To the Adviser

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), v–vii

These lessons are intended to help young men learn about the gospel and help make Aaronic Priesthood meetings enjoyable and meaningful to them. You may use this manual to teach individual quorums of priests, teachers, and deacons, or you may use it to teach a group of all three quorums. By prayerfully preparing each lesson, you can help the young men learn how to magnify their callings in the Aaronic Priesthood and truly become sons of God (see D&C 84:26–42 and John 1:12–13).

This manual contains fifty lessons—more than you will be able to teach during the year. Prayerfully select lessons that will meet the needs of the young men you teach. Some lessons may be more appropriate for priests, while others may be more appropriate for deacons or teachers. Even though you will not use all the lessons and might not teach them in the order they occur in the manual, make sure that you cover all the topics sometime during the year to ensure a balanced approach to learning the gospel.

Keys to Successful Teaching

To make the best use of the lessons in this manual, use the following keys to successful teaching:

  1. 1.

    Focus on the Savior. You are teaching young men to be disciples of Christ. It is not enough merely to teach them a priesthood duty or a true principle; they need to understand this is what the Master wants them to do as his disciples, out of their faith in him and love for him.

  2. 2.

    Seek the Spirit. Ask for Heavenly Father’s help as you prepare and present these lessons. The Lord promised, “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). The Spirit will be strongest when you are testifying of Christ, teaching discipleship, and teaching and testifying from your own experience as his disciple.

  3. 3.

    Involve quorum presidents. Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidents are to teach the members of their quorums the duties of the priesthood (see D&C 107:85–87). Quorum presidents, with your assistance, should help decide which lessons should be given and in what sequence. Quorum secretaries should keep records, perhaps on a calendar, to avoid repeating lessons.

  4. 4.

    Love the young men. Develop a genuine love for each young man you teach. Show your love in all you do both in and out of the classroom. Get to know each young man, his interests, and his challenges.

  5. 5.

    Be prepared. Study each lesson at least two or three weeks before presenting it. If you delay preparing these lessons until the Saturday before giving them, your class will be much less effective. Note especially the “Preparation” section at the beginning of each lesson.

Where stories are included, read them several times while preparing the lesson so you will understand them and be able to present them well. Stories and examples given in lessons are meant to help young men understand how the gospel principles being taught apply to their everyday lives. As you prayerfully prepare and present a lesson, you might feel impressed to substitute stories of examples from your own experience or other reliable sources. When doing so, always keep the objective of the lesson in mind. Any stories that you add should help support and teach the principle identified in the lesson objective.

When appropriate, use the pamphlet and card For the Strength of Youth (34285 and 34287) to enhance your lessons. Help the young men become familiar with the standards in the pamphlet. Encourage the young men to read it often and keep the standards explained in it.

Additional Suggestions

The following suggestions will help make each lesson more interesting and effective:

  1. 1.

    Use the scriptures. Encourage the young men to bring their scriptures to priesthood meeting each week. Have marking pencils available for them to use during each lesson.

  2. 2.

    Encourage discussion. Invite the young men to respond freely and to ask questions. Recognize each young man’s contribution so he will want to participate in the future.

  3. 3.

    Adapt the lessons to your circumstances. Use teaching methods that interest the young men you teach. Watch for events and experiences in the lives of the young men or in the lives of people with whom they are familiar that will help make your lessons relevant to them. Occasionally, you may need to adapt the stories and examples to fit your cultural circumstances.

    To help the young men learn the words of the living prophets, you may want to organize your own lesson using a talk given at general conference. Using the guidelines given in lesson 50, you can develop lessons that will meet the needs of the young men in your quorum.

    You may find that some of the lessons contain too much material to teach in one class period. In these cases, choose materials that are needed most by the young men, or use more than one meeting to present the lesson.

  4. 4.

