“Marriage and Family,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material (2017)
“Marriage and Family,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material
Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Bring a bicycle wheel to class or show a picture of one. (You could adapt this activity by bringing to class a different object with a center that is essential for the object to function properly.)
What is at the center of the wheel? (The hub, which consists of an axle, bearings, and a hub shell to which the spokes of the wheel are typically attached.)
What would happen to the wheel if the hub were removed? (It would fall apart and render the wheel useless.)
Invite students to turn to doctrinal topic 8, “Marriage and Family,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Invite a student to read the first paragraph aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what is central to Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and to our happiness.
What is central to God’s plan of salvation and to our happiness?
Why do you think marriage and family are central, or essential, to Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and to our happiness?
Divide students into pairs or small groups. Invite them to read aloud the three remaining paragraphs of doctrinal topic 8, “Marriage and Family.” Ask them to look for commandments and responsibilities God has given to help us accomplish the purposes of marriage and family in His plan.
What commandments and responsibilities has God given to help us accomplish the purposes of marriage and family in His plan? (Students may give a variety of responses. If they do not mention it, point out the following statement of doctrine: The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who have been lawfully wedded as husband and wife. Invite students to consider marking this truth in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.)
Explain that “the sacred powers of procreation” refer to the abilities God has given us to have children. To protect these sacred powers, God has commanded that we refrain from sexual activity of any kind until we are legally married to a person of the opposite sex. This commandment is called the law of chastity.
How does obeying the law of chastity help us fulfill Heavenly Father’s plan for His children?
Write the following statement of doctrine on the board: The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who have been lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
Ask students to turn to doctrinal topic 8, “Marriage and Family,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, and ask the following question:
Which Book of Mormon doctrinal mastery passage is associated with this statement of doctrine? (Alma 39:9. Invite students to consider marking this passage in a distinctive way in their scriptures so they can locate it easily.)
To help students understand the context of this passage, explain that Alma was speaking to his son Corianton, who was serving as a missionary but chose to “forsake the ministry, and did go … after the harlot Isabel” (Alma 39:3). A harlot is an immoral woman or prostitute. From Alma’s words to Corianton, we understand that he had broken the law of chastity.
Invite a student to read Alma 39:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma counseled his son to do.
What did Alma counsel his son Corianton to do?
What do you think it means to “go no more after the lusts of your eyes”?
Explain that lust refers to inappropriate desires. Alma’s counsel to “go no more after the lusts of your eyes” is especially applicable in our day when we must be diligent to avoid images and entertainment that are pornographic in any way. “Pornography is any material depicting or describing the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 117).
In Alma 39:9, what do you think it means to “cross yourself”? (Refer students to Alma 39:9, footnote b, which indicates that it means to exercise self-mastery or self-control. You may want to point out that Moroni gave similar counsel when he taught that we are to “deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness” [Moroni 10:32], meaning that we are to avoid anything that is not compatible with the Spirit of God.)
Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles aloud. Ask the class to listen for ways we can exercise self-control in order to live the law of chastity.
“Along with filters on computers and a lock on affections, remember that the only real control in life is self-control. Exercise more control over even the marginal moments that confront you. If a TV show is indecent, turn it off. If a movie is crude, walk out. If an improper relationship is developing, sever it. Many of these influences, at least initially, may not technically be evil, but they can blunt our judgment, dull our spirituality, and lead to something that could be evil. An old proverb says that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so watch your step” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 45).
How can this counsel by Elder Holland help us in our efforts to exercise self-control and live the law of chastity?
You may want to share your testimony of the importance of exercising self-control in order to live the law of chastity. Affirm that the Lord will bless us for our efforts to live the law of chastity and that He will forgive anyone who has committed sexual sin if he or she will turn to Him in faith and repent.
Encourage students to exercise self-control in their efforts to live the law of chastity and remain sexually pure.
Review with students the three principles from the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
As students finish reading the scenario, write the following two headings on the board: Worldly beliefs or assumptions and Eternal truths.
What are some worldly beliefs or assumptions a person may have when asking what is wrong with using pornography? (List students’ responses on the board under the heading “Worldly beliefs or assumptions.” Students may mention that some people might consider pornography merely as entertainment that is normal, exciting, and harmless.)
To help students examine Parker’s question with an eternal perspective, ask questions such as the following and write the students’ responses on the board under the heading “Eternal truths”:
What truths about the plan of salvation, marriage and family, and God’s commandments can help us understand why we should avoid pornography? (Students may mention truths found in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, such as the following: Our eternal progression depends on how we use the gift of agency that Heavenly Father has given us (see doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation”]. Our bodies are sacred and should be respected as a gift from Heavenly Father [see the “Mortal Life” section in doctrinal topic 2, “The Plan of Salvation”]. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the family is central to His plan of salvation and to our happiness [see doctrinal topic 8, “Marriage and Family”]. Commandments are the laws and requirements that God gives to help us progress and become like Him [see doctrinal topic 9, “Commandments”].)
How can these truths help us understand why Heavenly Father has commanded us not to use pornography? (To be more specific, you might ask students to explain how pornography can harm a person’s relationship with Heavenly Father and how it can harm marriages and families.)
What are some divinely appointed sources we can turn to that could help us further understand why Heavenly Father has commanded us not to use pornography?
To give students an opportunity to study one divinely appointed source available to them, provide each student with a copy of the For the Strength of Youth booklet (2011). Invite several students to take turns reading aloud the section “Entertainment and Media.” Ask the class to follow along, looking for counsel that can help us further understand why Heavenly Father has commanded us not to use pornography. Ask students to report what they find, and add their responses to the list on the board.
Invite one or more students to summarize for the class how they would explain in their own words why it is so important not to use pornography.
Conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths you have discussed. Remind students that if they are involved in pornography, they should seek help by counseling with their bishop or branch president.
This review activity will provide students an opportunity to practice answering questions using the doctrinal mastery passages and key statements of doctrine they have learned. Before class, based on how many scriptures have been covered so far during the course, prepare a number of cards with questions an investigator might ask that can be answered with the help of doctrinal mastery passages. For example, “What do members of your church believe about Jesus Christ?” or “I’ve heard that your church discriminates against others. Is that true?”
Ask students to turn to the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Review with them the four ways we can help others in their quest for truth, listed under the heading “Helping Others Acquire Spiritual Knowledge.”
Divide the class into pairs, like missionary companionships, and take turns having each pair come to the front of the class to answer a question. Invite a few students to act as an investigator family and ask the “missionaries” a question from one of the cards. Allow the pair to answer the question by using the ways of helping others acquire spiritual knowledge and using the scriptures. Invite the class to give feedback on what they liked about how the pair answered the question.
Repeat this process to give several “companionships” an opportunity to use their knowledge and skills and practice helping people find answers to their questions.