This lesson is found here.

The note to the lesson talks about how young men should see each other.  “A young man who sees himself only in the present is much less able to make wise decisions and develop proper attitudes and habits than one who sees life from an eternal perspective.”  Even though I’m teaching Deacons, it’s an important subject to stress at an early age (in my opinion).  Many of these concepts will be lost in the tumult of high school, where influences are coming at them from every angle.  The point of this lesson, in my opinion, is to help them “develop an eternal perspective”

Opening Story

“[Elder] John A. Widtsoe [a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve] traveled to England during the First World War, and the English immigration official who interviewed him said, ‘No, we are not going to let you land. We have been letting your missionaries in, but we do not want any of your leaders.’ He said, ‘Go and sit down.’ So [Elder] Widtsoe went and sat down.

“In a few minutes the official called him back and said, ‘If I let you land in my country, what will you teach my people?’ ”

• If you had been Elder Widtsoe, what would you have answered?

Amazingly, my boys came up with some great answers.  One of them talked about priesthood and authority.  I think the priesthood would have been an interesting answer for Elder Widtsoe to give.  Authority would have been a little dicey at the time, especially trying to get the leaders into the country.  One of them, called S, talked about the Plan of Salvation.  Again, another really good answer.  I probed them a bit deeper on what they would ask.  S said that he would talk about the pre-existence, earth life, and life after death.  I told him to hold that thought.

“[Elder] Widtsoe said, ‘I will teach them where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going.’ The officer looked up at him and asked, ‘Does your Church teach that?’ and [Elder] Widtsoe said, ‘It does.’

“ ‘Well, mine doesn’t,’ he said, and he came down with his stamp on the passport, signed it, and said, ‘You may enter’ ” (LeGrand Richards, “Patriarchal Blessings,” New Era, Feb. 1977, p. 4).

I was impressed with this story.  Usually, the stories are either picture-perfect situations that will never happen, or homogenized situations.  this was somethign real, and something interesting to them (they love talking about guns, or at least one of them does).

I wrote these 3 questions on the board:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going when I die?

I wanted to emphasize to them how many times they would hear these questions on their mission.  While I don’t want to be the teacher that looks at the mission like the end-all-be-all, at the influential age of 12-13, I don’t think they’ve thought about not going.  We talked about how we knew the answers to these questions.  We know where we came from, why we’re here, and where we’re going.

We then flipped over to Abraham 3:22-25.  I use a lot of scriptures, usually short ones, and do lots of reading because I really want them to familiarize themselves with their scriptures.  I told them that while I was a priest, I had a wonderful advisor who made us read these scriptures every week.  Every week he asked us “Who are the noble and great ones?”  We would all answer together “We are.”  He then asked “Where is the second estate?”, to which we would respond appropriately.  I still remember sitting in the bishops office, responding to his questions.  Then I embarrassed myself.  I used a quote that I always hated people using in church, from Spiderman 2.  “With great power comes great responsibility.”  We have that power, and we have that responsibility.  If I would ahve been smart, I would have used D&C 121:36 or something less corny.

Next we flipped over to Matthew 5:48.  We had a lesson about a month ago about the footnotes and how to use those better in our scripture study.  We looked at the footnote for perfect, which came out to be “complete, finished, fully developed.”  I told them this was our purpose, to become fully developed.  We tied the scriptures back to the three questions, and I testified to them that this was the truth, that we know all the answers to those questions.

All that in a 15-20 minute lesson.

My thoughts:
– As far as the content of the lesson, it wasn’t bad.  Its all good stuff that the boys need to know, and things that they’re going to encounter.  I’m actually most impressed by the answers they have to the questions.  I wish I could have developed some ideas better, but with only 15 minutes after going through quorum business, I wanted to make sure they took some information home with them.  At least when their parents ask them at dinner what they talked about in Deacons, they’d have something.