Monday, October 20, 2014

November 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Odilon Redon, Christ in Silence, 1897

Monthly Theme: Living the Teachings of Jesus Christ Strengthens Me and My Family.
Monthly Scripture: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Week 1: “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” Alma 32:21
* A fun way to memorize this verse is with a game called sparkle (Senior Primary would work best for this). First you'll need to say the verse about 5 times together. Then each child says a word in the verse, after the last word in the verse the next child would say sparkle and be out (sit down). It helps if you are in a circle. If someone doesn't know the word, then they are out. Also, someone who is out can raise their hand and try to get back in. Whoever is the last person standing is the winner!

* Another way to memorize from The Friend, Jan. 2008, " Help the children memorize Alma 32:21. All of the children will memorize the second part, beginning with the word if, by setting the phrases to music. Sing the words of the scripture to “Have a Very Happy Birthday!” (pp. 284–85). Fit one word to each note; you will sing the scripture through twice. Sing the song through several times until the children memorize it." The article has more wonderful ideas, HERE.

* From Oct. 2014 General Conference, Elder Richard G. Scott said, " We must take time to actively exercise our faith... Our Father in Heaven has given us tools to help us come unto Christ and exercise faith in His Atonement. When these tools become fundamental habits, they provide the easiest way to find peace in the challenges of mortality. Today I have chosen to discuss four of these tools. As I speak, consider evaluating your personal use of each tool; then seek the guidance of the Lord to determine how you could make better use of each one of them."
     He then goes on to mention the 4 tools- prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance.
     Can we build anything without tools? Can we have a true strong faith without prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance?
     Make a tool belt for the children. It can be as simple as a string or a paper envelope. Divide the room into 4 groups. Have 4 different stations with an adult who can give a personal experience (or one from the scriptures) about how the tool Elder Scott mentioned helped strengthen their faith. So for example, one station will be prayer. At that station I could talk about the story of Enos. I could show a picture and ask some questions. The other stations would be scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance.
     At each station have a paper/cardstock tool for the children to attach to their belt. Each station should last about 2-3 minutes. On the tools, you should have the corresponding prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and temple attendance. If you need a PDF, you can email me.... but please say, "Hello Sofia." I know we live in a time with smart phones and texting this and that. But it makes me feel like a piece of meat when people don't address me as a person. :) I'll say your name too. Let's connect!!

HERE is the talk. It's wonderful, like all of Elder Scott's talks. I especially like his challenge, "Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!"

Also, please notice his challenge from the first quote, "As I speak, consider evaluating your personal use of each tool; then seek the guidance of the Lord to determine how you could make better use of each one of them."
You could encourage the children to go home and talk with their families about how they can improve! They can even write how they want to improve/goals on the back of each tool.

Upon more thinking, we could even play 4 corners instead of the stations idea. Label 4 corners of the room as Prayer, Scripture Study, Temple Attendance, and Family Home Evening. On the chalkboard write, "Helps build my faith." All these tools are to help us exercise our faith. You'll need to write the 4 things again on small pieces of paper to draw out of a bag from. Invite 5-6 children to play. They choose a corner to stand in. Ask a question about faith or have someone read a scripture, then have a primary friend draw out "the corner" from the bag and after put it back in. Whoever is in that corner is out. Those remaining children choose another corner. Repeat with another question. Have another child come up and choose a corner. Play until there is only 1 person left!! If it happens quickly, play another round!! Make sure to have plenty (about 10-12) of questions/scriptures/songs about faith ready!!
Some questions could include:
1. How is faith like a little seed?
2. What is faith?
3. What is a story from the scriptures that talks about faith?
4. As a Primary, sing I pray in Faith (CS #14)
5. What can we do in Family Home Evening to help strengthen the faith of other family members? (help give/plan lessons, be reverent, answer & ask questions, be helpful)

* Bring in a large box with a hole in it. Have some different items for children to "feel" and guess what they are.
Can they see what's inside? No!! But there are things there!!!
      We don't have to see to know!
Have about 10 (total) different questions, songs, and scriptures about faith. Invite children up front to answer a question or read a scripture, then have them feel inside the box and guess. If they are right, have them take it out and show everyone!
Week 2: Prayer is reverent communication with Heavenly Father.

