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This lesson can be found here

In sacrament meeting last week, there were a few testimonies that talked about our youth. I’ve found that when people outside of the youth program talk about the youth, they focus on 2 things:

  1. How the youth are great, strong, special, etc (which I would agree within reason)
  2. How the world is so “wicked” and how “worse off” the world is than before (kinda…I guess).

While I could make a compelling argument both for and against #2, the main focus of the testimony/message to the youth emphasizes how important it is to have the Holy Ghost with them and to learn to use that gift to discern between “good” and “bad” situations. I would focus the lesson less on the sensational stories that are passed around, and more on real-world circumstances.

I remember hearing these lessons when I was a youth, and hearing the dramatic and sensational stories of the Spirit speaking to someone, and thinking “OK, so that’s how it is.” However, even while I was on my mission it was a constant learning process. Even now, I’m still piecing together what it is, and what it isn’t, and what it feels/sounds like, and what it doesn’t.

I’m glad the lesson starts out with a hypothetical example of the “gift” of the Holy Ghost and not using it. Sensational stories don’t help, because they make the extreme look like the norm.

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This lesson can be found here.

There’s a few different ways you can approach this lesson, depending on who you teach it to.  If it’s to the Deacons, this would be a good way to introduce them to not only the additional responsibilities they will have in the Aaronic Priesthood, but a good time to emphasize that you don’t regress in your responsibilities.  From what I’ve heard, when the Quorum of the 12 meet on Thursdays in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple with some of the other General Authorities, they pass the sacrament to each other (about halfway through the talk).

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This lesson can be found here.

When I was younger, Patriarchal blessings were always something that seemed so full of wonder.  I would hear people reference them, and speak of certain things “making sense” or as a roadmap to their lives.  I thought of them more like turn-by-turn navigation instructions from a GPS rather than a starting point-to-destination (with whatever road you want to take) mindset.

In the “Note” at the beginning of the manual, it says some may have their patriarchal blessings.  Well, I’m pretty sure my Deacons don’t have it, but the ages for receiving a Patriarchal Blessing are all over the map.  I received mine when I was 18, my friend received his when he was 14, my brother when he was 14, my dad when he was 18, my mom later in life, and everywhere in between.

That being said, there’s a few different ways this lesson can be structured.
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This weeks lesson was at the request of the ward Young Men’s president.

As usual, I overprepared so I had to cut a lot out of what I was planning to teach.  Here’s the original lesson plan, plus what I taught, plus some of their comments
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This lesson can be found here

I found it interesting that the objective specifically linked the faith in Christ of the young men to understanding the atonement better.  This thought stuck in my mind the entire time while I planned out this lesson.  I struggled, because dealing with sometimes rowdy 12 year olds can cause one to gloss over the important lessons that the boys need to take with them.  I didn’t want to use hokey analogies.  I wanted to treat this as serious.  The other thing that stood out to me was in the “Note” section of the lesson:

This lesson provides you an opportunity to help each young man understand the life and mission of the Savior. Some young men are entering the mission field without understanding the atonement of Jesus Christ and the ways it blesses their lives and the lives of others.

Wow.  So this needed more than object lessons and analogies.  This is serious stuff.

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The lesson can be found here.

Note: This was supposed to be a stellar lesson this week.  However, stake business (an upcoming Aaronic Priesthood conference), talk of a winter camp out either this Friday or in February plus discussion over the highly anticipated Mutual activity (with the Deacons in charge) dominated most of the time.  The lesson given was a breakdown of Moses 1:39, and what it all meant.  Here’s the lesson I wanted to give.

Honestly, this lesson felt a bit hokey.  The note about what to focus on in the lesson states:

The purpose of this lesson is to help each young man feel that he is an important son of his Father in Heaven. Not all young men have thought about God’s tender care for them, and it is your charge to inspire that awareness and help each young man fulfill the priesthood responsibilities his Father has given him.

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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”

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2010 Mutual Theme – Joshua 1:9

Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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