This is what I did for the month of May, for the lesson of the above title.
Here is the link to the LDS website that describes this lesson plan.
I know, I know, Thomas S. Monson isn’t our president any longer. The current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is President Russell M. Nelson. But this is still the lesson planning for this month and I ran with it.
I teach ages 12 to 17 with a partner teacher. Meaning, I teach every other Sunday.
I broke this lesson up into three parts.
1 – scriptures
2 – experiences from Monson’s life focusing on following the Spirit
3 – activity
Proverbs 3: 5-6
5 ¶ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Doctrine and Covenants 8: 2-3
2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
Doctrine and Covenants 35:10
19 Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things.
These scriptures point out that the Spirit knows all truth. God gives us his constant companionship (if we are worthy) so that we may know the truth as well.
God wants us to trust Him and know that He has a perfect plan for us. One that has directions we can discover if we are willing to ask in prayer and receive personal revelation from the Holy Spirit.
Our understanding is limited. We need to trust that God sees the whole picture and we will make it safely through if we submit to His will.
It was through the Spirit that Moses parted the Red Sea. Seriously, what righteous thing can we not do with God on our side, and the Spirit as our companion?
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Always good to point out that the Spirit is the 3rd member of the Godhead. He is a divine being to whom we are allowed constant access.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Always a good one to remind us that we are daughters and sons of God, our loving Heavenly Father. That is who we are, first and foremost.
If we are willing to ask in honesty, believing we will receive an answer, God will testify of the truthfulness of this to us through the Holy Ghost.
Doctrine and Covenants 76: 34-35
34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—
35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.
St John 3:5
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
There are many reasons the Spirit is important. Unless we are baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, we cannot “enter the kingdom of God”.
We cannot be forgiven for denying the Holy Ghost. If we have been truly converted, baptized a member, and then go against or deny in any way the Holy Spirit – we are in some real danger.
EXPERIENCES FROM PRESIDENT THOMAS S. MONSON’S LIFE FOCUSING ON FOLLOWING THE HOLY SPIRIT
In April of 1950, my wife, Frances, and I were in attendance at the Sunday afternoon session of general conference, held in this building. President George Albert Smith was the President of the Church, and in closing the conference, he delivered an inspiring and powerful message concerning the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Before he concluded his remarks, however, he sounded a prophetic warning. Said he: “It will not be long until calamities will overtake the human family unless there is speedy repentance. It will not be long before those who are scattered over the face of the earth by millions will die … because of what will come” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 169). These were alarming words, for they came from a prophet of God.
Two and a half months after that general conference, on June 25, 1950, war broke out in Korea—a war which would eventually claim an estimated 2.5 million lives. This event prompted me to reflect on the statement President Smith made as we sat in this building that spring day.
I have learned, as I have mentioned in previous messages, never to postpone a prompting. On one occasion many years ago, I was swimming laps at the old Deseret Gym in Salt Lake City when I felt the inspiration to go to the University Hospital to visit a good friend of mine who had lost the use of his lower limbs because of a malignancy and the surgery which followed. I immediately left the pool, dressed, and was soon on my way to see this good man.
When I arrived at his room, I found that it was empty. Upon inquiry I learned I would probably find him in the swimming pool area of the hospital, an area which was used for physical therapy. Such turned out to be the case. He had guided himself there in his wheelchair and was the only occupant of the room. He was on the far side of the pool, near the deep end. I called to him, and he maneuvered his wheelchair over to greet me. We had an enjoyable visit, and I accompanied him back to his hospital room, where I gave him a blessing.
I learned later from my friend that he had been utterly despondent that day and had been contemplating taking his own life. He had prayed for relief but began to feel that his prayers had gone unanswered. He went to the pool with the thought that this would be a way to end his misery—by guiding his wheelchair into the deep end of the pool. I had arrived at a critical moment, in response to what I know was inspiration from on high.
My friend was able to live many more years—years filled with happiness and gratitude. How pleased I am to have been an instrument in the Lord’s hands on that critical day at the swimming pool.
Thomas S. Monson always listened to the warnings of the Prophet of the church, who receives revelation from God. He worked hard to always act on the promptings from the Spirit.
It is extremely important to learn how to discern the Spirit for ourselves.
It is always our responsibility to act on the promptings of the Spirit as soon as we receive them.
We need there to be love in our hearts if we are to care enough to act on the Spirit’s promptings. Monson truly loved those he served.
I involve everyone in activities. Youth, myself, and all adults in the room.
Step One – no Spirit
As a group, we all stood up and picked one person to be blindfolded. They went to one side of the room and waited. Once the blindfold was securely on (check to make sure they can’t see anything), the rest of us moved everything in the room around to be obstacles. Don’t use anything breakable or that could hurt the blind person. 😉
The objective is for the blindfolded person to get from one side of the room to the other, without running into anything.
Everyone else spends the time calling out false directions. Except for one person, who gives the correct directions.
This one person represents people in the world who know good information but are human, just like the rest of us.
Everyone else represent the world’s advice, confusion, opinions, competing ideas, cruelty, and indifference.
The blindfolded person isn’t going to keep from running into things. (Make sure they don’t get hurt.)
***When they’re done, discuss how we can easily get lost or hurt without the guidance of the Spirit in our lives.
While there are people who are well meaning or even members who know the right – only the Spirit knows the right thing for us to do on our own covenant keeping path. God has given us all a way to return to Him, but we need the Spirit’s insight to achieve this.
Step Two – Spirit Unheard
Repeat the above activity with a new person blindfolded. Once they cannot see, arrange everything in a different position so they don’t remember where to go.
Pick one person to play the Spirit. Have them stand at the opposite end of the room, whispering the correct directions the entire time.
As everyone else calls out incorrect directions or simply jabbers on about unrelated things.
***When they’re done, discuss how we all have the option of the Holy Ghost giving us perfect directions. And he most often is speaking to us. But unless we are listening and are worthy of his companionship, we won’t hear him.
As a class, list some ways that we can draw the Spirit into our lives, keep worthy of his companionship, and hear his promptings.
Step Three – Spirit Properly Utilized
Repeat the second version, with a new person blindfolded, the room rearranged, and a new person to stand in as the Spirit.
This time, have the Spirit stand next to the blindfolded person and give them the correct directions. Everyone this time around, will be whispering. The others giving false directions and random ramblings. The Spirit quietly helping them cross the room.
***When they’re done, discuss how God knows we are going to fail, fall down, trip up, get things wrong, and make mistakes. The Holy Spirit, as God’s mouthpiece, encourages us. Much like a parent teaching their toddler to walk, knowing full well they are going to fall, happily reaches out their hands to motivate them optimistically forward.
President Thomas S. Monson has always been a beautiful Christlike example for us. He had to work for his relationship with the Holy Spirit, just as we have to. Being a president of the church doesn’t make it easier. 😉 But we have to want a relationship with the Spirit and our Heavenly Father. And we must work for it.
I know God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him and our Savior Jesus Christ. The Spirit can testify to us the truth of this. The Spirit is here to help us at all times and in all things.
“In the coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
President Russell M. Nelson, LDS General Conference, April 2018
God knows the answers. The Spirit can prompt us if we are worthy, willing, and listening.