Wednesday, March 01, 2006

3 Nephi 6 & 7 - In, But Not Of

We studied 3 Nephi 6 and 7 today for our scripture block. I had written a series of diseases on the board, with a brief definition for each one (I'd gotten the list from the teacher's manual and added just one more: avian bird flu).

The kids discussed which they thought were the top three most feared diseases. They were able to narrow it down to the top four, but couldn't agree about the top three (the manual suggested having them number the list from most feared on down, but for what I had planned time-wise, I had to adjust the activity a bit to abbreviate it).

Then we moved to the quote in the manual by Hugh Nibley about the "Nephite Disease," of which we were told we have. The students researched in the given verses in 3 Nephi 6 what that might be and how to seek a cure. I read the quotes given in the teachers manual and then passed out the Heavenly Halls prescription form I'd previously made, but adjusted for this block of scripture.

The kids were given the research verses recommended in the teacher's manual and an assignment to diagnose their historical "patient", the year of occurance, and their "prescription" recommendation. Once each team had completed their assignment, they shared with the class the prognosis. (To see the picture up close, simply click on it to enlarge it.)

I drew the following equation on the board [you'll need to picture the math symbol, since my keyboard can't make the symbol to show you]:

*** Pride/Vanity "does NOT equal" Humility ***

We talked about how to be privy to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we must be humble. We talked about how in the next five years they will be making perhaps the most important choices possible for their lives - serving a mission, where to go for college or training, who to marry, where to live.

All of these choices have potentially eternal consequences! Additionally, they are living in a world where people are making filthy choices. We talked about how it is necessary to be in tune to the Spirit to be able to make the best choices. And again, to be in tune, we need to be humble.

We discussed how important it is to be aware of pride or vain thoughts/feelings. How important it is to be humble and recognize the need for the Lord. We read the quotes in the manual, especially the one by President Benson.

The Nephite civilization, though, refused (for the most part) to listen to their prophets. This led us into 3 Nephi 7, the time just prior to Christ's visit. Horrific things were occurring, yet there were individuals who chose to remain apart.

The manual had suggested to display mud. I had to chuckle, because where I live we only have sandy soil - no mud to be found! So I chose the next best thing I could think of that was dark and messy - potting soil!

We talked about how the world surrounds us with so many things, of which an increasing amount are dark and evil. We have been told to be "in" the world, but not "of" the world.

I showed a new bright, white washcloth. I asked the kids what would happen if I buried the washcloth all the way down at the bottom of the potting soil. Could it keep itself clean from the dirt around it? Of course not. We read the verses suggested in the teacher's manual for the "mud" activity.

I then asked them for advice: "How does one live in this world, but not be dirtied by it?"

They had some suggestions, then I pulled out a plastic baggie with the suggested verses from the manual taped to it, and I tucked a clean white washcloth inside it. We read the verses and discussed the application of them.

I shared with the class that the Lord protects those who make Him their God. We truly can shield ourselves from the filth of this world through our righteous desires, our testimony. If we have no desire to sin, sin has no hold on us. It is as if we are in a plastic baggie, remaining clean inspite of the filth around us. It just doesn't stick; we don't engage in it because it has no appeal.

Living this way, we see things with an eternal perspective when we have a strong and abiding testimony of the things of God. THAT is why we read our scriptures, pray, serve, go to church, etc. It brings us humility and the Spirit, so that we can view things as God does. And viewing things as God does brings us to the point where we've lost all desire to sin. And if we stumble, the Lord's atonement helps us to wash ourselves clean again.

Nephi spoke of shaking at the appearance of sin. I think when we all reach that point, seeing sin for what it is, living "in" the world, but not "of" it, becomes a true reality. Hopefully the students today felt the spirit's witness of that.

For free PDFs of items I've created for the various lessons and to join the free newsletter list, simply visit here to join.

May the Lord bless us all as we serve.


just another early-morning-seminary-teacher mom!