Do you like where you live? What do you like about it? Do you have special friends you enjoy being with? Do you have a favorite toy or book? A special place where you keep your favorite things? Imagine that your parents came to you and said that your family needed to leave all of its favorite things behind and travel to a new land? Do you think it would be hard to leave your home, your friends, and your favorite things?
That is what happened to Nephi and his family. His father, Lehi, was a prophet. The Lord warned him that Jerusalem was going to be destroyed and that he should take his family and leave. The Lord told Lehi that He had prepared a new land for his family. As they left Jerusalem and traveled in the desert, Nephi’s older brothers Laman and Lemuel constantly complained. They did not want to leave everything behind. The journey was hard, and they didn’t believe that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Nephi and his brother Sam did not complain. They knew that their father was a prophet of God. They were obedient to the things he asked them to do. Because of Nephi’s faith and obedience, the Lord gave him a wonderful promise: As long as Nephi’s descendants obeyed Heavenly Father, they would be blessed in the new land.
When we study the Book of Mormon, we see that the Lord kept His promise to Nephi. Whenever the people followed the prophet and obeyed the commandments, they were blessed and were happy. When they would not listen to the prophets and were disobedient, there were wars and hard times and the people were not happy.
Our Heavenly Father loves all of His children very much and wants us to be happy. If we follow His prophets, we will be. President Gordon B. Hinckley has asked us to do certain things that will make our lives happier. He has asked us to read the scriptures daily, to keep the Sabbath Day holy, to share the gospel with our friends, and to stand for the right. Heavenly Father knows that it isn’t always easy to do what He has the prophet ask us to do. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to be obedient. But when we follow the prophet and do what Heavenly Father wants us to do, He will bless us and we will find happiness.
Look at the pictures on this page. Match each prophet (A–G) with his teaching (1–7).
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
1. For younger children: Tell the story of Moses. Bring some objects and pictures that illustrate various parts of the story, such as a basket or GAK 106, a staff, GAK 107, a rock, a picture of the Red Sea (or another body of water), etc.
For older children: Have the children identify the objects or pictures listed above and tell how they relate to incidents in Moses’ life. Tell the children that Moses was one of the great prophets in the Old Testament. Explain that the Lord blessed the Israelites many times, providing food for them and keeping them safe as they obeyed the commandments given to them through this prophet. But even though the Israelites saw many miracles, sometimes they were not obedient and Moses had to tell them to repent or the Lord would cease to bless them. Have the children sing the fifth verse of “Follow the Prophet” (CS, pp. 110–111). Bear your testimony that the Lord will bless us as we obey the prophet today.
2. Choose an Old Testament or Book of Mormon prophet, such as Enoch (Moses 6–7; Primary 6 manual, Lesson 7, pp. 22–30); Noah (Primary 6 manual, Lesson 8, pp. 31–34; GAK 102–103); Moses (Primary 6 manual, Lesson 18, pp. 75–79; GAK 107); Lehi (Primary 4 manual, Lessons 2 and 5, pp. 6–8 and 18–22; GAK 300–301); King Benjamin (Primary 4 manual, Lesson 10, pp. 39–42; GAK 307). Assign each child or class a part of the story to illustrate. As the children draw their pictures, have the Primary pianist play reverent songs. Collect the pictures. As the children practice singing “Follow the Prophet” (CS, pp. 110–111), tape the pictures together in order to use in a roller box (see “Roller Boxes,” Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 178–179) or to hang on the wall. After the children finish singing, show the individual pictures while telling the story of each prophet.
3. Assign several adults to portray various prophets or a person who followed the assigned prophet. Have the adults prepare by reading about their prophet. For example: Adam (Moses 5:4–12, 58–59), Enoch (Moses 6:26–28; Moses 7:13–21), Noah (Gen. 6–8), Moses (Ex. 3, Num. 14), Daniel (Dan. 6). Place the adults at different stations around the room. (See “Stations,” Teaching, No Greater Call, p. 179.) Divide the children into groups and have them pretend to be reporters interviewing the “prophets.” Suggest questions for them to use that will help them discover who each prophet is, what he asked the people to do, and how the people were blessed who obeyed his teachings. Rotate the groups through the different stations until they have interviewed every “prophet.” After the interviews, have each child draw a picture of one of the prophets. Using a pretend microphone, interview a child to find out what he or she learned about the prophet he or she drew, what that prophet taught, and how the people were blessed who obeyed. Repeat for each prophet. Ask the children if they can think of things the prophet today has asked us to do. Bear your testimony that as we obey the latter-day prophets, we will be blessed, just as people were in ancient times.
