Monday, June 17, 2013

Teaching the Book of Mormon

You might have guessed by the kind of books I write, but I love the Book of Mormon. I never come away from it without having learned something new and interesting. I love looking at the grammar and word choice and how they differ between authors. That makes me a bit of a word nerd, but I suppose you already guessed that, too. I love the geography and the historical context. And of course the doctrines and principles are simple and beautiful.

I got the opportunity to read and review Teaching the Book of Mormon, Part 1, 1 Nephi-Alma 16, by John S. Bushman et al., a new release from Cedar Fort, so of course I said yes. I own several similar books, and I was eager for more material.

In the brief introduction, the author explains how to use the book. The book itself is organized quite logically with the actual text of the Book of Mormon interspersed with questions, instructions, and insights printed between the verses where they are relevant. I really like the simple, streamline organization in this book. The insights are similar to those in The Book of Mormon for LDS Families, (which is a beautiful book that is so large and cumbersome that I never drag it out during scripture time). But the questions are thought-provoking and would serve very well to get a discussion started, as well as the ideas for group work and activities. The quotes and tips are helpful and well-placed. But while the insights are relevant and helpful, they are not anything I haven't read or thought of before.

However, though similar to other books on the market, this book focuses on teaching these insights to others, whether it be in a classroom setting or in a family home evening or with a nonmember. This is helpful because knowing something and being able to break it down and teach it to another person are two entirely different things.

The suggestions offered by the author are grouped into categories and either highlighted or marked with an icon. They include Principles and Doctrines, Lesson Starters, things to Look For, Questions to ask, Group Work, Participation Activities (as an uninteresting side note, I generally get up and leave the room when either of these last two teaching methods are mentioned in a classroom. I don't want to be in a group with you. Sorry), Writing Activities (I'd probably stay for those), Insights, Quotations, Deep Into Their Hearts, and Teaching Tips from the Prophets' Lips.

One of the things I like to do when I read the scriptures is highlight doctrines, principles, and historical facts, so having these stated and highlighted really speaks to me. And all of the questions and activities can be done just as easily in a personal study situation as well as in a classroom. The book is very adaptable to whatever situation you need it for, which is another one of its strengths.

I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to read Teaching the Book of Mormon. It has already enhanced my own scripture study, and I would definitely use it to enhance a lesson.  If you're interested in checking it out for yourself, you can click here to view it on Amazon.

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