Monday, May 01, 2006

Moroni 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 - Your Perspective, Please

[example of student's class journal]

Today we covered Moroni 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 (with a little bit from Ether 15).

To start off today, I asked the students to think of one of the loneliest times they have ever experienced. I distributed their class journals and asked them to journal about that for just a moment, listing how they felt and what the situation was that had brought that lonely feeling.

When they were done, I then moved onto the next step of the lesson.

But before I explain what that was, let me make a suggestion if you were to do the same activity. I had moved on, not intending to have the students share what they had written (making an assumption it would be too private). But then I noticed that a few of the students were privately sharing with one another what they'd written.

I don't allow whispering in class, because it's a distraction to the other students. If there is whispering, I just stop and wait. The silence eventually alerts the whispering students that they now have the entire class's attention. Usually they stop, not wanting this.

Thus, two students were whispering over what they had written. Which is fine, but it was distracting from the reverence which everyone else was manifesting. I waited in quiet until the two students were done reading each other's journal before continuing. In retrospect, I would recommend offering this as an actual step after the journaling is done. Because oftentimes, until curiosity is resolved, nothing that I say next will really be heard or felt.

Once I had everyone's attention again, I smiled and asked them what they knew about Moroni. I read the italicized paragraph on page 197 underneath the heading: "Moroni 1-3 The Authority of the Priesthood." I asked what emotions they thought he had experienced from what he'd just lived through - even asking what they thought his sleep patterns were like. They shared they thought it must have been rough and that perhaps he might have even had bad dreams.

Then I read to them Mormon 8:1-5. I shared how difficult it must have been for him to have recounted this (I personally imagine tears must have been rolling down his cheeks as he did so - but in this lifetime I obviously cannot know).

More than anything, I wanted them to understand that Moroni was a real person, having experienced real difficulties, and could be someone to trust. All this, because I wanted them to really think about why he shared what he did from his first written record in The Book of Mormon (beginning with Mormon 8:6) all the way through the fifteen chapters of Ether to the end of the ten chapters in Moroni.

I wanted the students to appreciate the lonely wanderings of this great man, whose record lasted (according to the footnotes in The Book of Mormon) from approximately A.D. 400 to 421.

THEN I distributed a "Your Perspective, Please" assignment. I'd divided the class into six teams. I had written out a two-step activity for each of the six teams, with the first part being an actual assignment and the second part was their perspective on what they'd studied/researched in the scriptures.

Each of the teams received something similar to one of the following six assignments (most of which I drew from page 197-8 in the student manual):

1.a. Imagine you are a news reporter reporting on the events found in Ether 15:14-34. Remember the 5 W's of good journalism as you write your news report.
1.b. Share with the class your report and what important lesson we can learn from Moroni's words.

2.a. Share the facts of Moroni 1 and the challenges he faced in a news report. Remember the 5 W's of good reporting as you write the report.
2.b. Share with the class your perspective on what we can learn from Moroni's words.

3.a. Your nonmember friend is visiting church on Sunday and sees someone being confirmed a new member. Let Moroni's words in Moroni 2 help you explain the power of the priesthood in giving someone the Holy Ghost.
3.b. Share with the class your perspective on the priesthood and Moroni's words.

4.a. You've been given an assignment from the Bishop to teach a new member about the Aaronic Priesthood. Use Moroni 3 to help you in this assignment.
4.b. Share with the class your perspective about what Moroni's words means to you.

5.a. Moroni has given us the sacrament prayers in Moroni 4 and 5. Help your friend who is a new member of the church to understand what she promises when taking the sacrament and what the Lord promises.
5.b. Share with the class your perspective about what the sacrament and Moroni's words means to you.

6.a. Your friend is struggling with understanding why we help each other in the church. Using Moroni 6, explain to him what we promise when we are baptized. Share at least six different points and responsibilities.
6.b. Share with the class your perspective on Moroni's words and why this matters.

When most of the class was finished, with just a few still writing, I read the paragraphs on page 194 in the student manual so that they could have a good backdrop of understanding, before they heard each other's presentations. Then once everyone was done, they presented their findings and their feelings/perspectives.

Again, I don't want them to read The Book of Mormon like a textbook. I want it to live for them and to be able to find strength therein, now and for always.


just another-early-morning-seminary-teacher mom!

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