Gospel Doctrine Lesson 33: Ye are the Temple of God.

August 30, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 9:20 pm   Category: Sunday School Lessons

So my wife is taking a “mommy vacation” this weekend to see her new niece in far far away, and I am teaching Gospel Doctrine for her. I’m a bit nervous about it (because my wife is the greatest Gospel Teacher I have ever met, and I don’t want to mess it up for her), so once again am putting my lesson here for your thoughts and recommendations. It’s a power point, so I know that dings me for some of you, but hey, I may flip it over to prezi for church, if that makes it any less “corporate”…

Anyway, some fun facts from my lesson for those not inclined to look through the power point.

1. Paul compares us to temples in two different ways. The one quoted in the title of the lesson has nothing to do with Sexual Morality, but is an analogy related to the problem in Corinth of clicks being formed for each group taught by a different minister. The analogy is Christ is the foundation, The Ministers are the Builders, and when we are built up in the Gospel on the Foundation of Christ, we are not the Temple of Paul or Apollos, But we are the Temple of God. Paul even goes on to call for missionaries to not be self-deceived that they are building up Glory to themselves.

2. Paul was a tent maker, and worked for Priscilla and Aquila while he was in Corinth. How did I not know that?

3. Corinth is 1200 miles from Jerusalem, that’s like driving from Texas to either Coast.

4. The Athenians coined a slang term “Corinthianize” as a Euphemism for fornicate.

5. Paul promoted excommunication for a member who had Corinthianized with his father’s wife.

Church History Help- Eternal Marriage and Adoption

August 13, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 8:26 am   Category: PH/RS Lessons

Tomorrow, I am teaching Elder’s Quorum lesson #38 “Eternal Families”- and have decided, after reading Jonathan Stapley’s incredible article this week, to review the history thereof. Sadly, I don’t have Sam Brown’s accompanying article, so am relying on Gordon Irving’s earlier work for that piece of it.

Anyway, here is my simple timeline for my lesson (emphasis on my trying to keep it simple). Can anyone with access to Sam’s article, or with direct knowledge, help me out and make sure I don’t have any outdated concepts in my history. (like no adoptions before 1845 or the role of the concept of polygamy)

Gospel Principles Lesson 33: Missionary Work

May 9, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 9:50 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

Here is the lesson I prepared this month on Missionary Work. We are a bit behind other wards, due to Stake Conference and an odd repeating of one lesson twice last year.

Missionary Work

I am actually teaching this next Sunday, and it feels a little long and disjointed to me. Any feedback would be appreciated.

A Sincere Question on Priesthood Keys

April 21, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 8:53 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

I am teaching Elder’s Quorum this Sunday, and have been asked to teach on Elder Oak’s “Two Lines of Communication”. In getting ready, I thought I would take Natalie B.’s advice and search out the priesthood line more deeply. (This admonishment, after all, dovetails nicely into Elder Uchtdorf’s encouragement in conference to learn more, which my past few posts have been on.)

Anyway, according the “Handbook 2: Administerng in the Church” section 2.1.1:

“Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to Priesthood leaders to direct, control and Govern the use of his priesthood on earth.” It is “the right to preside over and direct the Church within a jurisdiction.”
Jesus Christ holds all the keys and confers them to his Apostles on the earth. The President “is the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.”

The president of the Church delegates priesthood keys to other priesthood leaders. For their designated responsibilities, and in their jurisdiction, they become the “presiding authority”

Counselors do not receive priesthood keys, the function by “delegated authority”. Auxiliary presidents do not receive keys. They receive “delegated authority”.

If Priesthood keys are “authority” to perform “designated responsibilities” that are “delegated” to them, what is the difference between priesthood keys and the “delegated authority” that Auxiliary presidents and Counselors have?

Is this a distinction without a difference? If not, what is the difference?

Doctrine of the Priesthood Part 2- D&C 84

April 12, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 11:12 am   Category: Scriptures

This continues my series on the homework assignment Elder Uchtdorf gave us during the priesthood session of General Conference, to read sections 20, 84, 107, and 121. After my write up on these four sections, I may return with some thoughts and additional areas of study.

First, a test: What is the oath and covenant of the priesthood? Don’t peek anywhere, just think of it in your own words and if you have something, post it in the comments before reading any further. (I say this because I admit I had no recollection of what it was, and not as some sort of “gotcha”.)

