Ordinances and Covenants
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“Ordinances and Covenants,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material (2017)

“Ordinances and Covenants,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material

Ordinances and Covenants

Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.

Understanding the Doctrine (40 minutes)

Segment 1 (10 minutes)

Write the word Ordinances on the board.

  • In the gospel of Jesus Christ, what are ordinances?

Invite a student to read the first paragraph of the “Ordinances” section in doctrinal topic 7, “Ordinances and Covenants,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that can help us better understand what ordinances are.

  • What words or phrases from this paragraph can help us better understand what ordinances are?

Invite students to come to the board and list all of the ordinances of the gospel that they can think of. After students have completed their list, point out that some ordinances are called saving ordinances.

Invite a student to read aloud the second paragraph of the “Ordinances” section. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that can help us understand what saving ordinances are and why we need them. Invite students to consider marking these words or phrases in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.

  • What words or phrases did you find that can help us understand what saving ordinances are and why we need them?

  • What does it mean that saving ordinances are essential to exaltation? (Be sure students understand that without the saving ordinances, we cannot become like our Heavenly Father or return to live in His presence eternally.)

Invite a student to come to the board and draw a star next to each of the saving ordinances listed.

Invite a student to read aloud the final four paragraphs of the “Ordinances” section. Ask the class to follow along, looking for any saving ordinances that are not included in the list on the board. Ask students to report what they find. As needed, add any additional saving ordinances to the list on the board.

Using the list on the board, ask students to point out saving ordinances they have not yet received, and invite willing students to explain why they desire to receive those ordinances. (Caution students not to share anything that is too personal.)

Consider sharing your testimony of the blessings that have come to you from receiving the saving ordinances of the gospel. Invite students to continue to prepare themselves to receive all of the saving ordinances.

Segment 2 (15 minutes)

Display or read aloud the following statement, and invite students to consider whether the statement is true or false: A person can experience the influence of the Holy Ghost only after he or she is baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To help the class understand that the statement is false, invite a student to read aloud the fourth paragraph in the “Ordinances” section in doctrinal topic 7, “Ordinances and Covenants” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and the influence of the Holy Ghost.

  • According to this paragraph, what is the difference between the gift of the Holy Ghost and the influence of the Holy Ghost?

Invite students to consider marking the following statement of doctrine at the beginning of the paragraph that they just studied: After a person is baptized, one or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders confirm him or her a member of the Church and bestow upon him or her the gift of the Holy Ghost. You may want to point out that because the ordinance of confirmation is a saving ordinance, it must be authorized by a person holding the necessary priesthood keys.

  • Which doctrinal mastery passage supports this truth? (3 Nephi 27:20. 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 3 Nephi 27:20, explain that it contains the words of Jesus Christ as He visited and taught His disciples in the Americas after His death and Resurrection.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 27:20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the blessing the Savior promised to those who are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  • What did the Savior promise to those who are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?

  • What does it mean to be sanctified? (Invite students to consider writing the following definition in their scriptures next to verse 20: Sanctification is “the process of becoming free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the Atonement of Jesus Christ” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Sanctification,” scriptures.lds.org].)

Invite a student to read the following statement from President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency aloud. Ask the class to listen for how we can know that we are becoming sanctified, or cleansed from sin through the Savior’s Atonement.

Eyring, Henry B.

“If you have felt the influence of the Holy Ghost today, you may take it as evidence that the Atonement is working in your life. … The reception of the Holy Ghost cleanses us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ” (Henry B. Eyring, “Gifts of the Spirit for Hard Times,” Ensign, June 2007, 23).

  • According to this statement by President Eyring, how can we know that we are being sanctified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

  • Why do you think it is important that we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after we are baptized and then seek to have the constant companionship of the Spirit throughout our lives? (Through this companionship of the Spirit, we can continue to be sanctified throughout our lives and ultimately “stand spotless before [Jesus Christ] at the last day” [3 Nephi 27:20] when we come before Him at the Final Judgment.)

  • Based on the truths we have discussed, how would you explain why receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is necessary for our salvation? (Through this gift we receive power to be cleansed from all of our sins through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is necessary in order for us to become pure like Heavenly Father and to be able to dwell with Him eternally.)

Write the following questions on the board:

  • Why are you grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost?

  • How has this gift been a blessing in your life?

Ask students to write their responses to these questions in their class notebooks or study journals. Invite one or two students to share with the class what they have written.

Segment 3 (10 minutes)

Divide students into pairs. Give each pair a piece of paper, and ask the students to write down a definition of a covenant. Invite students from one or two pairs to report their definitions to the class.

Invite students to study in their pairs the first paragraph of the “Covenants” section in doctrinal topic 7, “Ordinances and Covenants,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask them to look for phrases or insights that they could add to their definition of a covenant.

  • What phrases or insights would you add to your definition of a covenant? Why?

Invite two students to take turns reading aloud the final two paragraphs of the “Covenants” section. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the relationship between covenants and the saving ordinances of the gospel.

  • What is the relationship between covenants and saving ordinances? (Invite students to consider marking the following statement of doctrine in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: All of the saving ordinances of the priesthood are accompanied by covenants. For example, we covenant with the Lord through baptism.)

  • Which doctrinal mastery passage supports these statements of doctrine? (Mosiah 18:8–10. Invite students to consider marking this passage in a distinctive way.)

