After Jesus died, a great Apostle named Paul wrote to members of the Church about how we can be an example of the believers, or a better follower of the Savior. When we do what the Apostle Paul taught, we honor the Savior and His name and we are an example for other people of the Savior’s teachings. Paul wrote, “Let no man despise [look down on] thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).
President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that when Paul says to be an example “in word,” he “is speaking here of language. … He is saying that coarse and lewd [wicked] words are incompatible with [against] one’s calling as a believer in Christ” (“Take Not the Name of God in Vain,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 47). He said that we should use the name of Heavenly Father reverently.
In addition to using clean speech, there are other ways to show we are believers in Christ. In 1878, Aurelia Spencer Rogers suggested that children meet together weekly to learn about the Savior and about how to be good examples of believers. President John Taylor, then President of the Church, approved this idea, and the first Primary was organized.
Now, 125 years later, Sister Coleen K. Menlove, Primary general president, encourages children to “live the gospel, and receive … a testimony” (“A Testimony Makes Me Feel Happy Inside,” Primary open house, Apr. 2002, 8).
When you follow the Savior, choose the right, and avoid using bad language, you are an example of the believers.
Mount page 46 on heavy paper. Cut out the two circles and the window in the “I Can Learn” circle.
In the blank space on the circle with pictures, draw a picture of yourself and write something underneath it that you wish to learn in Primary about being a better example of a believer.
Line up the centers of the circles, punch a hole through both circles, and insert a fastener (see illustration).
Move the “I Can Learn” circle to read some of the things you can learn in Primary.
I Can Learn …
President Gordon B. Hinckley
“[that] safety and strength are found in holding close to the Church.”1
The Apostle Paul
“[to] be … an example of the believers.”2
President John Taylor, Third President of the Church
“to call upon the Lord in [my] secret places.”3
Coleen K. Menlove, Primary general president
“to live the gospel, and receive … a testimony.”4
Aurelia Spencer Rogers, president of the first Primary
“everything good and how to behave.”5
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit; TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call)
1. Review D&C 107:4 to help the children understand how names are substituted in the scriptures to show reverence for Deity and to explain different aspects of the Savior’s work and mission. On the chalkboard, write these references: Job 19:25 (“redeemer”), Isa. 9:6 (“Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”), Luke 2:11 (“Saviour,” “Christ the Lord”), John 1:29 (“Lamb of God”), John 1:49 (“King of Israel”), John 10:14 (“good shepherd”), Rev. 1:8 (“Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” “Lord,” “Almighty”). Have the children locate and write the names of Deity on the chalkboard by the reference. Discuss what it means to not take the Lord’s name in vain. Help the children memorize Ex. 20:7. Divide them into groups; write the scripture on a piece of paper for each group and cut the words apart. Have the children in each group work together to assemble the scripture. Express your love for the Lord and your desire to honor Him by using His name reverently.
2. Help the children understand that one way we honor Jesus Christ is to think about Him while the sacrament is being passed. Display items and pictures and have the children tell what gospel principles the items or pictures remind them of. For example: a tithing envelope (paying tithing), the number 8 (baptism), a set of scriptures (scripture study), a calendar with the first Sunday circled (fasting), and a picture of a temple (temple worship). Use Luke 22:19–20; D&C 20:77, 79; and a picture of the Last Supper to discuss the events of the Last Supper. What do the bread and water of the sacrament help us remember? (The Savior’s sacrifice of His flesh and blood.) What do we promise? (To take upon us His name, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments.) What does He promise us? (His Spirit as we choose the right.) Discuss ways we can focus our thoughts on the Savior during the sacrament. Take the children to visit the area where the sacrament is prepared and blessed, and invite young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to explain the importance of preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament. Sing songs or hymns about the Savior and the sacrament.
