Lesson 3: “I Had Seen a Vision”
(note: Lesson 2 was skipped for being so dang sincere. Picking on it felt like kicking a puppy. I’m not a monster.)
To strengthen class members’ testimonies of the First Vision and of Joseph Smith’s calling as the prophet through whom God restored the fulness [sic] of the gospel to the earth.
- Prayerfully study the Joseph Smith-History account of the first vision and the version in that white pamphlet thing, just so you can remember which version is the version in scripture.
- Look over the class member manual for the information neither you nor anyone else will ever reference.
- Take at the historical material presented online, which gives various accounts of the various accounts of the First Vision.
- Ask a class member to tell the story of Joseph’s childhood leg operation. You are not liable for any embellishments to the story that they make.
- Find just about any young Joseph poster you can get your hands on.
- Prepare the materials for the attention activity.
Suggestions for Lesson Development
Hold up an American flag. Note that the Gospel could only have been restored in the land of the Red, White, and Blue!
Hold up a candle. Note that the Enlightenment, and with it the normalization of questioning religious dogma, created a time when the Gospel could be restored.
Hold up a pair of boxer briefs (clean). Note that a man had to be chosen in order to restore the Gospel.
Feel dirty inside.
Discussion and Application
If it seems like I’m putting in more effort at the beginning of this than the end, we both know its because you’re not going to get to the end in your lesson.
1. After the Apostasy, God prepared a way for the Restoration
After the original Apostles died, the religion of Christ moved away from whatever was originally intended. This is known as the Great Apostasy.
- What were the consequences of the Great Apostasy? Seriously. Think about this question. God abandoned his people. All his people. For literally centuries. We like to think of this as the great prologue to our glorious day, but think about it. Is it the fault of people born during this era that they were born then? How do you think you would have felt growing up during the Great Apostasy? Would you have noticed the lack of God? Why is it that we tend to equate the slow return of God’s influence with the weakening of Catholic ecclesiastical influence in every day life? I mean, we claim the Protestant reformers as our own, but not the Catholic ones. That’s weird, right?
- Before Joseph Smith was born, which events helped prepare the way for the restoration of the Gospel? Have you ever thought about how we teach ourselves that we are the culmination of human history? How does that affect our outlook on life? Is this any different than what all Americans teach their children? What about the Drumpf kids? Do you think they were taught this?
2. God prepared Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration.
- Joseph’s family helped prepare him
- Joseph’s family was religious. Except for the ones who weren’t. Except for when they were, too. Both Joseph’s parents were believers. Joseph Sr. was spiritual, but not religious. So, that’s relevant, I guess.
- Adversity helped prepare him
- As if growing up poor and under-educated wasn’t adverse enough, Joseph had leg-surgery done on him with no anesthetic as a child. Note: it is not a sin nor a sign of weakness to use anesthesia. Nor is it particularly smart to go without when you have the option. I appreciate that Joseph loved his daddy, but daddy should have told him to take a swig of whiskey. I’m just sayin’
- The religious atmosphere in western New York helped prepare him
- Apparently, if other people hadn’t been interested in religion and God, Joseph wouldn’t have been either.
3. The First Vision ushered in the restoration of the Gospel
[I like this part so no snarky comments]
4. Many truths were revealed in the First Vision
- Heavenly Father and Jesus’s beard and robe game are tight
- Shoes are for the weak and sinful; go barefoot running
- Prematurely graying hair = spiritual power
The First Vision, man. It’s important. Joseph saw things, ya know!
Additional Teaching Ideas
- Did you forget about the lesson until this morning? Here is a video you can watch.
- How can our young people be more like Joseph? Have they taken up leg wrestling?