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.

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