequently quotes from other approved Church publications, including the Bible Dictionary, the Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.lds.org), True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (item number 36863), and For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God (pamphlet, item number 36550).
The scriptures are your primary resource as you prepare lessons. This manual helps you teach your students from the scriptures.
You may use this teacher manual in three principal ways:
You may closely follow the teaching suggestions as outlined.
You may use the manual as a study guide to help you identify principles and themes to develop in your lesson.
You may use the manual as a resource to supplement ideas that come to you as you study the scripture blocks.
For each scripture block, choose the doctrines, principles, and events that are most important for your students to understand. Let the promptings of the Spirit and the needs of your students guide you as you decide what to teach. Study the scripture block thoroughly, making note of the doctrines, principles, events, and difficult words or phrases that you will help students understand. You may benefit from reading the scripture block more than once.
You are not obligated to teach all the suggested doctrines and principles in each chapter. In fact, you will likely find that you do not have the time to do so. Elder Richard G. Scott counseled: “Remember, your highest priority is not to get through all the material if that means that it cannot be properly absorbed. Do what you are able to do with understanding” (“To Understand and Live Truth,” address to CES religious educators, Feb. 4, 2005, 2, ldsces.org).
As you decide which methods you will use to teach, remember the spiritual maturity of your students. Speaking to seminary and institute teachers, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961) of the First Presidency stated, “You do not have to sneak up behind this spiritually experienced youth and whisper religion in his ears” (The Charted Course of the Church in Education, rev. ed. [pamphlet, 1994], 9).
Because many of your students are spiritually mature, you can expect them to take their role as students seriously. Plan ways to help them take responsibility for their learning. The following suggestions may be helpful:
Encourage them to read the assigned scripture block and the material in the student manual before each lesson. In addition, help them develop a habit of daily scripture study. Encourage them to study the Book of Mormon throughout their lives.
Give them opportunities to ask and answer questions. Good questions can help them take responsibility for their learning. As they ponder the doctrines and principles in the Book of Mormon, encourage them to explain meanings, share insights, and bear testimony of the truths they learn. Create an environment in which students know they have the privilege to listen and speak. Provide opportunities for them to edify one another (see D&C 88:122).
Avoid using lecture as the only teaching method. Instead, allow students to discover truths. Guide them to see what you and others have seen—and even to see things that you have never noticed before. Remember the comments of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “I have observed a common characteristic among the instructors who have had the greatest influence in my life. They have helped me to seek learning by faith. They refused to give me easy answers to hard questions. In fact, they did not give me any answers at all. Rather, they pointed the way and helped me take the steps to find my own answers. I certainly did not always appreciate this approach, but experience has enabled me to understand that an answer given by another person usually is not remembered for very long, if remembered at all. But an answer we discover or obtain through the exercise of faith, typically, is retained for a lifetime” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” address to CES religious educators, Feb. 3, 2006, 5, ldsces.org). Rather than disseminating information through lecture only, look for teaching methods that will help students understand the scriptures as they identify doctrines and principles themselves.
Encourage students to live according to the principles they learn. Help them engage in the type of learning described by Elder Bednar—learning that “reaches far beyond mere cognitive comprehension and the retaining and recalling of information” and that “causes us to put off the natural man (see Mosiah 3:19) [and] to change our hearts (see Mosiah 5:2)” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” 3). As you decide how to teach doctrines and principles, consider ways to encourage students to continue their learning experience outside the classroom.
When you teach students with disabilities, adapt the lessons to meet their needs. For example, many lessons call for students to read aloud or silently and to write responses on paper. To adapt such activities to students who have trouble reading or writing, you might consider reading aloud yourself, having other students read, or using audio recordings. When activities call for written responses, you might encourage oral responses instead.
For more ideas and resources, consult the section titled “Adapted Classes and Programs for Students with Disabilities” in the CES policy manual.
Book of Mormon
Doctrine and Covenants