Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why is family important? Come Follow Me - August Lesson

photo credit
"Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life."  Julie B. Beck

This Sunday I will be leading the discussion for our combined young women lesson.  My topic question is why is family important?

Way back in February, I taught the combined YW lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  I posted a little bit about it here.  Since Sister Beck says that without the family there is no plan, I decided to go back and review my notes for that lesson.  

The main point of my lesson back in February was that a discussion of the Plan of Salvation was not complete without a discussion of:
  1. The Creation
  2. The Fall
  3. The Atonement
These 3 events make our progression back to our Heavenly Father possible.  Without these three events, we cannot progress from Pre-Earth life to Mortality and eventually back to God.

So what does this have to do with the family?  Well, Sister Beck says it best.  

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a theology of the family that is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. 
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World we read these truths about the family unit:
  • "The family is ordained of God..."
  • "...the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
  • "...the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."
  • the family is the fundamental unit of society.
In today's world, the family is under attack. Also from Sister Beck,

...Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Public policies are being made every day that are anti-family, and the definition of family is changing legally around the world. Pornography is rampant. For those who create pornography, their new target audience is young women. Parents are being portrayed as inept and out of touch. Antifamily media messages are everywhere. Youth are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.
We see how this can happen when we read the words of Korihor, an anti-Christ: “Thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms” (Alma 30:18). Satan knows that he will never have a body; he will never have a family. So he targets young women, who will create the bodies for the future generations.
Korihor was an anti-Christ. Anti-Christ is anti-family. Any doctrine or principle our youth hear from the world that is anti-family is also anti-Christ. It’s that clear.
So what is to be done and what direction do I take with my lesson this Sunday?  As you can probably tell thus far, I was really impressed with Sister Beck's address to seminary and institute of religion teachers entitled, Teaching the Doctrine of the Family.  In her address, she says that "Our role in this is to teach [the youth] so they don’t misunderstand. We must be very clear on key points of doctrine, which we find in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”  This generation will be called upon to defend the doctrine of the family as never before. If they don’t know it, they can’t defend it. "

There was my answer as to what to teach this Sunday.  I need to find out what they are hearing from the world about the family and teach them the correct doctrine from the scriptures, the words of modern-day prophets and last but certainly not least, The Family Proclamation.

To prepare, I came up with some "world teachings" about the family that I have heard.  I made a "T" chart in my study journal and on one side I listed what "The World Says" and on the other, I listed what "We Say" (meaning The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).  I think it is also important to point out to my young women that "the world" can be friends, relatives, or people they might look up to.  It can be anyone who is teaching you something that is contrary to God's laws and commandments.

For my lesson, I will start by discussing how the family fits in with The Creation, The Fall, and The Atonement.  Then I will explain that Satan knows the importance of families and is currently working hard to distort not only the world's view of the family but more importantly, their (meaning my young women's) view of the family.

Then I will ask the girls to list things that they hear the world say about the family.  What does the world teach them about the family?  What changes they have noticed in family dynamics?  What do the TV shows, song lyrics, and movies they watch say about the way families should be?  What do they hear from their peers about what makes a family?

I will list their answers on individual sheets of paper and place them on the floor in a big "T" graph under "The World Says:" (I plan to make my "T" graph with blue painter's tape).  If some of the answers are similar in nature, I will add it to the same sheet of paper.

Once we've listed a bunch of these "worldly" teachings, I will split the girls and leaders into groups.  I will pass out copies of The Family: A Proclamation to the World (having each group focus on a separate paragraph)scripture references that are covered in the lesson outline - as well as some others I found appropriate, and quotes from modern day prophets regarding these topics.  

Before I give them some time to read through their reference material, I will explain that I would like them to look for what "We Say" in response to each idea the world is teaching them about the family.  I will ask them to write down the reference or paragraph number on a sheet of paper and what is being taught.  Then I will turn them loose to read and discuss in their groups.

When it looks like the discussion is winding down, I will go around the room, group by group, and ask them to come up and place their papers on the "We Say" side of the "T" graph - across from the worldly teaching they are clarifying with church doctrine. I will also ask them to explain how their reference discounts the world's teachings.  

So hopefully when we are all done, it will sort of look like my scripture journal above, just in a larger format.

I'm sure that my Young Women will come up with more awesome insights than I could because they are just that incredible.  And I'm not worried about not having a scripture reference to cover whatever it is that they come up with for worldly teachings because The Family: A Proclamation to the World will cover anything they can throw out there.

Also, before I end my lesson, I will point out that much of what we covered in the lesson can be counted toward Personal Progress Integrity Value Experience #7
List the issues, trends, and problems that weaken the family. Read the First Presidency message“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, and the section on family in For the Strength of Youth. Then research in the Church magazines the counsel of those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Write in your journal your plan to strengthen your present family and the values and traditions you want to establish with your future family.
I also made a sheet that my girls can glue into their study notebooks to take notes if they chose to do that.

Any ideas or suggestion for me before my lesson on Sunday?

Update: Many have asked for pictures of my journal or a filled out T chart.  I've had them on the blog before, but found myself under scrutiny from readers (not nice comments) for it not being all-inclusive, so I pulled them down. I'm putting them back up so that people can use them, but please don't comment and tell me what they are missing.  Please understand that I never intended for these pages to contain everything, nor do I hope that they do.  My intention posting this was to give other YW leaders ideas, not give them a lesson they didn't have to prepare themselves.  My notes are not all-inclusive and are missing topics such as gay marriage, fornication, cohabitation, and I'm sure a myriad of other worldly teachings. 

Ask your girls for the issues they see in the world.  Don't give them the answers.  I know that if you wait for your girls to answer, and don't give them too much help, they will come up with the issues that they see and are faced with. It will give you great insight into their worlds. 


  1. This is exactly what I was looking for for my lesson this week! Thank you so much for posting!

  2. Any chance of getting a copy of your amazing T chart? This is so inspired!

  3. Thanks so much for this post! Love your take on this lesson. Incorporating parts of it for my lesson this Sunday. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Do you have the list of what you wrote that you could send?
    This is a great lesson idea, thanks!

  5. I'd love a list too, if possible.

  6. Thank you for posting this. Your "ramblings" really helped me figure out how I wanted to put together all my thoughts for this Sunday. :)

  7. Sounds just what am looking for do you have a copy of you T list? I would really appreciate it

  8. I'd love a copy of your T list! Thank you so much for taking the time to post here!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. I love this idea! It pulls everything together for me. I'd love to peek at your T chart as well (if you don't mind sharing). Thank you!!

  11. Can you share your T chart? My lesson is tomorrow. Thank you.

  12. Can you share your T chart? My lesson is tomorrow. Thank you.

  13. For those looking for a T chart, I just made one up quick you can use if you'd like:

    Thanks for the ideas!

  14. Thank you so much for the lesson idea. I am going to use parts of it for my lesson. I also loved that you included personal progress. That was a great idea. Thank you for taking the time to put this together

  15. I know this post was from last year but I was wondering if i could get a copy of your t chart with everything filled in? My email is thank you this was such a wonderful idea on teaching about the family!

    1. I would love that as well! I loved reading about your insights into this topic. Thank you!

    2. Hi mandy - I just uploaded the pictures to the blog. thanks!

  16. Did anyone get a copy of the t chart filled out? I would love a copy, too!

  17. Enjoyed how you pulled several elements together in this lesson, including personal progress! Thanks so much for sharing!


I've rambled long enough, why don't you ramble and tell me what's on your mind.


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