Today I started teaching a Valiant A 12 class. This is basically a class full of 11 year olds. My class has 7 kids and today there were only 4. The subject was the Book of Mormon and how it was a gift to us from God. I felt a little uncomfortable teaching it to them. I really don’t want to teach about the Book of Mormon since I’m unsure of its authenticity myself. However, here I am in the position to teach a bunch of kids about it (My wife is also teaching the class, but couldn’t be there today).
Anyway I decided to ask questions to find out what they really knew about the Book of Mormon and then teach them a little more about the facts surrounding the Book of Mormon to see how they would react. First question I asked was:
Who wrote the Book of Mormon?
One of the kids said jokily that it was Joseph Smith. Then they started repeating all the Books in the Book of Mormon. After that one of them said that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I then asked them how he translated it. They answered the Urim and Thummim. I told them that he didn’t just use the Urim and Thummim. He also used a stone. Surprisingly, there was no reaction to this. They kept on talking without it making any impact.
I then asked them if they could name the 3 and 8 witnesses. When they didn’t answer I told them to open their Book of Mormon to the “witness page”. I explained that the 3 witnesses were Oliver Cowdry who was Joseph’s scribe, David Whitmer, who funded the printing of the first Book of Mormon and Martin Harris a friend of Oliver Cowdry. Next I asked one of them to read the names of the 8 witnesses. I asked if there was anything that stuck out to them. One of them said that they were all from the same family. I then explained that all the witnesses with the last name of Whitmer were David Whitmer’s (one of the three witnesses) relatives, the one with the last name of Page was his son-in-law and the ones with the last name of Smith were Joseph’s dad and brothers. They didn’t seem to think this was a big deal.
The last thing I had time to cover was the quote from Joseph Smith that says the Book of Mormon is the most correct Book. I asked them if that meant the Bible. Without missing a beat they said yes. I asked them how they could know if the Book of Mormon was true. The lone girl in the class said she knew it was true. I asked if she had read the Book of Mormon, she said no. When I asked if she had prayed about it, she said I think so. I asked her how it went. She then admitted that maybe she hadn’t. I asked if they thought that was important, there was no consensus.
To end the class I asked what was the most interesting thing they had learned today. No one had an answer. I guess they are just too young and not inquisitive enough to take in the information. I can’t say that I blame them, I was the same way. However, it would be nice to know that the youth are thinking about these things and not just accepting what their parents tell them.