Teaching Using Learning Objectives

While the new Teacher’s Council provides opportunities for teachers to collaborate, the primary purpose is to teach members of the church (including families) how to learn. Our social norms, both in and out of the church, condition us to operate as Self-Help Junkies, with a higher emphasis on completing the reading task than actually learning something.

With this in mind and using Blooms Taxonomy, I’ve taken two lessons from January’s potential topics on the Godhead and written examples for learning objectives.

Topic: The Godhead

Learning objectives:

  1. List the members of the Godhead.

Forgive and Trust Again?

The question is often asked: “How do I handle a family member or friend who has violated my trust? Am I supposed to give the trust back when I forgive them?”

For an example on how Joseph Smith and the brethren handled a violation of trust, the story of Francis G. Bishop is illustrative. Joseph_Smith

One Francis G. Bishop, an Elder in our church, was very anxious to be ordained a High Priest, but he was not considered a proper candidate to fill the office at that time; and his urgent solicitations to be promoted to the High Priesthood, confirmed the Saints in the opinion that he wanted a high station without meriting it, or without being called by the Spirit of God to that work.

Q&A: If my daughter views pornography…

Q: If my daughter views pornography once a week or a couple times a month is she addicted to pornography? I guess my question is what is addiction? The church seems to be saying that pornography addiction is a real problem but what about just looking at pornography?

A: Dear Parent,

Thank you for asking a very important question that applies to more than just your daughter. Let’s clarify the definition of addiction and perhaps this will add greater understanding to the second part of your question.

Agency vs. Control

My son Scott is now in Korea serving his remaining 22 months, after a two-month language training period. Here is my most recent letter to him.

Dear Elder Himmer,

On 24 March, two weeks ago, as I sat in church, I wrote the following notes and if you can open a pdf file, I will provide the charts that I scribbled on the back of my notes.

General Conference Notes April 2012

Here are some highlights of General Conference. I was unable to take notes in every session.

Elder Bednar (Priesthood session)

  1. The most distinguishing feature of the church is the divine authority of the priesthood. (David O. McKay)
  2. There can be no true church without the proper authority.
  3. We are agents to act as priesthood holders and not to be acted upon. It is our obligation to be actively and anxiously engaged in God’s kingdom.
  4. We violate our priesthood covenant when we do nothing. It is the same as not being worthy.


Who Needs a Brain When You Have Adrenaline?

Let’s say you are about to speak in front of 250 people. You have prepared for this speech with great effort. You have every word memorized and you know exactly what you want to convey. They announce your name, you step to the podium, and your mind goes blank.

Your amygdala has just sent a flight message to your adrenal glands and half the blood supply in your brain is flowing to the major muscle groups in your body, which leaves you functioning on half a brain.

The #1 Money Maker on the Web Ruins Families and Marriages

What industry makes more money than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink combined? It’s the number 1 searched topic on all Internet sites and there are 1.3 million such sites available. The answer is pornography.

Pornography is the drug of the century and more addictive than crack cocaine. Addictive behavior produces the same feel-good chemicals (internal drugs) as shooting up with drugs or getting buzzed with alcohol. Neural research confirms that the brain cannot differentiate between an external source and an internal source of stimulation.

Virtue Values #2

The Guidance and Influence of the Holy Ghost

In September 1981, I was attending Brigham Young University and was starting my senior year. During spring term I discontinued a serious relationship and was questioning many things about life and myself. I went to the Lord in fasting, prayer, and supplication to learn from Him how to proceed. I poured my heart out expressing my desires and asked, if He approved, for certain blessings.

I was desirous to meet a young woman, virtuous, lovely, and with a good report card to befriend, experience emotional intimacy with, and pursue a lasting relationship that would ultimately lead to a Ketubah (marriage contract) in the Temple of God of my choosing.

The Promised Blessings of Virtue

Our ward has challenged each family to achieve the Virtue Value award.

The first written requirement is to write the promised blessings of being sexually clean and pure. Here is my response:

What are the promised blessings of a virtuous life?

  • Such a life can be summoned up with the constant presence, influence, and sanctification of the Holy Ghost.
  • It will allow me to have the influence of the Light of Christ in my mind and in my heart. This is the same power and influence that created the world.

Being A Rock Star for A Day

For one day I know what it feels like to be a celebrity. Not the kind that creates a frenzy of thoughtless screaming and reckless behavior. But the kind that stems from sincere appreciation and gratitude. And the fan base is made up of First through Fifth graders at Voyager Elementary School under the guidance of Principal Patty McClelland.

I am now an official member of Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students). My name around campus was affectionately just Watch Dog. My day started with a greeting from Chad Redinbo, Chief DOG who is spearheading the movement for Voyager. As we entered the training grounds of our future leaders, Nora Halsen and Lynn Tachell greeted me and gave me a hero’s welcome, other than fingerprinting me.

The apple-ette didn’t fall far from the tree

My daughter-in-law Heather blogged a funny post about my granddaughter Abigail.

It seems Abigail has adapted her sleeping schedule around the sun. Because the sun doesn’t go down much, either does Abigail. As a result, she is often grumpy and crabby. When her mother hit her tipping point today, she demanded Abigail retreat to her room and take a nap.

Needing backup she felt it a good idea to use prayer as a means of increasing the odds of success.

Cast of characters:

Heather – mother, me, daughter-in-law

Abigail – my precocious 2-year old granddaughter

> Hormones = < Brains???

Last week I taught a Sunday School class of 16 and 17-year olds. The night before they attended Mormon Prom. My wife thinks that piece of evidence is important. There were five students, three boys and two girls. The topic was not difficult or deep but the questions required thinking. The girls were offended at the end of class while the boys enjoyed it.

Building Trust With Our Youth

Exaltation is a pathway of the Collective

Of the many explanations and definitions of Eternal Life, perhaps the most significant realization of recent memory is the lack of individualism in the Celestial Kingdom. The concepts of rugged individualism and complete independence are merely checkpoints along the celestial journey.

When Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, they were accompanied by a myriad of angels. When a baby is blessed, it is a collective. I remember Ross Farr, while blessing his child, once invited all Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the ward to join him on the stand. Ross will always be part of a large and entertaining collective.

Is that the Official Truth, the Ground Truth, or the Underground Truth?

In life there are three truths we deal with:

Official Truth

Ground Truth

Underground Truth

The official truth is the truth that you discuss in public.

The ground truth is the truth that you discuss in private.

The underground truth is the truth that you ignore, avoid, and fear. This is reality that is often not seen until too late.


The official truth is that our finances are fine.

The ground truth is that we’re on the verge of losing our house and possibly filing bankruptcy.

The underground truth is that we don’t know how to discuss our finances, balance our checkbooks and keep a budget.

Pearls Before Swine

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:3)

Angels =

  • Spirit messengers sent from the presence of God
  • Translated beings
  • Resurrected beings
  • Special witnesses to the Savior
  • Priesthood leaders & Teachers
  • Auxiliary leaders & Teachers
  • Sunday School/Primary Teachers
  • Visiting Teachers
  • Home Teachers
  • Parents
  • Missionaries