LDS Lesson Analogies

When I served as a Missionary, I was always looking for ways to improve my teaching. Object Lessons can be found here. I couldn’t get enough of finding new analogies or examples to use to help others understand the concepts and things that I was teaching. These are just a few of the examples that I would use while teaching. I’m hoping this to be a live document, so if you have any other examples, analogies, or object lessons, please let me know so I can add them to the list! These are all organized into the discussions broken down by Preach My Gospel. So the first box will be on the first discussion, the second box will be the second discussion, and so forth.

The Restoration –

1. God is our loving Heavenly Father:

  • If they are parents, talk about the love that they feel for their children and compare that to the love our Heavenly Father has for us. If they aren’t parents, compare our Heavenly Father to the love that they feel from their earthly parents.

2. The Gospel Blesses Families:

  • (None)

3. Heavenly Father reveals his Gospel in every dispensation:

  • Explain how the earth without a prophet is like what happens to an High School classroom when the teacher leaves the room (it goes crazy).
  • Use your hand to show the rise and fall of prophets. For example, talk about Noah and point to the tip of your finger. When people reject him, move to the joint in between your fingers to show that the people fell. Then, move back to your next finger to show that God calls another prophet (say, Abraham). When the people reject him, move down to to the joint in between your fingers again. Repeat the cycle.
  • Make a telephone out of paper cups and string. Explain that when the string is cut, you aren’t able to talk.
  • Use a book (such as your scriptures) and place it on its edge. Say that the book represents a fence. We are on one side of the fence, and God is on the other. We can talk to him through the fence (prayer), but a prophet can stand on top of the fence and talk to him face-to-face, and then talk to us face-to-face as well.

4. Our Savior’s Ministry:

  • (None)

5. The Great Apostacy:

  • Use the example of an Ice Cream man. If he pulls you over on the highway and gives you a ticket, he doesn’t have the authority to do so. But if a police officer pulls you over on the highway, he has the authority and you have to pay the ticket.
  • Explain how the earth without a prophet is like what happens to an High School classroom when the teacher leaves the room (it goes crazy).
  • Explain that the Apostacy is like a glass table. Say that each leg of the table represents part of the Gospel (one leg could represent prophets, another could represent the authority, etc.) When you remove all four legs of the table, it falls and the glass shatters on the ground. Each piece of glass is a piece of the truth. Lots of Churches have part of the truth, but not the entire thing. To have a table once again, you have to buy a new one (or it has to be restored). You can’t just glue all the pieces of glass together again.
  • Use the analogy of being super incredibly thirsty, but wherever you go, you can’t quench your thirst, because nobody has a glass of water for you.

6. The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith:

  • (None)

7. The Book of Mormon:

  • Lets say you win the lottery, but before you pass away, you want to divide it evenly between your two children. Is it fair to give $20,000 to one child and $1 Million to another? No. Of course not. Because God loves us all equally, he shares his love with us equally. He gave prophets in Jerusalem and prophets in the Americas as well. The Book of Mormon records the teachings of those prophets just like the Bible records the teachings of prophets in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
  • If you draw a dot on a single piece of paper, how many straight lines can you draw through that dot? An infinite number. Now, if you have two dots, how many straight lines can you draw between both of them? Only one. The two dots represent the Bible and the Book of Mormon. With the two of them, we have ONE complete Gospel (represented by only one line).
  • Take two equal pieces of paper. Take one of them (representing the Bible) and tear a few holes in the paper. These holes represent changes in the Bible over long periods of time and things that are missing. Then, take the piece of paper representing the Book of Mormon and place it behind the Bible. The Book of Mormon fills all the gaps and tears in the Bible, or the removed truths.

8. Pray to know the truth through the Holy Ghost:

  • Talk about drinking from a stream or drinking from an ocean. Which one is cleaner? It’s better to go straight to the source (God).
  • We can’t see the wind, but we can feel it and know it’s there. The same is with the Holy Ghost. We can’t see him, but we can feel his influence.

