What a great way to begin the new year with Gordon B. Hinckley Chapter 1: The Restoration of the Gospel- The Dawning of a Brighter Day. In January we make fresh starts, new commitments to improve and restore our lives. In Chapter 1 we study the restoration of the gospel. It's a great parallel to draw out in your lesson.
As we study the restoration of the gospel, we are filled with gratitude for how remarkable our lives are because of the truths that Joseph Smith restored. The fact that we have modern revelation alone makes a difference in our lives every single day. It is hard to imagine my life without it. Before you start teaching this lesson, take three minutes to write down all things you are grateful for because of the restoration of the gospel.
Note: My video with more ideas can be found at the end of this post.
Questions to Ponder
Some of these questions are from the manual, others are ones that I thought of- use them in your preparation, lesson, or to help you think of your own.
- Why was it necessary for the world to have the restoration of the gospel?
- What are some ways the Lord prepared the way for the restoration?
- How has your testimony of the First Vision influenced you? What are some truths that you cherish because of it?
- Why was it necessary that the priesthood be restored by heavenly messengers?
- Why is it important that Melchizedek Priesthood holders are able to trace their priesthood authority to Jesus Christ?
- What are some of the truths that came by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith? (see section 5) How have these truths blessed your life?
- How can you help children understand and appreciate these restored truths?
- Are you sleeping through the restoration?
- How would you have felt to have lived during the early days of the church?
- What is the difference between the definition of Deity at Nicaea and Joseph Smith's definition? How does this give you comfort?
- How has what happened in the Sacred Grove changed you?
Here are some articles and other things to study as you continue to prepare for your lesson. They should NOT replace the manual but rather help answer questions and strengthen your own testimony so that it is easy to teach with confidence and answer questions that arise during your lesson.
Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration (about 1 hour)- Watch this movie before you teach about Joseph Smith and the Restoration this year.
"The Fruits of the First Vision" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith- You can download the pamphlet or read it on this site.
"Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"Preparations for the Restoration and Second Coming: 'My Hand Shall Be over Thee'" by Elder Robert D. Hales
"'A Choice Seer Will I Raise Up'" by Elder Craig C. Christensen- I loved this quote, "Because Joseph was a prophet, we have more than a window into heaven—the very doorway to the eternities is open to us."
"The Restoration of All Things" by President James E. Faust
Before you use a video in your lesson, read these 15 tips.
A Seer Will I Raise Up (about 5 minutes)- Joseph Smith is prepared to bring to pass the restoration
Joseph Smith (about 2 minutes)- A quicker narrated summary of the First Vision
Special Witness- Elder Christofferson (about 6 minutes)- Elder Christofferson bears testimony of Joseph Smith and the First Vision
The Restoration (about 19 minutes)- The First Vision and the Restoration
The Apostasy and Restoration (about 2 minutes)- Paul forewarns of the apostasy
Joseph Smith's First Vision (about 4 1/2 minutes)
The Message of the Restoration (about 2 1/2 minutes)
- Make a timeline on the whiteboard to follow along with the lesson. Begin the timeline with Christ on the earth then head to section 1 with the apostasy, section 2, and so forth. Begin your lesson showing the timeline then diving into the different parts.
- The Red Headed Hostess has a teaching packet called Why Was a Restoration Necessary? that includes teaching tips and large teaching aids that can coordinate with this lesson.
- Using section 5, divide into 8 groups and discuss the revealed truths that distinguish our Church from others. Ask each group to come up with a specific example of how it has blessed their lives to have that truth and why it is important to have it restored. You can either save time for sharing afterwards or repeat all the truths before and after the group work is done as summary.
- Relate the story of the First Vision to our personal lives. We each have left the presence of our Heavenly Father to come to earth. We each must prepare ourselves to accept the gospel- we must learn it, study the scriptures, and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Finally, we must decide for ourselves if the gospel is true and ask through prayer. While the First Vision only happened once, we can receive a continual confirmation of the truthfulness of the restored church. Where will your sacred grove be when you need to ask? How will you prepare yourself beforehand? How can you help prepare your family?
- Expand upon section 2 with specific examples of how the Renaissance and Reformation helped prepare the way. Elder Hales' talk mentioned in the Teacher Study above has more examples.
- Ask a missionary or someone in the class ahead of time to relate parts of the First Vision to the class as if they were hearing it for the first time. Before they present, ask your audience to imagine hearing this message for the first time and have them write down the parts that stick out to them, the questions that arise, and the feelings that they have.
- Bring a Priesthood line of authority card to present as you discuss section 4.
- There are several videos that would be good to supplement this lesson. While all of them are good, I recommend one that is about 5 minutes or less for presenting purposes (see Supportive Videos above).
- Section 1 focuses more on what happened in the lands surrounding Israel. Read what happens at about the same time in the Americas. The whole world fell into apostasy- it wasn't just one part. What are some things that led to this apostasy? How can we avoid personal apostasy?
- Use this Mormonad as a focus for your lesson- "What happened here changed the world. Let it change your life." Send it to a copier to print it large enough for everyone to see and use it for the ending challenge. You can also print it as a 8x10 to hand out- any smaller and it cuts off the words (Use coupon code 25OFF2017 through March 31, 2017 for 25% off your order at Shutterfly).
- Discuss taking time to have sacred moments like Joseph did in the sacred grove and recording our experiences like he did in Joseph Smith-History and the Doctrine and Covenants. What can we do to ensure we have these moments? Why should we record them? How can we help our children have these moments?
- Visual reminders would be excellent to use as you do narration. If you have an artist in the area, have them illustrate something on the board while the First Vision is being related. If not, bring some artwork from home, check out some in your church library, ask another ward member to bring one of their pictures, or print some off from LDS.org.
- Need a new way to end your lessons? Try one of these 10 ideas.
- There are about 5 more ideas in the video below. Find the Primary handout I mention in Primary 5 Lesson 2.