This lesson will help students learn why repentance is necessary. It will help deepen their understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The more we understand about the sacrifice and obedience of Jesus Christ, the more our doubts about our ability to assist in God’s work will decrease.
Bring an interesting object to class, but do not let students see it. As class begins, tell students you have brought the object with you. Ask students if they believe you have the object even though they haven’t seen it.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 17:2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Three Witnesses needed to have before they could see the gold plates.
Why do you think the Three Witnesses needed to have faith before they could see the plates?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 17:3–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord required the Three Witnesses to do after they saw the gold plates and other sacred objects.
What did the Lord tell the Three Witnesses they would need to do after they saw the gold plates and the other sacred objects?
What does the Lord require of us after we gain a witness of truth? (After we obtain a witness of the truth, we have a responsibility to testify of it.)
Invite the students to ponder what they know is true and how they can testify of those things.
Show students a piece of fruit, or show a picture of a piece of fruit. Ask them how we know when fruit is ready to eat. (Its appearance or other features indicate that it is ripe.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said is ripening in iniquity.
What do you think it means that “the world is ripening in iniquity”?
What evidence do you see that this is occurring?
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 (part of a scripture mastery passage) silently, looking for how the Lord feels about all people, even those who are ripening in iniquity. Next, ask them to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 aloud, in unison, multiple times until each member of the class can recite it from memory.
How does the Lord feel about His children?
How could knowing this influence how you treat those around you?
How can someone come to know that he or she is of great worth to God?
Point out that in many situations the worth of an object is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. You may want to display a few objects of differing value to illustrate this point. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the price the Savior paid for our souls.
What price was paid for our souls? Why was it paid? (You may want to write the following principle on the board: The worth of every individual is so great that Jesus Christ suffered and died so we can repent and return to Heavenly Father.)
What does repentance have to do with coming unto the Savior?
To help students better understand how repentance helps us come unto the Savior, ask a student to read aloud the following passage from True to the Faith:
“Repentance is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings. It is a change of mind and heart that gives you a fresh view about God, about yourself, and about the world. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 132).
Encourage students to contemplate any sins, behaviors, and attitudes they may need to turn away from in order to repent and come unto Christ.
Write the following scripture reference on the board: Doctrine and Covenants 18:13–16.
Invite a few students to take turns reading these verses aloud while the class follows along. You may want to suggest that students mark any form of the word repent in these verses (repenteth and repentance). After each verse is read, ask the class what that verse teaches about repentance. You could point out that Doctrine and Covenants 18:15–16 is a scripture mastery passage.
Add the truths that students identify to the board. Students may identify a variety of principles, but make sure it is clear that if we help others to repent and come unto the Lord, we will feel joy with them in the kingdom of God.
Invite students to think about what it might be like when they return to God’s presence to be judged. Ask them how they plan on preparing for that great event. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we should do to prepare for that day.
According to this verse, what happens if we choose not to repent?
Invite students to silently read Doctrine and Covenants 19:13–19. Ask them to look for the consequences for those who choose not to repent.
According to Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19, what reason did the Savior give for why He suffered for our sins? (You may want to add the following doctrine to those on the board: The Savior suffered for our sins so we could repent and not have to suffer as He did.)
Consider showing the students a picture of the Savior in Gethsemane, such as Jesus Praying in Gethsemane (Gospel Art Book , no. 56; see also LDS.org). Explain that most accounts of Jesus Christ’s suffering are given by someone other than Himself (see Matthew 26:36–39; Luke 22:39–44), but Doctrine and Covenants 19 contains the Savior’s personal account of His suffering.
Invite students to review Doctrine and Covenants 19:18–19 silently, looking for how the Savior described the suffering He experienced during the Atonement.
Write the following two questions on the board:
Invite students to choose one of the questions and discuss their answer with a partner.
Invite students to sing or listen to the words of the hymn “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193). Ask them to ponder the words of this hymn and think about what the Savior has done for them.
If time allows, invite students to share their testimonies about the Savior and the blessings of repentance. Encourage them to act on any feelings or promptings they have had to repent and come unto the Savior.
To conclude this lesson, invite students to recite Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 from memory or read it in unison from their scriptures. Ask how they think this scripture mastery verse relates to repentance and the hope of forgiveness.
What do we do in the Church today that is the same as when the Church was organized on April 6, 1830? What are the requirements for baptism? How is a priesthood holder instructed to bless the sacrament? What are the duties of a teacher or a priest? Students will learn answers to these questions as they study Doctrine and Covenants 20–23.