Sections 28, 46, 50, 52 are given to help the Saints recognize the Spirit and help root out false spirits in the church.
1- this is how you teach the gospel
2- the success or failure of any seminary class is a two way street. Students tend to think that a class is carried on the back of the teacher. The Lord is going to lay this out as a 50/50 proposition. We need to understand the Lord’s method of teaching.
Verse 22 – A successful gospel centered class has several elements in this verse. We need to understand one another- sometimes youth do not understand what it is we are teaching. I will never forget the training I received as a new teacher when I was told that we must teach so that they cannot misunderstand what is being taught. A successful class causes the students and teacher to rejoice and to be edified. We had a great discussion on what this looks like. Many of the youth do not understand the meaning of this word. As we talked about what this looks like in their lives, I used various circumstances where they have felt edified: a spiritual experience, a person who motivated them to be a better person, or a movie that left them feeling more hope in their life.
What brings success? It isn’t all the teacher. Any time a student says that was a great class- a teacher can credit the Lord and also add that great students make great classes and great teachers!
There are blessings that are given to a whole group when they are all united. This theme is put forth in several areas in the D&C: 50:1 are agreed, 41:2 assemble and agree upon my word, 42:3 are agreed.
But what happens when you have a class of 30 students and one or two are talking? What happens to the atmosphere in the classroom? Not only do those couple of students detract from the Spirit, the teacher will want to engage those distracted students. As a teacher I tend to teach to that student who is faltering, to do all I can to engage them so as to reach them and help them see the relevance of what is being taught.
The class needs to understand what makes success and brings in the Spirit.
I can dazzle you with my personality, I can show off my intellect, I can entertain you, but if you want to be taught by the Spirit, I can’t do that. The Lord can, but I can’t do that alone, I am going to need some help. Understand how the gospel is taught when it is taught in truth.
Verse 17-19 puts the emphasis on both the teacher and the learner. Pray that God will give you His Spirit so that we may both teach and learn by the Spirit of truth.
Verse 18 – if it is taught (the truth) some other way it is not of God. You can’t teach truth but by the Spirit of God. Look at motives- if your motive is wrong, you violate the Spirit.
Verse 19– the youth have to receive it by the Spirit as well. If the youth come with the Spirit, and the teacher doesn’t bring it, we will have problems. If the teacher comes prepared and the youth don’t bring an attitude of seeking the Spirit, we are going to have problems.
Who should you thank if you have a great experience in seminary? First of all we thank the Lord. Next we (the students) should thank each other, then the teacher. The tendency is for the kids to think it is all the teacher. And teachers oftentimes think it is all them as well.
How do I know if something is good? Does it edify? If it edifies then you may know that it is of God.
Cross reference this with D&C 91 – If you read it, you will know what is true, you will understand it by the Spirit. You can use D&C 91 to apply to any book you read. If you understand it by the Spirit, you will be edified and the Spirit will manifest truth to you. Who does the Lord place responsibility on to understand truth? On us as individuals. This applies to any novel, any CD, any philosophical idea, political thought, anything that we bring into our lives. Moroni 7 teaches this idea as well – the Lord has given us the way to judge if something is worth taking into our lives.
D&C 50:24 – cross with D&C 93:12-14
When the Lord really wants us to get a concept He will repeat it. Sometimes He will repeat it again and again in close proximity. Three times the Lord says that Jesus did not receive of a fullness at first. You can do the same thing Jesus did, you can grow from grace to grace. The key is obedience.
Many times young people want spiritual experience, knowledge, understanding, they want to feel the Spirit.
The key to this is obedience. This is what the Lord is teaching in D&C 50. What is the reward for living commandments? More commandments! Do you want more light? I will give you more opportunities to be obedient!
Verse 25- chase the darkness from you. Act on the light you have received. Be obedient.
Verse 28-29 – as you grow you will not ask for what you shouldn’t ask. Some classes had this idea illustrated – how have you matured in your requests of the Lord? Can a prayer to the Father actually be a revelation? Can God tell you even in praying to Him what you should appropriately ask for?
Verse 31- if something comes into your life that you don’t understand –
What three questions should I ask?
1. Did I understand?
2. Did it edify me?
3. Did it cause me to rejoice?
If the answer to these questions is NO, then you know your answer.
Joseph Smith taught: “Others frequently possess a spirit that will cause them to lie down, and during its operation, animation is frequently entirely suspended; they consider it to be the power of God, and a glorious manifestation from God—a manifestation of what? Is there any intelligence communicated? Are the curtains of heaven withdrawn, or the purposes of God developed? Have they seen and conversed with an angel—or have the glories of futurity burst upon their view? No! but their body has been inanimate, the operation of their spirit suspended, and all the intelligence that can be obtained from them when they arise, is a shout of ‘glory,’ or ‘hallelujah,’ or some incoherent expression; but they have had ‘the power.’
“The Shaker will whirl around on his heel, impelled by a supernatural agency or spirit, and think that he is governed by the Spirit of God; and the Jumper will jump and enter into all kinds of extravagances. A Primitive Methodist will shout under the influence of that spirit, until he will rend the heavens with his cries; while the Quakers (or Friends) moved as they think, by the Spirit of God, will sit still and say nothing. Is God the author of all this? If not of all of it, which does He recognize? Surely, such a heterogeneous mass of confusion never can enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Teachings, pp. 203–4.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “There is no saying of greater truth than ‘that which doth not edify is not of God.’ And that which is not of God is darkness, it matters not whether it comes in the guise of religion, ethics, philosophy or revelation. No revelation from God will fail to edify.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:201–2.)