What things do you think you’ll remember from Primary after you leave it? A favorite song? A special scripture story? My Gospel Standards?
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that he was required to know the names of all the Apostles who were serving at the time he was in Primary, as well as all the articles of faith. But when he tried to remember them as an adult, “I discovered I could still name the Twelve Apostles that existed at that time … [but] after the first five articles of faith, I had trouble remembering their order and their full content.”
So Elder Perry again studied the Articles of Faith, and as he did, he had “a deep conviction … that they were given by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
The Prophet Joseph wrote the Articles of Faith in answer to a question by John Wentworth, a newspaper editor. The Prophet wrote about many things that had happened when the gospel was restored. He told about the First Vision and translating the Book of Mormon. Then he wrote 13 statements that explained Latter-day Saints’ beliefs.
Elder Perry promises: “If you will use them as a guide to direct your studies of the Savior’s doctrine, you will find yourselves prepared to declare your witness of the restored, true church of the Lord. You will be able to declare with conviction: ‘We believe these things.’” (See Ensign, May 1998, pages 22–24.)
Mount page 47 on heavy paper. Cut out each card. Use the cards to memorize each article of faith. Then play a matching game with all of the cards by placing them facedown on a flat surface. Take turns turning over two cards to try to make a match.
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
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.
We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook (CS) unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit; TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call)
1. To help the children learn about the blessings of the Restoration, review some of the events recounted in Joseph Smith—History. Invite four people dressed in simple costumes to come prepared as Joseph Smith’s friends or family members and tell about an event as if Joseph had told them, using parts of the scripture as appropriate. Divide the children into four groups and, using stations (TNGC, p. 179), have the groups rotate and listen to each visitor testify about the truths that were revealed because of this event: The First Vision / JS—H 1:14–17; the need for the Restoration / JS—H 1:18–19; receiving and translating the Book of Mormon / JS—H 1:59–60; the restoration of the priesthood / JS—H 1:68–72. Sing songs about the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, and the priesthood.
2. To help the children understand the blessing of having the priesthood of God restored to the earth, have them locate and read aloud together 1 Pet. 2:9. Discuss the blessings and obligations that come from being a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.”
Place these wordstrips in a container: Blessing a baby, Baptism, Confirmation, Blessing the sacrament, Giving a healing blessing, A new teacher being set apart, A family in front of the temple, Dedication of a building, Missionaries, A bishop, and The prophet.
Have one or two children choose a wordstrip and then draw the scene on the chalkboard while the rest of the Primary guesses what blessing from the priesthood is being drawn. (This activity could be done in teams.) Discuss how the priesthood is used in that instance. Have the children tell what they can do to honor the priesthood holder. Sing an appropriate song. Repeat until all the wordstrips have been used.
3. Play a game to review A of F 1:1, 5, 8, and 9, which deal with principles of the Restoration. Give each child a pencil and a piece of paper that has been sectioned into five rows and five columns. Prior to sharing time, write the following 30 terms on the chalkboard and on separate pieces of paper and place them in a container: God, Eternal, Father, Son, Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, man, prophecy, laying, hands, authority, preach, gospel, administer, ordinances, thereof, Bible, word, translated, correctly, Book of Mormon, revealed, now, yet, many, great, important, things, pertaining, kingdom.
Have the children write “We believe” in the center space of their cards. Read the above articles of faith aloud while pointing to the important words listed on the chalkboard. Have the children choose 24 of them and write them in random order in the remaining spaces on their cards.
Give each child small pieces of paper or other items, such as beans or buttons, to use as markers and put one in the “We believe” space, and other markers on the words as they are said. Have the children take turns choosing and reading a word from the container. When a child has markers covering five spaces in a row, he or she raises his or her hand and says, “I believe.” Invite the child to stand and repeat any article of faith.
Between games, sing songs such as “The First Article of Faith” (p. 122), “The Fifth Article of Faith” (p. 125), “The Ninth Article of Faith” (p. 128), “The Sacred Grove” (p. 87), “The Priesthood Is Restored” (p. 89), “On a Golden Springtime” (p. 88), “Book of Mormon Stories” (pp. 118–119).
Encourage the children to take their card home to share with their family as an idea for a family home evening activity.
4. Help the children increase their testimonies about the Book of Mormon by having them learn information found on the title page. Ask questions such as “Whose hand wrote this account?” “Where were the plates taken?” “Who translated this account?” Then have a child read the answer as it is written on the title page.
Bear your testimony about Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon from plates given to him by the Angel Moroni. Share an appropriate experience about the power of the Book of Mormon. Sing “Book of Mormon Stories” (pp. 118–119).
Review some Book of Mormon stories by handing out these GAK pictures to different children: Lehi—301; Nephi—303; Enos—305; Abinadi—308; Alma—309; King Benjamin—307; Alma the Younger—321; Ammon—310; Captain Moroni—312; Helaman—313; Samuel the Lamanite—314; Jesus Blesses the Nephite Children—322; Mormon—306; Moroni—320; Joseph Smith Receives the Gold Plates—406.
Make a time line around the perimeter of the room by attaching these dates to the walls: 600 B.C.; 591 B.C.; 544–421 B.C.; 160–150 B.C.; 148–147 B.C.; 130 B.C.; 100–92 B.C.; 90 B.C.; 73 B.C.; 64 B.C.; 6 B.C.; A.D. 34; A.D. 385; A.D. 400–421; A.D. 1823. Make up a second set of dates on separate pieces of paper and place them in a container.
