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How can I explain the Apostasy and the Restoration to others?

Most of us will have the opportunity to share gospel truths with others. Because the Apostasy and the Restoration are essential principles of the restored gospel, it is important that we know how to explain these truths to others. We should testify in a way that doesn’t sound offensive but expresses the significance of the Restoration of the gospel.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What will help the youth learn how to explain the Apostasy and the Restoration to others?

Amos 8:11–12; Acts 3:20–21; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–3 (Apostasy and Restoration foretold)

Ephesians 2:20 (The Church is built upon the foundation of prophets and apostles)

Russell M. Nelson, “Catch the Wave,Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 45–48

Dallin H. Oaks, “The Only True and Living Church,New Era and Liahona, Aug. 2011, 3–5

Bear Testimony Frequently,Preach My Gospel (2004), 198–99

“The Great Apostasy,” “The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith,” Preach My Gospel (2004), 35–38

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help:

  • Invite the youth to share questions they have been asked about the Church or their beliefs. How did they answer these questions?
  • Invite the youth to share experiences in which they have learned about the Apostasy and the Restoration. What did those who taught them do to help them understand these truths of the restored gospel?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth understand how to talk about the Apostasy and the Restoration with others. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite class members to read together the four paragraphs of Elder Russell M. Nelson’s talk “Catch the Wave” beginning with “The Restoration fulfills many biblical prophecies.” Ask each class member to study one of the scriptures referenced in the notes for this section. Invite the youth to then role-play how they would use their assigned passages to teach a friend about scriptures that prophesy of a restoration of the gospel.
  • Ask the youth to share any scriptures they know of that foretell the coming of the Great Apostasy and the Restoration. If they need help, suggest that they use the Topical Guide, or refer them to the scriptures listed in this outline. Let the youth practice using these scriptures and others they can find to explain the Apostasy and the Restoration to each other.
  • Read together as a class the first six paragraphs of Dallin H. Oaks’s article “The Only True and Living Church.” Ask the youth how we can testify of the only true Church in a way that avoids offending others. Divide the remaining sections of the talk among the youth, and ask them to read their sections and look for what Elder Oaks does to powerfully testify of the restored gospel while being respectful to the beliefs of others. Divide the class into pairs, and invite them to take turns bearing testimony of the true Church using what they learned.
  • Invite the youth to read the section titled “Bear Testimony Frequently” on pages 198–99 of Preach My Gospel. As a class, make a list of reasons it is important to bear testimony when we teach and guidelines for bearing testimony. To illustrate the importance of bearing testimony when teaching about the Restoration, invite a recent convert to share with the class how he or she gained a testimony of Joseph Smith’s First Vision (get permission from the bishop beforehand). Ask the convert to share what role the testimonies of others played in his or her conversion. Consider sharing your testimony of the Restoration of the gospel and inviting the youth to share their testimonies.
  • Ask the youth to think of object lessons that might help them explain aspects of the Apostasy and the Restoration to others. For instance, to explain the Apostasy they could build a church with blocks, labeling the blocks at the bottom “Apostles and Prophets,” then demonstrate how the church cannot stand without the foundation of apostles and prophets (see Ephesians 2:20). Invite them to share their object lesson ideas with each other. What opportunities do they have to teach others about the Apostasy and Restoration?

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to explain the Apostasy and the Restoration to others? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite the youth to act

Ask the youth what they feel inspired to do because of what they learned today. Encourage them to act on these feelings. Seek the Spirit as you prayerfully consider ways you can follow up.