Ideas for Teaching about the Apostasy & Restoration
Here’s an idea for a powerful object lesson on the Great Apostasy and the need for a restoration. Feel free to share any ideas/insights! I’ll probably add onto this post, with relevant scriptures etc., as I develop it further, but I thought I’d put this out there for the time being, and maybe someone will find it useful.
To help others understand the need for a restoration (and why a reformation wasn’t enough to get us out of the great apostasy)
What You’ll Need:
A room that can get very dark when the lights are turned off (no natural lighting coming in from windows)
A cell phone with a flashlight function (ideally if everyone has theirs, then they can have more hands-on participation, but if not, you can just use yours to demonstrate)
Cell phone charger (optional, to bring out when you’re talking about the need to charge our devices)
A bright lantern (or multiple lanterns –ideally if you can have enough alternative light sources that you can light up the room very well).
Basic Outline Idea:
Let’s start out by imagining that we’re living at the time of the great apostasy.
1) Turn off the main lights
For best results, do this at home,where you can turn off the power using the breaker. (FHE lesson?) But if you’re somewhere else, like a church building, just turn off the main lights and have the class imagine that the power has gone out.
For our purposes, let’s have everyone imagine that the local power company decided to turn the power off for everyone (we’ll tie this back into the lesson later).
It should be super dark. Talk about how this is like the Apostasy, when the light and fullness of the gospel was taken from the earth. Maybe ask questions like, “Can you see how this could be confusing?” and talk about how people “stumbled” because the gospel light was taken from the Earth.
Get everyone to turn on the flashlights on their phones to help compensate for the lack of light. Then bring out a lantern that makes it brighter than any of the other flashlights. Then bring a lantern that makes it almost as bright as it was in the room before the power went out. Comment on how it’s pretty bright. You’d think that’d be enough to fix things, right?
Explain how this like the reformation. These superficial lights definitely help, but don’t bring back the original light that was lost. Maybe talk about how there were many inspired individuals who sought truth during that time and who sought to return to the original gospel of Jesus Christ using what light they had.
The Need for a Restoration (What’s Missing)
Talk about how much the artificial lighting (reformation) helped, but how it can never be the same or reach the same gloriousness as when the person who is in charge of the power (power company… or in this case, Heavenly Father), decides to reinstate it/turn it back on (or, restore his church back to the Earth).
Because no matter how bright it seems, or how much light we have, there will be one thing missing: Power.
Point out that you can’t charge your cell phones because there is no electricity (Priesthood). There’s a whole infrastructure of power we have been completely disconnected from, and so many blessings and potential we are missing out on as a result. This is exactly why a restoration was needed.
List all the things that we often take for granted that demand electricity…lights, cell phones, TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, computers/internet, anything that has a rechargeable battery, hey- it even takes electricity to pump water to the tap– (of course you’ll only feel the effects of this during a long-term power outage, since there is still water stored in the pipes).
No matter how much light you are able to produce on your own, life would not be nearly as abundant and wonderful without all these other things, would it?
Now you might list or talk about all the blessings of the gospel that are only possible with the priesthood power restored to the earth. (like families being sealed together forever, temple blessings/covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood blessings, saving our ancestors, baptism by proper authority, retaining a remission of sins after baptism through partaking of the sacrament each week, and so on.)
The bottom line:
You could have a thousand of these lamps light up this room until it’s as bright as noonday. But it will never be the same until we get light back from the original source. Because you won’t have the power of the priesthood.
Additional things to think about: How the Sacrament ties in
I don’t have time to dig up all the scriptures to back this up this right now (maybe later), but if you wanted you could go a lot deeper into the doctrine and talk about how the priesthood power is necessary to help us “endure to the end,” which is a requirement to return to Heavenly Father’s presence. Because the priesthood ordinance of the sacrament is necessary to help us retain the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives (and the gift of the Holy Ghost is a big part of enduring to the end). You could relate this to maintaining our light/recharging our batteries. We may feel we can rely our own wisdom and power in being able to light up the room according to our best efforts, but it will only last so long. Eventually man-made lights will burn out/run out of battery, leaving us to stumble in the dark, if we don’t have a way to recharge (through necessary priesthood ordinances, like the sacrament). Hence, the restoration of the gospel was super necessary to get us out of the great apostasy.
Another random thought/idea I had that might be worth considering:
What if you had a television plugged in that was playing the LDS Bible videos of the Savior’s ministry in the background (before you turn off the power). You also have one or more pictures of the Savior throughout the room, and with the help of your flashlights you can start to catch glimpses of the Savior, but only with the power being restored to the room (priesthood power) can you come to gain a full and compete understanding of the Savior and his gospel (living/breathing/moving video vs. still snapshot that only captures a narrow perspective). When we have the restored gospel, we come to know Jesus Christ and his teachings in much greater way instead of just coming up with our own interpretations of who He was based on our limited perspectives. (Like relying solely on the Bible to understand Jesus, which had many plain and precious things removed from it during the great apostasy). Does that make sense?