3. With the approval of the bishop or branch president, invite parents and ward or branch members to honor the Primary in celebration of Primary’s 125th anniversary. Ask the visitors to share an experience from Primary, such as a favorite song, an activity they remember, differences in Primary from when they attended, their baptism, a gospel principle they learned in Primary, and so on. Have them wait outside the room and enter when the children guess who they are. Give clues such as “This person is the most recent graduate of our Primary,” “This person was Primary president for seven years,” “This person graduated from Primary in 1950,” “This person visits us and gives us a message each month.”
Have the visitors share their experiences, and then have the children sing the visitors’ favorite Primary songs. Sing a welcome song to them. Have the children share some of their own Primary experiences.
Have the children help decorate a container for a time capsule to be opened in 25 years on the Primary’s 150th anniversary. Have the children draw a picture or write something they can do to follow the Savior, then write their full names and ages on the papers and place them in the container. If possible, include a photograph of the children, leaders, and teachers and present the container to the bishop or branch president.
Express your love for Primary and the Primary children, and the gratitude you feel for what you have learned and taught in Primary. Challenge the children to always choose the right.
Class presentation: Assign class members to interview ward or branch members who have served missions or lived in countries around the world. Have the class learn what Primary is like in different parts of the world. They could discover how large the Primaries are, what the meeting facilities are like, what kinds of activities are enjoyed, favorite Primary songs, how far the children travel to get to church and what kinds of transportation they use, and so on. Have the class report their findings in sharing time. Then have them sing “Holding Hands Around the World” (Friend, July 2002, 44–45) and teach it to the rest of the children. Give each child a plain paper doll with hands outstretched. Have the children color them to represent children all over the world. Have them write on the backs of their dolls something they can do to follow the Savior or some way they can help the Church grow where they live. Display the dolls on a wall for the rest of the ward or branch to see.
4. Display GAK 208 (“John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus”) and have the children help retell the events of the Savior’s baptism. Sing “Baptism” (pp. 100–101).
On wordstrips, write categories about things related to baptism, such as THINGS FOUND AT A BAPTISM, PEOPLE FROM THE SCRIPTURES WHO WERE BAPTIZED, ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH, THINGS I PROMISE WHEN I AM BAPTIZED, REASONS TO BE BAPTIZED, WAYS I CAN HONOR MY BAPTISMAL COVENANT.
Divide the children into groups. Display one of the category papers and have a child in the first group give one example that fits the category. For example, for THINGS FOUND AT A BAPTISM, items might be an eight-year-old child, the parents, the missionaries, white clothing, water, a font, the bishop or branch president, witnesses, speakers, and music. Have each group suggest one thing for the category. If a group is unable to give an answer, it drops out of the game until the next category. Have the remaining groups continue until there is one group left. Repeat the process with the remaining categories.
Sing “When I Am Baptized” (p. 103). Bear testimony of the blessings received at baptism, and express gratitude for your membership in the Church.
5. Song presentation: To teach “Choose the Right Way” (pp. 160–61), use an object small enough to hide in your hand to illustrate a teaching of Jesus Christ—for example: a coin (tithing), mustard seed (faith), rock (wise man). Discuss the teaching and how the children will be happy as they follow the Savior’s teachings.
Have all the children line up against the wall at the back of the room. Place a picture of the Savior on the front wall. As the children learn the song, they advance toward the picture. (For larger Primaries, have all the children move markers, such as a button or a bean, from the bottom to the top of a lined piece of paper, rather than physically move to the front of the room.)
Have the children listen as you sing the first phrase; then they sing it with you. Next they sing it by themselves. If they do it correctly twice in a row, they all advance one step; if not, repeat the process. Do this with the remaining phrases until the entire song is learned and the children have reached the front wall (or the tops of their papers). When they have returned to their chairs, bear testimony that every time they make a right choice in their lives—such as when they choose to do the right and learn the song—they move closer to the Savior.
6. Other Friend resources: Sharing Times—July 2002, 12–14; Aug. 1999, 44–46; May 1997, 12–13; Aug./Sep. 1983, 34–35. “Achievement-Day Mystery Activity,” Apr. 2001, 2–4; “Respect His Name,” Jan. 2000, 48–IBC; “Aurelia,” July 2001, 7.