When Jesus lived on the earth, he called twelve Apostles to help Him: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, another James, Thaddaeus, Simon, and Judas. These were faithful, humble men from all walks of life. Peter, James, John, and Andrew were fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector. Jesus asked them to leave what they were doing and follow Him. He said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you” (John 15:16). Jesus told them that they would preach the gospel and be witnesses of His name to all the world.
Just as Jesus called Apostles in His time, we have Apostles today who have been called as “Special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world” (D&C 107:23). They testify that they know that Jesus is the Son of God and that He was resurrected. You can hear them bear their special testimonies when they talk in general conference or when they visit your stake or regional conferences.
There are actually fifteen men who hold apostolic authority. One is President Ezra Taft Benson. Two others, Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson, are his counselors. These three form the Quorum of the First Presidency. The others form the Quorum of the Twelve.
The Apostles are very busy men. They are responsible for seeing that the gospel is preached everywhere in the world, so they travel often. Every Thursday they meet in the Salt Lake Temple to make important decisions in the directing of the Church. They work in love and unity and must agree on every decision that is made.
Mount the picture cards and fact cards on heavy paper and cut them out.
Mix up the picture cards, then match the facts with the pictures.
Memorize the names of the Apostles. Can you say them in the order in which they were ordained?
Ezra Taft Benson Ordained an Apostle—October 7, 1943 Hobbies—sings, enjoys family activities Profession—agriculture specialist Interesting fact—served as Secretary of Agriculture in the United States government while an Apostle
Gordon B. Hinckley Ordained an Apostle—October 5, 1961 Hobbies—builds things, plants trees Profession—public communications Interesting fact—has worked closely with seven Presidents of the Church
Thomas S. Monson Ordained an Apostle—October 4, 1963 Hobbies—fishes, raises pigeons Profession—businessman: printing Interesting fact—often visits the elderly in rest homes
Howard W. Hunter Ordained an Apostle—October 15, 1959 Hobbies—plays several musical instruments Profession—lawyer Interesting fact—can walk again after being confined to a wheelchair
Boyd K. Packer Ordained an Apostle—April 9, 1970 Hobbies—does wood carvings of birds, paints pictures Profession—educator Interesting fact—flew a bomber during World War II
Marvin J. Ashton Ordained an Apostle—December 2, 1971 Hobbies—plays tennis and other sports Profession—businessman: lumber Interesting fact—helps people feel good about themselves
L. Tom Perry Ordained an Apostle—April 11, 1974 Hobbies—sports, physical fitness, repairing things, gardening Profession—business: finance, department store administration Interesting fact—walks to work and has a cheerful greeting for everyone
David B. Haight Ordained an Apostle—January 8, 1976 Hobbies—camps, fishes, hikes Profession—mayor; businessman Interesting fact—survived serious accidents and illnesses
James E. Faust Ordained an Apostle—October 1, 1978 Hobbies—gardens, reads the scriptures Profession—lawyer; state legislator Interesting fact—is especially good at remembering names and faces of people he meets
Neal A. Maxwell Ordained an Apostle—July 23, 1981 Hobbies—plays tennis, reads Profession—educator; political scientist Interesting fact—created the first stake in Nigeria, Africa
Russell M. Nelson Ordained an Apostle—April 12, 1984 Hobbies—music, skiing Profession—heart surgeon Interesting fact—plays the organ for the weekly temple meeting
Dallin H. Oaks Ordained an Apostle—May 3, 1984 Hobbies—fishes, camps Profession—lawyer; judge; educator Interesting fact—was president of Brigham Young University, 1971–1980
M. Russell Ballard Ordained an Apostle—October 10, 1985 Hobbies—repairs things, fishes, golfs Profession—businessman: automobiles, real estate, investments Interesting fact—both grandfathers were previous Apostles
Joseph B. Wirthlin Ordained an Apostle—October 9, 1986 Hobbies—walks, reads, loves his 44 grandchildren Profession—businessman: foods, cattle Interesting fact—speaks and reads German and loves spaghetti
Richard G. Scott Ordained an Apostle—October 6, 1988 Hobbies—music, painting, birding Profession—nuclear engineer Interesting fact—helped develop nuclear power plants for submarines and aircraft carriers
Sharing Time Ideas
Play a matching game with the names and pictures of the Apostles. Put the pictures of the Apostles in the order in which they were ordained.
Devise a quiz about the Apostles from the information on the fact cards.
Let the children pretend to be the ancient Apostles and give facts about themselves from the scriptures, such as “I am Peter. I am also known as Simon. I was a fisherman.”
Make a word search using the names of the ancient Apostles and the last names of the current Apostles.
Print the words from John 15:16 on the chalkboard or on a large piece of paper. Cover each word with separate pieces of paper that have been numbered in sequence. Let each child choose the number of a word to be uncovered. Continue this process until the scripture can be identified and recited.