Control Our Tongues, Primary 7, Lesson 41
Posted by robf on November 26, 2007
I was called in to substitute in Primary yesterday and ended up with two classes, the 10 and 11 year olds. This lesson focuses on scriptures in James and elsewhere “to help the children learn to control the things they say and think.”
I started the class with one of my favorite attention getters–I scrambled each word in James 1:26 and wrote the scrambled verse on the board:
FI YAN NAM GONAM UYO EMES OT EB IRLIESUGO DNA TERDLIBH TON SHI GONUTE TUB CETHIDEVE SHI NOW ARTHE HIST SNAM NIGERLIO SI NAVI.
I then invited the class to come up and unscramble each word. This takes about ten minutes, during which they are reading and rereading the scripture that they are trying to unscramble. At some point when they had figured out a few key words I suggested that maybe they could use the Topical Guide to find the scripture and help them figure out the last few words. BTW, I’ve used this for ages 8-16 and it almost always works to get the kids focussed on the topic of the lesson.
After they found the verse, we started to talk about it. We talked about what a bridle is to explain that this is a metaphor about controlling our tongues. Then I asked the kids why not controlling our tongues would make our religion vain.
In reviewing the lesson material, I had several possible activities and points of discussion thought out, but that all went out the window when we started talking about vain religion. I asked the kids what it meant for a religion to be vain, and they came up with it meaning that a vain religion would be worthless or not work. I then asked them what that would mean. What is religion, I asked?
I wrote religion on the board, and the Latin word it might come from–religare. I helped them figure out that religion could mean something like “re-connect or bind together”. I then asked them to list some stuff we should be connected to–God, families, each other, the earth. We then talked about how our religion does this through temple ordinances and the sacrament. We talked about being created in God’s image–and read about that in Genesis 1:27 and how we are to be like God. We talked about speaking in the name of God–and how our religion makes that possible and read about it in D&C 1. We talked about sealing in the temple, and the restoration of the priesthood as mentioned in Moroni’s recital of Malachi to Joseph Smith. We then brought it back to James’ description of pure religion in James 1:27–and I emphasized (especially to the girls in the class) that we don’t have to be ordained to the priesthood to do that kind of service.
The point was that true religion binds us together and gives us the opportunity to act in the name of the LORD, to take upon us his name and to speak and act for him. Then I brought it back to our tongues. How we need to use our tongues to perform ordinances and to serve others, and how that is incompatible with swearing or saying mean things to people.
Then time was up. The spirit was very strong in the class, so I pointed that out to the kids and bore my testimony.
It was an amazing class. The kids were totally into it. They listened, they looked up scriptures, they read, they asked questions, they answered questions. They seemed to just eat it all up. Some of the kids are pretty rambunctious, but they were all raptly paying attention and participating. We were really feasting on the word. I was amazed, though I probably shouldn’t have been, that they were so accepting and interested in what some might consider difficult or meaty gospel topics. While I used vocabulary and examples that were age appropriate, I think the discussion was deeper than many Gospel Doctrine classes I’ve been in. It was amazing. It softened my heart, showing me many of my own weaknesses, and edifying all of us. I think the kids were amazed. A couple kids commented on how it was a great lesson.
Perhaps we try to hard to make Primary entertaining, when what the kids really need is the best scriptural feast we can give them.
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