 

The Plan of Salvation –

1. Pre-Earth Life:

  • Explain how you had to come to earth to learn more. It’s like moving out of your house and going to college. Before, your parents would cook and clean and do your laundry. But until you left the house and went to college, you didn’t know how to pay rent or cook for yourself. The same is with coming to Earth. We could only learn so much. We had to gain a body and gain experience for ourselves.
  • A teacher walks into the room and says, “Okay, class. We’ll be taking a test tomorrow. Here is the answer sheet. Go home, memorize all the answers, and then come back tomorrow and we’ll take the test.” What’s the point of taking the test if we knew all the answers? We had to come to Earth and walk by faith, which is why we can’t remember our life before.

2. Creation:

  • (None)

3. Agency & The Fall of Adam and Eve:

  • (None)

4. Our Earth Life/Death:

  • There’s a room with two open windows. A bird flies into the room, flutters around a little bit, and then flies out the other window. Did it exist before it flew into the room? Yes. Does it still exist after it left the room? Yes. We just can’t see where it came from before it entered and where it’s going after, but it’ll still exist.

5. The Atonement:

  • You’re given one pair of clothes for your entire life, and if you get any stains, you can’t go back to live with God again. It would be impossible to keep them clean. Jesus Christ is the washing machine that allows us to go back to live with him.

6. The Spirit World:

  • Compare the Spirit World to sitting in a dentist’s office. If you’ve taken really good care of your teeth and flossed, you know that you’ll go into see the dentist, and it won’t be painful. But if you haven’t brushed and flossed, you know there will be a lot of scraping and pain. Sitting in the waiting room would be a nervous time unless you’ve prepared well. Compare this to the Spirit World before going to the Judgement.

7. Resurrection/Judgement:

  • (None)

8. Degrees of Glory/Eternal Life:

  • Compare the Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial kingdoms like a vacation. Have them think of their favorite vacation in the entire world. The Telestial Kingdom will be them there by themselves in this vacation spot. It’s not very much fun. The Terrestrial Kingdom will be them at their vacation spot, but with friends. And the Celestial Kingdom will be them in their vacation spot with their friends AND family. The Celestial Kingdom is where we want to end up.

 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ –

1. Faith:

  • Using Alma 32 and comparing it to a seed is always a classic one.
  • Compare Faith to the muscle in your arm. If you just let it sit there and never work it out, it’s never going to grow. In fact, it’ll get weaker. But if you go to the gym and work our your muscles, it’ll grow. But once they’re big and strong, you’re not done. You have to continually work out to maintain them, or they’ll still get weaker.
  • Compare their faith to the Sun. Every single day of their life, the sun has risen. Because of experiences that they’ve had, they are almost 99% sure that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, but there’s always a chance that it won’t.

2. Repentance:

  • Compare repentance to a stack of books. Have them hold out their arm and hold a stack of four of five books. Talk about the different steps of repentance. As you finish one step and move onto the next one, slowly remove a book from the stack that they’re holding, and they can physically “feel” themselves getting lighter and lighter, until they aren’t weighed down by sin at all anymore and the stack of books is gone.
  • Compare repentance to a thorn in a bike tire. It’s not enough to simply pull the thorn out of the tire. You have to either buy a new tube or patch the tube in some way. It’s not enough to just stop sinning. There are other steps involved.
  • Get a big bowl of water and place food coloring (2-3 drops), representing sin. Then, take bleach (usually about 1/4 cup) and pour it in, until all of the food coloring is gone.
  • Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste. Have the person brush their teeth fourteen times. Then, tell them that they’re good for a week! They don’t have to brush their teeth for an entire week. Repentance doesn’t work this way. You have to brush daily to keep yourself clean.
  • Explain how if you’ve been playing in the dirt, your Mom won’t let you come inside until you’ve cleaned off sufficiently so you don’t get the house dirty. God won’t let us into his house until we’re clean, either. We have to repent and get clean.
  • Repentance is like washing the dishes. If you eat a meal and then clean the dishes right away, the food comes off quickly and easy. But if you let them sit in the sink for a week, the food gets stuck to the pans and is much harder to scrape off. Repentance is easier if done right away.

