Regarding the Savior Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!” (D&C 76:22). The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand that the Savior lives today, that He is our Advocate with the Father, and that through faith in Him we become “begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24; see also Galatians 3:26).
Read aloud the following account of an experience of President Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901), as related by his granddaughter Alice Pond:
“‘In the large corridor leading into the celestial room, I was walking several steps ahead of grand-pa when he stopped me and said: “Wait a moment, Allie, I want to tell you something. It was right here that the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruff.”
“‘Then grand-pa came a step nearer and held out his left hand and said: “He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though He stood on a plate of solid gold.”
“‘Grand-pa told me what a glorious personage the Savior is and described His hands, feet, countenance and beautiful white robes, all of which were of such a glory of whiteness and brightness that he could hardly gaze upon Him.
“‘Then [grand-pa] came another step nearer and put his right hand on my head and said: “Now, grand-daughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grand-father, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with Him face to face”’ [Alice Pond, in LeRoi C. Snow, “An Experience of My Father’s,” Improvement Era, Sept. 1933, 677]” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow , 238–39).
What thoughts do you have as you listen to this account?
Tell students that the Doctrine and Covenants contains two accounts of the Savior appearing to men in the latter days: one of His appearance to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Hiram, Ohio (see D&C 76), and the other of His appearance to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110). Write the following three questions on the board:
Invite the class to look for answers to these questions in the scriptures. Ask half of the class to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:19–24 and the other half to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–4. After sufficient time, ask the class to share what they found. Write their findings on the board under the appropriate questions. Then ask:
What do these verses teach about Jesus Christ? (Students may identify a variety of doctrines, including the following: Jesus Christ is a living, glorified being; our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are distinct personages; through faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of His gospel, we become begotten sons and daughters unto God; and Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father.)
Give students an opportunity to share their testimonies of these doctrines by asking the following question:
Which of these truths are especially meaningful to you? Why?
Tell students that the remainder of the lesson will focus on two of the doctrines found in the passages they read: “Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father” and “Through faith in Jesus Christ and acceptance of His gospel, we become begotten sons and daughters unto God.”
Write the word advocate on the board and ask students if they know what it means. (If needed, define advocate by explaining that it refers to a person who speaks in support of or pleads the cause of someone else.) Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:4 silently. Then ask:
How does the Savior serve as an advocate? (As students share their thoughts, look for opportunities to testify that Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father.)
Display the following questions, or write them on the board:
Ask students to work in pairs and look for answers to these questions in Hebrews 4:15; Doctrine and Covenants 29:5; 38:4; and 45:3–5. After students have read the passages and discussed the questions on the board, invite a few volunteers to share their answers with the class.
As students explain what they learned, ensure that they understand the following: Jesus Christ is qualified to plead on our behalf before the Father because He is perfectly righteous and could thus satisfy the demands of justice for our sins. He is qualified to plead for us because of His merits, His perfect life, and His blood, which He shed for us. We have no merits that allow us to plead for ourselves (see Alma 22:14).
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 45:3–5 aloud as the class follows along. Explain that Heavenly Father’s work and glory is the exaltation of His children. Thus, as Jesus advocates for those who believe in Him, He helps to accomplish the Father’s work while also giving glory to the Father (see also Matthew 10:32).
To help students understand Jesus Christ’s work as our Advocate, invite them to read Zenos’s words in Alma 33:3–10. Ask them to identify phrases that Zenos repeated (variations of “thou wast merciful” and “thou didst hear me”). Then ask:
What did Zenos learn about God through his experiences with sincere prayer?
Invite a student to read Alma 33:11 aloud. Then ask the class:
To whom did Zenos give credit for Heavenly Father’s generous mercy?
Why does God the Father turn His judgments away from us?
How do Zenos’s teachings help you better understand and appreciate the Savior’s role as Advocate in your own life?
Display the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and invite a student to read it aloud:
“It is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause. (See D&C 45:3–5.)” (“I Know in Whom I Have Trusted,” Ensign, May 1993, 83).
Ask a student to explain in his or her own words the principle Elder Christofferson was teaching. Then ask:
How might having a personal testimony of this teaching help you in times of distress?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:24 aloud, and ask the class to follow along. Point out the words “by him, and through him, and of him … [we] are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”
Make sure students understand that although all of us are Heavenly Father’s spirit children, the term “begotten sons and daughters unto God” specifically refers to those who are “born again.” Tell students that the Book of Mormon illustrates the process of being born again.
Display the following chart or copy it on the board (do not include the material in parentheses):
What were King Benjamin’s people willing to do?
What resulted from their actions?
(Enter into a covenant to obey all God’s commandments)
(Take upon themselves the name of Christ)
(Exercise faith in Christ)
(Their hearts were changed)
(They were born of Christ)
(Christ became their covenant Father)
Briefly summarize King Benjamin’s message in Mosiah 2–4. Then explain that King Benjamin’s words had a dramatic effect on his people, and the Spirit of the Lord caused a “mighty change” to be wrought in their hearts (see Mosiah 5:2). Invite students to study Mosiah 5:2–8, 15 in pairs, looking for answers to the questions in the chart. After sufficient time, ask students to share what they found. Then ask:
According to what you learned about King Benjamin’s people, how do you become a begotten son or daughter of Christ? (Students should express the following principle: As we accept Jesus Christ and make and keep covenants to obey God’s commandments, we become begotten sons and daughters of Christ.)
As students discuss these verses, they may need help understanding the doctrine that we become children of Christ. Read aloud the following teaching from President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972):
“The Savior becomes our Father … because he offers us life, eternal life, through the atonement which he made for us. …
“… We become the children, sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, through our covenants of obedience to him” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:29).
According to Mosiah 5:15, what blessings can we receive as Jesus Christ’s sons or daughters?
What thoughts and feelings do you have about being a son or daughter of Jesus Christ?
As you conclude the lesson, encourage students to ponder how their lives are blessed by knowing that the Savior lives, that He serves as our Advocate with the Father, and that we can be covenant sons or daughters of Christ.