Alma Baptizing in the Waters of Mormon

To help students understand the context of Mosiah 18:8–10, display the picture Alma Baptizes in the Waters of Mormon (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 76; see also LDS.org) and ask students to explain what is occurring in this picture. Help students understand that Alma was hiding from the servants of wicked King Noah because he had chosen to repent and follow the Lord after listening to the teachings of the prophet Abinadi. In time, many people came to the Waters of Mormon, near Alma’s hiding place, to hear him teach and to be baptized.

Invite a student to read Mosiah 18:8–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Alma taught about the covenant we make when we receive the ordinance of baptism.

  • According to this passage, what do we covenant, or promise to do, when we are baptized?

Remind students that Mosiah 18:8–10 provides an example of the doctrine that all of the saving ordinances of the priesthood are accompanied by covenants.

  • Why do you think it is important to know that whenever we receive a saving ordinance we also enter into a covenant with the Lord?

Segment 4 (5 minutes)

Read Mosiah 18:8–10 aloud together as a class. Ask students to look for what the Lord promises us as we make and keep the covenant of baptism.

  • According to verses 9–10, what does the Lord promise us as we make and keep the covenant of baptism?

Invite a student to read the following statement aloud. Ask the class to listen for how the ordinance of the sacrament can help us receive the blessings we are promised in the covenant of baptism.

“Partaking of the sacrament is a witness to God that the remembrance of His Son will extend beyond the short time of that sacred ordinance. Part of this ordinance is a promise to remember Him always and a witness of individual willingness to take upon oneself the name of Jesus Christ and to keep His commandments. In partaking of the sacrament and making these commitments, Church members renew the covenant they made at baptism (see Mosiah 18:8–10; D&C 20:37).

“In return, the Lord renews the promised remission of sin and enables Church members to ‘always have his Spirit to be with them’ (D&C 20:77). The Spirit’s constant companionship is one of the greatest gifts of mortality” (Gospel Topics, “Sacrament,” lds.org/topics).

  • What effect can worthily partaking of the sacrament each week have on you?

  • In what ways can having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost bless you?

  • How does understanding the blessings we can receive through the sacrament increase your appreciation for this ordinance?

Invite students to ponder what they can do to partake of the sacrament with greater reverence and appreciation this coming Sunday. Invite students to write down a goal and to act on it.

Practice Exercise (30 minutes)

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.

Invite a student to read the following scenario aloud. Ask the class to listen for why a young woman is concerned about her friend.

Kate and Jamie are in the same ward. They have known each other since they were in Primary and have become good friends over the years. Recently, Kate has become concerned about Jamie. Kate has noticed that although Jamie attends Church meetings fairly regularly, she has begun to lower her standards at school and in other settings in order to go along with what others are doing. For example, Jamie has begun to dress less modestly and to use inappropriate language. Because she cares about her friend, Kate mentions her concern to Jamie. Jamie responds by saying, “Maybe I’m not the most spiritual person, but I go to church on Sundays. Isn’t that good enough?”

Perspective

Write the following question on the board: Isn’t it good enough for us to just go to church on Sundays? Draw a simple frame around the question, and label it Limited perspective.

  • What are some beliefs or misunderstandings about the gospel that could lead Jamie to ask this question?

Erase the phrase “Limited perspective.” Draw a more beautiful frame around the question and label it Eternal perspective.

Perspective

Remind students that to examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, we consider them in the context of the plan of salvation and the teachings of the Savior.

Give students a few moments to review doctrinal topic 7, “Ordinances and Covenants,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, as well as the Book of Mormon doctrinal mastery passages associated with this doctrinal topic (Mosiah 18:8–10; 3 Nephi 27:20). Invite them to look for gospel truths that could help them examine Jamie’s question with an eternal perspective.

After sufficient time, invite students to report what they found. Write their responses around the outside of the frame around the question. As students report their responses, ask them to explain how the truths they mention can help us examine Jamie’s question with an eternal perspective.

  • In addition to the doctrinal mastery passages, what are some other divinely appointed sources that could help Jamie further understand how ordinances and covenants should influence our choices and behavior at all times and not just on Sundays?

  • If you were in Kate’s position, how might you help Jamie understand the truths we have discussed?

  • How might you encourage Jamie to act in faith so that she can receive the blessings promised to those who faithfully keep their covenants?

Consider inviting two female students to come to the front of class to role-play the parts of Kate and Jamie. Ask the student representing Kate to apply what she has learned during this practice exercise by demonstrating how she would respond to Jamie’s question.

Thank the students who participated in the role play. Share your testimony of how understanding the doctrine of ordinances and covenants can guide us in the decisions we make each day and help us know what we must do in order to receive all of the blessings Heavenly Father desires to give us.

Doctrinal Mastery Review

The following activity will help students review key statements of doctrine, remember the doctrinal mastery passages that support those truths, and understand how those truths can be applied in our daily choices:

List on the board the references of each of the Book of Mormon doctrinal mastery passages students have learned so far during this course of study. Divide students into groups of two or three, and assign each group one or more of the references listed on the board. Invite them to review the principle or statement of doctrine in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document that the group’s assigned passage supports. Then invite each group to write on a piece of paper a scenario or description of a situation in which the principle or doctrine in the group’s assigned doctrinal mastery passage could be applied.

After sufficient time, collect each group’s written scenarios. Read a scenario aloud, and invite students to raise their hand and identify a doctrinal mastery passage that could be helpful in responding to that scenario. Follow up by inviting them to explain how the truths taught in the doctrinal mastery passages they identified could be applied in the scenario. Repeat the activity by reading aloud other scenarios. You could also present some of the scenarios at the beginning or end of the lessons during the coming week.