The prophet Helaman taught his sons that if they would build their lives upon the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, Satan would not have power to destroy them (see Helaman 5:12). In this lesson, students will discuss how to build their families upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. As family members center their lives on the teachings of Jesus Christ, they can repair and strengthen relationships and find greater happiness.
Begin class by drawing a simple house or other building on the board. Discuss the following with students:
What value is a foundation to a home or other structure?
Why do some building materials make stronger building foundations than others?
Remind students that all families experience difficulties to some degree, and Satan seeks to destroy all families. From the Book of Mormon we learn a sure way to minimize Satan’s influences on our families.
Ask students to study Helaman 5:12, looking for what it teaches about a foundation.
What do you think it means to build our foundation on Jesus Christ?
What can a family do to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ? (Possible answers include the following: study and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, seek to follow Jesus Christ’s example, obey God’s commandments, and draw upon the power of Christ’s Atonement.)
How can the promises in Helaman 5:12 apply to families who seek to build their foundation upon the rock of Jesus Christ? (Answers should show understanding of the following principle: As families build their foundation on Jesus Christ, Satan will not have power to destroy them.)
Explain that shortly before His death, the Savior gave an analogy that can help families understand how to build their foundations on Him. Invite several students to read John 15:1–5, 10–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and consider how the Savior’s metaphor in these passages can apply to families who are striving to build their foundations on Jesus Christ.
If Jesus Christ is the vine and we are the branches, what might the fruit represent? (The fruit can represent the good works and actions of Jesus Christ’s disciples.)
Help students recognize that the Savior used the words “abide” or “abideth” several times in John 15:4–10. Explain that the word abide in this context means to remain and “stay—but stay forever,” implying that we should remain firmly and permanently attached to Jesus Christ and His Church (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Abide in Me,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 32). You might briefly explain to students that recognizing word repetitions is a scripture study skill they can use in their personal study. The repetition of a word in the scriptures often means that the author is emphasizing an important idea.
According to verses 5 and 11, what are the blessings of abiding in the Savior? (If we abide in the Savior, we can bring forth much fruit and receive a fulness of joy.)
What blessings do you think will come to families when family members strive to abide in the Savior?
Read the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“Regardless of your circumstances, you can center your home and your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life” (“For Peace at Home,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 29).
How would you describe a home that is centered on Jesus Christ? What characteristics would make a home Christ-centered?
Encourage students to ponder what they can do to abide more completely in the Savior, thus inviting more of the Savior’s influence into their homes. Encourage them to think about what changes they might make in their relationships with family members.
Transition to the next portion of the lesson by reiterating that all families face challenges. Even when family members are trying to center their lives on Jesus Christ, they can face circumstances that challenge their righteous desires. Write the following on the board:
Invite students to ponder whether these statements are based on truth.
Ask a student to read Helaman 14:30–31 aloud. Invite the class to consider how these verses relate to the statements on the board.
What important truth is found in these verses that applies to our relationships with others? (Emphasize the following truth: Because Heavenly Father has given us agency, we can choose whether or not to become angry. Explain that Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy taught, “Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!” [“Agency and Anger,” Ensign, May 1998, 80].)
What problems result from believing that the actions or words of others can “make” us angry?
Ask students to read 3 Nephi 11:29–30 silently. Point out the Savior’s teaching that contention “should be done away” (3 Nephi 11:30). Remind students that speaking harshly and other unrighteous behavior, such as emotional and physical abuse, is never justified.
Invite students to think of things they can do to help them remember to choose not to become angry. Ask them to share their ideas. Ask students to commit to use their agency righteously by choosing not to become angry, especially in family settings.
On the board, write the following principle:
Tell students that this phrase comes from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).
To help students identify some of the teachings of Jesus Christ that can bring greater happiness to families, ask students to silently read Doctrine and Covenants 88:119, 123–25. Suggest that they mark or highlight key teachings. Then ask students to discuss how families could be strengthened by living the teachings found in these verses.
Remind students that problems and difficulties often occur in families when the teachings of Jesus Christ are neglected. Display the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, and ask a student to read it aloud:
“Strained and broken relationships are as old as humankind itself. … I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 70).
What teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ can help to heal strained or even broken relationships between family members?
Write the following scripture references on the board. Explain that these verses each contain truths taught by the Savior that can strengthen family relationships.
Invite students to read these passages, and then discuss the following:
What teachings from these verses can help heal family relationships that have been damaged by contention, unkindness, or other actions?
How have you seen forgiveness improve family relationships?
Why is it sometimes harder to forgive family members who offend us than other people?
Display the following statements by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95), and ask a student to read them aloud:
“None of us is without sin. Every one of us makes mistakes, including you and me. We have all been wounded. We all have wounded others.
“It is through our Savior’s sacrifice that we can gain exaltation and eternal life. As we accept His ways and overcome our pride by softening our hearts, we can bring reconciliation and forgiveness into our families and our personal lives” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “One Key to a Happy Family,” Ensign, Oct. 2012, 6).
“Whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives. If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter , 150).
How can following the principles discussed today allow the Savior to lay His hands upon a family?
Invite students to consider how the principles of repentance and forgiveness could help repair or strengthen their own family relationships. Encourage them to act promptly to apply these principles in their family relationships.