* HERE is an excellent little matching game and article in The Friend entitled, "Prayer is reverent communication between God and Me" by Jennifer Maddy.

* HERE is the ULTIMATE talk for this week's lesson. I especially liked, from Elder Oaks,
     "When one of our daughters was about three years old, she did something that always delighted her parents. When we called her name, she would usually answer by saying, “Here me is.” This childish reply was among the sweetest things her parents heard. But when she was grown, we expected her to use appropriate language when she spoke, and of course she did. As the Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11).
      The same is true of prayer. Our earliest efforts will be heard with joy by our Heavenly Father, however they are phrased. They will be heard in the same way by loving members of our Church. But as we gain experience as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we need to become more mature in all of our efforts, including our prayers."
     For Senior primary, you could even give the children copies in pairs and have them read it. After they can make up 2 questions to quiz the rest of the primary.

* An analogy:
       "Reverence is the atmosphere of heaven." President Howard W. Hunter (another wonderful talk found HERE)
     Bring in a couple pictures of the earth. What is the sky? What is air? The earth's atmosphere is a thin layer of gases that surrounds the planet. The atmosphere is what keeps us alive! It holds the oxygen we breath and it protects us from the harmful radiation of the sun.
     Without the atmosphere, our earth would be like other planets. Barren and with no life.
     "Reverence is the atmosphere of heaven." How important then is reverence!! In comparison, reverence is what keeps our spirits alive. It should be as important to us as our breathing. It protects us from the ways of the world. It should surround us as we pray!

* Sister Laurel Rohlfing shares some great insight in a Friend article HERE. You could definitely make a good point by having a children come up front and try to get you to talk about your day, but you respond only with the words, "Thanks for asking, it was nice, ok the end" over and over again!

Week 3: Repentance is a change of mind and heart.

* You could have a couple child act out the story of Alma and Abinadi, dress them in simple costumes. Alma didn't make the best of choices but he changed his ways and repented! What about Alma the Younger too??
Alma 5:11-12, "Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?
    And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true."

* HERE is a very straight forward explanation of what we need to do to repent from Elder Russell M. Nelson.

A couple recycled ideas from previous posts:

*Bring in the movie Cinderella. Who has seen this movie? Have a primary princess or prince BRIEFLY tell the story!! A minute or less!! Well, it's an important story because it was even brought up in this last April General Conference !!
"Every Cinderella has her midnight—if not in this life, then in the next. Judgment Day will come for all. Are you prepared? Are you pleased with your own performance?
     If any has stumbled in her journey, I promise you that there is a way back. The process is called repentance. Our Savior died to provide you and me that blessed gift. Though the path is difficult, the promise is real. Said the Lord: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow....And I will remember [them] no more.” (Believe,Obey,Endure by President Monson)

Have 10 paper glass slippers with scriptures, stories, songs or questions having to do with repentance on the back. Let primary children come and choose a glass slipper and do what it says. (Of course, songs should be sung by the whole primary!) At the end of the lesson, you can show a picture of Cinderella in rags and then in her beautiful ball gown. Bear testimony that repentance changes our rags into beauty!!    

* Have a member of the bishopric come in to help you with your lesson if possible. You'll need a running headband, a racing number to pin on him and a pair of running shoes for him to change into. He might look a little silly wearing these things and his suit! However, he's going to be our special runner today! He's going to reverently run (perhaps even just jog) from one side of the room to the other. After he finishes, ask him, if he were in the middle of a race and realized he was going the wrong way, what would he do?? Share this quote,
       " If I were going the wrong way in the middle of a marathon, and I realized my mistake, would I keep going? I would immediately turn around! . . . I wouldn't stay on the wrong course because no matter how long I ran there, I would never reach the finish line. And yet for many who have made a moral mistake, a little voice keeps saying: 'You blew it. You can't change. No one will ever know anyway.' To you I would say, Don't believe it. 'Satan wants you to think that you cannot repent, but that is absolutely not true' (For the Strength of Youth [2001], 30)." Elaine S. Dalton, "You Can Return," New Era, Mar. 2010, 11
      Have the children jog reverently (demonstrate for them first!) in place with their thumbs out. Invite one child up front to answer a question on repentance. Then they can reverently jog to another primary friend and tag their thumb. That friend comes up front to answer another question on repentance. While children answer questions, the primary children can sit down. We need to run and finish the race, repentance and forgiveness from our Savior and Heavenly Father helps us do so!!
Week 4: Forgiveness brings peace.

