The Godhead
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“The Godhead,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material (2016)

“The Godhead,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament 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 (35 minutes)

Segment 1 (10 minutes)

Explain that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are blessed with a clear understanding of the roles of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

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Divide the class into groups of three to four students. Provide each group with a copy of the following instructions, and ask them to complete the activity as directed:

Locate doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in your copy of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Take turns reading aloud the paragraphs under this topic, looking for insights about the Godhead.

When you have finished reading, have each group member respond to one of the following questions:

  • What new insight did you learn about the Godhead or one of its members?

  • What doctrine about the Godhead or one of its members do you think is particularly important to understand? Why?

After sufficient time, invite several students to report to the class what they discussed in their groups.

Segment 2 (5 minutes)

Ask students to turn to doctrinal topic 1, “The Godhead,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Then ask:

  • What verse is used to teach the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits? (Hebrews 12:9.)

Invite students to turn to Hebrews 12:9. Explain that this verse contains instruction from the Apostle Paul to Church members in his day who were Jews. Paul sought to help Church members understand how to respond to God’s chastening, or correction and instruction (see Hebrews 12:7, footnote b).

Invite a student to read Hebrews 12:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a title Paul used to refer to God.

  • What title did Paul use to refer to God?

Invite students to consider writing the following truth in their scriptures next to Hebrews 12:9: God is the Father of our spirits. Because it is a doctrinal mastery passage, you may want to suggest that they mark Hebrews 12:9 in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.

Segment 3 (10 minutes)

Read Hebrews 12:9 aloud together as a class. Ask students to state the doctrine about God that we learn from this verse.

To help students further understand the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits, invite several students to take turns reading aloud paragraphs from the following statement from the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org. (If possible, you may want to show students how to navigate to Gospel Topics so they know how to locate this statement on their own.)

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all human beings, male and female, are beloved spirit children of heavenly parents, a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. …

“Latter-day Saints direct their worship to Heavenly Father, in the name of Christ, and do not pray to Heavenly Mother. In this, they follow the pattern set by Jesus Christ, who taught His disciples to ‘always pray unto the Father in my name’ [3 Nephi 18:19–21]. Latter-day Saints are taught to pray to Heavenly Father, but as President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘The fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her’ [“Daughters of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1991, 100].

“As with many other truths of the gospel, our present knowledge about a Mother in Heaven is limited. Nevertheless, we have been given sufficient knowledge to appreciate the sacredness of this doctrine and to comprehend the divine pattern established for us as children of heavenly parents” (Gospel Topics, “Mother in Heaven,” lds.org/topics).

  • Why is it helpful to understand that we have both a Father and a Mother in Heaven?

Segment 4 (10 minutes)

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To review Hebrews 12:9 and the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits, provide each student with a copy of the following instructions, and ask them to complete the activity:

Read and ponder the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“You are a child of God. He is the father of your spirit. Spiritually you are of noble birth, the offspring of the King of Heaven. Fix that truth in your mind and hold to it. However many generations in your mortal ancestry, no matter what race or people you represent, the pedigree of your spirit can be written on a single line. You are a child of God!” (“To Young Women and Men,” Ensign, May 1989, 54).

Answer the following questions in your study journal or class notebook:

  • How do you know that you are a child of God?

  • How does knowing that God is the Father of your spirit affect how you feel about yourself and the choices you make?

  • How should understanding that God is the Father of our spirits influence how you view and treat others?

After sufficient time, invite one or two students who are comfortable doing so to share what they wrote.

You might consider using a few minutes at the beginning of the next few lessons, perhaps as part of the class devotional, to have additional students share what they wrote in this activity. If you do so, invite the first student who shares to read Hebrews 12:9 aloud and restate the doctrine that God is the Father of our spirits. Repeating this passage and doctrine can help students remember this truth.

Practice Exercise (12–15 minutes)

Ask students to turn to the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section in their copy of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Review the meaning of the three principles: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.

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Divide the class into groups of two to three students. Provide each group with a copy of the following instructions, and ask them to complete the activity:

  1. Read aloud the following scenario, and consider if you have ever had feelings similar to those of the young woman:

    Leah is experiencing several challenges in her family and in her relationships with some friends. One night she kneels to pray but never begins her prayer. In frustration she says to herself, “Why doesn’t God care about me?” She sits on her bed and thinks through her recent hardships, viewing each as evidence of God’s lack of care for her.

    Several days later during a youth activity, a Young Women leader asks Leah how she is doing. Leah responds, “Not very well. Life’s hard right now.” Leah’s leader continues to ask questions, and Leah eventually shares her feeling that God doesn’t care about her.

  2. Discuss the following question as a group:

    • If you were Leah’s leader, what might you do to help Leah act in faith, examine her concern from an eternal perspective, or seek understanding through divinely appointed sources?

  3. Continue reading the scenario aloud:

    Leah’s leader expresses sincere sympathy and asks, “Has there ever been a time when you did know that God cares about you?”

    Leah thinks for a moment and remembers several experiences in which God answered her prayers. She mentions these to her leader. Her leader responds, “Thank you for sharing those experiences with me. I know that God is our Father and that He loves us. And I know that He loves and cares about you. But sometimes it is difficult to feel His love if we aren’t actively striving to draw close to Him. What have you done lately to draw close to Heavenly Father?”

    “Well, I usually say my prayers at night. But I haven’t really prayed to Heavenly Father about the challenges I’m going through,” Leah responds.

    “Because you are His daughter, Heavenly Father would love to hear from you. Will you pray and share your problems and questions with Him?” Leah’s leader asks.

    “Yes,” Leah says. She continues, “Thank you. I needed that reminder.”

  4. Discuss the following questions as a group:

    • How do you think Leah’s decision to act in faith will benefit her?

    • What do you know about God that can help you during times when you may feel distant from Him or wonder if He cares about what you are going through?

After sufficient time, invite several students to report what they discussed in their groups.

You may want to conclude by testifying that God is the Father of our spirits and that He loves and cares for each of us as His children. Invite students to always remember that they are children of God.

Doctrinal Mastery Review

List on the board each of the New Testament doctrinal mastery passages students have learned so far during this course of study. Assign each student a different doctrinal mastery passage. Instruct students to write a scenario or description of a situation on a piece of paper in which the principles and truths contained in their assigned doctrinal mastery passage could be applied.

After students have finished, collect their written scenarios. Read a scenario aloud, and invite students to 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.