The Godhead
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“The Godhead,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material (2017)

“The Godhead,” Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material

The Godhead

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 (75 minutes)

Segment 1 (10 minutes)

Write the following statement on the board, and invite a student to read it aloud: God doesn’t really know me or care about what I’m going through.

  • How could this misunderstanding make it difficult for someone to exercise faith in God?

Ask students to turn to doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Invite students to read the paragraphs under this topic with a partner, looking for truths about the character and attributes of the members of the Godhead. Ask them to discuss with their partners how some of the truths they found could help correct or clarify the statement written on the board.

After sufficient time, invite a few students to explain to the class what they discussed with their partners. Testify that as we learn and better understand the doctrine of the Godhead, our faith and trust in Heavenly Father, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost will increase.

Segment 2 (10 minutes)

Ask students the following question:

  • What differences might some people notice about others that could lead them to judge those people to be inferior to themselves? (Some things students might mention are differences in economic status, appearance, ability, culture, language, religion, gender, or ethnicity.)

Invite students to turn to doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and scan the paragraph under the heading “God the Father,” looking for a truth that describes how God feels about all of His children. Ask them to report what they find, and write the following statement of doctrine on the board: God loves each of His children perfectly, and all are alike unto Him. Invite students to consider marking this statement in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.

  • Which doctrinal mastery passage supports this truth? (Invite students to consider marking 2 Nephi 26:33 in a distinctive way in their scriptures so they will be able to locate it easily.)

To help students understand the context of this passage, explain that in 2 Nephi 26, the prophet Nephi prophesied of the last days and invited all people to come unto Jesus Christ.

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 26:33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that help teach the statement of doctrine written on the board. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What do you think it means that “all are alike unto God”?

  • What experiences have you had that have helped you know that God loves each of His children perfectly and that all are alike in His eyes? (You may also want to share an experience of your own.)

  • How can understanding this truth influence the way we view and treat other people?

To help students understand one application of this truth, invite a student to read the following statement aloud:

“The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that ‘no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children’” (“Race and the Church: All Are Alike unto God,” Feb. 29, 2012, mormonnewsroom.org).

Segment 3 (10 minutes)

Christ appearing in the western hemisphere
Jesus Christ Visits the Americas

Display the pictures Jesus Christ Appears to the Nephites (lds.org/media-library) and Jesus Teaching in the Western Hemisphere (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 82; see also lds.org/media-library).

Ask a student to briefly summarize for the class the scriptural account depicted in these pictures.

Inform students that 3 Nephi 11:10–11, which contains the first words the Savior spoke to the Nephites when He appeared to them, is a doctrinal mastery passage. You may want to suggest that they mark the passage in a distinctive way.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 11:10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the truths the Savior taught the Nephites about Himself.

  • What do you think the phrase “I have drunk out of that bitter cup” (3 Nephi 11:11) refers to? (The bitterness of the suffering He endured during His atoning sacrifice.)

  • What do these verses teach you about the relationship between Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ?

  • What truths can we learn from these verses about the Savior? (After students respond, write on the board the following statements of doctrine found in doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: Jesus Christ does the will of the Father in all things. He lived a sinless life and atoned for the sins of all mankind. Invite students to consider marking these statements of doctrine in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and to write the first statement in their scriptures by 3 Nephi 11:10–11.)

To help students better understand these doctrines, invite half of the class to read Luke 22:39–44 silently and the other half to read Moses 4:1–2 silently. Ask them to look for examples of how Jesus Christ submitted to the will of the Father in all things. Invite students to report what they find.

  • What can we learn from the Savior’s example about how to strengthen our own relationship with Heavenly Father?

Segment 4 (10 minutes)

If you haven’t already done so, write the following statements of doctrine on the board:

God loves each of His children perfectly, and all are alike unto Him.

Jesus Christ does the will of the Father in all things. He lived a sinless life and atoned for the sins of all mankind.

