Lesson 35: Obeying, Honoring, and Sustaining the Law

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 133–35


Objective

Each young man will come to see how obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law are part of living the gospel and affect the neighborhood and community in which he lives.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Picture 4, Various International Traffic-Control Signs.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    If possible, obtain small card copies of the Articles of Faith for each young man.

Note

Help the young men understand and desire to obey the laws of the land. Focus on having a willing attitude to obey civil laws as part of obeying God’s laws, the possible results when civil law is ignored, and the importance of law and order in the community.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Discussion

Choose a sport that the young men are well acquainted with, and ask the following questions concerning it:

  • Why are rules important in this sport?

  • What would the sport be like if there were no rules?

  • What could happen easily if no one knew the rules?

  • How are the laws of our country like rules in an athletic game?

Picture and discussion

Show the picture depicting various international traffic-control signs. Discuss what they are used for, what they communicate, why they are necessary, and how they are helpful.

  • What might happen in a large city during the rush hour if the signal lights, traffic-control devices, or traffic officers were not functioning?

  • What other laws are necessary to maintain order and peace in a community and nation?

  • What might happen if there were no such laws?

Scripture and discussion

Display copies of the scriptures.

  • What do these books have in common with a law book? (The scriptures contain the Lord’s laws; the law book contains civil laws.)

Explain that the Lord counsels Church members concerning these two kinds of laws. Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 58:21.

  • How will obeying the laws of God help us obey the laws of the land?

  • Why do we need organized government—why can’t we get along individually?

A Member of the Church Should Obey, Honor, and Sustain the Law

Adviser presentation

Refer the young men to the Articles of Faith in the back of the Pearl of Great Price, or hand out small cards with the Articles of Faith printed on them. Have a young man read the twelfth article of faith.

  • What are the three words that define how we should act toward the law? (Obeying, honoring, and sustaining.)

Chalkboard and discussion

Write obey, honor, sustain on the chalkboard.

  • What do these three words mean?

Discuss and define each one. Help the young men understand that to obey is to comply with the laws of your country. To honor a law is to feel that the law is more important than one’s own personal interests. It shows an understanding that without laws there would be chaos. We sustain the law when we uphold it, protect it, and keep it from disrespect. We believe in the importance of law and encourage others to obey the law.

Quotation, chalkboard, and discussion

Read the following statement from President David O. McKay:

“To sustain the law, therefore, is to refrain from saying or doing anything which will weaken it or make it ineffective” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 28).

  • What are some laws that are most often ignored or broken by young men your age?

On the left-hand side of the chalkboard list the laws most often ignored or broken. Discuss with the young men how they can obey, honor, and sustain each of the laws listed.

Ask the young men to share any experiences of seeing such laws broken or being tempted to break the laws. The following question may help in the discussion.

  • What could you do if some of your friends pressured you to break any of these laws?

Scripture and discussion

Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 134 declares the Church’s position on government and law. Ask the young men to read and mark verse 1.

  • Who instituted governments?

  • Why did he institute them?

  • What should be our attitude toward the laws in our community and country?

Read and discuss verses 3 and 6.

  • How should we treat law-enforcement officers?

  • How can we help them carry out their responsibilities?

  • How can we show our appreciation for their efforts to make our communities a better and safer place to live?

Quotation and discussion

President N. Eldon Tanner emphasized the importance of obeying the law in the following statement:

“All the laws of God and the laws of nature and the laws of the land are made for the benefit of man, for his comfort, enjoyment, safety, and well-being; and it is up to the individual to learn these laws and to determine whether or not he will enjoy these benefits by obeying the law and by keeping the commandments. My whole purpose … is to show that laws exist for our benefit and that to be happy and successful we must obey the laws and regulations pertaining to our activities; and these laws will function either to our joy and well-being or to our detriment and sorrow, according to our actions” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 62; or Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 31).

  • What laws can you think of that are made for our benefit, comfort, and safety?

Case study

Relate the following case study:

Kevin badly wanted a pocketknife, but he didn’t have enough money to buy it. An Aaronic Priesthood camping activity was only a week away. Kevin went to the store and looked at the display of knives. Why shouldn’t he just take one, he wondered. After all, everything cost so much, and his part-time job paid so little. Besides, no one would know. His family knew he wanted it. They knew he had nearly enough money saved. If he brought it home no one would say a word. When you have a reputation of being honest, you don’t have to explain. Kevin picked up the knife and felt the weight of it in his hand. Then he placed the knife back and turned around and left the store.

Later that night as he lay in bed, he thought about what had nearly happened. He was glad he had not thrown away his honesty for the price of a knife. He knew that Satan wanted him to break the law in little things and that it would probably lead to breaking the law in bigger things.

Adviser presentation

Explain to the young men that we all face “moments of decision” like Kevin’s and that we feel better throughout our whole lives if we make the right decision.

  • How can obeying, honoring, and sustaining civil laws help us obey gospel laws?

By Obeying Civil Law, We Strengthen Our Neighborhood and Community

Discussion

  • How can obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law make our neighborhoods and communities better places to live?

  • What other responsibilities do we have toward our community?

Explain that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we should feel a brotherhood and love for all people in all nations of the world, and especially for those in our own neighborhood, community, and nation. We should be loyal to our own country and people and do all we can to help our government meet the needs of those it governs. Of course, our greatest responsibility is to live the gospel. By doing this, we help not only ourselves but also others. The example of our lives will influence others more than anything we might say.

The Lord expects us to love and serve our neighbors and friends. This doesn’t require great acts of sacrifice; friendship is most often based on small acts of kindness. Part of being a good neighbor is watching for the needs of others, including widows and orphans. The greatest service we can perform for our neighbors is to introduce the gospel to them. But whether or not they accept it, we should love them and serve them. Our community has a great need for dependable and honest citizens who are willing to help.

Discussion

  • How can an Aaronic Priesthood holder serve his village, city, or country in the following ways (adapt these to local circumstances)?

    1. 1.

      Traffic laws

    2. 2.

      Red Cross activities

    3. 3.

      Political campaign literature, elections

    4. 4.

      Youth forums

Conclusion

Challenge

Challenge the young men to commit themselves to obey, honor, and sustain the laws of the land and the laws of the gospel.