Ordinances and Covenants
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“Ordinances and Covenants,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material (2016)

“Ordinances and Covenants,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament 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 (20 minutes)

Segment 1 (10 minutes)

Write the words Ordinances and Covenants on the board. Invite students to explain how they would define each of these words to someone who may not be familiar with them.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud the paragraphs under doctrinal topic 7, “Ordinances and Covenants,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask students to follow along and mark words or phrases that help them better understand what ordinances and covenants are.

After sufficient time, invite a few students to report what they marked. Consider asking the following questions:

  • What is a saving ordinance?

  • What saving ordinances of the gospel have you received?

  • What does this doctrinal topic teach about why baptism is necessary? (Invite students to mark the following truth in their copy of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: Baptism is necessary for an individual to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and to enter the celestial kingdom.)

  • Why do you think baptism is necessary for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and to enter the celestial kingdom?

Ask students to quietly reflect for a moment on when they were baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Invite a few students to share where they were baptized, who baptized them, and any impressions or feelings they would like to share about their experience.

Segment 2 (10 minutes)

Review with students the following doctrine taught in the doctrinal topic “Ordinances and Covenants” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: Baptism is necessary for an individual to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and to enter the celestial kingdom.

  • What New Testament scripture passage supports this doctrine?

Invite students to turn to John 3:5. you may want to suggest that they mark this doctrinal mastery passage in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily. Explain that John 3 contains the Savior’s teachings to a Pharisee named Nicodemus who sought to learn more about the gospel.

Ask a student to read John 3:5 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior said is required to enter the kingdom of God.

  • What did the Savior say is required to enter the kingdom of God?

  • What saving ordinance does being “born of water” refer to?

  • What saving ordinance does being “born … of the Spirit” refer to?

  • How has being baptized helped you in your efforts to be worthy to enter the celestial kingdom and live again with your Father in Heaven?

Practice Exercise (10 minutes)

Remind students of the three principles listed in the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, and write them on the board:

  • Act in faith.

  • Examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective.

  • Seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.

To help students practice using these principles in relation to questions regarding the topic “Ordinances and Covenants,” read the following scenario aloud:

One of your friends is interested in learning more about the Church and is receiving lessons from the missionaries. She has read parts of the Book of Mormon, attended church meetings a few times, and expressed a belief in the restored gospel. While walking home after a missionary discussion one day, your friend says, “I believe what I am being taught by the missionaries, but can’t I be a good person and a good Christian without being baptized into a particular church?”

  • What are ways you might invite your friend to act in faith while considering the invitation to be baptized?

  • How could you help your friend view her question about baptism with an eternal perspective? What truths of the plan of salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ could you share to help her understand the eternal importance of the ordinance of baptism?

  • What could you do to help your friend seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources?

  • How could you use John 3:5 to help your friend?

Give students a few minutes to search the Topical Guide, Guide to the Scriptures, Bible Dictionary, or Gospel Topics (on lds.org/topics) entries for “Baptism,” looking for additional information or scripture passages that might help their friend with her question. After sufficient time, divide students into pairs or small groups, and invite them to share with each other what they found. Consider spending some time with each group so you can listen to their discussions and offer help as needed.

You might conclude by inviting one or more students to share their testimonies of the importance of ordinances and covenants—particularly the ordinance of baptism—in Heavenly Father’s plan.

Doctrinal Mastery Review

Consider using quizzes to provide students with opportunities to test their memory of doctrinal mastery passages. Questions could include clues such as key words or scripture references, quotations from passages, or scenarios that illustrate the truths taught in the passages. These quizzes could be given by reading the questions aloud or writing them on the board or on paper. After students have taken a quiz, consider pairing high-scoring students with students who have lower scores. The higher-scoring student could help the student with the lower score understand effective ways to study and improve mastering the doctrinal passages. As part of this effort, the pair could also set a goal to achieve a higher combined score on the next quiz. Consider creating a chart or bulletin board to display students’ goals and recognize their progress.