Context here is very important. It was revealed in September 1832, 2 and ½ years after Section 20 was received. The Prophet was very active in translating the bible at this time, and there is a lot of connection here between his understanding of the work he did with the book of genesis, particularly. It was received while Joseph was meeting with six Elders, freshly returned from missions, and in a time when the Prophet’s mind was pregnant with the proposed temple in Missouri, and the Zion to come forth from its successful construction and dedication. It was in this context that Joseph framed this revelation. It is basically impossible, and very fitting, to disconnect the priesthood here described from the woven tapestry of missionary work, temple work, and the building of Zion.

A brief overview of the first 42 verses:
1. After establishing that the temple would be built and the glory of the Lord would rest there, the revelation begins to discuss explicitly priesthood as a thing which can be transferred from person to person. (vs. 1-17)
2. There are two priesthoods. The greater priesthood has two functions: To Administer the Gospel, and second to unlock the knowledge of God. The Power of Godliness is made visible in the ordinances of the priesthood, and would not be visible without these ordinances. This is because you cannot see God without the ordinances. (vs 18-22)
3. From Moses to John the greater priesthood was denied the people due to unwillingness. The lesser priesthood included baptism and repentance and faith and the Carnal Law. Also, offices of the priesthood are explained and separated between the two priesthoods (vs. 23-31)
4. Vs. 6-31 were a giant aside, like a tv show recap for anyone jumping in at the middle. “Previously in the revealed word of God….”, In a lot of ways, this covers a lot of ground Joseph Covered in his translation of Genesis. Anyway, when you get to verse 31, It is good to think back to the earliest verses where the temple is established and God’s glory is resting there.
5. In this temple, those holders of the two priesthoods will make an offering to God, and because of this are filled with glory. For whoever obtains the two priesthoods and magnifies their calling is sanctified by the spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become heirs to the promises made to Moses, Aaron, Abraham, the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. (vs 31-34)
6. All those who receive the priesthood, receive Christ. All those who receive Christ’s servants, receive Christ. Those who receive Christ receive the Father, and those who receive the Father receive all that he has. This is according to the oath and covenant of the priesthood. If you receive the priesthood, you receive the oath and covenant. And if you break the covenant, you’re in trouble. You are also in trouble if you don’t receive the covenant. (35-42)

1. The accepted understanding of the oath and covenant of the priesthood is that we receive/obtain the priesthood and then magnify it, and in doing so, God ultimately will give us all that he has. I think this is one of those situations similar to the Word of Wisdom, where what the scripture literally says and means has become less important than the accepted understanding of it., because to me, the scripture itself is less clear than the accepted understanding.
2. The Oath in the Oath and Covenant is most plausibly explained by reading the JST vs. around Abraham in Genesis 14:25-40, where Melchizedek is ordained to the priesthood, after the order of Enoch, where God makes an Oath by himself to grant power to those ordained to the priesthood, according to their faith.

1. Where does this leave faithful women?
2. What does it mean to magnify the priesthood?

Doctrine of the Priesthood Part 1- D&C 20

April 4, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 11:23 am   Category: Scriptures

In General Conference- President Uchtdorf asked that we study the scriptures and handbooks and become experts on the doctrine of the priesthood. He told us this would help us to live up to our privileges as priesthood holders. He told us to start with Doctrine and Covenants chapters 20, 84, 107, and 121. In an effort to do that, I will be posting basic impressions I get from each of the four D&C sections he mentions, then further my study as time goes on. I’d love your thoughts and input as well.

D&C 20-
Context- This was the original articles and covenants of the Church, prepared for the organization of the Church on April 6, 1830 (though not completed until later). The greatest current reading I am aware of for the context from which this revelation came is in BYU Studies 43:4 (2006)- having to do with how Oliver Cowdery put together a fore-runner to this document. It cannot be said Joseph used Oliver’s document (which he was commanded to prepare in another revelation) as the foundation of his revelation, as they are very different in several regards, but it can be said that Oliver provided revelatory input of his own from his previous revelation into the Articles and Covenants (As all evidence indicates that Oliver helped write D&C 20). I don’t have the Joseph Smith Papers to check what stance they take on this.