3. Baptism:

  • Take a plate and pour a good pile of salt onto it. Then, take a pepper shaker and pour a few specks of pepper. Take a plastic spoon, and rub it on a piece of clothe. Then, move it over the pile of salt (but not touching it). Due to static electricity, the pepper will jump from the salt to the spoon. You can use this to explain baptism.
  • Fill a large bowl with water and then pour pepper into it. Each speck of pepper represents sin. Then, place a small drop of dish soap on your finger. As you place your finger into the water, all of the pepper will magically shoot to the side of the bowl and the water immediately around you will be clean.

4. Holy Ghost:

  • Compare the Holy Ghost to the wind. You can’t see the wind, but you know it’s there, because you can feel it.
  • Compare the Holy Ghost to a radio station. You have to be “tuned in” or all you’re going to hear is static. We have to constantly be listening in order to hear the promptings from the Holy Ghost.

5. Endure to the End:

  • Compare enduring to the end like crossing a river with five stepping stones. In order to make it across, you must step on one of each of the five stepping stones (each representing the five points of the Gospel of Jesus Christ). But that’s not it. You have to continually cross them in order to get back and forth. You can’t simply cross it once and call it good.

 

Commandments –

1. Obedience:

  • Use the analogy of listening to your parents. When we do what they ask, things generally turn out better than when we don’t listen to them.
  • Use the analogy of how we’re usually rewarded when we do what’s right in any situation.

2. Pray Always:

  • Use the analogy of a restaurant. How would you expect them to get your order right if you don’t tell them what you want? God wants to hear from us.

3. Read the Scriptures:

  • Explain that trying to get through life without reading the scriptures is like trying to take a taste without studying. It’s just not going to turn out very well and we’ll probably flunk.
  • Talk about Joseph Smith reading in the Bible looking for answers. And look what happened because of all of it!

4. Follow the Prophet:

  • Compare following the prophet to trying to drive without directions. Chances are, you’re going to get lost.
  • Have two people make a fist. One fist represents God and the other fist represents a person. Then, have the ‘person’ close their eyes. The person with the hand representing God says, “Okay, I’m going to move my hand. Try to follow me.” The two people place their fists on top of each other. The first representing God then moves their hand in a figure-8 or circular motion while the other ‘person’ tries to follow their hand. The two fists don’t go in the same direction, obviously. It’s hard to follow exactly. Then, grab a pen or pencil and place half of it in one fist, and the other half in the other fist. Repeat the process. This time, because both people are holding onto the pen, they go in the exact same direction. The pencil/pen represents a prophet.

5. Sabbath Day:

  • A fun one for kids: To demonstrate keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, take two bowls and fill each one with Ice Cream. On one of the Sundae’s, put toppings such as ranch, an egg, horse radish, mustard, or whatever you can find in the fridge. Explain that these things aren’t necessarily “bad”, they just don’t go well on “Sundays”. Then, on the other Sundae, place sprinkles, chocolate syrup, M&Ms, or whatever else you have. Ask them which Sundae looks better. Explain that God likes it when we do good things on Sunday to honor him.
  • Use the analogy of a Birthday. On your Birthday, it’s your “day.” You want people to come to your party, bring you presents, and to think of you. How would it make you feel if nobody remembered you on your Birthday? Sunday is God’s day. He wants us to remember him on his day.

 

Miscellaneous –

1. Saved by Grace and Works:

  • Explain being Saved by Grace & Works to being stuck in a hole. Then, someone hands you a later. Yay! You’re saved by grace. But you still have to put forth effort and climb up the latter.
  • Explain being Saved by Grace & Works as fighting in a Zombie Apocalypse. Someone gives you a gun. You’ve been saved by grace, because you now have a gun. But if you don’t use the gun and pull the trigger, they’re going to kill you.