Saturday, March 16, 2013

Teaching the Atonement Using Comparisons

In preparing to teach my Sunday School class of energetic 13 year old boys, I asked them what they already knew about the Atonement.  I got a lot of blank stares.  They knew it had to do with this picture above, and faith, but in all reality, the whole topic was a little blurry to them.

I have been struggling with WHAT and WHERE to teach. So I decided this week to approach the teaching and learning through comparisons.

Comparisons is using a story or visual with symbolism to teach a principle.

"A man walking along a road fell into a pit so deep he could not climb out.

 No matter what he did, he  could not get out by himself. 

 "The man called for help and rejoiced when a kind passerby heard him and lowered a ladder down into the pit. This allowed him to climb out of the pit and regain him freedom."

"We are like the man in the pit. Sinning is like falling into the pit, and we can’t get out by ourselves. Just as the kind passerby heard the man's cry for help, Heavenly Father sent his Only Begotten Son to provide the means of escape. Jesus Christ’s atonement could be compared to lowering a ladder into the pit; it gives us the means to climb out.
But the Savior does more than lower the ladder, He comes down into the pit and makes it possible for us to use the ladder to escape. 
Just as the man in the pit had to climb up the ladder, we must repent of our sins and obey the gospel principles and ordinances to climb out of our pit and make the Atonement work in our lives. Thus, after all we can do, the Atonement makes it possible for us to become worthy to return to Heavenly Father’s presence." 
by Linda K. Burton

Do you know what I love about this particular comparison to the Atonement?
The principle that

 1) the Savior literally comes down into the pit where we are to help us out


2) that He redeems us, making Him just what He says He is: our REDEEMER.
He doesn't just put us back where we were before we fell into the pit.

He puts us in a higher place. Making us better than we were.


 The illustrated story above of the pit and the Savior was  from the October 2012 conference issue.  It was perfect for this lesson so I decided to add it with this teaching section.

You can see how simple it is, while teaching a great principle.   You can use it in FHE, Primary, or any environment where you are teaching someone else about the Atonement.