Sharing Time: First Things First

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (A of F 1:4).

First Things First

What would happen if you went to college before you went to kindergarten? Could you learn to add numbers before you learned to count? Could you run before you learned to walk? When you learn something, you usually start with the simplest part of it, then move on to a more difficult part. You put first things first.

Joseph Smith said that when you become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first things that you need to do are to have faith, to repent, to be baptized, and to have those with the proper authority lay their hands on your head so that you can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we obey these first principles and ordinances, we can then learn other things that Heavenly Father wants us to learn and do.


Word strips

  1. 1.

    Color the four word strips above, then carefully cut them out.

  2. 2.

    Each verse, picture, and story on these pages are examples of either faith, repentance, baptism, or the gift of the Holy Ghost. Read these examples, decide where each word strip belongs, and glue it in place.

  3. 3.

    Color each picture.

  4. 4.

    Use this completed poster to teach a lesson in family home evening on the fourth article of faith.

Faith is knowing I lived with God before my mortal birth.
Faith is knowing I can return when my life ends on earth.
Faith is trust in God above; In Christ, who showed the way.
Faith is strengthened; I feel it grow Whenever I obey.

(Beatrice Goff Jackson, “Faith,” Children’s Songbook, page 96.)

Two blind men came to Jesus and asked Him to heal them. Jesus asked if they believed that He could restore their sight, and they said, “Yea, Lord.” Jesus touched their eyes and said “According to your faith be it unto you.” When they opened their eyes, they could see. (See Matt. 9:28–30.)

Help me, dear Father, to truly repent,
Making things right, and changing my ways.
Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to thee.

(Frances K. Taylor, “Help Me, Dear Father,” Children’s Songbook, page 99.)

The Lord told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent or they would be destroyed. The people were so wicked that Jonah was afraid to go and ran away on a ship, instead. Jonah was thrown overboard at sea and was swallowed by a great whale. After three days he was vomited onto dry land, and the Lord again told Jonah to go to Nineveh. This time he did as he was commanded. He preached repentance to the people, and when “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way,” they were saved from destruction. (See Jonah 1–3; Matt. 12:40.)

And now when I am baptized. I’ll follow his example—
Be baptized by immersion Through sacred priesthood pow’r.
Then I will be a member Of Heav’nly Father’s kingdom
And have the Holy Spirit To guide me ev’ry hour.

(Jeanne P. Lawler, “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized,” Children’s Songbook, page 102.)

Jesus came to John the Baptist and asked to be baptized. When John immersed Jesus in the water, Heavenly Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (See Matt. 3:13–17.)

When hands are laid upon my head,
Then I’ll receive the Holy Ghost.
And, if I listen carefully,
I’ll have the blessing I need most.

(Wallace F. Bennett, “I Like My Birthdays,” Children’s Songbook, page 104.)

When Jesus appeared to the Nephites in America, He chose disciples to help Him preach the gospel. Before Jesus left, He laid His hands on the head of each disciple and “gave them power to give the Holy Ghost” to others. (See 3 Ne. 18:36–37.)

Sharing Time Ideas

  1. 1.

    Dramatize the four stories.

  2. 2.

    Have children relate or illustrate personal experiences demonstrating faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  3. 3.

    Have children recite or sing four poems on pages 12–13. Divide into small groups; each group learns one line, then puts lines together.

  4. 4.

    Show plant in different stages from seeding to maturity to demonstrate how our understanding of the gospel grows. (See Alma 32.)

  5. 5.

    Have scripture chase to find scriptures that discuss qualifications for baptism. (See Topical Guide—Baptism, Qualifications for.)

  6. 6.

    Put different-size cans or rocks labeled wrongdoing in sack. Have child carry it around. Tell children that weight of our sins can hold us back from living with Heavenly Father. We can rid ourselves of our sins by repenting. Take contents out of sack and say that when we repent, our sins are forgiven, and we can forget them. We no longer have to bear their heavy burden.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Robyn S. Officer