I love this book!!
Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ Restored His Church in the Latter Days.
Monthly Scripture: "I have sent forth the fullness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph"
Week 1 After Jesus Christ and His Apostles died, gospel truths were lost.
* Bring in a plastic bag with a few tiny pieces of bread, a water bottle with only a little left and A Friend Magazine with only the front and back cover. On the board have 3 words written- famine, drought, apostasy. Invite 3 children to come up front and choose an item, then stand by the word on the board it matches. Have them explain the meanings of the words. What do all 3 words have to do with each other?
Amos 8:11-12 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it."
Draw a simple picture of a person with a big belly. We are commanded to nourish our spirits, so let's pretend this is our spirit. What are things we can do to feed our spirit? What are some gospel principles that help our spirit grow? Write the children's answers in the belly. Does this spirit look like it's been through a famine or a drought? But if we take all these things away (erase all the words in the belly), that's what the apostasy was, then what do we get? Draw a stick figure. Who's glad The Church was restored?!?!
* Invite a primary friend up front and blindfold them. Make sure they can't see! Would it be OK to leave them blindfolded the rest of primary? What about the rest of the day? What about the rest of their lives? Ask the friend how they feel... or how they would feel to be blind for a long time? Darkness is not fun. I still sleep with a night light!!! Did you know that the earth was covered in darkness for a really long time? Does that mean that there wasn't sunshine?
"The Holy Priesthood had been withdrawn from the earth. The power of godliness was no longer present in the Christian Church. Thus there was a complete falling away from the gospel which had been established by the Son of Man. The Church lay in darkness, and the darkness enveloped the earth. This spiritual darkness continued for hundreds and hundreds of years” (Milton R. Hunter, “The Missionary Assignment,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1951, 920).
Have a mini-white board/ dry erase board. Invite primary friends to come up front, one at a time, and share a gospel principle, something that Jesus taught. Have them write down the principle or you write it for them, then have them cover the word with a black cloth. The black cloth is what the apostasy was. When Joseph Smith restored Christ's church, there was light again! Have the child take off the cloth. Repeat a few times with different children and the principles they come up with.
* Come up to the front of the room really frazzled. Tell the children that you have lost something. This is just horrible!!! Pull your hair, sigh, put your hand on your head... you are so sad! You are so confused... you just don't know what to do. See if anyone will volunteer to help you. If not, ask if there is anyone who thinks they can help. Invite one primary friend up. Have a small picture of Joseph Smith on some string they can wear around their neck. In the room, have a small shoe box with a picture of a church building on the outside. On the inside have things that represent gospel principles, or things Christ taught while on earth. Once the primary friend has found the item, give them a big hug!! Hooray!!! It's no longer lost!!!
“This is not a continuous church, nor is it one that has been reformed or redeemed. It has been restored after it was lost. It was lost—the gospel with its powers and blessings—sometime after the Savior’s crucifixion and the loss of his apostles. The laws were changed, the ordinances were changed, and the everlasting covenant was broken that the Lord Jesus Christ gave to his people in those days. There was a long period of centuries when the gospel was not available to people on this earth, because it had been changed” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 423).
Invite friends to come up and pick an item from the box and talk about what it might mean. After you go through all the items write APOSTASY on the board and ask the children to tell their neighbors what they learned today about that word. Tell them they get 100 points if they go home and tell their family what the word means!!!! (If they ask you what points will get them, tell them it's knowledge points and the more knowledge points you have the more awesome a missionary you'll be!!!)
* Who here likes to do puzzles? Have a simple 10 piece puzzle for someone to do... except have 3 pieces missing. Is the puzzle complete?
"In many ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When Joseph Smith came on the scene, perhaps 100 pieces were in place. Then Joseph Smith came along and put many of the other 900 pieces in place so that people could say, “Oh, now I understand where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going.” As for Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration, the Lord defined it clearly: “This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C 5:10)." Tad R. Callister Ensign October 2009 Joseph Smith- Prophet of the Restoration
Invite the children to draw a picture of a gospel truth restored. Have them cut it into a few pieces to take home and work with a family member to put it back together again. See if they can trick the family member and have a missing piece! Then they can explain to their family member how it's like the restoration of the gospel!!
Week 2 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.
* HERE is a great video!! It's a little long though... 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark it starts with James 1:5, so if you wanted to show the kids, that might be a good place to start!!
* Sing the song Hinges. (CS page 277) What happens if we didn't have hinges? Have the children look at a door. What would happen to the door if it didn't have it's hinges? It'd fall down and crash right?!?
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “This glorious First Vision … was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.”
(Ensign, Nov. 1998, p. 71)
A hinge holds things together and helps it move along. Having a testimony of Joseph Smith's First Vision is very important!! Without it, we might crack!! Without it, we might fall down like a door without hinges for support!!
If possible, bring in a hinge. Have the primary children pass it around to Restoration piano music. When it stops, the person can answer a question or read a scripture having to do with the restoration.
