Week 1: “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21).
Identify the doctrine (memorizing a scripture): Write on the board “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” Have the children read it aloud together several times, and then erase all but the first letter of each word. Ask the children to recite it again. Erase the letters one at a time until the children can repeat the scripture from memory.
Encourage understanding (hearing a scripture story): Ask the children to describe how they know when it is nighttime. Show a picture of Samuel the Lamanite and explain that he prophesied that on the night Jesus Christ would be born, the sun would go down but it would not get dark. Invite the children to retell the events from Helaman 16 and 3 Nephi 1:1–13 (you may want to ask a few children in advance to be prepared to share this story). Ask the children to recite the scripture they memorized, and ask them how the Nephite believers showed faith. Ask the children what they think happened to the believers. Invite a child to read 3 Nephi 1:15, 19. Testify of the importance of faith.
Week 2: Prayer is reverent communication with Heavenly Father.
Identify the doctrine (identifying objects and pictures): Before Primary, gather or draw pictures of things people use to communicate (such as a letter, a telephone, or a computer), and hide the pictures beneath a few of the chairs in the Primary room. Ask the children to imagine they are far from home and need to communicate with their family. Have them look under their chairs for the hidden pictures, and discuss how they help us communicate with others. Explain that when we came to earth, we left our heavenly home, but we can still communicate with our Heavenly Father. Ask the children, “How can we communicate with Heavenly Father?” Show the children several pictures of children and families praying. Explain that each picture shows reverent communication—praying with love and respect—to Heavenly Father. Ask the children to say, “Prayer is reverent communication with Heavenly Father.”
Encourage understanding and application (chalkboard activity): List the four parts of prayer on the board. Ask the children to name things we might thank Heavenly Father for and what we might ask Him for. List their responses on the board. Ask the children to demonstrate how we show reverence when we pray.
Week 3: Repentance is a change of mind and heart.
Identify the doctrine (revealing a picture): Prepare wordstrips with words from the sentence “Repentance is a change of mind and heart” written on each one. Use the wordstrips to cover a picture of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their weapons. Ask a few children to remove the wordstrips and place them in the correct order on the board. Ask the children to read the sentence together, using actions to emphasize the words mind and heart.
Encourage understanding (listening to a scripture story): Tell the children that there was a group of people in the Book of Mormon who had a change of heart. Tell the following story (see Alma 24): “Ammon taught a group of Lamanites about the gospel. They had been wicked people, but they believed what Ammon taught them and had a change of heart. They wanted to join the Church, so they repented of their sins, promised they would not fight, and buried their weapons of war. They changed their name to the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and became a hardworking, righteous people.”
Encourage application (burying “swords” and singing): Give each child a piece of paper. Ask the children to draw a picture of a sword and then write a wrong choice on their swords (such as “fighting with my brother” or “telling a lie”). Ask the children to share ways they can choose the right and then “bury” their swords by crumpling their papers or throwing them away. Sing “Repentance” (CS, 98).
Week 4: Forgiveness brings peace.
Identify the doctrine (seeing an object lesson): Ask the children how they might feel if someone pushed or hit them. Hold up a big rock and tell the children that it represents those hurt feelings. Place the rock in a long sock. Invite a child to come to the front of the room, and tie the sock to his or her ankle. Ask the child to walk around. Discuss how hanging on to bad feelings will drag us down. Explain that when we forgive people who hurt us, we let those bad feelings go. Let the child untie the sock. Ask the children to say, “Forgiveness brings peace.”
Encourage understanding (hearing scripture stories): Several days in advance, ask leaders or teachers to be prepared to share one of the following scripture stories about forgiveness:
Divide the children into three groups. Send each group to a different part of the room (see “Stations,” TNGC, 179), where a leader or teacher will briefly discuss the scripture story he or she prepared to share. After each group has visited each station, sing the first verse of “Help Me, Dear Father” (CS, 99).
Encourage application (sharing feelings): Ask a few children to share a time when forgiving someone has helped them feel peace.
Stations: If your Primary is large, consider having the leaders move between stations instead of asking the children to move.
Small groups: Inviting children to share in small groups gives more children the opportunity to participate. In sharing time, children already sit in class groups. These groups could be used for small group activities. Class teachers can help ensure participation and maintain reverence.