A new year, a new opportunity to learn and grow! In 2017, the Relief Society and priesthood manuals will focus on the life and teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley, who served as the 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 13 years. The teachings in the new course manuals come from his many sermons and articles as he faithfully served in the Church. Because of President Hinckley’s wonderful sense of humor and positive outlook on life, many members have very fond memories of the prophet that can add to our excitement as we dive into a new lesson manual this year.
Here are three easy ways to help make the teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley a little more meaningful this year.
1. Surround yourself with reminders from each lesson.
Beautiful artwork can touch your heart in a way that words alone cannot. Hang one of the pictures from the week’s lesson somewhere in your home where you will be reminded of how you felt during the lesson. Remember the principles taught, as well as your commitment to live them and improve your life. If you don’t have access to a paper copy, why not change your phone or computer screen saver to one of the handy memes or wallpapers the Church has created for each lesson? (Access these memes and pictures on the Church’s website here.)
If you want to make a more long-term investment for your family’s FHE lessons, purchase a Gospel Art Book from a Church Distribution Center, which has over 130 pictures and a useful index that connects each image to the scriptures.
Each lesson is also filled with inspiring quotes from President Hinckley as well as other Church leaders that will uplift your heart and nourish your soul. Hang a quote from the lesson somewhere in your home each week so that you and your family can read or memorize it. It can be as simple as writing it on a whiteboard or posting it on a sticky note somewhere the entire family can see it regularly.
2. Involve your family.
The reason the Relief Society and priesthood quorums learn about the same topics each week in church is so that husbands and wives can talk about what they learned together! Make it a habit to discuss the lesson material during Sunday dinner each week. You can extend the conversation into Monday night’s family home evening by including your children. The manual and course of study make for great family home evening lessons. Invite your children to draw illustrations to go with each week’s lesson.
The Savior often used physical objects that were familiar to His listeners to explain simple principles. Involve your family in your study of the lesson by inviting them to find an object to set out somewhere in your home all week that will remind you of each lesson. Get creative and take turns introducing the topic at each week’s family home evening.
Challenge your teenagers to find some of their seminary doctrinal mastery passages (formerly called “scripture mastery” verses) that tie into each week’s lesson material. What a terrific bonding activity it is to commit scriptures to memory together. You can see all of the seminary manuals and resources at lds.org.
Many of the sections within Preach My Gospel correspond perfectly with this year’s Relief Society and priesthood lessons. Read those sections together as a family and consider how they relate to your life, as well as to missionary work. This is an especially meaningful activity if you have a son or daughter preparing or already out on a mission!
3. Apply what you learn.
You can study each lesson in the manual, but it won’t mean anything unless you actually apply the principles to your daily life. In the end, we won’t be judged by all of the religious trivia we can, but by the Christlike qualities we have acquired. The Lord cares much more about what we are becoming than what we are doing.
Jesus was the Master teacher. He still is! He cared deeply about each person He taught. He used variety, honesty, symbolism, story-telling, and challenged His listeners to make specific changes in their lives. The more you study and teach the gospel, the greater will be your own understanding.
Find one specific change you can make each week. Challenge yourself to improve. Let the Spirit change your heart. Each lesson offers suggestions to help you stretch yourself and take meaningful action—so do it. That’s the whole point of studying the gospel anyway, right?
Studying this year’s Relief Society and priesthood manuals will help you turn to Christ each day, not just on Sundays. Not only should we read the scriptures and have a meaningful gospel study plan, but we need to feast on the scriptures and the words of the Prophets. The 2017 course for studying the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley can serve as a helpful tool to help you dive even deeper and get even more from your time at church!
Lead photo from Getty Images
For more helpful insights for Relief Society and priesthood teachers, as well as parents, check out this helpful resource and teacher’s guidebook from Trina Boice entitled Ready Resource for Relief Society 2017: Presidents of the Church—Gordon B. Hinckley. It offers tons of great ideas for how to present this year’s series of lessons at church or at home!
Trina also writes movie reviews from a mom’s perspective! To help make the best decision on which movies are “safe” for your family, you can read her movie reviews at MovieReviewMom.com @trinaboice