Teaching with Church Magazines


Need help with your lesson? One of the best resources is in your hands.

Your children, or the young men or young women you teach, walk around every day in a world filled with people and media promoting immoral lifestyles in which marriage is incidental, drugs are the solution to problems, and success in life means money, no matter how you get it.

With all the evil that young people brush up against, how can you teach them they don’t have to be part of it? How can you teach them to be in the world but not of the world?

You can find appropriate scriptures that teach the principle—for example, Doctrine and Covenants 133:5: “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” But can you “liken all scriptures unto us” (1 Ne. 19:23) so your children or students will see how the principle applies in their own lives?

A scriptural story might help. Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife could come to mind (see Gen. 39:1–20). But you can already hear your 15-year-old saying, “How does something that happened thousands of years ago have anything to do with me?”

So where are you going to find stories or other resources to show that principles taught in scripture apply today?

Lessons in Your Hand

You’re probably looking at one of your best lesson resources right now. Month after month Church magazines offer a steady supply of gospel-based, Church-approved materials for teaching.

Let’s look at a couple of examples from this issue.

In his article “In the World but Not of the World” (page 39), Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Seventy writes of a prospective employer who, knowing young Quentin Cook was a Latter-day Saint, tested his integrity by offering him liquor and wine. The man wanted to learn whether he would compromise his standards for the sake of personal gain. That is a test many young people could face.

Maybe you have had similar experiences. If you have, sharing them would be a good way to help others see that when we stand up for our moral standards in everyday situations, we are winners in the long run. They can know it is true because they know you.

Elder Cook’s article supports lesson eight—“Living Righteously in a Wicked World”—in this year’s Gospel Doctrine manual. Each month specific articles in Church magazines support lesson topics in the Sunday School manual or in Teachings of Presidents of the Church. But every article, whether paired with a specific lesson or not, supports spiritual principles. When we read the article and discover what those principles are, then the Holy Ghost can teach us how the article could help “liken all scriptures unto us.”

You can see some of the spiritual topics covered in a particular month by looking at the list on page 1 labeled “Topics in This Issue.”

A Simple Outline

What if you wanted to use an article in the magazine as a basis for a family home evening lesson? To use Elder Cook’s article, you might make a simple outline like this:

  • Principle: In a world where wickedness surrounds us, we need to live by the Lord’s standards.

  • Scriptures: Genesis 39:1–20; Joshua 24:15, 24; John 15:14, 18–19.

  • Supporting story: Elder Cook’s story teaches, among other things, that we never know when we may meet challenges to gospel standards and so it is important that our commitment to them be firm. This would also be a good place for a supporting story from your own personal experience. Maybe when you were younger you went to a movie and found it did not meet your standards, so you walked out. Or maybe a friend saw you there and said later, “I didn’t know people in your church went to movies like that,” and you learned that you might have made a better choice. When you share your own learning experiences, children and youth can understand that you have faced the same kinds of challenges they do. Perhaps one of your children would also have a story to share.

Other Supporting Material

Personal experience stories in the magazines often support a point you need to make in a lesson. For example, the story “I Chose Sunday School” (page 45) can be related to the principles covered by Elder Cook. A woman chooses to go to church and finds the next day that the Sunday School lesson material plays an important part in her success on an academic test.

You can search for supporting material for gospel lessons in a variety of sources: the scriptures, conference talks (including stories; see “They Spoke to Us” in each conference issue), Church videos, manuals, or www.lds.org. But one important resource already comes into your home each month with articles and stories ready-made to help you teach lessons, whether in the home or in a Church classroom. It is the magazine you are reading right now.

[photo] Photograph by Christina Smith, posed by model