Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Write the following questions on the board:
Invite students to read silently the first paragraph of doctrinal topic 9, “Commandments” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, looking for answers to the questions listed on the board.
Why does God give us commandments? (To help us progress and become like Him. The commandments are a manifestation of God’s love for us.)
Why is it important for us to obey God’s commandments? (Obeying the commandments allows us to show our love for the Lord and will bring us happiness and blessings.)
Ask students to turn to John 14:15, and suggest that they mark it as a doctrinal mastery passage. Explain that following His final meal with His Apostles before His Crucifixion, Jesus taught His Apostles an important insight into how we should feel about keeping the commandments. Take a few minutes to help students memorize the location and text of this scripture, and then ask:
According to this verse, what are we showing the Savior when we keep the commandments? (After students respond, you might consider writing the following truth on the board: We manifest our love for the Savior by keeping His commandments.)
Why do you think keeping the commandments shows our love for the Savior?
Invite students to write the cross-reference Matthew 22:36–39 in the margin of their scriptures next to John 14:15. Then have them turn to Matthew 22:36–39, and invite them to mark it as a doctrinal mastery passage.
To help students understand the context for this passage, ask them to read Matthew 22:34–36 silently, looking for a question the Savior was asked.
What question did the lawyer ask the Savior?
Invite a student to read Matthew 22:37–39 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s answer.
What did the Savior declare are the two great commandments? (Students should identify the following doctrine: The two great commandments are to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind and to love thy neighbor as thyself.)
Ask a student to read the second paragraph of doctrinal topic 9, “Commandments,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the relationship between loving God and loving others.
What is the relationship between loving God and loving others?
Why do you think these two are the great commandments?
Encourage students to ponder what they are doing to show their love for God and for those around them.
Ask students to recall what Jesus Christ taught were the two great commandments and to identify the doctrinal mastery passage that teaches this truth.
To help students better understand Matthew 22:36–39 and the doctrine that the two great commandments are to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and mind and to love thy neighbor as thyself, invite a student to read Matthew 22:40 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus Christ said about these two great commandments.
What did Jesus say about these commandments? (All commandments taught in the law and the prophets—two main divisions of the scriptures at that time—hang, or are based, on these two great commandments.)
You may want to display or provide copies of the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. Invite a student to read the statement aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how all other commandments hang on the two great commandments.
“How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love. If we do not neglect the great laws—if we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place” (“The Love of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 24).
How does every other commandment hang upon the two great commandments?
After students have had sufficient time to respond, invite them to read the last three paragraphs of doctrinal topic 9, “Commandments,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Encourage them to mark some of the other commandments listed there and to consider how our obedience to them shows our love for God and for others.
Suggest that students write the cross-reference Matthew 5:14–16 in the margin of their scriptures next to Matthew 22:36–39. Explain that in the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior taught how we can show our love to God and to others. Have students turn to Matthew 5:14–16, and invite them to mark it as a doctrinal mastery passage. Explain that in these verses, the Savior gave His disciples a commandment that is one of the most important ways we can show our love for those around us and for God.
Invite students to read Matthew 5:14–16 silently, looking for what the Savior taught His disciples.
What do you think it means to “let your light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16)?
How does this doctrinal mastery passage help us understand one way we can share the gospel with those around us? (As we keep the commandments and set a righteous example, those around us will see our choices and the resultant blessings and may be more open to receiving the gospel.)
Invite students to write the principle that we can teach the gospel to others through our good example next to Matthew 5:14–16.
Ask students if they have ever been taught or strengthened because of the example of a friend or family member who has chosen to keep the commandments. Invite a few students to share their experiences if they are comfortable doing so.
Consider inviting students to write the cross-reference John 14:15 in the margin of their scriptures next to Matthew 5:14–16. If you have time during class, help students locate the verses they have written in the margins as part of this doctrinal mastery activity, and give them time to memorize these verses of scripture.
Conclude by bearing your testimony of the principles discussed in the doctrinal topic “Commandments” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document.
The following activity can help students act on the three principles they learned in “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. To remind students of these principles, it may be helpful to write them on the board:
Invite students to review doctrinal topic 9, “Commandments,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, and then ask them what commandments a youth might struggle to obey if he or she did not have a clear understanding of their purpose. List their responses on the board.
Invite students to work in pairs and choose one of the commandments from the list on the board. Give each pair a copy of the following handout, and ask them to read it and discuss their answers to the questions.
After students have had sufficient time to discuss these questions, invite them to participate in a role play. Have one student from each pair role-play as an individual who is struggling to understand why the Lord would require His children to live the commandment that the pair chose. Have the other student help the struggling individual to act in faith, examine the commandment with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding about the commandment through divinely appointed sources. Give students approximately 10 minutes to role-play their situation.
After students have had sufficient time to complete the role play, consider discussing some of the following questions as a class:
What are ways we can choose to act in faith when we do not understand certain commandments or find them difficult to keep?
How did you help your friend to examine his or her particular question or concern about a commandment with an eternal perspective?
What divinely appointed sources did you use to answer the question or to encourage your struggling friend to seek further understanding?
Conclude the activity by inviting students to share any insights they gained as they participated in this activity.
Invite students to look through the New Testament doctrinal mastery passages and choose one that contains a doctrine or principle that they have a testimony of. Invite them to testify of this doctrine or principle and share experiences that helped them gain a testimony of it. As students share their testimonies, the Holy Ghost will confirm the truth of the doctrine or principle that they are testifying of. Their testimonies may also inspire others to act in faith.