Talking Teenagers and a Terrific Testimony

Alright, I apologize for the annoying alliteration, but with a name like Mormon in Minnesota, I’m bound to do it occasionally, right? 😉

No big-time chastity questions in my Sunday School class today. Based on how things went, I should have spent more time addressing the topic, Talking out of turn in Sunday School class: What are the limits?

Chatty bunch today! Still, it is good experience to be with them each week. I wish I could think of a better adjective, but I can’t. It is simply good. 🙂

Another part of church today was also good – in fact it was great. The speakers in Sacrament meeting were terrific. Their messages were uplifting and personal. One of them was a recently divorced Hispanic young mother of two. She very humbly mentioned that several months ago, she felt a desire to improve her life, both spiritually and temporally. She met with her bishop. He counseled her to read her scriptures everyday, so she did. As she got going she felt inspired to read the Book of Mormon within a month. Despite having two young kids and being in school at the time, she read and to her surprise she was able to finish it in less than a month.

From reading the Book of Mormon in so short a time, she said, she gained a stronger testimony of its truthfulness. She was also impressed by how faithful the Lord is in delivering his people. As she spoke and described what she learned, I felt the Holy Ghost through her message. I was strengthened.

This good woman didn’t refer to the following verses from the Book of Mormon, but she may have had them in mind. They sure came to my mind as I listened to her remarks. Mosiah chapter 24, verses 13-16 has been a favorite of mine for a long time. The Lord doesn’t often explain why he does certain things, but in this case he does. He also frequently asks us to believe, but in this case, he wants his people to “know of a surety” just how present he is in our lives, especially in our afflictions.

Mosiah 24 - visit in afflictions

Chastity: What are the limits?

I teach youth Sunday School in my ward.

And by youth, I mean teenagers. About 8 of ’em, between the ages of 13 and 17.

Tomorrow I will be teaching this lesson, How can I find answers to my own gospel questions? After introducing the topic, I plan on opening with the question, What are common questions people your age generally have about life, dating, religion, or God?

As I prepared my lesson this afternoon, I tried to anticipate questions they might shout out. I know when I was in high school, one question I thought a fair amount about was, when it comes to relationships, what are the limits? What is okay and what’s not okay? As I thought about what I might say if that comes up, I found this brilliant message. I especially like how it combines an answer to the (better) question with a call for the learner to counsel with the Lord about it.

What is faith? Profound Truth from a 16-Year-Old

On Sundays, I have the great honor of co-teaching a group of teenagers, guys and girls, in a little place we like to call Sunday School. Each week I get to experience profound truth coming from the mouths of these ordinary teenagers. Here’s just one example of this type of profound truth, which explains why this Sunday School class is, well, awesome.

The lesson was, “How did the Savior compare gospel truths to familiar objects and experiences?” So we talked about the parables of Jesus and then I divided the class into two and had one group read Luke 15 and the other Matthew 20 – both of which contain pretty familiar parables. Then, after a brief discussion, I had the kids come up with parables of their own. Each group needed to come up with a familiar object or experience to complete the phrases:

A. “The scriptures are like __________.”

B. “Faith is like __________”

For A, the kids came up with: a Map, a Torch in a Dark Cave, and Batteries. All with great, simple explanations why.

For B, the kids came up with: an App. “How is faith like an App?” I asked. And here was the profound truth spoken by a 16-year-old girl from Northeast Minneapolis:

Because you use it and it helps you accomplish stuff, and because it needs to be updated regularly.

There you have it, the profound truth. Faith is like an App.

And here was the spontaneous takeaway from our lesson. All of us need a little update to our faith every once and awhile. So if you haven’t updated yours lately, give it a go. Taking some personal time to consult a good Map usually does the trick.