Use Music, Stories, and Art to Teach Doctrine

Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 2015


teacher holding picture

When God created the earth, He filled it with a variety of animals, plants, and landscapes to give our lives richness and beauty. Look for ways you can add variety to your efforts to teach the gospel. Doing so will add richness and beauty to the experience of learners, and it will also help you reach learners with varying needs. Consider how using music, stories, pictures, and other forms of art can invite the Spirit, clarify gospel principles in memorable ways, and help learners relate the gospel to their everyday lives. Remember that such resources should not be the focus of the lesson, but only tools to help you teach the doctrines of the gospel more effectively.

Use Music to Invite the Spirit and Teach Doctrine

The First Presidency has said, “Music has boundless powers for moving [us] toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel.”1 Listening to or singing a hymn can create a reverent feeling and invite the Spirit. Hymns can also teach gospel principles. For example, “I Believe in Christ” (Hymns, no. 134) or the Hallelujah Chorus by George Frideric Handel could inspire a discussion of the Savior’s divine roles and titles. Consider how you can make music part of your lessons; for example, you could play a recording of a hymn or invite a family or some Primary children to sing in your class.

Questions to ponder. How has sacred music affected my testimony? How might it bless those I teach?

Scriptural example. What are some possible reasons Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before they departed for Gethsemane? (see Matthew 26:30; see also Colossians 3:16; D&C 25:12).

Use Stories and Examples to Teach Gospel Principles

The Savior often told stories and parables to help His listeners understand how gospel principles applied to their everyday lives. His teachings are rich with references to fish, seeds, keys, cups, and many other everyday objects. As you prepare to teach, think of examples and stories from your own life and from the everyday lives of your class members that can make gospel principles come alive. You might discuss, for example, how the Holy Ghost is like a compass, a flashlight, or a warm blanket. Uplifting quotations from wholesome literature can also enrich a lesson. As often as possible, invite learners to share their own stories and experiences.

Questions to ponder. What experiences from my life have helped me to understand gospel principles? How can I encourage learners to share their experiences?

Scriptural example. Why did the Savior use parables such as those found in Matthew 13:44–48?

Use Art to Engage Learners

Art, including pictures, videos, and dramatizations, can help engage learners—especially visual learners—and make scriptural accounts more memorable. The art you use should be more than decoration; it should help learners understand gospel doctrines. The Gospel Art Book and the LDS Media Library on LDS.org contain many images and videos that can help learners visualize concepts or events. The painting The Second Coming by Harry Anderson, for example, can help learners ponder how they will feel when the Savior returns. Dramatizing the parable of the prodigal son can help learners understand what it means to forgive someone who has strayed.

Question to ponder. How can I use art to enhance the learning experience for class members in upcoming lessons?

Scriptural example. How did the Savior use visual images as He taught? (see, for example, Matthew 6:28–30; 22:16–21; Mark 12:41–44).

Christ showing coin to Jews

For the Discussion Leader

Share and counsel together. Begin by inviting teachers to share recent teaching experiences and ask questions related to teaching.

Learn together. Invite teachers to discuss one or more of the ideas in this section.

Practice. To model the principles taught in this section, look for ways to include music, stories, and art in your discussion. For example, before the meeting, you could invite teachers to come prepared to share music, stories, or artwork that they have used or could use to teach a gospel principle. After the teachers have shared, ask them to discuss how what they have shared might support the principle they are teaching and enhance the learning experience for those they teach.

Prepare. Decide together on a topic for the next meeting, and invite teachers to prepare.

Show References

  1.   1.

    “First Presidency Preface,” Hymns, x.