With the children, review how to locate scriptures in the Book of Mormon, and teach them how to find the approximate dates of events, located at the bottom of the pages. Use a chalkboard to explain how dates are written with Christ’s birth at the midpoint of B.C. and A.D. dates.
Allow the children time to locate the first Book of Mormon reference listed on the backs of their GAK pictures and the approximate dates on the bottoms of the pages. (Note: the date for Joseph Smith receiving the plates is found in JS—H 1:27.)
Have a child take a date from the container. Have the children with the corresponding picture place it below the time-line date, then briefly tell the story and how Heavenly Father blessed the people in the picture.
Sing songs about some of these events, such as “Nephi’s Courage” (pp. 120–121), “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (pp. 172–173), “Easter Hosanna” (pp. 68–69), “An Angel Came to Joseph Smith” (p. 86).
For younger children: Place the time line around the room as explained above, leaving a space between 6 B.C. and A.D. 34. Have the children sit in a circle. Place the GAK pictures listed above in the middle of the circle, along with GAK 200 (The Birth of Jesus). Pick up the picture of Lehi. Ask questions such as the following to have the children help tell the story: “Who is in the picture?” “What do you think is happening?” “Why are they leaving?” “Where are they going?” Have a child place the picture under the 600 B.C. date. Sing “Book of Mormon Stories” (pp. 118–119). Repeat the process for the rest of the dates, placing the picture of the birth of Jesus Christ between the B.C. and A.D. dates.
5. Help the children understand the importance of making and keeping covenants. Before Primary, on separate slips of paper, write questions such as these about the covenants children make at baptism, at confirmation, and when they take the sacrament: “Who baptized Jesus?” “At what age can you be baptized?” “What promises do you make when you take the sacrament?” Place the slips in a container.
Locate pictures about baptism, confirmation, and the sacrament, such as these in the GAK: John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus, 208; Alma Baptizes in the Waters of Mormon, 309; Baptism, 601; The Gift of the Holy Ghost, 602; The Last Supper, 225; Blessing the Sacrament, 603; Passing the Sacrament, 604.
Have the music leader make a list of possible songs to sing about these covenants and ordinances.
Draw a simple game board on the chalkboard (see TNGC, pp. 169–170) with a picture of the Savior at the finish and a paper doll cutout as the marker.
Introduce the game by having the children read aloud D&C 136:4. Discuss what it means to “walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.” Tell them that the object of the game is to help the marker “walk” in the ordinances by their taking turns to answer a question, guess the picture, or name the song. If the child chooses to answer a question, he draws a question from the container and advances the marker if the question is answered correctly.
If the child chooses to guess the picture, he faces the Primary. The other children are shown the picture; then the child asks up to 10 questions that can be answered yes or no to gain information to help him guess what the picture is of. He advances the marker if he guesses correctly.
If the child chooses to name the song, he or she guesses it from notes played on the piano. The number of notes played is 13 minus the child’s age. If the child guesses correctly, he advances the marker, and everyone sings the song.
Have the children continue to take turns until the marker reaches the finish. Discuss some of the blessings they can receive because of their obedience to commandments and keeping their covenants.
For a class presentation: Have the class members help prepare the above game by having them write questions, locate pictures from the meetinghouse library, and choose appropriate songs to sing. Additionally, have each class member find out more about the pictures that have been chosen. Have them look up the scriptures referred to on the back of each GAK picture. During the game, after a picture has been shown and guessed, have a class member retell the story and share a scripture.
6. Song presentation: Explain that each verse of “On a Golden Springtime” (p. 88) tells a story. Display a simple line drawing of a seed beginning to sprout with a sun shining down.
Have the children listen as you sing the first half of the first verse, then find the picture sung about and point out the things described in the song. Sing that line of the song (e.g., “A tiny seedling lay asleep”). Have the children sing it with you; repeat for other elements they locate in the drawing.
Sing the first half of the first verse again, stopping after phrases, and have the children sing the phrases with you, then sing the first half of the first verse all the way through.
Sing the second half of the first verse (from “Awake, awake”) and have the children listen for words that rhyme with “light.” As the words are mentioned, re-sing those phrases and have the children sing them with you. Point out that the music supports the words. “Awake” is written as you would speak the word, with the second syllable note sung higher than the first. The notes for “upward to the light” also go upward. Sing the second half of the first verse all the way through with the children. Then sing the first verse all the way through.
Teach the second and third verses in a similar manner, using GAK pictures 233, Mary and the Resurrected Lord, and 403, The First Vision.
To repeat the songs, you may want to use visual aids such as a seed growing taller (see “Make a String Picture,” Friend, March 1982, p. 45).
7. Additional Friend resources: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Was Organized,” Apr. 2001, pp. 24–25; “A Sacred Promise,” Mar. 2000, pp. 12–14; “I Can Keep My Covenant,” Aug. 1999, pp. 44–46; “Priesthood Blessings,” June 1995, pp. 36–37; “I Feel Reverent When I Read the Scriptures,” Apr. 1992, pp. 12–13, 46. Ensign resources: “A Testimony of the Book of Mormon,” Nov. 1999, pp. 69–71; “The Articles of Faith,” May 1998, pp. 22–24.