Monday, August 2, 2010

Lesson on Exaltation

Yesterday it was my turn to teach all the young women again at church. Just in case any of you will have to teach this lesson, I thought I would share what I did. Plus there was a great story that I think everyone would love (see below). I fretted quite a bit about how to make the lesson interesting to the girls. The lesson in the manual had some good information but I didn't like the way it was organized and I wanted to find a more compelling attention getting introduction.

I ended up putting 7 books around the room and had a girl walk around the room gathering books to stack on her head as she went. Before she started I gave her a card as a free gift for participating. It said I would bring treats on Tuesday to our activity. (This represented the free gift of immortality that Christ has given us all.)

Next she had to walk to room gathering books on her head as she went. Each book represented one of the steps our religion teaches are necessary for exaltation in the highest kingdom of heaven (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Baptism of the Spirit, Temple Endowments, Temple Marriage and Enduring to the End.) At the end it was really hard to walk without losing the books. I had another girl help her a bit to steady the books as she walked. (This girl represented the heavenly help we receive to endure.) At the end she got a card that told her she got to pick her favorite treat for Tuesday.

In each book I had a scripture or quote for a girl to read that said that this step is essential. We talked about all the steps and why they are essential and how because of God is a perfect parent and a perfect being who is perfectly just, he must follow through with His word. Then we talked about why we should want this "upgraded gift" of exaltation.

There was a great story in the lesson that has stuck with me and it is part of the reason I am sharing all of this with you now. I wanted to share it with all of you.


To help the young women understand the great glory and happiness of those who are exalted, read the following experience of Elder Melvin J. Ballard who, as an Apostle, had a marvelous dream or vision:

Quotation

“Away on the Fort Peck Reservation where I was doing missionary work with some of our brethren, laboring among the Indians, seeking the Lord for light to decide certain matters pertaining to our work there, and receiving a witness from Him that we were doing things according to His will, I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night in that sacred building, the temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those rooms to meet a glorious Personage, and, as I entered the door, I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious Being my eyes have ever beheld or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds. As I approached to be introduced, he arose and stepped towards me with extended arms, and he smiled as he softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old, I shall never forget that smile. He took me into his arms and kissed me, pressed me to his bosom, and blessed me, until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt! When he had finished, I fell at his feet, and, as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world. The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in His hands, to have His love, His affection, and His blessing was such that if I ever can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be to feel what I then felt!” (Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], pp. 138–39).


I loved this account of this man's dream or vision. I could feel it as I read it to them. It has stayed with me since. I want to be there with Him too. I plan on being there - with Camille, with my family hopefully, and most importantly with my Savior and Heavenly Father.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It makes me sad whenever I hear you mention "hopefully". Christ of the Bible died for our sins and paid the price for our mistakes. Whomever believes in Him is saved. No where does it say if you're good enough then you'll be in Heaven. I'm saved by the grace of God despite my sinful heart. He is not a works-based Savior. Just look in the New Testament for yourself and know this is true. If you follow Jesus Christ alone and serve Him alone and repent of your sins- that is enough. He said so. Blessings to you and your family.

Stephanie said...

Dear Anon,

I agree with you that we are saved by the grace of the Savior. We earn that grace -- as you rightly said, by following and serving Him and repenting of our sins.

The reason I said "hopefully" is because outside of myself, I cannot ultimately control whether my family will choose to do this. I hope they will. I will teach them to follow the Savior. But we can't choose what others will believe or do so ... that is why I used the word Hopefully.

much love,
Stephanie

Anonymous said...

I completely understand- but my impression has been that in the Mormon church it's not that simple? Is there more to it than that? A ranking system of sorts? A "if your good enough" or "do enough" system? Please clarify. And I know within the Christian church some people feel that they'll be worthy of living with Christ forever if only they are good enough... Which is sad because even with our best efforts we are sinful indeed. We are saved by Christ alone thank the Lord. Anyway I would love to have you clarify a bit further. Thank you! Julie

Jessica Marie said...

That is one of my very favorite quotes of all time. It was really great to read it again tonight. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Is seriously enjoying everyone's open-minded-ness (is that even a word? I hope it is).

Love it all, it leads to great conversations...