* HERE is a video from on the prodigal son. It is 5 1/2 minutes. After showing the children, ask them if the story would be different if the Father didn't forgive the son? Absolutely! But The Father does forgive!
Have the children illustrate the story of The Prodigal Son. Have them divide a piece of paper into 6 sections. For younger children, just have them 1 picture using the entire sheet.

* Bring in a frozen turkey. See if a small child can lift it up. It's pretty heavy. How would it feel if you dropped it on your foot? How would it feel if someone threw it at you?
HERE is a wonderful talk by President Hinckley. I actually remember hearing him give it. I'm sure you do too! He shares a true story that you could tell the children. HERE is The Friend version.
I like the ending quote,
      “According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’
        Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter, heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’ According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears”
* HERE is a great story about some girls who need to learn how to be nice and also show forgiveness. After reading the story, have the children make some friendship bracelets to remember that forgiveness brings peace.
* HERE is another great story about letting go of bitter feelings. Go ahead. Take a minute to sing it to yourself. I'm one with the wind and snoooo---oh-ow. I liked how at the end of the story they wrote on some balloons and let it go. Have some balloons up front for the children to choose. On the balloons have questions/scriptures about forgiveness for them to answer or read.
* I love Boyd. HERE is an article entitled Peace in Forgiving. Have a bunch of broken paper hearts. (Almost like puzzles, you can have different zig zags to match the hearts broken in half) Invite children to match the different sides of the hearts and heal them with a band aid. While doing so, they can talk about something that comes to their mind about forgiveness. Perhaps a scripture story, a personal experience, or ways to forgive.
* SUCH A GREAT OBJECT LESSON!!!! Bring some pebbles to have the primary children try. HERE is the whole story in The Friend. I also really liked how the story of Joseph Smith and Brother Phelps is mentioned!
THIS is one of my favorite talks. I love President Uchtdorf's analogy of the point of no return. God loves us. He wants us to repent and He will forgive us. We must make sure that we don't have "points of no return" with other people... "I'll never forgive...." cannot be part of our lives.
     "For our own good, we need the moral courage to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. Never is the soul nobler and more courageous than when we forgive. This includes forgiving ourselves.
      We will receive the joy of forgiveness in our own lives when we are willing to extend that joy freely to others. Lip service is not enough. We need to purge our hearts and minds of feelings and thoughts of bitterness and let the light and the love of Christ enter in. As a result, the Spirit of the Lord will fill our souls with the joy accompanying divine peace of conscience (see Mosiah 4:2–3).
        My dear brothers and sisters, my dear young friends, when the captain of a long-range jet passes the point of safe return, and the headwinds are too strong or the cruising altitudes too low, he might be forced to divert to an airport other than his planned destination. This is not so in our journey through life back to our heavenly home. Wherever you find yourselves on this journey through life, whatever trials you may face, there is always a point of safe return; there is always hope. You are the captain of your life, and God has prepared a plan to bring you safely back to Him, to your divine destination."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Joseph Smith - A FHE based on Elder Neil A. Anderson's Oct. 2014 General Conference Talk

All quotes are from the talk Joseph Smith by Elder Neil A. Anderson.
October 2014 General Conference

Attention Activity:
HERE is a website that can generate false newspaper clipping images.
Make some semi-true stories about members of your family. Share them. What was right, what was wrong about the stories?

"We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a “truth” filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true."

If we want to know the truth, where is the best place to seek answers?
What did the Savior say? Read 3 Nephi 14:16-20
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. How can we know the truth of this?
Elder Anderson says, "Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God."
Have the following quotes from Elder Anderson in places that you might go to find out answers- scriptures, computer, books, TV, the bed where you pray, the front porch where a newspaper is.... As a family go to each place and read the quotes.

