“Lesson 8 Teacher Material: The Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 8 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Invite students to imagine that when they invited a friend to attend church, she replied: “Church is fine, but I think I can be a good person without organized religion. We all have our own individual path to God, right?”
What are some misconceptions that may be preventing your friend from understanding the value of the Lord’s Church?
Allow students to discuss for a few minutes in small groups how they might explain to this friend why the Lord established a church on earth. (Encourage students to use what they learned from studying the preparation material.)
Display the accompanying images of the Peter Whitmer Sr. home in Fayette, New York. Invite students to recall what they studied in section 1 of the preparation material to describe what took place in the Whitmer home on the day the Church was organized.
As a class, read Articles of Faith 1:6, looking for what Joseph Smith once wrote about the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ. If needed, you might point out that “evangelists” can refer to patriarchs and “pastors” to presiding officers, like bishops.
What truths can we learn from this statement? (One truth we can learn is that the Lord’s Church in the latter days is organized as it was in Jesus’s day.)
Invite a student to read aloud the second paragraph of Brother Tad R. Callister’s statement in section 2 of the preparation material, which begins with the words “If one were to match the blueprint …”
Display the following scripture references. Invite students to select one or more of them to read silently, looking for what they reveal about the organization, practices, and teachings of the Savior’s New Testament Church.
Note: This activity is not meant to be comprehensive or time consuming. It is simply to help students recognize how the Lord’s restored Church is patterned after His ancient Church.
What similarities do you see between Christ’s original Church and the Church in our day? Why is it important to know that the Lord’s Church today was organized according to the pattern of His ancient Church?
Explain that about a year and a half after the Church was organized, the Lord taught about the uniqueness of His restored Church. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 1:30 silently, looking for what the Lord declared.
How did the Lord describe His Church in verse 30? (Help students identify the following statement of doctrine: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the earth.)
To help deepen students’ understanding of this truth, you might ask the class to discuss some of the following questions. Encourage students to review and think about what they learned from section 2 of the preparation material during the discussion.
How would you sensitively but boldly explain to someone what it means that this Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth”?
What makes this a “living” church? (It may help to display something that is living, such as a plant, and ask students to describe the characteristics of a living thing compared to something that is not living or is dead.)
Why do you think it is important to understand that while the eternal truths of the Savior’s gospel do not change, the Church continues to grow and adapt through revelation from the Lord?
What experiences have helped you come to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true and living Church?
Display the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read it aloud:
It is worth pausing to consider why Jesus Christ chooses to use a church, His Church, … to carry out His and His Father’s work. (“Why the Church,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 108)
Why do you think Jesus Christ chooses to use a church, His Church, to carry out His and His Father’s work?
As a class, read Moroni 6:3–6 and Doctrine and Covenants 43:8–9, looking for some of the purposes and blessings that come through membership and service in the Lord’s Church. Ask students to share what they learned from these passages.
Give students a minute to briefly review the statements from Elder Christofferson and Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson from section 3 of the preparation material.
Which teachings in these statements were particularly meaningful to you? (After students respond, display the following truth: The Lord organized His Church to help us come unto Him, receive the full blessings of His gospel, and have opportunities to minister to others.)
Ask students to think about each element of this truth. Invite students to share how they have seen this truth fulfilled in their own life. You might ask some follow-up questions such as these:
What are the “full blessings” of the Lord’s gospel?
What role does the Church play in helping you become more like your Heavenly Father?
Give students some time to reflect on and record their thoughts about the following question:
In what ways can I more actively participate in the Church and in helping to accomplish its purposes?
After sufficient time, you might ask students what they learned today that could help them answer a friend’s questions like the one introduced in the scenario described at the beginning of the lesson. You could conclude by testifying of the truths taught in the lesson.
Explain that because of the Restoration of the gospel, we can understand more about the Savior’s character and atoning sacrifice than anyone was able to for nearly 2,000 years. Ask students to think about the blessings of coming closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. Invite them to deepen their understanding and faith in Him by carefully studying the preparation material for the next class.