“Introduction to Teaching the Course,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)
“Introduction to Teaching the Course,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material
Welcome to The Divine Gift of Forgiveness course! At the beginning of his book by the same name, which is the text for this course, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote:
My sincere hope is that through this book, The Divine Gift of Forgiveness, you will again feel, as you have already felt, the priceless love your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son have for you, and that Their love will encourage you to move even more conscientiously toward Them. (“Introduction,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness , 1)
This course is intended to help students feel God’s love and come closer to their Savior Jesus Christ through a deeper understanding of repentance and His gift of forgiveness. As a result of this course, students should be able to
explain what repentance is, why they should repent, and how to repent;
identify barriers to repentance and forgiveness and how to overcome them;
recognize how, and from whom, forgiveness of sin comes;
feel increased faith and trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and have a greater desire to repent; and
answer questions about repentance and forgiveness by turning to the words of scripture and the prophets.
The reading material for both teachers and students is the book The Divine Gift of Forgiveness, by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Local S&I areas are responsible for purchasing books and distributing them to teachers and students. Please refer to the following web page to learn how to place book orders: Order The Divine Gift of Forgiveness from Deseret Book (si.ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
To help students prepare for their learning experience together in class, give them a reading schedule, such as the one found earlier in this manual. You might also find ways to interact with students throughout each week to encourage their preparation. For example, you could send them some of the questions found in the “For Next Time” sections of the lessons. Sending students a reminder or a question to come ready to discuss in class can encourage them to study and ponder the topic throughout the week. Expect students to come prepared. Their preparation will help them have a more meaningful learning experience.
Each lesson from the teacher material contains several ideas for learning activities. You and your students may not have time in class to do each activity. Please focus on your students’ needs and questions rather than trying to cover all of the material.
The teacher material is designed for 90-minute class experiences, one lesson per week over 14 weeks. If you are teaching 28 lessons during the semester, you might split the teaching suggestions for each week in half. You will notice that each lesson has a main section break in the middle, but you are welcome to split lessons however you feel would most benefit your students.
To receive credit toward institute graduation for this course, students are required to
study 75 percent of The Divine Gift of Forgiveness,
attend 75 percent of the classes held, and
complete one of three learning experiences: keep a study journal, write responses to three essay questions, or design and complete a learning project (with teacher approval) of their own that is related to the content of the course. Find more details here: ChurchofJesusChrist.org/si/institute/learning-experiences
One learning experience students could complete would be to create a list of common questions related to repentance and forgiveness. (This could be done as a class at the beginning of the course.) Then throughout the course, a student could collect excerpts from Elder Andersen’s book and statements from the scriptures and Church leaders that help answer the questions. This could be a helpful resource for a student throughout his or her life.