Congratulations on your baptism, big guy! Elder Butler sends his congratulations too. That Saturday was a special day for us, also—we were invited to a meeting with the mission president and the Hill Cumorah Pageant committee.
Before the meeting, Elder Butler and I toured the house that Joseph Smith lived in with his parents and five brothers (a sixth brother died when he was a baby) and three sisters. It’s a beautiful little white two-story house set among gently rolling fields and lawns and forests. The rooms are kind of small, especially the bedrooms. In Joseph Smith’s day, clothes and other belongings were kept in chests and cabinets instead of in closets. In the kitchen a lot of the old-time cooking things were hung on the wall, and there was a little black cast-iron stove like the Smiths used for cooking and heating. The doors were planks of wood nailed together. As we went from room to room, I imagined young Joseph doing his chores and playing with his brothers and sisters.
From the front porch we looked across the road to the forest believed to be the place where he prayed to Heavenly Father about which church to join. Later, our meeting was in that forest, the Sacred Grove. The light seemed to shimmer as it filtered among the leaves of the trees, and I wondered if any of the same trees had been there when Joseph Smith knelt to pray.
After our mission president spoke, he asked Elder Butler and me to talk to the group. I told them that I had a little brother being baptized that very day—baptized and confirmed into the Church restored on earth because of another young boy who had come into the grove almost 170 years ago to offer a simple prayer in faith. Then I told them that yet another young boy—Sam—wanted to know more about the Church because of your example. I told them that example is one of the most powerful missionary forces that the Church has.
Tell Sam hi for me, and give my love and hugs to everyone.
Sam and I need your help. We need it soon. You see, our family had Sam’s family come for family home evening last night. Dad taught a lesson about being a family forever. Sam and I sang “I Am a Child of God.” Then we made fruit sundaes with frozen yogurt and watched family movies.
Sam’s mom and dad said that they want to start having family home evenings at their house, and Sam asked if we could come to their house for one next week. His dad said that he has to be out of town next week and that he needed to practice giving lessons first. So Sam asked if we could come the Monday after that and said that he and I would give the lesson—and his parents said OK!
Now Sam and I have to get a lesson ready. We went through the Family Home Evening Resource Book, but we can’t decide what to do. What would be a good lesson for Sam and me to give? Please write soon!
Maybe you and Sam can teach one of my favorite lessons—the story of when Joseph Smith wondered which church was right. You’ll find what he said about it in Joseph Smith—History, in the Pearl of Great Price.
A few days ago Elder Butler and I were at the grocery store and started talking to a man named Frank Cooper. He said that he had always been curious about the Hill Cumorah Pageant but had never gone to it. So we invited him to go to it with us. As we sat on the lawn at the foot of the Hill Cumorah with hundreds of other people, Book of Mormon stories came to life before our eyes. The music was beautiful, and the costumes were colorful.
Mr. Cooper was deeply touched by the pageant and wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and the Church. The very next day we went with him, first to the Joseph Smith house and then to the Sacred Grove, where we taught him a discussion about Joseph Smith. It was a powerful experience for all of us. Helping just one person like Mr. Cooper find real meaning in his life is worth all the hard times and discouragement that we might have on a mission.
Good luck to you and Sam on your family home evening.
We did it! Sam and I taught the family home evening lesson! We acted out some of the things that happened to Joseph Smith.
Sam was Joseph Smith. We had the dads be the preachers and argue about which church to join. Then Sam read from the Bible and went to pray in the grove of trees. Mom and Sam’s mom were Heavenly Father and Jesus and told Sam not to join any church because he was going to help restore it.
Then Sam—I mean Joseph—went to bed. I was the angel Moroni. I wore a white sheet for a robe and stood on a chair. I told Joseph about the gold plates and showed him where they were in the Hill Cumorah and told him that he could get them after four years so that he could translate them.
Natalie and Rachel made the treats—Scripture Cookies*—and put them on plates covered with gold wrapping paper.
Everyone liked our family home evening. Thanks for the idea.
(To be continued)