Note: The following doctrinal mastery activities could be done over the course of several class sessions or in a single class session.
Write 1 Corinthians 11:11 on the board. Point out that this is a doctrinal mastery passage, and invite students to locate it in their scriptures and mark it in a distinct way so they can find it easily. Explain that this passage helps us understand the doctrinal topic of Marriage and Family.
Explain that in a letter to members of the Church in Corinth (in modern-day Greece) the Apostle Paul taught about marriage. Invite a student to read 1 Corinthians 11:11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught about the relationship between a husband and a wife.
Explain that “in the Lord” refers to Heavenly Father’s gospel plan, which enables us to receive eternal life and become like Him.
What does this verse suggest about the need for marriage between a man and a woman?
Ask students to read doctrinal topic 8, “Marriage and Family,” in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, looking for statements that help us understand the need for marriage between a man and woman in God’s plan.
Invite students to report what they find. Then point out the following truth in that topic: Only by entering into and faithfully keeping the covenant of celestial marriage can a man and a woman fulfill their divine, eternal potential. You may want to suggest that students write or note this doctrine in their scriptures next to 1 Corinthians 11:11.
Write the following doctrine on the board: Only by entering into and faithfully keeping the covenant of celestial marriage can a man and a woman fulfill their divine, eternal potential. Ask students to find the doctrinal mastery passage in the New Testament that teaches this doctrine. Once the students have located 1 Corinthians 11:11, invite a student to read it aloud.
Invite a student to come to the front of the classroom. Then ask the student to hold out both hands.
How are your hands similar?
How are they different?
Ask the student to put one hand behind his or her back. Then ask the class the following questions:
What are activities that might be difficult to do with only one hand?
What are examples of how both hands working together make us stronger?
How might we relate the example of our hands to this doctrinal truth concerning marriage between a man and a woman?
Point out that some individuals do not have the opportunity to enter into the covenant of celestial marriage in this life. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter:
“No blessing, including that of eternal marriage and an eternal family, will be denied to any worthy individual. While it may take somewhat longer—perhaps even beyond this mortal life—for some to achieve this blessing, it will not be denied” (“The Church Is for All People,” Ensign, June 1989, 76).
Why do you think it is important to understand that in Heavenly Father’s plan, all worthy individuals will eventually have the opportunity to enter into the covenant of celestial marriage and have an eternal family?
Display or provide each student with a copy of the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read it aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for insights into the doctrine they have been studying regarding marriage between a man and a woman.
“After the earth was created, Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden. Importantly, however, God said ‘it was not good that the man should be alone’ (Moses 3:18; see also Genesis 2:18), and Eve became Adam’s wife and helpmeet. The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females was needed to enact the plan of happiness. … The man and the woman are intended to learn from, strengthen, bless, and complete each other” (“We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 41–42).
How do Elder Bednar’s teachings relate to the truth taught in 1 Corinthians 11:11?
Invite students to answer one of the following questions in their study journal:
What are some ways that the characteristics and responsibilities of men and women can complement each other in a marriage and a family?
What attributes can a husband and wife develop through their covenant marriage that will help them to become more like Heavenly Father?
Invite a few students to share their responses with the class.
The following activities can help students implement the principles they learned at the beginning of the year in the learning experience on acquiring spiritual knowledge. To help remind students of these principles, it may be helpful to write them on the board:
These activities can be taught on the same day or on different days, depending on your schedule and the needs of your students.
Note: If necessary, adapt the following scenario according to the life experience of your students.
Invite a student to read the following scenario aloud:
While pursuing additional education after a mission, you meet and begin to date someone who has a strong testimony of Jesus Christ, treats you with respect, and helps you to become your best self. Over time, your love for one another grows, and you begin to talk about marriage. However, as you consider getting married, you become worried about the stress and challenge of marriage and having a family while attending school, working, and starting a career. You think to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be easier and better to just wait and postpone marriage and family until I finish school, find a well-paying job, and save sufficient money?”
Why might it be tempting to postpone or avoid marriage in this situation?
What could you do to act in faith as you consider this question and make future plans?
How can seeking divine guidance help you to make wise choices regarding education, career planning, marriage, and family?
Ask students to consider what they know about the role of marriage and family in the plan of salvation.
How could the doctrine we have been studying in 1 Corinthians 11:11 relate to this situation?
How might you reframe, or restate, this concern in order to consider the issue from an eternal perspective? (Possible examples include: What might I be giving up if I wait to get married? What are the benefits and blessings both now and eternally of making marriage and family a priority in my life?)
Divide the class into groups of three to five students, and give them 5–10 minutes to search the scriptures and, if available, the most recent general conference addresses and other Church resources for additional understanding that could help guide their actions and decisions regarding marriage and family. To provide an example, you may want to invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson to men of the Church:
“If you are concerned about providing financially for a wife and family, may I assure you that there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save. It is generally during these challenging times that you will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions” (“Priesthood Power,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 67).
Invite students to report what scriptures or sources of additional understanding they found with the class.
Why do you think it is important to make marriage and family a priority in your life?
What can you do now to prepare yourself to establish an eternal marriage and family?
Read the following scenario aloud:
As you talk with your brother one night, he confides in you that he is struggling with the Church’s teachings regarding same-gender marriage. He says, “It is difficult for me to understand why the Church continues to teach that same-gender marriage is wrong. Why deny people the happiness that could come from committed same-gender relationships?”
Ask students to consider how they would respond in this situation.
What could you do to act in faith as you strive to answer your brother’s questions?
What are ways you could help your brother to act in faith?
What doctrine did we learn from our study of 1 Corinthians 11:11 that can help us understand the issue of same-gender marriage through the Lord’s perspective?
What other doctrinal truths can help us see the issue of same-gender marriage with an eternal perspective?
To help encourage students to look to prophetic teachings for further understanding, distribute copies of the handout “Why Marriage Is Essential,” at the end of this learning experience. It is taken from “Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan,” by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to read it with a classmate and look for truths about marriage and family that could help them address the issue of same-gender marriage.
How might you use Elder Bednar’s teachings to help your brother look at the issue of same-gender marriage from the perspective of the plan of salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ?
Note: You might consider using a different or more recent talk from a Church leader in place of the one in the handout.
To help students remember and know how to find the doctrinal mastery passages they have learned this school year, use clues to help them practice quickly locating the passages in their scriptures. Clues could include key words, context statements, doctrine and principles, and application ideas.
Scripture chase activities, in which students race to locate doctrinal mastery passages, can help them actively engage in learning the passages. Scripture chase activities should never result in hurt feelings or offend the Spirit. Help students avoid treating their scriptures irreverently or being overly competitive. Consider having them compete against a standard rather than each other. For example, students could race against the teacher, or you could have them race to see if a certain percentage of the class can find a particular passage in a specified amount of time.
To prepare students to participate in scripture chase activities, consider giving them a few minutes to review the references and key words of doctrinal mastery passages before beginning an activity. They could do this with a partner, or you could review the passages as a class.