Sources of Truth

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

—Paragraph 1, The Family: A Proclamation to the World

SOURCES OF TRUTH

Objective

To teach the Family Proclamation, Paragraph 1, as it relates to where truth comes from:

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Materials Needed

Tags or simple signs for each participant. Some may have more than one (so the message can make more than one round).

Labels/signs marked as the following (and any other unwise places people go to find truth that you can think of):

  • Word of God
  • Teachers
  • Social Media
  • Friends
  • Songs
  • Movies
  • Influencers
Introduction

Read Aloud: If you have a question, where do you usually go for an answer? (Among other things, it is likely “Google/Siri” or something similar will be mentioned.) There are powerful search engines, but they don’t really have all the answers. Even if you ask Siri if there’s a God, she answers, “It’s all a mystery to me.” So who can clear up the mystery?

Main Activity
Read Aloud: When answering that question, we need to be careful of our sources because truth can easily become distorted. We’re going to play a game to illustrate that.

The following activity is a twist on the game “Telephone.” Give everyone at least one sign. Facilitator/Teacher should wear a sign that says “Word of God”. To begin the game, whisper the “Message from God” to the first person and have each person subsequently whisper the message to the next person until everyone has had at least one turn to hear and relay the message. You may choose to have the message go through the circle more than once. At the end, have the final person relay the message and compare it to the original “Message” that was shared. Suggested “Message from God” is the first paragraph from The Family: A Proclamation to the World:

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

Read Aloud: We all see how different the final and original message is from the one we received, and even passed on. Although this is only a game, what similarities does this process have to how truth and correct information get warped from different sources? (Possible answers might include: Truths from God get interpreted and passed along, well-meaning people might not understand or hear; some people purposely skew the message.) There are many reasons why others may not be reliable sources of truth, but like we saw with the game, what is the result of unreliable sources of truth? (A final message that hardly even resembles what was first said.) What happens if our only sources for truth are those sources that we are wearing on our signs? (We can end up very confused, and worse, even passing on the incorrect view to others around us.) What can we do to make it more likely to understand each other in our day-to-day conversations? Watch the video below:

Read Aloud: According to the video, what can we do when we are in conversations and we start to disagree with how people see things or using certain words? (Ask them how they define those words so you can talk about it more productively.) So no matter how we hear a message, God is always willing to help us understand so we can know the truth. 

Read the next three quotes/scriptures aloud and the afterwards, ask participants to share how they have come to know truth with God’s help:

“There is one source of truth that is complete, correct, and incorruptible. That source is our infinitely wise and all-knowing Heavenly Father. He knows truth as it was, as it is, and as it yet will be (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). … We have His promise that if we seek Him diligently, we will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Acts 17:27; D&C 88:63).”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “What Is Truth?,” Devotional at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA, January 13, 2013.

We find Him through established sources that include, “the light of Christ, the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, parents, and Church leaders. The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—the Lord’s prophets upon the earth today—are a vital source of truth. The Lord has chosen and ordained these individuals to speak for Him.”

CES, Doctrinal Mastery, 2018

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken; … whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

D&C 1:38

Deep Dive

Read Aloud: When a word’s meaning is intentionally changed, and then used to advocate for the opposite of what the word actually means, this practice is called “linguistic hijacking.” Let’s examine some of the language used in popular culture and compare secular/cultural definitions with God’s definitions as conveyed through his prophets.  Let’s discuss how the meaning of these words has changed from what they actually mean.

  • Marriage
  • Truth
  • Love
  • Choice
  • Family
  • Gender
  • Spiritual
  • Identity

Read Aloud: Why would the adversary find linguistic hijacking useful? (Possible answers include: so it makes unrighteious practices look acceptable to the mainsream; so more people will engage in spiritually harmful behavior; to confuse people and make them feel like they are in the minority of people who still believe the real meaning of the word.) 

Reflection

Read Aloud: As we have discussed, God’s revealed truth is something we only discover, not invent. Let’s review sources for where we can find his Truth. (Possible answers include: through the Holy Ghost in prayer, scriptures, living prophets). What can we do if something we thought was true goes against the Lord’s truth? (Possible answers include praying for our hearts to change; pray for our will to align with his will; talk to others who have testimonies of that particular truth for strength, study the words of the prophets, both in scripture and modern prophets.)

Testify

Without help from Heavenly Father, truth can become distorted and important things lost, but … there really is such a thing as right and wrong and absolute truth — eternal truth. The pure doctrine of Christ changes the life of everyone who understands it and seeks to implement it.

President Russell M Nelson, Pure Truth, Pure Doctrine and Pure Revelation, October 2021

Share an experience of how you have accepted truth, and the blessings and peace you have felt and seen from following the Savior as the ultimate source of truth.

Lord Save Me, by Walter Rane

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