Friday, October 31, 2014

Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel (Hymn #252 - chorus only)

Have the kids picture a wagon wheel as tall as they are.  Pretend it's stuck in the mud.  How would you get it out?  You could push it with your hands, but what if that didn't work? Could you turn around and push it with your shoulder and back?  What if you were pushing your hardest but the person who was supposed to push the other wheel was goofing off or refusing to work?

Easy actions to teach the chorus:

Put your shoulder (right arm on left shoulder) to the wheel (brace your feet against the pretend wheel)
Push along (pretend to push with your shoulder)

Do your duty with a heart (both hands on heart)
full of song (smile-- to have a heart full of song means to be cheerful while you work)

We all have work (pretend to hammer a nail)
Let no one shirk (shake your head and wag your finger no -- be sure to explain what "shirk" means)

Put your shoulder (right arm on left shoulder) to the wheel (pretend to push with your shoulder)

Faith (CS p. 96)

Simple actions to teach this song:

Verse 1:
Faith is knowing the sun will rise
(Start on the ground in a ball; rise slowly with your arms rounded above your head like the sun)

Lighting each new day (on the word lighting, have your sun arms slowly open)

Faith is knowing the Lord will hear (hand to your ear)
My prayers (fold arms as if in prayer) each time I pray

Faith is like a little seed (pinch your thumb and pointer finger together as if holding a small seed)

If planted (make a pot with your other hand and pretend to plant the seed)

it will grow (from underneath the pot hand, push the other hand's fingers up and through like a bud, then open the fingers as it grows taller)

Faith is a swelling (continue the growing motion into both arms being raised and opening wide)
within my heart (cover your heart with both hands)

When I do right (thumbs up)
I know (point to your head)

Verse 2:
I have the kids imagine a line stretching from one end of the room to the other. Then I put my right hand sideways, close to my body, as if it's making a notch on the line. This is birth. Look at all the space on the imaginary line that comes before birth. Where were you before your mortal birth?  You lived with God. Then do the same thing with your left hand being death, or when your life ends on earth.  What will happen then?  You can return to God. So your whole mortal life is just the width of your body, while there's all this space on either side of you where you still existed and will exist.

Faith is knowing I lived with God (point that direction on the timeline)
before my mortal birth (place your "birth" hand back on the timeline, making an exaggerated notch on the word birth)
Faith is knowing I can return (point that direction on the timeline)
when my life ends on earth (place your "death" hand back on the timeline, making an exaggerated notch on the word earth)

Faith is trust in God above (ASL for father, then same hand goes up to heaven)
In Christ (ASL for Jesus)
who showed the way (make a straight path with your hands and push it forward)

Faith is strengthened (show arm muscle)
I feel it grow (other arm outlines a bigger muscle)
Whenever I obey (ASL for obey -- one hand on head, the other on the heart, then offering them both)

Dare to Do Right (CS p. 158)

This song can be taught very quickly by using the following actions:

Each time you say the word "right", pump your right fist into the air.

Each time you say "true", raise your right hand as if you're in court swearing to tell the truth.

"You (point to someone else) have a work that
no other (shake your head and wag your finger) can do"

"Do it so bravely (fist over heart)
 so kindly (ASL love-- arms crossed over chest)
so well (thumbs up OR a-ok sign)

"Angels (fling your arms wide above your head, slowly coming back down as you look at all the angels) will hasten the story to tell"
(explain that this means that when you do your very best, the angels get so excited they want to tell everyone how well you have done)

When you do the "dare"s in the chorus, put your hands on your hips, all at once if there is just one "dare", one at a time when they are repeated.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (PMG Lesson 1 Principle 7)

After all those years of apostasy, when there was so much confusion and misinformation on the earth, our loving Heavenly Father brought forth an ancient volume of scripture comparable to the Bible, which contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This record is The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Let me tell you about it by teaching you a song. [An Angel Came to Joseph Smith (CS p.86)] (It will be taught one verse at a time, as explained below.)

How did the Book of Mormon come about? Read or tell the story of Moroni's visit to Joseph Smith and obtaining and translating the gold plates (JS-H 1:29-54, 59-60). Then sing verse 1.

What does the Book of Mormon contain? Read the first 3 paragraphs of the introduction. Sing verses 2 and 3.

What will you do with this book?  Read the second to last paragraph of the introduction.  Give an invitation to read, ponder, and ask if the Book of Mormon is true.  Sing verse 4.

Read the last paragraph of the introduction.  If you gain a testimony or witness of the Book of Mormon, what additional three things will you also gain a testimony of? (1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. 2. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. 3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's true church, once again restored to earth.)  Why are these all connected?

