Gospel Principles Lesson #7

Gospel Principles Lesson #7: The Holy Ghost

–When I began student teaching, I was atrocious at classroom management. Fortunately, my supervising teacher would sit at her desk, which happened to be behind the overhead screen, and whisper suggestions to me. It helped dramatically to have real-time, specific, experienced wisdom and I improved a lot.
–We can have that kind of help in all aspects of our lives if we choose to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is our topic today.

The Holy Ghost Came to Adam and Eve
–Read Moses 5:1-12.
–For our purposes today of focusing on the Holy Spirit, let’s take v9 as a turning point, since that is when “the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam.”
–What happened _before_ the Spirit fell upon Adam? (Discuss major points in v1-8, emphasizing praying, following commandments, and especially obedience even when the reason for the obedience is not known. Make connections to how we need to also do those things to be prepared to have the Spirit in our lives.)
–Point out that in v9 the immediate effect of the Spirit is an increased testimony of the Savior.
–What happened _after_ the Spirit fell upon Adam? (Discuss major points in v10-12, emphasizing prophesying, reflecting on past experiences, pondering, worship, and teaching. Make connections to how we do these things when we have the Spirit in our lives.)
–Others thoughts on this passage?

Attributes of the Holy Ghost
–President Packer said, “We do not have the words–even the scriptures do not have the words–which perfectly describe the Spirit.” (New Era, 2/10, p3.) I like this because deep theological reflection normally gives me headaches. We know that the Spirit is part of the Godhead, can influence us, and does not have a body. But there is a lot we don’t know.

The Mission of the Holy Ghost

–“The convincing power of the Holy Ghost is so great that there can be no doubt that what He reveals to us is true.” Really? Because of the 100s of times when I think I have been inspired, I can only say that there is absolutely no doubt for a handful of those times. Does that mean the rest were not inspiration?[1]
–Larger issue of what we do when we are not sure if something is inspiration (or is it just me that has that problem?). Discuss.
–From introduction: “As they came to earth, the memory of their heavenly home was taken from them. But our Father did not shut them away from His influence. He sent the Holy Ghost to comfort and help and guide all of His spirit children.” This is interesting to me because the function of the Spirit is often to help us remember (our mortal experiences). Read John 14:26. Thoughts about the role of the Spirit in helping us remember? (Point out that this puts an obligation on us to _learn_ and _experience_ things that we can later remember.)
–What experiences with the Holy Spirit have you had _that are appropriate to share_ that have helped you understand the mission of the Spirit?
–“As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we should make ourselves worthy to receive this special messenger and witness of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.” Thoughts on how we teach new members, children, etc. about how the Spirit can work in their lives?
–D & C 8 is a revelation in response to Oliver Cowdery’s desire to translate. Read v2-3.
–NB heart and mind–be suspicious of just one . . . we are perhaps right to worry that people might do crazy things because they think they are inspired . . . how might we guard against this?
–Elder Holland: “Why would the Lord use example of crossing the Red Sea as the classic example of “the spirit of revelation”?” Discuss.
His answer: revelation “almost always comes in response to a question.” Then “fear almost always plays a destructive, sometimes paralyzing role.” Third: God will provide the means.

Note that I borrowed from Robert Couch’s excellent discussion of this lesson, which you can read here.

[1] Personally, I don’t think that statement in the manual is completely accurate. I’ve noticed a tendency in this manual to have sentences that serve to summarize a quotation by way of introducing it; this might not be a problematic practice in itself, but there are some cases when the introductory summary goes far beyond what the quotation says, and I think this is one of those cases. But despite its overreaching (or, perhaps, because of it) I think this is a useful statement for discussion. Or maybe I’ve just misunderstood the statement, but I can’t think of any other way to read it that isn’t just a tautology.

17 comments for “Gospel Principles Lesson #7

  1. April
    April 6, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Attributes of the Holy Ghost… I ponder on the HG quite often. Why do we refer to it as a “Him”? Does anyone really know what gender the Holy Ghost is? I remember reading somewhere that in some religions the Holy Spirit is seen as the “Mother” which then would make the Godhead a unit of family. I know we don’t specifically believe this, but it is interesting to consider given The Proclamation on the Family and the stance that Gender is an integral part of any being…

  2. Julie M. Smith
    April 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    April, my cursory treatment of the “Attributes” section was designed to avoid precisely the kinds of questions that you pose. :) I think they are too speculative for a classroom setting but certainly interesting to think about on one’s own . . .

  3. April
    April 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I think it really depends on the classroom and the members of it :)

  4. April 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m teaching on Sunday and this will be very helpful.
    And I agree – speculation questions/topics aren’t appropriate or helpful for a classroom. I want to focus on helping the sisters increase their testimony of our Savior by learning more about the Holy Ghost.

  5. April
    April 6, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I disagree, but I will leave it at that.

  6. Trevor
    April 7, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    This may come in handy for some of the speculative and other issues that may be brought up:

  7. Shelley
    April 7, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    April – We ABSOLUTELY do know that the holy Ghost is a MAN. There are many quotations to prove.

