“The Restoration,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material (2016)
“The Restoration,” Doctrinal Mastery New Testament Teacher Material
Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Write the following question on the board: Why did the gospel need to be restored? Invite students to discuss the question, and then ask them to turn to doctrinal topic 4, “The Restoration,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Invite a student to read aloud the section on “Apostasy.” Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the deaths of His Apostles.
What happened after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the deaths of His Apostles? (Help students identify the following doctrinal truth: The Great Apostasy occurred when people turned away from the truths of the gospel and the Lord withdrew the authority and keys of the priesthood from the earth.)
What are some of the problems described in the section we just read that were part of the Great Apostasy?
Ask students to turn to doctrinal topic 4, “The Restoration,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Have them scan the section on “Apostasy” and recall the doctrine they identified earlier about the Great Apostasy. Then ask them to find which doctrinal mastery passage supports this doctrine.
Invite students to turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3. Consider inviting them to mark this passage in a distinctive way so they can find it easily.
Explain that the Apostle Paul wrote this passage to reassure Church members who were feeling troubled that the Second Coming might have already occurred or was about to occur. Invite a student to read the passage aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul said would happen before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur.
What did Paul say would happen before the Second Coming?
What do you think Paul meant by “a falling away” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)?
If needed, explain that the “falling away” was the Great Apostasy that would occur after the deaths of Jesus Christ’s Apostles.
How might this explanation have helped the members of the Church in Paul’s day?
Why is it important for us today to understand that the “falling away” foretold by the Apostle Paul has already occurred?
To help students better understand the truth that the Great Apostasy occurred when people turned away from the truths of the gospel and the Lord withdrew the authority and keys of the priesthood from the earth, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The true name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the reestablished original Church of Jesus Christ. When He walked upon the earth, He organized His Church. He called Apostles, Seventies, and other leaders to whom He gave priesthood authority to act in His name [see Matthew 10:1; Luke 6:13; 10:1; Ephesians 4:11–12]. After Christ and His Apostles passed away, men changed the ordinances and doctrine. The original Church and the priesthood were lost. After the Dark Ages, and under the direction of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ brought back His Church. Now it lives again, restored and functioning under His divine direction [see D&C 1:30]” (“Ask the Missionaries! They Can Help You!” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 18).
According to President Nelson, why was the Restoration necessary?
How does knowing about the Great Apostasy help us to appreciate the importance of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud the first three paragraphs of doctrinal topic 4, “The Restoration,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Ask the class to follow along, looking for events that brought about the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days. Ask students to point out some of the significant events they discover.
Point out the following doctrine in the first paragraph: Ancient prophets foretold the latter-day Restoration of the gospel. Invite students to consider writing this truth in their scriptures near the supporting doctrinal mastery passage, Acts 3:19–21.
Why do you think the Lord revealed that there would be a latter-day Restoration to His ancient prophets and commanded them to prophesy concerning it?
Invite students to mark Acts 3:19–21 in a distinctive way as a doctrinal mastery passage. Explain that the Apostles Peter and John had healed a man who was lame, or unable to walk, near the temple in Jerusalem. News of the miracle spread quickly, and many people gathered together, including some who had previously rejected Jesus Christ. Invite a student to read the passage aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Apostle Peter instructed the people who were gathered there to do.
What message did Peter deliver to the people?
It may be helpful to point out that the phrase “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ” in verses 19–20 refers to the time at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when “the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (Articles of Faith 1:10).
Explain that according to Acts 3:21, Peter prophesied that Jesus Christ would remain in heaven “until the times of restitution of all things.” The phrase “times of restitution of all things” refers to the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days.
According to verse 21, who in addition to Peter prophesied that there would be a latter-day Restoration of the gospel?
When did Peter’s prophecy begin to be fulfilled? (When God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove.)
Share your testimony that the Lord’s prophets in many different eras have prophesied of the time in which we live and looked forward to the Restoration of the gospel and the Second Coming of the Lord.
Help students practice applying the three principles of Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge as they relate to the topic of the Restoration: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
The following activity can be completed during one class session or spread out over different class sessions, depending on your schedule and the needs of your students.
After sufficient time, organize the class so that each pair of students is working with another pair. Invite one pair of students to take the role of the friend with the question and the other pair to respond according to what they discussed using the three principles. Once one pair has had an opportunity to respond, invite the two pairs of students to switch roles.
Consider inviting several students to share something they learned or felt from their discussion and role play. Conclude by giving a few students an opportunity to share their testimonies of the latter-day Restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Review doctrinal mastery passages with students during subsequent classes to help them remember and be able to use them. Look for opportunities to review these scriptures throughout the school year. You could use an activity like the following:
Pass out blank cards or small pieces of paper to the students. Invite the students to choose several of the doctrinal mastery passages they have studied so far this year and write the reference of a passage on each card. On the other side of the card, have students write a key phrase or other clue that could be helpful in identifying the passage. (Key phrases for doctrinal mastery passages are provided on the doctrinal mastery bookmark.)
Divide the class into groups of two to three students. Invite the students to use the cards they created to quiz the other student or students in their group. Students could show the reference side of a card and ask the other students to identify the passage, or they could show the key phrase and ask the other students to identify the book and chapter, and perhaps the verse or verses, in which the doctrinal mastery passage is found.
At the end of the activity, you may want to give a verbal or written quiz for the students to match the scripture references for the doctrinal mastery passages with their key phrases.