“I Had Seen a Vision”
The official church guide can be seen at the Official LDS Church site for a direct link to this lesson
We encourage you to make sure you are familiar with the official church curriculum as the first step in your lesson preparation, as this is the material recommended by the General Authorities of the church.
Supplementary material here is not intended to substitute for lesson preparation, but hopefully it will enhance your preparations for Sunday School.
Additional Teaching Materials
Reading assignment: Joseph Smith - History 1:1-26; "Our Heritage", pages 1-4
I was wanting to us a visual about the apostasy that we used on my mission using sacrament cups. I would then go through the lesson and continue with the visual aid as it applied to the lesson. The visual goes like this: Put a cup down saying Jesus was the head of the church when he lived on the earth, and then there were his 12 apostles who together as a group has the authority of the priesthood on the earth. Jesus would have the link to Heavenly Father to guide and direct the church. On top of the apostles and Jesus other cups would be put down that would represent the gospel (baptism by emersion, prayers, gifts of the spirit, healing, and other elements of the gospel). That's the end of "building the church".
Then you take away Jesus' cup and put it where Heavenly Father's cup was and put Peter as the head of the church where Jesus was, with the apostles behind him, showing that even though Jesus died he continued to be the head of the church, and the church kept standing because the apostles had the authority of the priesthood and had a direct communication with HF and JC. As the apostles were gradually killed though, the authority to receive revelation from God and to act in his name was taken from the earth. (Take out bottom level of cups and the church comes tumbling down) No communication with HF and JC anymore.
Thus, over time, the good people who tried to maintain Christ's church on the earth missed important parts of the gospel and focused on parts that they thought were essential because they didn't have the authority and direct connection with JC to direct them and to keep the gospel complete. Baptism, Gifts of the Spirit like talking in tongues, healing, etc. (At this point build little churches (3 cups on bottom and one on top) based on a few principles, but without the connection to JC) They were good people, but were missing the important aspect of the Priesthood authority connection with HF and JC to receive revelation to keep the principles of the gospel intact and to receive further revelation from HF.
As God prepared Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration and he received the priesthood to reconnect the link with HF and JC, the gospel, along with all its principles, could be restored. Here you would re-build the church and show that it is the same church that existed at Christ's time.