Impressions- (more…)

Gospel Principles 26: Sacrifice

February 12, 2011    By: Matt W. @ 11:54 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

Today at 1:30, I’ll be teaching this in Elder’s Quorum. Last week, Elder Ballard taught us in Regional Conference to not “over complicate” the Gospel. I’m trying.

Defining Sacrifice in LDS theology

Sacrifice can and has meant a variety of different things. The definition I like the best in the context of LDS theology comes from our concise little manual “True to the Faith” published in 2004. It says, “To sacrifice is to give up something valuable or precious, often with the intent of accomplishing a greater purpose or goal”. In a way, this definition is very similar to the use of the term in the game of Chess, where the pawn may sacrifice itself for the benefit of the entirety of the team. The pawn is killed for a greater purpose, but does not necessarily receive any direct benefit for itself. I sometimes hear people say sacrifice is giving up something good now for something better later. Thus we end up with sacrifice sounding like investing in a 401k plan. This doesn’t ring true to me. While it may be true that we give something up for something of higher value, the “something of higher value” may not directly have benefit for ourselves, and does not necessitate that benefit. The manual asks, “Why is it important to sacrifice as the Lord asks without expecting anything in return?” I think it is because the greater purpose or goal we are to give up is greater than ourselves. It is the glory of God and all mankind. Anyway, I think this concept of sacrifice as giving up for a greater good is useful as we think about religious sacrifice before Christ, of Christ, and in our lives as Christians.

EQ lesson for this Sunday: Baptism/Mikvah

November 12, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 10:53 pm   Category: PH/RS Lessons

So my current calling is to teach Elder’s Quorum once a month. It’s been about 8 years since I’ve taught the Gospel to adults, so I am feeling a bit rusty. I’ve taught 3 times now, and I haven’t quite found my rhythm. Anyway, I am posting my notes here in hopes that some of you brilliant folks here can come by and give me some pointers on what I can do to make this lesson better. I have decided not to do a power point, but to just go through the lesson material on the board, if I feel like I need to use a visual aide. My biggest challenge in teaching these lessons has been that I have two gentlemen with disabilities who wander radically off topic that I don’t know how to handle, so any tips for dealing with people with Schizoaffective Disorder and/or Autism/Aspergers would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday Questions #5: Apostasy

September 5, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 1:19 am   Category: PH/RS Lessons

So I’m expanding from history a bit this week.

Is anyone aware of any writings where LDS theologians/authorities/thinkers have addressed any of the following questions?

1. Why would God allow an apostasy to happen?

2. Why would God put Christ on Earth only to follow up with 1800 years of apostasy?

3. Why couldn’t the apostasy happen again?

I was called as Elder’s Quorum Instructor last Sunday, and will be teaching next Sunday on the early church (Here’s my lesson outline) and would love to read up on any literature around these questions in the meantime.

Mormonism and the Documentary Hypothesis

July 20, 2010    By: Jacob J @ 11:06 pm   Category: Scriptures

On the one hand, it seems like Mormons are uniquely primed to accept the Documentary Hypothesis (DH) given that:

  1. The Book of Mormon was compiled by a late redactor (Mormon) in a way that is at least superficially similar to what R is proported to have done in the DH.
  2. There is a long tradition in Mormonism of suspecting that there were problems in the transmission of the Bible. Not just the problem of translation noted in the eighth article of faith, but the outright tampering alleged in 1 Ne 13.

On the other hand, the JST and the Pearl of Great Price make the DH threatening in ways that are uniquely Mormon, for example:

  1. Moses 3:5 seems to support the theory that the two creation accounts of Genesis 1/2 are spiritual/physical respectively. This theory, of course, is contradicted by the DH and raises questions about the nature of the JST.
  2. Abraham 4-5 crosses a P-J seem which is an odd thing for it to do if it was written by Abraham.


Reasoning from the scriptures with humility

August 4, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 11:03 am   Category: Scriptures

The other night I was reading from the scriptures and I found a passage that didn’t make sense to me. Here are the verses:

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1 Pet 3:18-20)

6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Pet 4:6)

When I read this, I marveled because I know that Jesus spent about three years preaching repentance during his mortal ministry and even though he performed a bunch of amazing miracles he was only able to convince a relatively small number of people to repent and follow him. (more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »