“The Lord needs valiant servants, To do his work in the latter day” (“I Will Be Valiant,” Children’s Songbook, 162; The Friend, September 1996, 5). Do you know what it means to be valiant? It means to be brave and courageous in doing what’s right, even in the face of danger.
Joseph Smith was a valiant servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was brave and courageous in standing for right. One time, the Prophet Joseph and several other brethren were taken from their families and put in jail. They were chained together and had to sleep on the cold prison floor.
During one of the long, cold nights of their imprisonment, Joseph and his friends were unable to sleep. For hours the guards had been boasting loudly about the horrible things they had done to Latter-day Saints. They bragged about robbing, shooting, and killing men, women, and even little children.
Suddenly Joseph, unarmed and in chains, stood up and spoke in a voice like thunder: “SILENCE, ye fiends [devils] of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and bear such language. Cease [stop] such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt , 180).
The guards shook, and some dropped their weapons. Some of the guards begged Joseph’s pardon. All of them remained quiet until a change of guards.
You can develop courage to choose the right, even when others around you choose differently. As you make righteous choices day by day in little things, the Lord will strengthen you and help you choose the right at difficult times.
Color the picture on page 5 and fill in the blanks. Mount the picture on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard and hang it in your room. Each time you look at the picture, remember how valiant the Prophet Joseph Smith was; then try to be valiant, too, by choosing the right.
Sing “I Will Be Valiant” (Children’s Songbook, 162; The Friend, September 1996, 5). Ask the children to explain what it means to be valiant. Tell them about early members of the Church who valiantly faced terrible persecution because of their beliefs.
Sing “Dare to Do Right” (Children’s Songbook, 158; Sing with Me, B–81). Have each class write down three or four situations that would require a Church member to “dare to do right.” Place these situations in a container. Read each situation; then ask one of the children to explain how he or she would choose the right in that situation.
Explain that it is important for the children to keep the commandments, even when others around them are not. Help the children understand what it means to endure to the end. Read and discuss “The Peanut Race” (see pages 10–12 of this issue).
Invite an adult member of the ward/branch to portray the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ask him to explain how the Prophet changed as he learned to trust in the Lord. Have him discuss the loss of the 116 pages that were given to Martin Harris (see D&C 3:7–8). Also have him tell about Joseph’s rebuking the guards during his imprisonment (see Our Heritage , 49–51). Ask him to discuss how the children will grow to trust the Lord as they keep His commandments.