“Introduction to Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (Religion 324–325)” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)
“Introduction,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual
The Objective of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion states:
“Our purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven” (Gospel Teaching and Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Leaders in Seminaries and Institutes of Religion , 1).
To achieve our purpose, we teach students the doctrine and principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets. The doctrine and principles are taught in a way that leads to understanding and edification. We help students fulfill their role in the learning process and prepare them to teach the gospel to others.
To accomplish these aims, you and the students you teach are encouraged to incorporate the following Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning as you study the scriptures together:
Teach and learn by the Spirit.
Cultivate a learning environment of love, respect, and purpose.
Study the scriptures daily, and read the text for the course.
Understand the context and content of the scriptures and the words of the prophets.
Identify, understand, feel the truth and importance of, and apply gospel doctrine and principles.
Explain, share, and testify of gospel doctrine and principles.
Master key scripture passages and the Basic Doctrines.
The teaching suggestions in this manual model ways to achieve these outcomes in your teaching. (Note that the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning should be seen as outcomes rather than teaching methods.) “When implemented wisely and in harmony with each other, these fundamentals contribute to the students’ ability to understand the scriptures and the doctrine and principles they contain. They also encourage students to take an active role in their learning of the gospel and increase students’ ability to live the gospel and teach it to others” (Gospel Teaching and Learning, 10).
The Lord commanded those who teach His gospel to “teach the principles of my gospel” (D&C 42:12). He further instructed that these truths should be taught as “directed by the Spirit,” which “shall be given … by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:13–14). As you prepare each lesson, prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit to help you understand the scriptures and the doctrine and principles they contain. Likewise, follow the promptings of the Spirit when planning how to help your students understand the scriptures, be taught by the Holy Ghost, and feel a desire to apply what they learn.
In this course, the Doctrine and Covenants is your primary text as you prepare and teach. Prayerfully study the sections or verses you will be teaching. Seek to understand the historical context and the content of the scripture block. As you become familiar with the context and content of each scripture block, identify the doctrine and principles it teaches, and decide which of these truths are most important for your students to understand and apply. Once you have identified what your focus will be, you can determine which methods, approaches, and activities will best help your students learn and apply the sacred truths found in the scriptures.
This manual and the corresponding Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual are designed to aid you in this process. Carefully review the lesson material corresponding to the scripture block you will teach. This material will help you understand the context and content of each scripture block and will assist you in identifying some of the doctrine and principles it contains. The teaching suggestions in this manual will also help you and your students to incorporate many of the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning into each lesson. You may choose to use all or some of the suggestions for a scripture block, and you may adapt the suggested ideas according to the direction of the Spirit and the needs and circumstances of the students you teach. When adapting teaching suggestions or substituting ideas of your own, be sure to consider which fundamental outcome a particular teaching suggestion is intended to bring about, and select an alternative teaching idea that will help bring about that same outcome.
It is important that you help students study the entire scripture block in each lesson. Doing so will help students grasp the full message the Lord, through His prophet, intended to convey. However, as you plan your lesson, you may discover that you do not have enough time in a class period to use all the teaching suggestions in the manual. Seek the direction of the Spirit and prayerfully consider the needs of your students as you determine which portions of the scripture block to emphasize in order to help students feel the truth and importance of gospel truths and apply them in their lives. If time is short, you may need to adapt other portions of the lesson by briefly summarizing a group of verses or by guiding students to quickly identify a principle or doctrine before moving on to the next group of verses.
When considering how to adapt lesson materials, be sure to follow this counsel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“President Packer has often taught, in my hearing, that we first adopt, then we adapt. If we are thoroughly grounded in the prescribed lesson that we are to give, then we can follow the Spirit to adapt it” (“A Panel Discussion with Elder Dallin H. Oaks” [Seminaries and Institutes of Religion satellite broadcast, Aug. 7, 2012], LDS.org).
During your lesson preparation, you might choose to use the Notes and Journal tools on LDS.org or in the Gospel Library app for mobile devices. You can use these tools to mark scriptures, conference addresses, Church magazine articles, and lessons. You can also add and save notes for use during your lessons. To learn more about how to use these tools, see the Notes and Journal Help page on LDS.org.
Religion 324–325 is designed as a two-semester course. Religion 324 guides students in studying Doctrine and Covenants 1–76. Religion 325 covers Doctrine and Covenants 77–138 and Official Declarations 1 and 2. This teacher manual contains 56 lessons, 28 for each semester of the Doctrine and Covenants. Each lesson is intended to be taught during a 50-minute class session. If your class meets twice each week, you would teach one lesson each class session. If your class meets only once each week for 90 to 100 minutes, it is recommended that you teach two lessons for each class session.