This week's scripture is Moroni 10:4-5.  Discuss any unfamiliar words and practice it several times.

Bear testimony of the things you have taught.

This week for scripture study: (in addition to singing the song and reciting the scripture)

*1.  Pretend you are a missionary.  Show your "investigator" a copy of the Book of Mormon, briefly explain its contents, then share one or two passages that are meaningful to you.  Bear your testimony of its truthfulness.

* This can be done each night by a different member of the family.

2. Read the Testimonies of Three Witnesses and Eight Witnesses.  Why did the Lord have these witnesses?  Bear your own witness of the Book of Mormon.

3.  Read, sing, or recite the eighth article of faith.  Explain what it means.  Bear your testimony of the Book of Mormon.

4. Read 2 Nephi 3:12.  Explain what it means.  Bear your testimony of the Book of Mormon.

5.  Read the Title page of the Book of Mormon.  Tell us what you learned.  Bear your testimony of the Book of Mormon.

6. Read D&C 42:12 and D&C 35:17.  Discuss the importance of the Book of Mormon in bringing the "fulness of the gospel" to the world.  Bear testimony of the Book of Mormon.

7.  Sing "As I Search the Holy Scriptures" (Hymn #277). Discuss its message and bear testimony of the power of studying the scriptures.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith (PMG Lesson 1 Principle 6)

When the circumstances were right, Heavenly Father again called a prophet to begin the final dispensation.  (Circumstances being right included having a country, the United States, that had religious freedom.) This prophet's name was Joseph Smith.  I'd like to read to you his story in his own words: Read JS-H 1:5,10-20.

Sing hymn #26 Joseph Smith's First Prayer.

This week's scripture is one that all missionaries are asked to memorize: JS-H 1:16-17
 "...I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

Optional activity: Record the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice and listen to it regularly.
(This was recommended by Elder Neil Anderson in his Oct 2014 conference address: "Read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price or in this pamphlet. This is Joseph’s own testimony of what actually occurred. 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.")

Other important points you may want to make:
--After the appearance of the Father and the Son, other heavenly messengers (angels) were sent.  John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon Joseph Smith the Aaronic Priesthood.  Peter, James, and John appeared and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph.
--With this prieshood authority, Joseph was directed to organize the church of Jesus Christ again on the earth.  This is why it is named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
--A living prophet directs the church today. He traces his authority to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith. (This could be a fun time for a father to show his line of priesthood authority.)

***The most important thing to learn this week is how to describe the First Vision using Joseph Smith's own words, bear testimony that you know it is true, and explain how you came to know of its truth.  One option is to assign each family member a day during the week to pretend to be a missionary and teach this to your family.  This could be instead of the other options I have listed below.

1. Joseph Smith:The Prophet of the Restoration (one hour movie) can be watched here.

2.  (for a child age 8-11) Do Faith In God --Learning and Living the Gospel #2: Give a family home evening lesson on Joseph Smith’s First Vision (Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20). Discuss how Heavenly Father answers our sincere prayers.

3.  Sing "The Priesthood is Restored". Discuss its joyful music and message.  Bear testimony of the restoration.

4. (for an 11 year old boy) Do Faith in God -- Preparing for the Priesthood #1: Learn about the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 13:1D&C 107:20, and Joseph Smith—History 1:68–73). Share what you learned and bear your testimony of it.

5.  (for a young man) Learn about the restoration of the Priesthood for your Duty to God. Share what you learned and bear testimony of it.

6.  Read 3 Nephi 27:3-8. Then read D&C 115:4.  What is the full name of our church? Explain what it means. (you could also watch this video)  Bear testimony that Christ's church has been restored.

7. An important part of being a missionary is bearing testimony of the current prophet.  Where did he get his authority? Bear testimony of this.

8. It was prophesied that Joseph Smith would be the prophet of the restoration.  Read and discuss 2 Nephi 3:5-7,15,24. Bear testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel.

9. Read this quote by Elder Neil Anderson (Oct 2014): "A testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith can come differently to each of us. It may come as you kneel in prayer, asking God to confirm that he was a true prophet. It may come as you read the Prophet’s account of the First Vision. A testimony may distill upon your soul as you read the Book of Mormon again and again. It may come as you bear your own testimony of the Prophet or as you stand in the temple and realize that through Joseph Smith the holy sealing power was restored to the earth.  With faith and real intent, your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith will strengthen. The constant water balloon volleys from the sidelines may occasionally get you wet, but they need never, never extinguish your burning fire of faith."  Share how you received a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.

10. Sing the third verse of "On a Golden Springtime".  Bear testimony of Joseph Smith's first vision.