Mar 2, 2014

How can the Book of Mormon help me strengthen my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

I taught Sunday School today, and I felt strongly that the lesson I needed to teach was on how the Book of Mormon can help strengthen faith in the Atonement of Christ.  The lesson went well, although my class was quieter than usual.  We had a snow/freezing rain day so half my class was absent and the remainder of us were cold.  But, it was still a good lesson and my class is awesome, as usual.  Insightful comments, meaningful questions, an everyone took a turn reading.  I can't ask for more.

Here is my lesson plan for this topic, I hope that it will help you develop your faith in the Atonement by utilizing the lessons and teachings of the Book of Mormon.


How can the Book of Mormon help me strengthen my faith 
in the Atonement of Jesus Christ?



Introduction
The primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince ALL people that Jesus IS the Christ.  It teaches that we must “come unto Him or [we] cannot be saved” (1 Nephi 13:40).  It contains many examples of faithful disciples who had faith in Jesus Christ and received the blessings of His Atonement.  Book of Mormon prophets bore powerful testimony of the Savior, that we “may know to what source [we] may look for remission of [our] sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).

Critical Thinking and Discussion Question
Scenario:  Maybe this has already happened to you, but if not, quite possibly it will one day.  Let’s say a friend asks you if Mormons are Christians.  How would you respond?  Can you find any Book of Mormon scriptures to support this?

Activity 1
Write on the board “How can the Book of Mormon help me strengthen my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ?”  Divide the class into groups of 3 and assign each a section to study from Elder Neil L. Anderson’s article The Book of Mormon:  Strengthening our Faith in Jesus Christ  (https://www.lds.org/ensign/2011/10/the-book-of-mormon-strengthening-our-faith-in-jesus-christ?lang=eng):  Important for Our Day, Framed within Families, or The Testimony of Jesus Christ.  Invite them to look for answers to the question on the board.  Encourage each group to present their answers to the class, along with a scripture reference they found meaningful from their assigned section.

Many of the examples and references Elder Anderson shared in his talk were Book of Mormon stories depicting how we can develop faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and the importance of His Atonement.  Each of them is worthy of a thorough read for those with a desire to know how they can apply the Atonement in their own lives.

Activity 2 
Taking turns, have the class read aloud the story of Alma the younger (Mosiah 27:24-31) and his testimony to his sons (Alma 26:5-28, 38:6-8).  Then read the story of Enos (Enos 1: 2-8).  Alma and Enos both repented and received forgiveness of their sins:  Ask, “What did their experiences teach you about the Atonement?”  End by reading the article Repentance is Real by Joshua J. Perkey from the New Era (https://www.lds.org/new-era/2014/03/repentance-is-real?lang=eng). 

Alma, in great detail, describes his entire repentance process, from feeling utter despair to the point of wanting death, and then to his sincere repentance as he turns his heart, mind, and existence until the mercy of his Lord.  This is the point where he applied the Atonement in his life.  Once he did this, the peace, happiness, and comfort he felt at becoming washed clean was overwhelming.  His joy was so full that he developed a heartfelt desire for all to feel this same healing.

Invite to Act
Go over the handout Atonement Book of Mormon Study Project.  Discuss how specifically focusing on the Atonement while prayerfully studying the Book of Mormon is the absolute best way to strengthen your faith and grow your testimony of the Atonement.  This is a process, and as you dedicate a portion of your time and energy doing this, you will be rewarded with great faith and knowledge.  You will better able to apply the Atonement to your own lives:  not just in remission of your sins, but as a comfort and a strength during trials and tribulation.

Atonement Study Challenge Handout
Closing
Ask the class the following questions:
1    1) Do you understand how the Book of Mormon can strengthen your faith in the Atonement?
2    2) Did you feel of the spirit or receive any impressions during the lesson that you would like to  share?
3    3)Do you have further questions about the Atonement or the Book of Mormon?

I ended by bearing my testimony of the Book of Mormon:
I know with absolute certainty that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know this because I’ve read it, because I’ve studied it, because I’ve prayed to know the truth of it.  Each time I open this book, read from this book, talk about this book, or even think about this book, the Holy Ghost comes upon me like a tidal wave confirming the truth of its words and its teachings.  The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ,  In it, we can receive further light and knowledge o His mission and His Atonement.  By studying the Book of Mormon, I have learned how I can apply the Atonement to my own life in any circumstance.  My testimony and my spirit have grown through the words in this book.  I challenge all to prayerfully study this book and come to know for themselves the truthfulness thereof.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I've found the best methods to bring the spirit into any situation and into any class is to either read from the Holy Scriptures and to bear testimony.  Nothing is more effective in this area for once you crack open the Bible or Book of Mormon to read the words of the Lord from the writings of His prophets, the spirit comes in every time to testify of the truth of those words.  Once you or your class bear testimony, the spirit once again will fill the room and the hearts of those present with its own witness of truth.  This is the best way to instruct, for the spirit is the greatest teacher.

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