The lessons in this manual consist of the following features:
Each lesson begins with a brief introduction of the section or sections of the Doctrine and Covenants that will be studied in that lesson. The introduction provides a summary of the historical context and the content of each section. These introductions, also found in the student manual, will provide you and your students with a basic overview of the passages of scripture studied in each lesson.
Each introduction is accompanied by a timeline. This timeline will help you understand the context of each section of the Doctrine and Covenants by showing when it was received in relation to other events in Church history.
The main body of each lesson contains guidance and ideas for how you might teach a specific passage of scripture, including questions, quotations, diagrams, activities, and historical information. These ideas demonstrate how to incorporate the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning into your teaching to help students deepen their conversion to the Lord and His gospel.
Each lesson in this manual focuses on a block of scripture rather than on a particular concept, doctrine, or principle. This format will help you and your students study the scriptures sequentially and consider doctrine and principles in context as they emerge naturally from the scripture text. The scripture block for each lesson is generally divided into smaller segments, or verse groupings, that follow a particular train of thought or focus on a specific topic. Each of these segments begins with a scripture reference listing the verses included in that segment, followed by a contextual summary of the events or teachings discussed in that group of verses.
In the body of each lesson, you will find key doctrine and principles highlighted in bold. These doctrine and principles are identified in the curriculum because (1) they reflect a central message of the scripture block, (2) they are particularly applicable to the needs and circumstances of the students, or (3) they are key truths that can help students deepen their relationship with the Lord. President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency has counseled: “As you prepare a lesson, look in it for converting principles. … A converting principle is one that leads to obedience to the will of God” (“Converting Principles” [evening with a general authority, Feb. 2, 1996], 1). Be aware that this manual does not attempt to identify all doctrine and principles that might be found in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The teaching suggestions in this manual provide students with many opportunities to identify doctrine and principles in the scriptures. The lessons may also suggest occasions when you as the teacher may choose to identify a doctrine or principle. As students identify truths that they discover, be careful not to suggest that students’ answers are wrong simply because the words they use to express them differ from those used in the manual or because they identify a truth that is not mentioned in the curriculum. However, if a student’s statement could be more accurate or is doctrinally incorrect, consider carefully how you could kindly clarify or correct his or her understanding while maintaining an atmosphere of love and trust.
Teaching helps are included with the teaching suggestions throughout the lessons. These teaching helps explain the Fundamentals of Gospel Teaching and Learning and offer guidance on the effective use of various teaching methods, skills, and approaches. As you come to understand the principles contained in the teaching helps, look for ways to apply them consistently in your teaching.
Supplemental teaching ideas appear at the end of some lessons. These provide suggestions for teaching doctrine and principles that may not be identified or emphasized in the main body of the lesson. In some cases, they offer an alternative approach to teaching a scripture block. You should not feel obligated to use these teaching ideas. You should make decisions about whether to use these suggestions based on the time available, the needs of your students, and the guidance of the Spirit.
The information in this manual is based on the 2013 edition of the scriptures published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 2013 edition of the scriptures includes revised section headings for some sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Changes to section headings, including adjustments to some dates and locations, have been made to reflect recent research and historical findings and to provide additional or clearer context for the scriptures.
The text of the 2013 edition of the scriptures is available online at scriptures.lds.org and in the Gospel Library app for digital devices.
Some of your students may be using the previous (1981) edition of the scriptures. Most of the changes in the 2013 edition are minor and will not impact students’ study of the Doctrine and Covenants. However, be aware that dates, places, and other information in section headings may vary depending on the edition of the scriptures students are using. In these instances, it would be wise to call attention to the 2013 revisions by asking a student who has the current edition to read or by pointing students to the 2013 edition on the Gospel Library app.
To receive credit toward institute graduation, students are required to read the scripture text for the course (Doctrine and Covenants 1–76 for Religion 324, and Doctrine and Covenants 77–138 and Official Declarations 1 and 2 for Religion 325) and must also meet attendance requirements and demonstrate competency with course material by completing a learning assessment.
As you prepare to teach, be mindful of students who have particular needs. Adjust activities and expectations to help them succeed. Seek ways to help them feel loved, accepted, and included. Foster a relationship of trust.
For more ideas and resources, consult the Disability Resources page at disabilities.lds.org and the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion policy manual section titled “Adapted Classes and Programs for Students with Disabilities.”