The Role of the Savior, Priesthood Leaders, and the Holy Ghost in Forgiveness

“The Role of the Savior, Priesthood Leaders, and the Holy Ghost in Forgiveness,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)

“The Role of the Savior, Priesthood Leaders, and the Holy Ghost in Forgiveness,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material

a young man talks with his bishop

Week 13 Teacher Material

The Role of the Savior, Priesthood Leaders, and the Holy Ghost in Forgiveness

In this lesson students will have the opportunity to explain the roles of the Savior, priesthood leaders, and the Holy Ghost in the repentance process. They will review the purposes of Church membership councils. Students will also describe the Holy Ghost’s role as sanctifier and describe how to recognize when they have been forgiven or are in the process of being forgiven. They will have opportunities to share how they have come to know the Lord has forgiven them and what has most helped them to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Ideas for Teaching

Chapter 22

Forgiveness for our sins comes from our Savior Jesus Christ, not from the Church.

  • You might begin class by inviting students to share anything from chapter 22 that stood out to them and why or by inviting them to ask any questions they have.

  • Consider reviewing the first paragraph of the chapter as a class, looking for where forgiveness comes from (and help students identify the truth stated in the section heading above). You could then discuss the following question:

    • Why do you think it is important to remember that forgiveness comes from the Lord and not from a priesthood leader or the Church?

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delegate priesthood keys to local Church leaders to maintain a standard of worthiness for members as they participate in saving ordinances.

  • You might review the last paragraph of the section “The Kingdom of God on Earth” (which begins “The power of priesthood keys …”) and help students identify a truth like the one stated just above.

  • Consider asking students what role priesthood leaders have in helping people repent of serious sins. (As needed, you might review portions of the first three paragraphs in the section “The Sacred Responsibility of Church Leaders”). You might then ask:

    • How might a priesthood leader’s counsel and the temporary restriction of some privileges of Church membership be a blessing to someone seeking forgiveness? (As an example, you could share the account told by Elder John H. Groberg at the end of the section.)

  • You might ask students what they learned about Church membership councils from their reading of chapter 22. (See also General Handbook, chapter 32 to help with questions and additional discussion on membership councils.)

  • Consider reviewing Elder Andersen’s account in the last section of the chapter (“The Lord’s Redeeming Love and Forgiveness”) of a broken family that was miraculously healed. Ask students what they have learned and felt about the love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace of the Savior Jesus Christ toward those wounded by serious sin.

Chapter 23

The companionship of the Holy Ghost is evidence that we are being forgiven.

  • Consider displaying the following questions and asking students to consider which they would most like to discuss:

    How can I know my repentance is working?

    How can I know when I’ve been forgiven?

    How can I forgive myself?

    You might divide students into three groups based on the question they chose. As part of the activity, you could invite students to find and discuss statements in chapter 23 and in the scriptures that help answer their group’s question. After sufficient time, invite a few students to report what they learned and discussed in their groups. You might record on the board some of the truths they identify as they report. These could include the truth stated in the heading for this section.

  • You could use some of the following discussion and follow-up questions to help students deepen their understanding and feelings about the truths they identified:

    • What does the Holy Ghost’s role as “sanctifier” mean to you?

    • How can it help to remember that the Spirit’s sanctifying influence and feelings of forgiveness often come gradually and gently rather than quickly and dramatically? (See the third-to-last paragraph of the chapter, which begins “Recognizing that we are …”)

    • How have you worked to recognize the Holy Ghost in your life? (See paragraphs 9–16 in the section “The Sanctifier,” which begin “Paul teaches that … ,” for several important ways we can recognize the Spirit in our lives.)

    • In what ways is patience important in our efforts to feel forgiven? (You could review paragraph 18 of the section “Forgiving Oneself,” which begins “Elder Gerrit W. Gong reminds … ,” as part of your discussion.)

  • To help students better understand the role of the Holy Ghost in forgiveness, consider assigning each class member one of the following scripture passages to study: 2 Nephi 31:17; Mosiah 4:3; Mosiah 5:2; 3 Nephi 27:20. Invite students to share what they find.

  • Consider showing the video “How Do We Know the Lord Has Forgiven Us?” (3:19), and discuss what Elder Robert E. Wells’s experience can teach us about forgiving ourselves and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness.

    Invite students to share how they have known that they have been forgiven in the past. Their experiences may help others to understand and feel the validity of the truths taught in this chapter.

  • You might conclude class by reading paragraph 21 of the section “Forgiving Oneself” (which begins “Once we have received …”) and encouraging students to determine what they might need to do to invite the Spirit’s constant companionship in their lives.

For Next Time

Encourage students to study chapters 24 and 25 to prepare for the next week. For chapter 24, you might invite them to consider how participating in the sacrament and temple worship can support their continual repentance. For chapter 25, you could invite students to look for how the Savior and His atoning sacrifice are central to overcoming the unrighteousness of the world and being born again.