“Lesson 15 Teacher Material: Heavenly Father’s Plan and Our Divine Potential,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 15 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Invite students to explain what most Christians and early converts to the Church may have understood about God and the afterlife prior to the revelations the Lord gave through Joseph Smith about these topics. (Students may want to review sections 1 and 3 of the preparation material.)
From what you learned in the preparation material, when and how did the Lord reveal truths about the plan of salvation to Joseph Smith?
What are some restored truths about the plan that you think would have been most life changing to the early Saints? Where are these truths recorded? (See sections 1 and 3 of the preparation material.)
As students answer the preceding questions, you might have them revisit some of the scripture passages mentioned in the preparation material, such as Moses 1:39 and Abraham 3:22–26. Help students identify and explain truths like the following: God’s work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (see Moses 1:39). We lived with Heavenly Father as spirits before we were born (see Abraham 3:22–23). The Lord created the earth as a place where we could choose whether or not to obey God (see Abraham 3:24–25).
Imagine how your life would be different if you did not know about Heavenly Father’s plan. How do you think knowing about the plan has affected the way you think, make decisions, and act?
Explain that on “April 7, 1844, Joseph Smith rose to speak in what would prove to be his last conference. After asking the Saints for their ‘profound attention,’ … Joseph taught about divine nature and eternal progression” (“King Follett Discourse,” Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org/study/church-history).
Invite a student to read aloud Joseph Smith’s statement from his King Follett discourse found at the beginning of section 2 in the preparation material.
What do you learn from Joseph’s teachings about your relationship with God?
Explain that in 1995, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a document called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” In it they declared:
All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. …
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
As sons and daughters of God, what is our eternal potential? (Help students identify a principle similar to the following: As spirit sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, we have the potential to become like Him.)
Display or ask the following questions, and give students a minute or two to ponder them and to write impressions that may come to them.
How does this truth influence the way you view your relationship with Heavenly Father? How does it influence the way you view yourself and those around you? How can it influence the way you live your life?
Write on the board or display the words Heaven and Hell, and ask students what most 19th-century Christians believed about who would go to each.
Invite students to recount what they have learned from Doctrine and Covenants 76 about the afterlife and obtaining celestial glory. (Students might need to review Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–54.) You might also ask students what they learned about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ from the truths revealed in section 76.
Display the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
Around the Church I hear many who struggle with this issue: “I am just not good enough.” “I fall so far short.” “I will never measure up.” I hear this from teenagers. I hear it from missionaries. I hear it from new converts. I hear it from lifelong members. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 40)
You might invite students to consider times in their lives when they have felt this way.
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:40–42, 69, looking for the crucial role Jesus Christ plays in our salvation.
What role does Jesus Christ play in our quest for eternal life? (Help students identify the following truth: We can be made perfect only through Jesus Christ.)
Why do you think it is important to remember that perfection and exaltation come only through Jesus Christ?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 93:12–13 with the class, looking for what the passage teaches about the Savior’s path to becoming like Heavenly Father.
What do you think it means that the Savior “continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness”?
How can the Savior’s example help you overcome feelings of discouragement as you strive for eternal life?
Display and read the following statement by Elder Holland:
I testify of that grand destiny, made available to us by the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself continued “from grace to grace” [Doctrine and Covenants 93:13] until in His immortality [see Luke 13:32] He received a perfect fulness of celestial glory. I testify that in this and every hour He is, with nail-scarred hands, extending to us that same grace, holding on to us and encouraging us, refusing to let us go until we are safely home in the embrace of Heavenly Parents. For such a perfect moment, I continue to strive, however clumsily. For such a perfect gift, I continue to give thanks, however inadequately. I do so in the very name of Perfection itself, of Him who has never been clumsy or inadequate but who loves all of us who are, even the Lord Jesus Christ. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 42)
Invite students to ponder for a minute what would most help them to spiritually progress toward eternal life at this time. Conclude by sharing your testimony that through the Savior’s grace and by following His example we can receive eternal life and enter the celestial kingdom.
Ask students to consider how their lives are different because of temples and temple ordinances. Explain that in the next class, they will learn why ancient prophets appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. Encourage them to study the preparation material for lesson 16 so they can come ready to discuss principles that will help make the temple a more meaningful part of their life.