1. " Many of those who dismiss the work of the Restoration simply do not believe that heavenly beings speak to men on earth. Impossible, they say, that golden plates were delivered by an angel and translated by the power of God. From that disbelief, they quickly reject Joseph’s testimony, and a few unfortunately sink to discrediting the Prophet’s life and slandering his character.
     We are especially saddened when someone who once revered Joseph retreats from his or her conviction and then maligns the Prophet.10
     “Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, is “like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed."
2. " To questions about Joseph’s character, we might share the words of thousands who knew him personally and who gave their lives for the work he helped establish. John Taylor, who was shot four times by the mob that killed Joseph, would later declare: “I testify before God, angels, and men, that [Joseph] was a good, honorable, [and] virtuous man— … [and] that his private and public character was unimpeachable—and that he lived and died as a man of God."
3. "Years ago I read a Time magazine article that reported the discovery of a letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, that conflicted with Joseph Smith’s account of finding the Book of Mormon plates.
A few members left the Church because of the document.
     Sadly, they left too quickly. Months later experts discovered (and the forger confessed) that the letter was a complete deception.
     You may understandably question what you hear on the news, but you need never doubt the testimony of God’s prophets."
4. "... Some information about Joseph, while true, may be presented completely out of context to his own day and situation.
       Elder Russell M. Nelson illustrated this point. He said: “I was serving as a consultant to the United States government at its National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Once while awaiting a taxi to take me to the airport after our meetings were over, I stretched out on the lawn to soak in a few welcome rays of sunshine before returning to the winter weather of Utah. … Later I received a photograph in the mail taken by a photographer with a telephoto lens, capturing my moment of relaxation on the lawn. Under it was a caption, ‘Governmental consultant at the National Center.’ The picture was true, the caption was true, but the truth was used to promote a false impression.”
     We do not discard something we know to be true because of something we do not yet understand."
5. " Brothers and sisters, let me give you a caution: you won’t be of much help to others if your own faith is not securely in place.
     A few weeks ago I boarded a plane for South America. The flight attendant directed our attention to a safety video. “It is unlikely,” we were warned, “but if cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open, revealing oxygen masks. If this happens, reach up and pull a mask toward you. Place the mask over your nose and mouth. Slip the elastic strap over your head and adjust the mask if necessary.” Then this caution: “Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others...Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking the truth.
6. "To the youth listening today or reading these words in the days ahead, I give a specific challenge: Gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith."
Challenges for the upcoming week:
"First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them."
Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith.... Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek."
Bear Testimony of Joseph Smith. Follow up with family members for the challenges that Elder Anderson instructed us to do during the upcoming week. At the next family home evening, or on Sunday, gather together and share!
Possible songs to sing:
Praise to the Man Hymns #27
Joseph Smith's First Prayer Hymns #26
We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet Hymns #19
An Angel Came to Joseph Smith CS #86
The Golden Plates CS #86
The Sacred Grove CS #87

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parents: The Primary Gospel Teachers of Their Children, By Elder Tad R. Callister FHE idea

I really loved THIS talk. I could just picture a little Granny walking out ready to serve "the elderly".

For family home evening, have 4 (or more depending on your family size) plastic cups and a small paper granny. Read the quote about what an example his mother was as a great gospel teacher/parent... even at age 90!

What does it take to be a good parent who teaches the gospel in the home?
Elder Callister gives some great ideas.

After you go over a question or quote on the sheet, take turns putting the granny under a cup and mixing up the cups. Each family member gets a turn trying to find which cup the good example granny is under!

The example he gave of the mother who helped her boy achieve success was very powerful (#3). Let family members talk about how they feel after reading this. Be open to see how the spirit directs the conversation.

Some possible songs to include:
Love is Spoken Here (CS #190)
Families Can Be Together Forever ( CS #188)

Bear testimony that parents have a sacred responsibility to their children. We have the ultimate example of a loving Heavenly Father who has given us so much. He provided a perfect plan and sacrificed so much for us to return to Him. We need to strive for that unconditional patience, love, and diligence as a parent.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

General Women's Conference Oct. 2014 FHE Idea

I'm hoping to do some art projects with my girls based off some of the wonderful Conference messages. I have them read the talks for scripture study and am looking forward to their written responses on the question sheet I made. I save their work in a little box and look forward to looking back on these treasured moments. I also try to have them review quotes and pick one or two to memorize!
Also, I never ever ever use anything but watercolor paper for watercolor projects!!
You can't beat the quality.