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Primary lesson #2, “Heavenly Father Trusts Us to Follow His Plan.”

January 4, 2011

Next week’s Primary lesson for my 6- and 4-year-old is from Primary 3, Choose the Right B, lesson #2, “Heavenly Father Trusts Us to Follow His Plan.” The lesson begins with a story of a prince who was held captive, and his captors tried to force him to do wrong, but he didn’t do wrong because he knew he was a prince and would become a king. The point? “We are all children of the greatest of all kings, our loving Heavenly Father. He wants us to do what is right, just as the prince in the story did.”

Telling children to be good because God wants them to be good is the wrong way to go about it. The problem with this message is that it assumes that people who don’t believe in God have no reason to be good. But this isn’t true at all. I want my children to be good because they understand that all people should be treated with respect, because they’ll have happier lives if they are nice to others, because they have a streak of human decency.

Consider this guilt-inducing gem later in the lesson: “Help the children understand that when they are eight years old, they can choose to be baptized because they are old enough to know right from wrong. Heavenly Father trusts them to choose the right.”

So if children don’t get baptized, they are wrong? They are disappointing God? “Let’s teach our children that it is wrong and that they should feel guilty if they don’t let someone say some magic words and hold them under the water.” This is an example of how religion can warp people’s sense of ethics.

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