    “The Holy Ghost is a man; he is one of the sons of our Father and our God; and he is that man that stood next to Jesus Christ, just as I stand by Brother Brigham.” Heber C Kimball

    James E Talmage in the book Articles of Faith, He says, “the Holy Ghost is capable of manifesting himself in the form and figure of MAN, as indicated by the wonderful interview between Him and Nephi, in which He revealed himself to the prophet, questioned him concerning his desires and belief, and instructed him in the things of God. Nephi said, “I spake with him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a MAN; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord.”

    I have many more if you are still curious.

  8. April 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I am teaching this on Sunday and as always, when I first read the lesson I was like “sonofa…..” this is going to be boring. But as always, I have found something helpful online to get my mind flowing and facilitate a hopefully productive, different conversation on Sunday. Thanks!

    I also think it’s probably best not to pose those kinds of Q’s (like April’s) at church on Sundays, but I find that unfortunate. That people who think about things like this can’t talk about it at church, but that’s the reality. And I am going to come right out and say- to Shelley- just b/c some church leaders have said that stuff doesn’t mean it is essentially, eternally, unalterably true. I, and many other faithful LDS people, don’t believe everything church leaders say or have said and think they are and have been wrong about some things, and I don’t want to be ashamed or afraid to admit that or feel that anymore.

  9. Julie M. Smith
    April 9, 2010 at 8:41 am

    “There are many quotations to prove.”

    Shelley, this is probably a topic for another post, but you might want to reconsider the wisdom of this position, as a general matter.

  10. Shelley
    April 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Wow. So, so sorry if I came across rude or inconsiderate. I should have approached the whole issue with a lot more love. I think pondering and questioning are very important and definitely the first step to learning ANY of mystery of the Gospel, so, April, I apologize.

    However, I do disagree in the above posts that say “just b/c some church leaders have said that stuff doesn’t mean it is essentially true.” I am very careful of my sources and only research from Prophets and quorum of the twelve. And, I agree that not everything they say is the law, I do believe that if you can find the same principle from the mouth of three or more of these church authorities it is safe to consider it pure doctrine.

    I can’t believe I wrote, “many quotations to prove.” Embarrassing. I should have said, “I have many more QUOTES that may clarify some of your thinking.”

    As a teacher in any respect, you have to be incredibly careful, because people take what you say very literal and matter-of-fact. I think it is important to present things that are “different and questionable” but not without ANY sriptural or prophetic references.

    So sorry if I offended anyone.

  11. Carole Barlow
    April 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    What does it matter whether the Holy Ghost is male or female, the fact does remain that the Holy Ghost has given us our testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, not only that, the Holy Ghost leads and directs my life and the countless lives of others throughout the world. To get into debate as to gender is pointless, I believe that we should focus on the supreme power the Holy Ghost has for good and attempt to improve our lives so that one day we can all be together eternally.

  12. Erin
    April 10, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    I think speculative topics can lead us away from the true meaning of the message we are supposed to be teaching. I would also feel comfortable trusting the Savior’s words when He said,concerning the Holy Ghost…John 6:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    I think it’s pretty clear.

  13. Erin
    April 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I’d also like to add that I’m using a beautiful song about the spirit in my lesson. If you’d like it to use in yours, here’s my link…http://ldsshare.blogspot.com/

  14. Johanna
    April 11, 2010 at 1:20 am

    –”The convincing power of the Holy Ghost is so great that there can be no doubt that what He reveals to us is true.” Really? Because of the 100s of times when I think I have been inspired, I can only say that there is absolutely no doubt for a handful of those times. Does that mean the rest were not inspiration?[1]

    In reading this last section I think you aren’t focusing on what the lesson is teaching. The Holy Ghost has many different roles (to comfort, protect, guide) but this section is referencing the Holy Ghost’s mission to testify of Jesus Christ. I believe these quotes pertain only to this capacity.

    The spiritual guidance that can come through the Holy Ghost is much more subtle and difficult to discern. I think your lesson plan is focusing more on acquiring spiritual guidance whereas the lesson is actually on the “mission of the Holy Ghost to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of the truth of all things.”

  15. Julie M. Smith
    April 11, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Johanna, that’s interesting. But on re-reading the lesson, I don’t think that that position is sustainable. Even in the last line that you quote, the mission of the Holy Spirit isn’t limited to bearing witness of the Father and Son but also includes “the truth of all things.”

  16. Jared
    April 11, 2010 at 9:56 am

    So I am putting the finishing touches on my lesson for today and I think, I will see what others are doing and then I come here and I see the typical Mormon male/female, right vs wrong question to ask crap. Who cares???? It’s the Holy Ghost folks, a member of the Godhead….. Do you think all three are happy to look down and see this type of convo going on about them???? Honestly, I’m glad you all are not teaching me this lesson….

  17. Cameron Nielsen
    April 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    If the Godhead is a Priesthood quorum and the Presidency of the Universe, it seems kind of natural, right?

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