21: Course Summary: Governing Our Lives by Correct Principles

Preparing for an Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual, (2003), 76–78


Doctrinal Overview

Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy taught: “Regardless of our age and stage in life, daily obedience to gospel principles is the only sure way to eternal happiness” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 108; or Ensign, May 1998, 82). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that those who understand correct principles are able to govern themselves (see John Taylor, “The Organization of the Church,” Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851, 339; or student manual, ix). This lesson gives you an opportunity to review the gospel principles that should guide your students as they prepare for marriage.

Principle

Living by gospel principles during dating and courtship strengthens us as we prepare for temple marriage.

Student Manual Readings

“Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Elder Richard G. Scott (148)

“We Must Do Our Part” (in “Living by Gospel Principles,” ix)

Statement in “Foundations for Eternal Marriage,” Elder Richard G. Scott (124)

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Invite students to again read “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (student manual, 148). (They read it as part of lesson 1 at the beginning of the course.) Ask:

  • What is a principle?

  • How does understanding gospel principles help us make decisions?

  • How can we acquire spiritual knowledge?

  • How does living according to the knowledge we have received help us?

  • How can we remember, expand, and apply our spiritual knowledge?

Make copies of the “Lesson Principles” handout in the back of this manual (p. 79). Give one to each student. Invite them to review the principles taught in this course. Ask: In what ways can we apply Elder Scott’s counsel to what we have learned? Discuss their answers.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Case Study. Present the following courtship situation (or create one of your own):

Susan and Bill are active members of the Church. Bill is a returned missionary. He has an academic scholarship and a good part-time job. They are both third-year students at a university. They have dated for six months, and Bill has spoken to Susan about the possibility of marriage. He wants to marry in the temple and have a family. He is attracted to Susan because of her faith in the Savior and the way she serves others. Susan responds by saying she has strong feelings for Bill but is worried that marrying now would interfere with her lifelong goal of becoming a lawyer.

Ask: Which principles could help Bill? Which could help Susan? Ask students to refer to the handout and identify which principles from lessons 1–7 could help resolve this situation.

Present another situation:

After dating for some time, George and Sally finally discuss the possibility of marriage. George is twenty-three years old, a member of the Church, and a second-year student in a university. He is considered good-looking by Sally’s friends and comes from an affluent family. He has not been on a mission and does not attend Church regularly. He assures Sally that he will be totally active in the Church after they marry. Sally is in her final year at the university and has been active in the Church all her life.

One night Sally saw George with some of his friends. He had a can of beer in his hand. When she confronted him about it the next day, he said that he only drinks alcohol on special occasions and that “it is not a problem.”

Ask: What should Sally do? What principles could help her make the right decision about George? What should George do? Ask students which principles from lessons 1–7 could be applied to their situation.

Group work. Divide the class into groups of three or four. Instruct each group to make up a relevant dating situation that requires a solution, and then choose principles from the handout from lessons 8–19 to find a solution to the situation. After about ten minutes, have the groups present their dating situations and solutions to the class. Invite the class to suggest any other principles from lessons 8–19 that could be applied to each situation. You might mention that in some cases the problem might best be solved by the couple’s breaking up. Also some solutions may require a very long time.

Suggestions for How to Teach

Scripture activity. Read the subsection “We Must Do Our Part” (in “Living by Gospel Principles,” student manual, ix). Invite students to summarize the following scriptures using if-then statements: 1 Nephi 4:14; Helaman 4:15; Doctrine and Covenants 44:2. Divide the class into groups of three or four. Have each group summarize one of the following scriptures using an if-then statement: 1 Nephi 10:21; 2 Nephi 31:13; Mosiah 29:27, 30; 3 Nephi 26:10; Doctrine and Covenants 82:1; 104:2; 132:19. Have a representative from each group present their summary to the class.

Testify that the principles in these verses were given by the Lord. Discuss why we should try to follow these principles in our dating, courtship, and marriage, and throughout our lives.

Conclusion

Share the statement by Elder Richard G. Scott in the “Foundations for Eternal Marriage” section (student manual, 124). Explain that the principles taught in this course are just a beginning. Encourage students to continue looking for principles in the scriptures and teachings of apostles and prophets throughout their lives. Testify of the blessings that come from applying principles centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ in every aspect of our lives.