4. For younger children: Tell the story of Noah to the children. Have several of the children come up and pretend to be different animals that entered the ark. Have the other children guess which animals they are.
For older children: Copy parts of the story of Noah from the scriptures (Gen. 6:9–21; Moses 8:22–30). Cut the copy into separate incidents and give one to each class. Have the classes role-play or tell their part of the story for the rest of the children. Draw a picture of an ark sitting in water on one half of the chalkboard. Draw the waterline clear across the board. Ask the children to name the things that Noah and his family did to obey the Lord (obey God’s commandments, build an ark, put food in the ark, gather animals for the ark, move into the ark). Write these on the chalkboard above the water next to the ark. Next, ask for a list of things the wicked people did or did not do (did not listen to the prophet Noah, did not repent, were scornful, tried to kill Noah). Write these things below the waterline. Point out that God protected those who were obedient to His prophet. Those who were not obedient were destroyed. Draw a rainbow over the ark and explain that the Lord promised Noah that He would never again send a flood to cover the earth (see Gen. 9:13–15). For each color on the rainbow, have the children name one blessing that we receive when we follow the prophet today. Explain that the rainbow helps people remember God’s promise to Noah. When we obey the latter-day prophets, the Lord will bless us just as He did Noah and his family.
5. Make a large paper heart and cut it into several puzzle pieces. Tape the pieces underneath the seats of some of the chairs before the children come into Primary. Invite a priesthood brother to come and portray the prophet Alma. Have him tell the children about what Alma taught the people by the Waters of Mormon before he baptized them (see Mosiah 18). Have him explain Mosiah 18:21 to the children. Have the children look under their seats for a puzzle piece. Ask those who find puzzle pieces to tell how our hearts can be knit together “in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:21). As they respond, have them place their piece of the heart up on the wall. Continue, putting the pieces together until the heart is complete. (You may want to draw a heart pattern the same size as the original heart on another piece of paper for the children to fit their pieces into.) Tell the children that the prophet today wants us to be kind to each other and to love one another. He wants our hearts to be knit together in love, just as Alma wanted that for the people of his day. Sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus” (CS, pp. 78–79) and “Jesus Said Love Everyone” (CS, p. 61).
6. Song Presentation: “Follow the Prophet” (CS, pp. 110–111). If desired, this song presentation may be done in stages throughout the month. Each week, choose three of the prophets from the song. Write several questions for the children to answer about each prophet. For example: Adam—Who was the first prophet in the Bible? Where did he live? What did he do there? What is a descendant? Who are his descendants? Cut out as many musical notes as you have questions about the prophets. Use a different color of paper for each prophet. Write a question on the back of each note. Place the notes on the floor, question-side down, at the front of the Primary room. In advance, ask three children to represent one of the selected prophets. The week before, give them the answers to the questions about each one’s prophet to study. Have the three children stand at the front of the room, holding pictures of the prophets they represent. Have the other Primary children take turns tossing a beanbag onto the notes on the floor. When the beanbag lands on a note, the child who threw the beanbag turns the note over and asks the question written on it. The child representing the prophet answers the question or gets his or her class to help answer it. After all the questions have been answered, sing the verses of “Follow the Prophet” that apply to the prophets just learned about. You may wish to have the child representing the prophet lead the singing for that prophet’s verse.
7. Additional Friend resources: “Commandments,” Mar. 1995, pp. 12–13, 46; “Prophets ABC,” June 1995, p. 11; “John the Revelator,” Aug. 1995, p. 48; “Benjamin—Nephite Prophet-King,” Apr. 1996, p. 48; “Follow the Prophet,” Feb. 1997, pp. 24–25; “Who Am I?” June 1997, pp. 24–25; “Mormon and His Teachings,” Apr. 1997, pp. 15–19; “Follow the Prophet,” this issue, pages 46–47.