Each young man will better understand the Atonement and the importance of forgiving others.
Prayerfully study Ezekiel 18:21–22, 31–32; Matthew 18:32–35; Mark 14:32–34; 2 Nephi 2:6–9; 9:21–23; Mosiah 4:2–8; Alma 5:11–16; 11:40–42; 34:14–32; 36:5–21; 3 Nephi 9:20–22; Moroni 6:2; and Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19; 59:8; 76:40–42; 132:23–24. Not all of these will be presented in the lesson, but studying them will help you to teach the lesson.
Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).
Pencils for marking scriptures.
Show “What Think Ye of Christ?” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277) if it is available in your area.
Suggested Lesson Development
A Mighty Change of Heart
Young men often hear statements such as “Jesus Christ died so that we might live”; “He paid the price of sin”; “He opened the door to eternal life”; and “He atoned for our sins.” Ask the young men what they think these statements mean.
Joseph Smith said, “The Atonement is the most important single thing that has ever occurred in the entire history of created things; it is the rock [solid] foundation upon which the gospel and all other things rest. Indeed, all ‘things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it’” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], p. 121; see also Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 60).
Scriptures and discussion
Read and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 76:40–42.
What does this scripture mean to you personally?
What does it take for each of us to receive the benefits of the Atonement?
Read 2 Nephi 2:7–9.
What does it mean to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit?
What does it mean to experience a “mighty change of heart”?
Read 2 Corinthians 7:4–16.
What is the difference between a person who has his sin exposed and one who voluntarily confesses his sin, feels godly sorrow, and sincerely tries to repent?
Reread together 2 Nephi 2:7–9.
What are the necessary elements of godly sorrow?
Read together Ezekiel 18:21–22.
What does it mean to turn from sin?
How does sin kill us? (It can kill the body through diseases brought on by sinful acts, and it can kill our spirits by making them unfit for the presence of God and Jesus Christ.)
Scripture and discussion
Tell in your own words the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah (Alma 36:5–21).
The First Principles Are Essential
Article of faith
Have the young men recite together the fourth article of faith.
Discuss these principles and ordinances with the young men, emphasizing the order in which they are presented.
Faith must be centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that he has the power to make our souls pure again.
Repentance must be a true turning from sin, accompanied by godly sorrow.
Baptism must be by immersion by those holding proper authority and must represent our willingness to witness for Jesus Christ.
The gift of the Holy Ghost must be given by the laying on of hands by those holding authority to do so and must be accompanied by a sincere desire to receive the Holy Ghost’s influence.
Relate the following story about Jane Snyder Richards, who showed her faith by being baptized.
Jane was born in 1823 in the United States. Her brother, Robert, who had been near death, read in the New Testament about baptism by immersion and prayed to know who could properly perform this ordinance. He distinctly heard the name “John E. Page” spoken in his mind. Only later did he discover that John E. Page was a missionary from the Church. After requesting baptism and receiving a priesthood blessing from Elder Page, Robert recovered his health and went on to baptize hundreds of people.
By 1839 everyone in Jane’s family was baptized except Jane.
At age sixteen Jane became extremely ill, and no doctor could find a cure. Robert returned from his missionary work to visit his younger sister. In Jane’s words:
“When he … found me so ill, he … fasted and prayed for me … without food or water for three or four days. … He came into my room and laying his face beside mine on the pillow, said, ‘Oh, sis, I wish you were baptized.’
“The next morning … I was paralyzed and apparently dying. I could not speak nor move. … My brother wept … and … asked if he could administer oil and pray for me. … While he was praying light came into my mind and I could see plainly as if a book was opened before me with it written in it my need of baptism. If Christ, who was sinless needed to be baptized, should I hold myself as better than he?
“At that moment, all pain left me. The paralysis was gone. I was only weak. As my brother arose from his knees, I … begged for baptism. He [was reluctant] for it was now midwinter and ice would have to be broken and the exposure might be fatal. But death I was not afraid of—only that I must be baptized.”
On the day Robert was to baptize Jane, a crowd of three hundred townspeople gathered near the lake where he had chopped a hole in the foot-deep ice. They threatened to arrest Robert for exposing his deathly ill sister to the freezing air and water. The people were amazed when Jane came out of the waters and told the people that “all this was of my own free will, that I was not constrained to do it, … and they must not do harm to my brother because he was doing God’s work and God would punish them if they interfered.” Robert was not arrested, and Jane, who did not suffer from exposure, was miraculously healed. (Adapted from Jane Snyder Richards, Reminiscences of Mrs. F. D. Richards [unpublished manuscript, 1880], pp. 1–7.)
Why did it take faith for Jane to be baptized?
How did she show she was willing to be a witness for Jesus Christ?
Explain that if we follow the steps outlined in the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, we can someday return to the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Bear testimony that we can receive forgiveness through the atonement of Jesus Christ if we humble ourselves, accept Jesus Christ in our lives, and remember that his suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross was for our sins.
If time remains, show “What Think Ye of Christ?” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).