“Chapter 38: The Wentworth Letter,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith
This is an activity that you can do as with a lot of specialization if you would like. The idea is that we are going to eventually list some of the main doctrines that a new member should know. You can start the class by asking that question and listing ideas on the board, but that might be a little boring. You can start by asking something that might be more interesting. For example, what would someone new to cooking bread need to know. New to fantasy football, new to fly fishing, new to having a teenager, new to having a tw0-year old, etc. Pick something that will be fun and interesting to your class. You may also prepare someone in your class who doesn’t usually talk too much to be prepared to share some thoughts about something that they are good at or interested in. This will get them involved. After the more fun example the class is more prepared to answer the question about what a new member needs to know.
Now that you have your list ready you can dive into the lesson. The Wentworth Letter was designed to give a history and some doctrinal outline to people who may have questions about or be unfamiliar with the history of the Church. There are three great truths that the Prophet thought would be important to share with the world, the 1st Vision, The Book of Mormon, and the eventual triumph of truth. He then also shares the 13 Articles of Faith. Take the statements that you get from your class and discuss what the Prophet taught to people who wanted to know more about the Church. Hopefully many of the things that you class mentions are also found in this chapter. (Nearly everything can be found in the 13 Articles of Faith!). Discus how you would share these truths and why they are so important to an understanding and testimony of the Gospel.