“Lesson 6 Teacher Material: The Book of Mormon—the Keystone of Our Religion,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 6 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
You might begin class by holding up a copy of the Book of Mormon and having a short discussion on the following statement and question:
Many of the attacks that come from critics of the Church target the Book of Mormon. Why do you think that is?
Invite students to open or navigate to the introduction page of the Book of Mormon. Explain that on Sunday, November 28, 1841, the Prophet Joseph Smith spent the day in council with the Twelve Apostles at the house of Brigham Young, president of that quorum (see History, 1838–1856 [Manuscript History of the Church], volume C-1, 1255, josephsmithpapers.org). Ask a student to read aloud the sixth paragraph in the introduction to the Book of Mormon to find out what Joseph told the Apostles. Invite students to consider marking the truths Joseph taught.
Would anyone be willing to share their thoughts or testimony on any of these teachings? (Note: As students respond, consider using the following teaching ideas to help them understand the truths Joseph taught the Twelve.)
As needed, help students understand the phrase “the Book of Mormon was the most correct book of any on the earth” by using the information found in section 2 of the preparation material.
You might also explain to students that Joseph Smith’s statement does not mean that printed editions of the Book of Mormon were free from errors. Corrections have been made to each edition of the Book of Mormon since 1829. The corrections have dealt with minor changes in wording or changes to spelling, punctuation, or capitalization. The use of the word correct in this statement refers to the powerful truths contained in the Book of Mormon but does not mean the printed text was free from error.
As students mention the Book of Mormon being “the keystone of our religion,” you might show a picture of a keystone, like the one in the preparation material. Invite students to explain why they think a keystone is a good metaphor for the Book of Mormon.
Invite a student to read or summarize the statement by President Ezra Taft Benson in section 3 of the preparation material. (This statement explains three ways that the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.) Consider asking some or all of the following questions to help students deepen their understanding of President Benson’s teachings about the Book of Mormon being a keystone.
How has the Book of Mormon strengthened your testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ?
In what ways does the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon?
How has your testimony of the Book of Mormon strengthened your testimony of other doctrine and teachings of the Church?
Has the Book of Mormon become a keystone of your personal testimony? If so, how?
Divide students into small groups, and invite them to share and explain Book of Mormon passages that have helped them draw nearer to God. (Students who have studied the preparation material can refer to what they wrote at the end of section 4.) You might also invite students to discuss in their groups how living the teachings recorded in the passages they chose helps them become more like Jesus Christ.
Display the following statement by Brother Tad R. Callister, former Sunday School General President, and invite a student to read it aloud:
[The Book of Mormon] is the one weight on the scales of truth that exceeds the combined weight of all the critics’ arguments. Why? Because if it is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet and this is the restored Church of Jesus Christ, regardless of any historical or other arguments to the contrary. For this reason, the critics are intent on disproving the Book of Mormon, but the obstacles they face are insurmountable because this book is true. (“God’s Compelling Witness: The Book of Mormon,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 107)
Help students navigate to the following reliable resources electronically, or provide some paper copies for them if needed. Divide the resources among students, and ask them to think about and look for some of the arguments critics make against the Book of Mormon and to consider how we might use the following resources to respond to such criticism as we seek to acquire spiritual knowledge and increase testimony. Ask students to report some of what they find. They could do this in small groups or as a class.
Mormon 8:14–22. Moroni finishes his father Mormon’s record with a warning to those who criticize the Book of Mormon in the last days.
Ether 12:23–29. Moroni expresses concern that some may criticize the weakness of his writing and miss the power of the Book of Mormon message.
Tad R. Callister, “God’s Compelling Witness: The Book of Mormon,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 107–9. (You could use just the first half of Brother Callister’s talk.) Or students could view the video “Compelling Witness” (7:46).
“Critics of the Book of Mormon,” Church History Topics, history.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 88–90. (You could study only the second half of Elder Holland’s talk.)
After students discuss what they found, ask one or more of the following questions:
Why do you think God does not simply provide complete physical evidence that the Book of Mormon is true?
What counsel would you give a friend or family member who confides to you that he or she is struggling with Book of Mormon criticisms? What else might you do to help?
What do you do (or what can you do) if there doesn’t yet seem to be a good answer for a criticism you hear?
Provide a few minutes for students to consider the effectiveness of their personal Book of Mormon study and to make plans for changes as prompted by the Spirit. Encourage students to include in their plans a goal to study and pray as needed to ensure that the Book of Mormon is a keystone of their testimony. As they ponder, you might display the following statement by Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy:
If you are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, I urge you to do the one thing I know will get you back on track. Begin again to prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings every day, every day, every day! I testify of the profound power in the Book of Mormon that will change your life and strengthen your resolve to follow Christ. The Holy Ghost will change your heart and help you see “things as they really are” [Jacob 4:13]. He will show you what you need to do next. (Kevin W. Pearson, “Stay by the Tree,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 116)
Invite a couple of students who would like to share a brief testimony of the Book of Mormon to do so. You might also share your testimony.
Ask students to consider how often they experience the blessings of priesthood authority and priesthood keys each week. Encourage them to study the preparation material for the next lesson on the restoration of the priesthood and to look for how the priesthood can provide them access to the saving powers of Jesus Christ.