Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
The general rule for teachers is that if it doesnít have the church logo on the back of it, you canít use it when you teach. Naturally there are exceptions. If you are showing a rock, you donít need to find one the Church made. But if youíre showing a picture or telling a story that isnít from your own life, then it does need to have the churchís name on it.
Why is this? No one can know all the rules or notice all the risks. If you use a church picture, you are sure your picture meets the Lordís standards. You wonít suddenly have someone ask why there is an ashtray on the table in the picture or realize that Noah is wearing designer athletic shoes. The angels wonít have wings and the sun wonít have a happy face on it. Using church pictures allows you to avoid fantasy, small incorrect details, and inconsistency.
There are many clever books on the market for teachers of each organization. Unfortunately, many of them break or ďbendĒ church rules. Their pictures include elements of fantasy, which can confuse a child. What is learned at church must always be true. The Primary manuals ask us not to use food unless called for in the lesson. These books often include a treat for each lesson, and manage, through creative license, to tie it to the lesson.
You can find everything you need within the churchís realm. The manuals seldom need much added to them if you allow discussion. When you do need something, there is nearly always a picture or church approved activity to go along with it. For instance, as a Primary teacher, I often want flannel board stories for the scripture stories. I could buy them somewhere, but most of the stories have flannel versions in the Friend, and I search these out and use them. Sharing times, found in the Friend, often have visuals that can be used as handouts.
When teaching teens and adults, try to stay with the actual lesson. One or two simple pictures will be plenty to add to it. If you find you really need an extra quote, find it in the Ensign or New Era. If you need a song, check the church website. The magazines are filled with inspiring stories that can be tucked into a lesson. Most of the time, you can fill any remaining time with well-thought out questions that help students to think and to apply what theyíve learned.
The lesson manuals are prepared with inspiration. Trust them!