Editor's note: the following responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Planning object lessons can be intimidating. You don't want to pick a lesson that has been used over and over again. You don't want to pick a lesson that will fall flat. And above all, you don't want to pick a lesson that will miss the gospel topic entirely or send an unintended message.
So where do you find the perfect object lesson?
We asked our LDS Living readers what their favorite object lessons were, and we got some excellent answers. Here are a few of our favorite unique object lessons that teach gospel topics perfectly:
1. The Wise Man and Foolish Man
I teach the Sunbeams. A few Sundays ago I did a lesson on the [wise man/foolish man] who built his house upon the sand/rock. We sang the song twice. Then I pulled out a 9x13 pan. Half the pan was rocks and the other half was flour. (Sand would have worked better.) On top were two houses made out of paper. I showed them what it meant when the rains came down. I began to fill the pan up with water. We let the water sit as we went on with our lesson. We examined the pan toward the end of the lesson. The paper house on the rocks was dry and nice. The paper house on the flour was barely standing. Then I heard the kindest words, "I feel bad for the foolish man. He has no house. What do we do?" Praying very quickly, I replied (as I picked the soaked house up), "You be a good neighbor and you help him build a house on the rocks by you. You can do that today by giving someone a hug. Or telling mom or dad thank you for dinner. Or help your brother or sister when they need help. Or if you need help let them help you. Be like Jesus Christ and you can help the foolish man build a new house." That was a wonderful day for me.
—Sandy Adair Phillips
A man was speaking about tithing. He called a little girl up from the audience and gave her $10. He asked her to give him the appropriate amount back for tithing. She returned the 10 percent—a 1 dollar bill. He thanked her and told her that was correct. Before she left the stage, she turned to give him back the other $9. He told her to keep it—she had already given him all Heavenly Father asks in tithing. The other $9 was hers to keep. The little girl was shocked! It was a really powerful example of how little we are asked to give up in comparison to how much we are blessed with.
3. Listening to the Spirit
One sister had a penny in a jar. The penny represented the world and the jar was our mind. She shook it and the penny was soooo loud. She then asked us what are some ways to keep the Spirit constantly with us. As we listed them, she put cotton balls in the jar. The cotton balls represented the Spirit being with us. Then when it was filled with cotton balls and she shook it, you couldn't hear the penny anymore. It helped us learn that when you have the Spirit with you, you won't hear or pay attention to the ways of the world.
4. Eternal Perspective
A large picture covered with a sheet and only showing a corner. A lesson on eternal perspective. Even though we can only see a few pieces at a time. . . the whole picture is and has always been there.
5. Follow the Iron Rod
It was actually what got me to share my testimony for the first time. In my girls' camp one year . . . [we were] walking through the woods; we were blindfolded and had to hold onto a string that represented the iron rod. [There were] fake snake sounds, loud music of parties, and people calling out to us to leave or watch out. In the end, we were rewarded with hearing our bishop's voice. He, of course, had a deep voice that sounded commanding and powerful. . . . I just remember thinking, "If I'm this happy hearing the bishop's voice, how happy am I going to be to hear the Lord's voice saying, 'Welcome. You made it. I'm proud of you.'"
Lead image from Getty Images