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How did the Savior compare gospel truths to familiar objects and experiences?

Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher. He shared simple stories, parables, and real-life examples that helped those He taught understand gospel principles. We can use stories to teach like the Savior as we relate our personal experiences and relate gospel principles to the world around us.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study the scriptures and resources listed below. What do you feel inspired to share with the youth?

Matthew 20:1–15; 25:1–13, 14–30; Luke 8:4–15; 15:1–7, 8–10, 11–32; see also the video “The Prodigal Son” (Examples of parables)

Matthew 18:1–6 (The Savior uses a child to teach about the kingdom of heaven)

Matthew 5:13–16; see also the video “Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes” (The Savior compares His disciples to salt and the light of candles)

L. Tom Perry, “The Doctrines and Principles Contained in the Articles of Faith,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Laborers in the Vineyard,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 31–33

David A. Bednar, “Ye Must Be Born Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 19–22

Comparisons and Object Lessons,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 163–64

Stories,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 179–82

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 describe a family home evening or other lesson, a sacrament meeting talk, or a conference talk they remember and discuss why it was memorable.
  • Invite the youth to share a story they remember from a recent general conference talk. What did they learn from the story? Why do they think the speaker chose to use a story to teach?

Learn together

Each of the following activities will help the youth understand how to use parables and other comparisons when they teach. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite the youth to make a chart with the following headings: “Making Pickles” and “Becoming Converted.” Ask the youth to read Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “Ye Must Be Born Again” and identify the comparisons that Elder Bednar makes to teach about the process of conversion. You may consider inviting the youth to draw pictures to help them visualize the comparisons. Allow time for the youth to share a comparison from their own experiences that they could use to teach a gospel truth.
  • Ask each youth to think of one of his or her favorite parables and find it in the scriptures. If they need suggestions, consider sharing one of the parables suggested in this outline. Invite the youth to retell their chosen parables to the class and share why it is meaningful to them. What makes parables such an effective teaching method (see “Stories,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 179–82)? Consider allowing time for the youth to create their own parable that teaches a gospel truth. You might guide them by suggesting that they begin by deciding what gospel principle they want to teach. Then they could think about a setting for their parable that would be familiar to the people they are teaching and write a story that would teach the gospel principle. 
  • Show the youth a mobile phone or a picture of a mobile phone, and ask them to make comparisons between the phone and a principle of the gospel. Invite them to read the last five paragraphs before the heading “Organization and Order of the Priesthood” in Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk “The Doctrines and Principles Contained in the Articles of Faith” and discuss the comparison he makes. At the end of his talk, Elder Perry invites the youth to study the doctrines in the Articles of Faith. Read his invitation as a class, and ask each youth to study the doctrine taught in one of the Articles of Faith and come to class next week prepared to briefly teach about that doctrine using a comparison.
  • Show one of the videos suggested in this outline or invite the youth to read in the scriptures examples of the Savior comparing the gospel to a familiar object. Why did Jesus teach this way (see “Comparisons and Object Lessons,” Teaching, No Greater Call, 163–64)? Bring to class several everyday objects, such as soap, coins, keys, rocks, or food. Invite the youth to select an object and teach a gospel principle using that object. If the youth need help, you may want to use pages 163–64 of Teaching, No Greater Call.
  • Invite the youth to read the parable of the laborers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1–15. Ask them to discuss several ways that this parable could apply to their lives. Invite them to read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk “The Laborers in the Vineyard” and discuss the gospel truths he teaches using this parable (you may decide to focus on parts of the talk that seem most appropriate for the youth). Ask the youth to choose another parable from the scriptures and tell the class how they feel it applies to them. Why are parables an effective way to help others learn gospel principles?

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to teach using parables and other comparisons? 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 to act

Invite the youth to use comparisons or parables to teach someone a gospel truth. Ask them to think of settings where they could teach this truth, such as in family home evening, in a sacrament meeting talk, or with a friend.