“Chapter 37: Charity, the Pure Love of Christ,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith
Have two people come up to the front of the class and sit with their backs to the chalkboard and give them paper and a pencil. Have them close their eyes or blindfold them if you feel that is necessary to avoid cheating. Then have one person come up to the chalkboard and give them a piece of chalk. Tell them (without the other two people knowing what you are saying) to draw a picture of a nice sunny day on a farm. Then have two more people come and stand in front of the two people facing away from the chalkboard. They are going to tell the other two people what to draw, but not tell them objects. For example if the person draws a sun on the board the “tellers” would tell the “drawers” to draw a circle in the upper corner with squiggly lines going around it. Have them try to draw without seeing the paper or the chalkboard. They should fail miserably. Then ask, “What are the main reasons that these people did so poorly trying to replicate the drawing on the board?” “What are we trying to replicate in our lives?” (The answer you want to try to help the class understand is that we are trying to replicate the attributes of God.) Without seeing or knowing the attributes of God is would be impossible to replicate them. This chapter will show us what some of those attributes are.
Start with the first paragraph of the first section. If we want to be like God, what is the “chief characteristic” that we need to develop? Ask the class, “Who are some people you know that you say their “chief characteristic” is charity? How did they get that way? What is the process to getting to that point?”
The rest of the chapter is building on that principle. We must care for the poor, just like God does. That brings us closer to God. We must have the attributes of long-suffering, mercy, and kindness (the third section) just like God does and we must show charity through acts of kindness (the fourth section) the way God does. Incorporate Mosiah 2:17 into that last section. Really focus on the fact that what we are seeing in this section is a description of who God is. Now that we can see Him better we can better pattern our lives after His. So now, we can look at the drawing of our own life and see where we are different from God. What do we have to erase and re-draw? How do we do that? What is the pattern to accomplish that goal? I think you can have a great discussion building on that topic.
When you are done with this lesson, come back and leave some feedback on how it went. Did it work or not? What did you tweak to make it work better for you? Thanks!