My calling in my ward is an assistant scout master with the 11-year-old Scouts. As the boys turn twelve, they move on to do their Scouting with the 12-year-old deacons, and they are ordained to the priesthood. I recently realized that I was with these boys for an hour a week in the year prior to getting ordained to the priesthood, yet we had never talked about this important step in their lives.
So last week I wrote the post What is the Priesthood? in preparation for a lesson on that subject that I gave to my 11-year-old Scouts. If you have interest in teaching a similar lesson, below is an outline and instructions that should be helpful. Do reach out to me if you have further questions.
Lesson and Preparation
For the lesson, I decided it would be a fun, interactive, attention activity to make an electric circuit with a batter, a cord, a switch and a light bulb. So I went to the store and I bought an ordinary flashlight and took it apart. I pulled out the battery, and the light bulb. Then I bought a light switch and a short cable. I cut the cable into three sections and stripped the ends of each. I hooked both of the cables up the switch and with the third section of cable, I hooked it up to the light bulb. But I left the rest of the circuit disconnected so the Scouts could do it during the lesson.
As we started the lesson, the boys were extremely curious about all the electric parts. I asked them to help me assemble the circuit, and with a little help they were able to do so. The boys really enjoyed putting the light circuit together, and I think it was a great way of introducing the topic of the priesthood. And to parents who might be concerned about the safety of this activity: do not worry. The batter only supplies 6 volts of electricity, which is a very small amount and completely safe to handle.
Tips for the Lesson
- Keep it simple. The priesthood is a difficult concept to really understand, for adults as well as youth.
- Don’t mix metaphors. The light circuit example isn’t perfect a analogy; it is simply a metaphor to help us understand the priesthood. We invited the bishop of our ward to attend when we gave this lesson and he was very helpful in explaining concepts and we are glad he came. At one point, though, he started comparing the priesthood to the power of attorney, which is a good analogy in and of itself. But trying to explain multiple metaphors seemed to only confuse the boys. I think it’s best to save other analogies for other lessons.
- Have For the Strength of Youth pamphlets available. When we began talking about how priesthood holders need to be clean and worthy to use the priesthood, I wished I had For the Strength of Youth pamphlets to hand out to the boys as we discussed standards for behavior, dress, and media. These 11-year-olds had some concept of worthiness, but it was clear that this was somewhat of a new topic for them.
- Print out the bookmark to hand out. I created a What is the Priesthood bookmark that has the diagram of the light bulb, switch, and battery on one side, and on the other side has what the five elements represent in the priesthood analogy. Feel free to download it, print it out, and use it in your lesson.