Reverence tip: I might be nuts, but it seems to me that children don't sing while passing along items. Also, the way chairs are set up, there is confusion on the ends of the aisles. Solution? Possibly. Invite about 6-8 primary friends up front to stand in a circle. Primary friends who are willing to pass reverently and respectfully while everyone sings. That way you are losing fewer voices. You're getting lots of children out of their chairs and everyone is less confused.
From Previous Posts:
* HERE is a link to the lds.org where you can find different artistic depictions of The First Vision. (Make sure to scroll down) They are beautiful! Have the children draw their own artwork of that glorious event and share!
* HERE is a link for cutouts that children can color to retell for Family Home Evening about Joseph Smith's First Vision.
* President Uchtdorf shares his testimony of Joseph Smith and personal story when he was a boy. Click Here to read. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The First Vision,” Friend, Jun 2008, 2–3) Share the story and take the above picture from the Nursery Manual. With a pen, draw slanted lines to make it into a mosaic like stained glass. Make a copy for each child and have them color with lots of different colors and answer the questions in the magazine article.
* 3 cheers for Diane Nichols!! She shares Grrrrrrrrrrrreat activities found here!!! (Diane Nichols, “Sharing Time: Joseph Smith—Prophet of the Restoration,” Friend, Jul 2001, 14) Especially love this quote/idea from her, "Display a bouquet of four artificial flowers and one real flower. Ask how the flowers are different from one another. Point out that the main difference is that only one is a true flower. Explain that though there are many churches in the world today, only one of them is the true Church of Jesus Christ."
Week 3 Priesthood authority was restored by heavenly messengers.
* THIS is a really good link to read. We often talk about the Keys of the Priesthood, but we need to know how to explain them. The first 2 paragraphs do that wonderfully!
* Have everyone hold up their hands. What are some things we do with hands? When children say ideas, have everyone act out with their hands. Tell them you are going to recite the 5th article of faith and leave out a word (leave out HANDS). By the raise of hand, someone can tell you what word is missing. Show them pictures of Joseph Smith receiving the Aaronic & Melchizedek... where are there hands placed? Have the children trace outlines of their hands and write or draw pictures of ways the priesthood blesses their lives. Have a few share afterwards.* Has anyone ever gotten a special package before? Ask the children, "What does Heavenly Father use as His FedEx or UPS truck? If He wants to send something really special, how will He do it?" There are a myriad of answers, praise the children for whatever answers they give. Tell them, one way is by sending Heavenly Messengers. “The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Here are some "heavenly" UPS trucks. Fold them in half so only the truck is showing. Ask what Heavenly Messenger brought the Aaronic Priesthood? Flip it to show the Gospel Art Book Image.
Ask questions and read scriptures about each Priesthood. If there is time remaining, get a UPS box (are they even free? if not, just make one) and invite children to write down ways The Priesthood blesses them. Read a few afterwards and share your testimony.
Week 4 Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and restored gospel truths.
"The Church contracts capable, experienced member translators who are fluent in English as well as their native tongue who possess integrity and high moral character so that the spirit of inspiration will guide their work.as in Joseph Smith’s day, the ability to translate holy writ today is a spiritual gift from God. Unlike Joseph’s day, however, many of our modern translators utilize computers and word processors, lexicons and encyclopedias to help and guide them in their sacred assignment. The modern work is extensive, and each step must be critically analyzed by Church translation experts. Yet, even with the most competent member translators and advanced technology available, the entire process, from beginning to publication, requires approximately four years.
Now contrast the translation of the Book of Mormon by young Joseph Smith."
The Translation Miracle of The Book of Mormon by Robert K. Dellenbach Ensign April 1995... A MUST READ FOR THIS WEEK!!!!!
The time for Joseph translating— was at an estimated average rate of eight of our printed pages per day! The total translation time was about 65 working days. (See “How long did it take Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon?” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 47.)
In your special Book of Mormon, that's in a different language, have bookmarks that the children can choose. On the bookmarks have questions, scriptures and songs have to do with Joseph Smith and the translation of the week's theme.
* Did Joseph Smith write the Book of Mormon? Who wrote the Book of Mormon? It's important to understand the meaning of translate. Invite a member of the ward to come in and share their testimony in a different language. Have another person translate what they said. The Book of Mormon was translated from reformed Egyptian to English. We don't know exactly "how" the translation happened, but that is not nearly as important as that it happened!
* Who here can read a chapter book, stop somewhere in the middle and know exactly where they left off without reading a little before or after on the page? It's pretty hard to do!!
"Emma Smith said of the inspired process: “After meals, or after interruptions, [Joseph] would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him” (“Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 290). One who has dictated and been interrupted must usually resume by inquiring, “Now, where were we?” Not so with the Prophet! " (By The Gift and Power of God by Elder Neal A. Maxwell Ensign January 1997)
The translation was definitely a marvelous work and wonder!
* HERE is a great link with pictures from the history of the translation and printing of the Book of Mormon. Not to mention a good read.