Friday, September 26, 2014

The Great Apostasy (PMG Lesson 1 Principle 5)

Last week we talked about when Jesus Christ came to earth and began a new dispensation.  Well, after the wicked people killed Jesus Christ, they didn't stop there.  They began to persecute the apostles and members of Christ's church, and they even killed many of them.  When the apostles died, the keys of the priesthood and authority to preach and administer ordinances were taken from the earth.  Does this sound familiar?  That's right, it was another apostasy.  This was called The Great Apostasy because it happened throughout the whole world and lasted for a very long time.

Picture a school classroom.  If the teacher leaves the room and doesn't come back for a long time, what would  happen?  Is there chaos?  Do the students decide to do whatever they want? Do the rules change? What if one of the students decides to take charge and begins assigning work; does the student have any authority?  Will the work be valid when the teacher returns?    
Use this analogy to discuss what the earth was like during the great apostasy when there was not priesthood authority on the earth.  Who is the teacher? (prophet; someone with authority)  What rules were changed or forgotten? (doctrines of godhead, baptism, temples/work for the dead, revelation, the bible, forbidding priests to marry, etc)  Were there some in the class/world who wanted to learn?  What was stopping them? Discuss the difference between a reformation (changing what already exists) and a restoration (bringing something back in its original form).

Our scripture this week is Amos 8:11-12. (printable)  What is meant by "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord"?

The important thing to remember is that the great apostasy happened, but it is not the end of the story. Next week we will learn the rest of the story, but I bet you can guess what happened. What does God do every time there is an apostasy? He calls a prophet to begin a new dispensation and restore what was lost.  Our song this week is Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice (Hymn #21), verses 1 and 2:

Come listen to a prophet's voice and hear the word of God,
And in the way of truth rejoice and sing for joy aloud.
We've found the way the prophets went who lived in days of yore;
Another prophet now is sent this knowledge to restore.

The gloom of sullen darkness spread thru earth's extended space.
Is banished by our living Head, and God has shown His face
Thru erring schemes in days now past the world has gone astray.
Yet saints of God have found at last the straight and narrow way.

This hymn talks about the darkness and errors which were on the earth and how the world had gone astray (just like our "Follow the Prophet" song).  But it rejoices that once again, just as in "days of yore", there is a prophet who has seen and spoken with God, and who has restored knowledge of "the straight and narrow way".

-Recite the scripture of the week
-Sing the song
-Assign one of the following per day:

1.  Apostasy happened throughout the world, not just in Israel. Read 4 Nephi 1:26-34 and  Mormon 1:13-14 . Tell about apostasy in the Americas. Bear testimony.

2.  Read 2 Nephi 28:3-14.  In verse 14, what does it say about those few who WERE trying to follow Jesus?  Discuss the Reformation.  Also read D&C 123:12.  What does this tell us about many people on the earth today? Bear testimony.

3.  Read 1 Nephi 13:24-29.  How was the Bible changed?  Why was the Bible changed?  What was the result? How does this relate to the Eighth Article of Faith?  Bear testimony.

4.  Read, recite, or sing the Fifth Article of Faith.  Also read Hebrews 5:4.  What do these tell us about priesthood authority?  Bear testimony.

5.  Read 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  What happened to true doctrine?  What was taught instead? Bear testimony.

6.  Read 2 Nephi 26:20-21.  What was being preached?  What was the motivation of those preaching? Bear testimony.

7.  Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (JST).  Teach how the apostasy was foretold. Bear testimony.

8. (for a young man)  Learn about apostasy for your Duty to God.  Look up "Apostasy" in True to the Faith .  Teach us what you learned and bear testimony.

9. In 2 Timothy 3:5 it says men will "have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof".  What does this mean? Bear testimony.

10.  Read 2 Peter 3:17.  Explain how personal apostasy can still happen in our day.  What can we do to remain steadfast?  Bear testimony.

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