    Use the pictures included in the manual. Keep the pictures at the back of this manual attached to the manual. Do not tear them out. Use them with the appropriate lessons. Most of the pictures in the manual are also available as part of the Gospel Art Picture Kit (34730). You can order the kit from the Salt Lake Distribution Center or check out the pictures from your meetinghouse library. The meetinghouse library may also have pictures that you can use to enhance scriptural stories.

  5. 5.

    Use chalk and the chalkboard. Before each class, consider how you can best use the chalkboard to enhance your lesson. When using the chalkboard, write only the key words from longer statements.

  6. 6.

    Give challenges and follow up on them. Conclude each lesson with a specific challenge. Follow up with the young men, and encourage them to meet the challenge. Invite them to report on their successes in meeting challenges.

  7. 7.

    Use available Church magazines. The New Era, Ensign, and international magazines contain many outstanding stories and articles that may help enhance certain lessons in this manual. Particularly useful are the issues that contain talks given by the General Authorities of the Church at general conference.

  8. 8.

    Use the handouts. Handouts are located at the end of some lessons to help the young men learn and remember the principles of the gospel. When appropriate, make copies of the handouts to use with each lesson.

Deacons Quorum Presidency Visits to Primary Class

The deacons quorum presidency has a responsibility to prepare other young men to receive the priesthood. Encourage the presidency to make a few short presentations to the Primary class these younger boys attend. These presentations should have a threefold purpose:

  1. 1.

    To give the deacons quorum presidency the experience of instructing younger boys.

  2. 2.

    To help younger boys who are preparing to receive the priesthood realize the duties and blessings of the Aaronic Priesthood. The quorum presidency should emphasize the joy and satisfaction that come through service, and the importance of being a good example.

  3. 3.

    To help the younger boys realize that they will be welcome in the quorum.

The presidency might give presentations similar to the two suggested below:

A Deacon Serves Others

The deacons quorum presidency might prepare a twenty-minute presentation that explains how deacons serve others by performing their priesthood duties; during this presentation, they could share the joy and satisfaction that come through this service. The quorum presidency could explain how passing the sacrament and gathering fast offerings bless the lives of ward members. They could also report on specific service projects.

Be an Example

The deacons quorum presidency might prepare a twenty-minute presentation about the importance of being a good example as a priesthood bearer who represents Jesus Christ. The quorum presidency could explain the importance of setting a good example in dress and conduct, particularly when passing the sacrament and gathering fast offerings.

The adviser and the deacons quorum presidency should meet with the Primary teacher to plan the presentations before the presidency gives them. Visits to Primary classes should be coordinated with the Primary president.

Special Guidelines for Including Those with Disabilities

The Savior set the example for us in feeling and showing compassion for those with disabilities. When he visited the Nephites after his resurrection, he said:

“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you” (3 Nephi 17:7).

As a teacher in a Church classroom, you are in an excellent position to show compassion. Although you may not be trained to give professional assistance, as a teacher you can act as an understanding and nurturing influence in the lives of those with disabilities. You need concern, understanding, and a desire to include, as much as possible, each class member in the learning activities.

Class members with disabilities may be challenged by learning disabilities, intellectual impairments, language or speech problems, vision or hearing loss, behavioral and social problems, mental illness, movement and mobility problems, or chronic health impairments. Regardless of individual circumstances, each class member shares the same needs to be loved and accepted, to learn the gospel, to participate successfully, and to serve others. The following are ideas to keep in mind when teaching children with disabilities.

  • Look beyond the disability and get to know the individual. Be natural, friendly, and warm.

  • Learn about an individual’s specific strengths as well as his or her challenges.

  • Make every effort to teach and remind each class member of his or her responsibility to respect every other class member. Helping a class member with a disability can be a Christlike learning experience for the entire class.

  • Find the best methods for teaching the class member by talking with parents, with other family members, and, when appropriate, with the individual in your class.

  • Before calling on class members with disabilities to read, pray, or otherwise participate, ask them how they feel about participating in class. Stress each person’s abilities and talents and look for ways each can participate comfortably and successfully.

  • Adapt lesson materials and physical surroundings to meet the individual needs of those members with disabilities.