15 Things to Remember Before Showing a Video in your LDS Lessons

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LDS.org is full of excellent video resourcese. It makes teaching your family and church class even easier. Movie clips certainly don't replace reading the scriptures but they can add to it greatly. Before you show a video in your class or even Family Home Evening, keep these 15 things in mind and as always, please use approved resources only (if you don't know, ask your presidency).


Technical Reminders

These are the little details you need to keep in mind before you can even push play. They may seem simple, but put them on your checklist to ensure your presentation goes smoothly.

Make Sure You Have It

It may seem obvious but double check the case beforehand and if you are getting online- DOWNLOAD it. Don't rely on whatever connection you can get at church, just download it. AND remember where you save it. A lot of TVs now have USB ports so you can download the video on a thumbdrive and play it on a TV from the library. Go see what your library has available and ask other teachers what they do. Even if they don't have a USB port, some have Rokus or cords to use with your laptop or phone for the TV. 

Are you worried about remembering to grab your items in the morning? Put a sticky note in the car or put everything in your vehicle Saturday night (If your car is in a secure place). Once I forgot a laptop so my class and I ended up trying to watch the video on my smartphone. It was a small enough class that day so it worked but I don't recommend it. 

Set it Up Before

If you have video, get it to the right spot or know which scene selection you need to choose. Test the volume out before class so you don't have to worry about anything. Stand in the back and corners of the class to make sure everyone will be able to see the video. Don't  be the one that gets up 5 times in the first 25 seconds to keep adjusting all the little things. No one can pay attention to the video that way. 

Put the Captions On

As long as the captions won't cover up the whole picture, turn them on! This helps those all the way in the back and those with hearing aids. There will also be some that want it louder so get in front of the battle with captions. I also find it helps clarify things as sometimes what we heard, wasn't what was said. 

Use the Projector

Are you in a large classroom? See if you can get the projector from the library. Be sure you know how to use it or have someone reliable to help you set it up. If you don't know who to ask, check with your presidency or Bishopric. Cover the lens with a hymn book so it is easy to quickly "turn it on and off" during your lesson. This way you won't waste time trying to figure out what buttons are correct or get distracted when the screensaver turns on.

Know How Much Time it Will Take

Be sure you actually have enough time for the movie and your lesson. Put a minute marker in your lesson to remind you of the latest possible time you can watch it. If you are running short on time, see if you can come up with a back up plan instead- would it be okay if you skipped the last little bit of the video? Is there something else you can do instead? Often people make the mistake of trying to summarize the movie instead to save time and it doesn't make much sense to the rest of us. Either skip it completely or watch it but don't summarize it to save time unless it's a introduction to the rest of the movie.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Even if you did everything right sometimes things don't work when you want it. Have a backup plan in place if this happens- an object lesson, a story to read from the scriptures, some good discussion questions. Don't fret, prepare for the worst but hope for the best. In the photo above, I have a group project with posters to use just in case.

Keep it Short

The video isn't there to teach the lesson for you, it's there to supplement and add power. 5 minutes is a really long video when you are teaching a lesson. I usually max out at 2 1/2 minutes. A lot of video clips are only a minute or two so search around and see what will work best for your lesson. 


I loved one video someone made in Relief Society that combined pictures from the scripture with pictures of the sisters in our ward. It really made the scriptures come to life for me and put connections together. She added church music to the photos for a really beautiful presentation. Make a slideshow of your own using PowerPoint and a music player. It's the perfect way to tailor your videos to your lesson.

Techniques to Include Your Video

Now that you got all the little things out of the way, think about how you want to include your video. Will you start with it or use it in the middle of your lesson? Is there something in particular you want to point out or is it the overall feeling of the video that you want to use? Use one of these ideas to help you transition easily between the video and your lesson.

Set the Scene

Give some background before you start the video- where does it take place, is there a background story that you are skipping for time purpose? Capture your class's attention before you push play then let the video finish your thought.  

Don't Be Afraid to Interrupt

Is the video a key part of your lesson'? Go ahead and pause the movie and discuss what's happening. Ask questions, read some relating scriptures, define words. Watch the movie in increments throughout your lesson. This works particularly great with scripture videos as you can ask your class what they think will happen next, stop to read a particular scripture that it is covering, remind them of the connection between groups of people, etc. You can use the video through your whole lesson. 

Ask Questions First

Before you push play, give people something to focus on other than the screen. Tell them the questions you want to discuss afterwards so they will be ready to talk when it's done. Often times people watch a movie and understand one point of it. If you don't tell your class the questions beforehand, they may have focused on a completely different point. There is more than one way to view something so make sure you are directing your class down the path you want to take. It also helps everyone actively watch instead of passively sitting.

Read it Before

Read the story in the scriptures first then watch the movie. It's a great way to bring to life what you are reading and cement it in. Discuss the scripture story then show the movie again. You went from chopping up the scripture story into small fragments into seeing the whole story. It adds new perspective and completes the story nicely.


Use your video clip once at the beginning then again at the end to see how perspectives change after your lesson. Watch it the first time with only a little introduction and ask what people noticed. Then ask your questions and watch it again to see the different feedback you get. Movies under a minute are really great for this kind of thing as it doesn't take a bunch of time but brings a point home well.

Turn the Volume Off

Can you understand the story without the words? Turn the sound off and play music on the piano or use a music player instead. It can change the whole experience.


A video clip can be the perfect ending to your lesson but don't leave it hanging. After the movie ends, don't simply turn it off and sit down. Turn the movie off then end with your own powerful testimony- even if you are already crying. There is a empty space if you skip ahead to the closing prayer. A simple one sentence testimony is all it takes to end it.

Your Turn- How do you use videos in your lesson? What tips would you add?