Joseph Smith Lesson Chapter 27: “Beware the Bitter Fruits of Apostasy”
Ask the class if they remember the show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” One of the aspects of that show were lifelines that people could use when they needed help. Ask the class to write down (or just think about and be ready to answer, but if you have them write it down more people will get involved) the person they know that they would like to be their “Phone-a-Friend” lifeline. (This is the person that you could call and ask the question to if you had a question that you couldn’t answer.) “What qualities would you want in that person?” Now tell the class that you are going to give them some scenarios and they have to write down the person they would want to call or have with them in that situation. (You can use anything here, but I will give you a few examples.)
- The topic is the Table of the Elements (who would you want to be able to call?)
- The topic is modern pop music
- The topic is movies of the 1970’s
- The topic is music of the 1980’s
- The topic is wilderness survival
- The topic is how to receive exaltation
Use this last one last no matter what other things you do. After each one you could ask for a few answers as to who they would pick and why. Make sure to ask who they would pick and why for the last topic. Now go to page 324 and read the advice recorded by William G. Nelson as to who you would want to have with you. (The majority of the Apostles). Today we are going to talk about Apostasy and how that ties in with this quote from Joseph Smith.
There are two main sections in this lesson. They are what leads to apostasy and what can happen if God’s people fall into apostasy. Have class members look on page 318 paragraph 3 (from Wilford Woodruff) and 319 paragraph 2 (also from Wilford Woodruff) to find what things he suggest will lead to apostasy. “How are these things different from what lead to the Great Apostasy following Christ’s ascension into heaven?” (You can discuss here that in the Great Apostasy the Apostles were killed and so there was a loss of authority. In the apostasy mentioned in this chapter it is personal apostasy rather than general apostasy.) This is a great time to talk about how to avoid personal apostasy by fulfilling our personal duties. You may ask from the paragraph on page 318, “What are some of the things that we could be careless about that would lead to apostasy?” or “What are some of the duties that it may be a temptation to lay aside?” You could ask from page 319, “What warning given here do you feel is the most difficult to avoid?” You may also want to read the last paragraph in this section on page 320. “Why do many people find that putting others down will be a good way to bring themselves up?”
The second aspect to talk about is that when people apostatize, they often cannot leave the Church alone. There are two main points that you may want to make out of this section. The first is on page 321 paragraph 1, starting, “There is superior intelligence…” When we are given light and knowledge and then turn away from it, the darkness becomes more than what it was before. “Why is Satan sometimes successful in turning people who at one time knew so much away from the truth?” “In this paragraph Joseph uses Judas as an example. What lessons do we learn about personal apostasy from Judas?”
The second aspect is in the final two paragraphs from this section on page 324. You can ask, “Why do you think people that have left the church become its biggest opponents?” (One idea here is that if apostates don’t prove that the LDS church is false, they must accept that they are leaving the truth. So they have to try and prove that they are leaving for a good reason, so they are then bound to fight against the truth.) There are many answers to this question, so don’t take the first answer and then move on. After one person answers these questions, say, “Great answer, what are some other possible ideas?” Then you wait for more answers. They will come!
Remind the class that we are talking about personal apostasy in this lesson. Ask, “If President Monson gave a talk in General Conference this year about apostasy, what things may be different from what we just learned and what things would be exactly the same?” “What things do we really need to work on in 2009 to avoid personal apostasy?”
A Great Book for This Lesson and This Year of Teaching. Joseph Smith’s Kirtland.