Thursday, February 23, 2006

3 Nephi Intro - A Spiritual Feast for a Hungry World

Today we began our wonderful study of 3 Nephi. After we had our opening exercises and worked a bit on our scripture mastery for the week (Ether 12:17), I passed out large colorful index cards without explanation (I find that if I display something or hold it up without explaining for a bit, it gains their attention - because they're wondering why or what or how - and they pay attention to what is going on).

I let each student pick their color from the five color choices. Then I passed out a quote sheet I'd typed up from the teacher's manual on page 211 (the numbered list in the box that gives an overview of 3 Nephi).

The students pasted that on their card, but I still hadn't explained why. Then I passed out a brown paper lunch bag to each student - again without telling why. :0)

At that point, I showed the amount of pages that we had left in the Book of Mormon to study by the end of the year. Their eyes got big when they saw how little remained.

I reminded them how earlier in the year, as we'd studied the book of Enos, the lesson manual had given a quote about the stellar nature of the book of Enos in its example of repentance and the power of the atonement. Then I told them we were about to start studying 3 Nephi, another book of stellar importance.

I read the quotes on page 210 in the teacher's manual at the beginning of the 3 Nephi section. I especially stressed this quote from the manual, spoken by President Ezra Taft Benson:

"What a blessing it would be if every family would read together 3 Nephi, discuss its sacred contents, and then determine how they can liken it unto themselves and apply its teachings in their lives.

"Third Nephi is a book that should be read and read again. Its testimony of the resurrected Christ in America is given in purity and beauty"
(in Ensign, May 1987, 6).

Some of these kids in my class are seniors. I said, "Some of you will be married and starting families in just five short years. What better pattern to build a strong family than to follow this counsel. Can you imagine doing what President Benson said? Your kids eventually would have 3 Nephi memorized. Just think how this could guide them in their lives - considering where the world (in all its sin) will be!"

Life is a journey. We take sack lunches with us, if there is no eating establishment where we are going. Well, we also need to prepare spiritual feasts for our soul. Our spirits get hungry for spiritual sustenance, just as our bodies do. This is especially true today when so little in the world offers refreshing spiritual moments.

With that in mind, my class today began preparations for their spiritual feast of 3 Nephi. We will be feasting for the next month or so from the beauty contained in 3 Nephi.

So I then had one student at a time read a point from the outline on their index card. I let them know this is a global view of why 3 Nephi is so important - in essence, a microcosm of the entire Book of Mormon. And I explained that we today were going to prepare our "spiritual feast sacks" for our study of 3 Nephi (they still don't know exactly what they will be doing with the sacks, though, during the next month).

Then I passed out colored pencils and markers. Without them looking in their scriptures, I had them (on one side only - this is important) draw or write everything they knew about 3 Nephi. This was their "pre" 3 Nephi side. Once we've completed our month-long study of 3 Nephi, they will be doing the same thing for the "post" 3 Nephi side of the sack.

[I am aiming for a visual representation of comparing what they knew about 3 Nephi prior to our month long study to what they know once we finish our 3 Nephi study. That's why I did not want them looking in their scriptures while completing the assignment today.]

To finish up today's introduction, I had them read the heading for the book of 3 Nephi, as well as the chapter heading to 3 Nephi 1. I bore testimony as to the importance of what we were about to undertake as we prepare our spiritual feast for a hungry world. Next week we will begin that study of such an important book. May these students truly take in and be edified by the experience!

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Seminary Mom :0)