Dyslexia and Gospel Learning

Amanda Merrill, Texas

As someone with dyslexia, I learn a little bit differently than many of my peers do. When I was a child, dedicated parents and teachers discovered that a multisensory teaching approach helped me to better understand and retain information. In other words, if I could see and touch or see and hear what I was being taught, I was more likely to remember it.

Now as a young adult, I still use this method. One tool that has helped me tremendously in my gospel study is listening to the audio files available under “Media Formats” in the Gospel Library at LDS.org. Audio publications here include the scriptures, scripture study materials, general conference addresses, Church magazines, Teachings of Presidents of the Church manuals, music, and more. As I listen to these (generally on a personal MP3 player so I’m not distracted by external sounds) and follow along with the text either in a hard-copy publication or online, I am better able to understand the words of the prophets and apostles.

Occasionally the materials I want to study aren’t available in MP3 format. In these cases, I have used the video or ASL (American Sign Language) video options and turned up the sound on my computer.

I am grateful that the words of the Brethren are accessible in formats that allow all of us—no matter how we learn—to understand them.

Conference Comes First

Bonnie Vernon, Utah

If you are able to watch conference from home, you may be tempted to sleep in, nap, or become distracted as the speakers deliver their talks. As a couple, we try to remember that conference weekend is a time for active worship—through prayers, music, and testimonies.

As a family we have asked ourselves, “Do we come to conference with too casual an attitude to receive the deeper blessings that may be available to us?” We might look at it this way. In the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is approaching, and we look forward to the feast. The same can be true for conference. We should be eager to partake, ready to feast on the spoken words of Church leaders, and prepared to receive promptings of the Spirit.

I have heard some say, “Oh, they just teach the same basic doctrines each time.” And I would say, “Would you skip your Thanksgiving feast this year—just because you are served the same traditional foods?” The same teachings, shared in a variety of ways, nourish us every time if we but partake.

Here are some suggestions to make conference more meaningful.

Do housework, yardwork, and meal preparations ahead of time. Keep things around the home simple so you can focus on conference.

Make a list of your concerns. Identify any areas where you feel weak. Listen to the talks for answers and notice any impressions you receive.

Tune in the whole time. You might miss something if you tune in late or tune out too early. Maybe the prayers will touch you. Maybe a choir number or congregational hymn will bear witness of truths you seek.

Take notes. Jot down key words or impressions, but don’t become so busy writing everything down that you miss something really important.

Of course, some people have to work on weekends or cannot arrange their schedules to view or listen to the conference broadcast. Fortunately, we have Church magazines, audiovisual recordings, rebroadcasts on BYU television, and resources at LDS.org to help us. But they are not intended to be substitutes for participating in live conference broadcasts when we have the opportunity to do so.

May we all prepare for and appreciate the blessing it is to hear from representatives of the Savior, speaking His will to us.

From Posters to Flashcards

Florence E. G. Hawkinson, Utah

You can make simple flashcards for your children from posters available at Church distribution centers. The two posters Latter-day Prophets and Temples Worldwide each have more than a dozen images. By simply cutting them apart, you can make pocket-size picture cards. Use them as flashcards to help your children become familiar with the names of the prophets and the order in which they served. Place temple cards on a world map to illustrate the Church’s growth. Buy two posters, and make card sets that can be used to play match or “Go Fish” games. Cover the backs of the cards with paper so that those with copyright or UPC symbols printed there won’t be obvious guesses. Or leave them as is and let younger children have “freebie matches” early in the game.

In addition to home use, you can bring the cards into the classroom. Use them as part of the lesson or keep them on hand for an impromptu activity. In any setting, I have found that these cards can help teach the important role that temples and prophets have in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Note: The Latter-day Prophets poster is available in two sizes: 8½ x 11 inches (item no. 34739000; U.S. $.50) and 11 x 17 inches (62575000; U.S. $1.00). The Temples Worldwide poster measures 19 x 27 inches (67073000; U.S. $1.50) and is available while supplies last.

Family Home Evening Helps

Supplementing Family Home Evening

Sharlene T. Barber, Tennessee

You know about the Family Home Evening Resource Book, but did you realize there are two video supplements as well?

Created from general conference addresses, satellite broadcasts, and Church films and filmstrips, the videos have material for all ages. When most of our children were teenagers, they thought they had heard every lesson possible, so it was sometimes difficult to present lessons in a new light. The video supplements proved to be just the thing we needed. One effective lesson for us was the second one in the manual, “The Commandments: Gifts from a Loving Father.” We watched a segment from the second video, titled “The Commandments Are for Our Protection.” It vividly shows a large youth group on a rafting trip. When one young man breaks the rules, a young woman almost drowns. That visual image, showing the consequences of disobedience, has had a lasting impact on our family.

Each segment is listed on the video cover, indicating the corresponding lesson in the manual. The length of each segment is also indicated to further help with lesson preparation.

Ordering information: Family Home Evening Resource Book (item no. 31106000; U.S. $6.00); video supplements (53276000 and 53277000; U.S. $6.00). In addition to English, the first video is also available in French, Spanish, and American Sign Language (ASL). The second video is available in English and ASL.

Note: All curriculum materials mentioned in Random Sampler are available at LDS distribution centers or online at www.ldscatalog.com. U.S. and Canadian residents may also call the Salt Lake Distribution Center at 1-800-537-5971.

Left: Illustration by Joe Flores; right: illustration by Beth Whittaker