Invite students to find the doctrinal mastery passages in the Book of Mormon that support these doctrines. (If students struggle to remember these passages, encourage them to scan the paragraphs under the sections “God the Father” and “Jesus Christ” in doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.) After they locate 2 Nephi 26:33 and 3 Nephi 11:10–11, invite a couple of students to read these passages aloud.

Write the following question on the board: How does Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice illustrate God’s perfect love for each of His children and illustrate that all are alike unto Him?

Invite students to write a response to the question in their class notebooks or study journals. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share their responses with the class.

Segment 5 (5 minutes)

Invite students to think about people they look to as good examples and to think about what makes these individuals good examples to follow.

Invite students to scan the second paragraph in the section titled “Jesus Christ” of doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask them to look for a statement that teaches about whose life all people can look for an example. Invite students to report what they find. Then write the following statement of doctrine on the board: Jesus Christ’s life is the perfect example of how we are to live.

To help students understand the context of 3 Nephi 12:48, explain that after Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites, He taught them how to come unto Him and what was required to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 12:48 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s commandment to the people.

  • What was the Savior’s commandment to the people?

  • What are some ways we might strive to obey this commandment to be perfect? (Point out that the way to be perfect like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is to become like Them. As we strive to follow the Savior, we can become perfected through Him and His atoning sacrifice. Perfection is a process that continues into the next life.)

Invite students to consider marking the doctrinal mastery passage 3 Nephi 12:48 in a distinctive way and to consider writing “Jesus Christ’s life is the perfect example of how we are to live” next to this verse in their scriptures.

Segment 6 (10 minutes)

Read 3 Nephi 12:48 aloud as a class. Ask a student to remind the class of the doctrine this doctrinal mastery passage supports. (Jesus Christ’s life is the perfect example of how we are to live.)

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To help students further understand this doctrine, show the video “Christlike Attributes” (2:54), which is available on LDS.org. Ask them to watch for attributes of the Savior that we can seek to develop in our own lives. After the video, invite students to name these attributes, and list their suggestions on the board. (If the video is not available, consider the following alternative: Ask students to name some of the Savior’s attributes that we can seek to develop, and list their suggestions on the board. These may include attributes such as humility, obedience, and kindness. You might consider briefly discussing examples from the Savior’s life to illustrate a few of these attributes.)

  • What is an experience in which you were blessed by someone who followed the Savior’s example in one of these ways?

  • What is an experience in which you were able to help someone else because you tried to apply one of these attributes?

Invite a student to read the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995) aloud:

Hunter, Howard W.

“Let us follow the Son of God in all ways and in all walks of life. Let us make him our exemplar and our guide. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then be more courageous to act upon the answer. We must follow Christ, in the best sense of that word. We must be about his work as he was about his Father’s. … To the extent that our mortal powers permit, we should make every effort to become like Christ—the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter [2015], 309).

Invite students to ponder some ways they can follow the Savior’s example in their everyday lives. As they ponder, write the following incomplete statement on the board: I will better follow the Savior’s example by …

Invite students to complete the statement in their class notebooks or study journals. Encourage them to act on the goals they wrote and to have the courage to follow Jesus Christ’s example.

Segment 7 (10 minutes)

Invite a student to read 3 Nephi 18:15, 20–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the counsel the Savior gave to the Nephites. Point out that this is a doctrinal mastery passage. Invite students to consider marking this passage in a distinctive way.

  • What did the Savior counsel the Nephites to do?

Point out the Savior’s repeated instruction in 3 Nephi 18:20–21 to pray “in my name.”

  • Why do you think the Savior commands us to pray to Heavenly Father always in His name?

To help students understand one reason why we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, draw the following illustration on the board:

Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material

Draw a vertical line on the board between the figure representing us and the image representing the presence of Heavenly Father.

  • What separates us from our Heavenly Father and His power and blessings?

