It was my turn to teach the deacons yesterday. Oddly enough the topic (the sacrament) lined up perfectly with the little bit of art that I posted previously. I decided that showing it would cause a ruckus, which we have plenty of already, and instead showed an unmodified Last Supper.

I had taught on the same topic a few months ago in Elders’ Quorum. For the elders we discussed ways in which the ordinance has changed since the restoration, which was a fun way of looking at what is and isn’t essential in something that we do each week.

I decided that the “changes” approach wouldn’t be the best with the deacons, so began looking for a different way to approach the topic. My wife had mentioned an article that went line by line through the sacrament prayers but couldn’t remember who it was by. I thought it might have been a John Welch paper and with some googling found just such a paper.

However it turns out that she had meant a different article entirely which she found after I showed her the Welch paper.

I decided that the Welch paper was more fun and based my lesson on a simplified portion of it. To facilitate the discussion I went to the classroom during opening exercises and wrote out the entire blessing for the bread on the chalkboard. Surprisingly it filled the entire board. So the water/wine got a bit less emphasis.

I started by asking the kids where it is that we get our sacrament prayers. They all said the D&C, so I asked if there was an earlier example of it. I’ve always said that the first few chapters of Moroni are like a mini-D&C, meant to help somebody start a church with the basics intact. So eventually we found the prayers in Moroni 4 and 5.

Then I asked if Moroni had just made those prayers up, and if not where did they come from. Nobody knew (I wouldn’t have known and I was just asking to have them realize it was something they didn’t know) so we turned to 3 Nephi 18 and had them each read a verse. When they found an element of the prayer we’d underline it on the board and discuss what that meant. Then we had a small discussion of how the prayers that Moroni recorded encapsulated the teachings and explanations that Jesus gave surrounding the sacrament.

Then we applied it to their duties. As deacons they distribute the bread and water, which is what the 12 disciples did in 3 Nephi 18, so it is a pretty important job. We also discussed how the priests do what Jesus did, breaking the bread, and blessing the emblems. This led to a discussion of whether there is a difference between reading the prayer and praying the prayer. Do you need to understand the prayer to offer it as a prayer?

Anyhow it went well, and I was happy to have been able to offer a lesson that didn’t shock anyone too much and didn’t go over any heads. I usually fail in this with the deacons, so I’m glad I resisted the tempation to show them Snoop-Dog or to show them how fluid the ordinance has been during the short history of the Church.