We are now half way through the semester. Last night I taught my 7th Institute lesson. We discussed 2 Nephi 25-30. In actuality, we really only discussed chapters 25 (briefly), 26, and 28. The hardest thing for me was to write the syllabus. I only have 15 weeks to cover half the Book of Mormon. I have to pick and choose what to discuss. Last week, we only made it through half of one chapter. I am not concerned that we are not covering everything because I think we are covering what is most important and most needed. The last three weeks have been what I call the Prime Rib of the Book of Mormon. There is so much doctrinal density in 2 Nephi that I could probably spend an entire semester on that book alone. Last night we concentrated on grace and justification for the first part of the lesson and then concentrated on how we avoid the pitfalls of modern day thought and practice. I have a class of 13 or so students ranging from an 18 year old freshman from Chicago to married graduate students from Idaho. I even have a non-member woman in my class. One of my students served as a missionary under Mark and Angie Bassett (Angie Brasher) when Mark was a mission president. For those of you too young to remember California and therefore the Brasher's, Angie and I went to high school together. The class is a very interesting mix of people with some interesting view points. It was a little disheartening to not have one person give me a good definition of justification but hopefully we have changed that in the past few weeks.
Teaching Institute is a challenge. I have absolute freedom to teach anything I feel is important. With that freedom comes the stewardship to seek the Lord's guidance continually. It has been a wonderful experience thus far and I look forward to teaching for the foreseeable future.