After students respond, write The Fall and Personal Sin on the board next to the line. Then place a picture of Savior on the board over the line and write the word Mediator under the picture.

  • What is a mediator? (Someone who intervenes between individuals or groups in order to resolve differences and bring them together.)

  • How is Jesus Christ our Mediator with Heavenly Father? (Through His atoning sacrifice, the Savior provides a way for all people to overcome the negative consequences of the Fall, repent of their sins, be reconciled to Heavenly Father, and receive the blessings of salvation. This is one reason we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ.)

Illustrate how the Savior has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Heavenly Father by drawing an arrow from the figure representing us to the image representing the presence of Heavenly Father.

Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material
  • In addition to praying, what else are we commanded to do in the name of Jesus Christ? (List students’ responses on the board.)

Write the following statement of doctrine on the board: Because Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Mediator with the Father, all prayers, blessings, and priesthood ordinances should be done in His name. Invite students to consider marking this statement in the section titled “Jesus Christ” of doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document and to write it in their scriptures next to 3 Nephi 18:15, 20–21.

Segment 8 (10 minutes)

Write the following statement of doctrine on the board: Because Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Mediator with the Father, all prayers, blessings, and priesthood ordinances should be done in His name. Ask students to locate the doctrinal mastery passage that helps support this doctrine (3 Nephi 18:15, 20–21). Invite the first student who locates the passage to begin reading it aloud, and invite the other students to join in reading it aloud as they find the passage.

Explain that using the name of Jesus Christ in prayers, blessings, and priesthood ordinances invokes His divine authority and power (see Abraham 1:18).

Divide students into groups of two or three. Write the following scripture references on the board, and assign each group one or more of the references: Acts 2:37–38; Acts 3:2–8; Doctrine and Covenants 84:66–70; Moses 1:21–22.

Invite students to read their assigned scripture passages in their respective groups, looking for some of the results of prayers, blessings, and priesthood ordinances done in the name of Jesus Christ. After sufficient time, ask a member of each group to report what he or she found.

Invite students to ponder how their lives have been blessed through prayers, priesthood blessings, and priesthood ordinances performed in the name of Jesus Christ. Ask a few students to share their experiences with the class.

Practice Exercise (15 minutes)

Ask students to turn to the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Review the three principles: “Act in Faith,” “Examine Concepts and Questions with an Eternal Perspective,” and “Seek Further Understanding through Divinely Appointed Sources.”

Display or write the following questions on the board:

How did the girl’s sister help her to act in faith?

How did the girl’s sister help her examine the situation with an eternal perspective?

How did the girl’s sister help her seek understanding through divinely appointed sources?

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Divide the class into pairs, and give each pair a copy of the handout of the text-message conversation between two sisters at the end of this learning experience. Ask them to read the scenario and discuss the questions written on the board.

Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material
Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material

After students have discussed their answers in pairs, invite a few of them to explain their answers to the class. Share your testimony that Heavenly Father loves all of His children perfectly and that all are alike unto Him. Invite students to try to see others the way Heavenly Father sees them.

Doctrinal Mastery Review

The following activity can help students review all of the doctrinal mastery passages they have learned during the Book of Mormon seminary course of study.

Write on the board the Book of Mormon doctrinal mastery passages that you have already studied. Give students 5 to 7 minutes to prepare a brief scriptural thought that they can share with the class using one of those doctrinal mastery passages. Ask them to do the following as they share their scriptural thoughts:

  1. Read the doctrinal mastery passage they chose.

  2. Explain how the scripture passage teaches or supports a statement of doctrine in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.

  3. Explain what that doctrine means to them.

  4. Share why they think that doctrine is important for youth to understand.

  5. Share their belief or testimony of that doctrine.

During the coming week, invite a few students to share their scriptural thoughts with the class as part of the devotional or at the beginning or end of class, as time permits.

Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material
Doctrinal Mastery Book of Mormon Teacher Material