To help the children understand the principle of repentance and why it is important in their lives.
Use the chart “Becoming a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ” prepared in lesson 7, with the wordstrip “Faith in Jesus Christ” in place. Also have the wordstrip “Repentance” ready to use during this lesson. (It may be well to prepare to review the fourth article of faith with the children and help those children who can to memorize all or part of it as you discuss the principles during the lesson.)
Prepare the following wordstrips (keep them so you can use them again in lesson 22):
Right the wrong
Don’t repeat the wrong
Prepare to help the children sing or say the words to the second verse of the song
“Help Me, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, p. 99); the words are included at the back of this manual.
Remember that children under the age of eight are not accountable; none of the children should be made to feel guilty.
Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities that you will be using.
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.
We Should Repent When We Make Wrong Choices
Show a bandage to the children.
Have any of you ever had a cut?
How did it feel?
What should we do when we get a cut? (Clean and bandage it.)
Why should we clean and bandage a cut? (To help it heal faster.)
When we do something wrong, it is like having a cut. It hurts inside and makes us sad because we know we have done wrong. Repentance can help us when we have made a mistake. It is a way of cleaning and healing a spiritual hurt.
Post the wordstrip “Repentance.”
Tell in your own words the following story:
Ricardo was at the store to get some thread for his mother. He saw some candy for sale on the counter. He wanted some but did not have enough money. While the storekeeper went to find the thread, Ricardo put some candy in his pocket. When the storekeeper returned, Ricardo paid for the thread. He ate the candy on his way home. Later Ricardo began thinking about something his parents had taught him.
Have an older child read Exodus 20:15 or read it aloud yourself.
How do you think Ricardo felt? (Unhappy.)
What has Ricardo done wrong? (He stole some candy.)
What can Ricardo do to get rid of this unhappy feeling? (Repent.)
Have a child post the wordstrip “Feel sorry” under the wordstrip “Repentance.”
Explain that when we realize that we have done something wrong, we should admit that we’ve done wrong and feel sorry that we did it. This feeling is Heavenly Father’s way of helping us to know we have done something wrong.
Of whom does Ricardo need to ask forgiveness? (Heavenly Father and the storekeeper.)
Point out that when we repent of our wrong choices, we must ask our Heavenly Father and the person we have wronged to forgive us. We need to admit that we have made a wrong choice and then ask to be forgiven for what we have done.
How do we ask Heavenly Father to forgive us? (We ask in prayer.)
Explain that the third thing Ricardo has to do is to try to right the wrong. Have another child post the wordstrip “Right the wrong” beneath the other wordstrips. Help them understand that we need to try to correct any problems we have caused because of our wrong choice. Sometimes we cannot correct the problems (such as replacing something that we ruined), but we need to do the best we can.
How could Ricardo make right his wrong? (Return to the store and pay for the candy or do some work for the storekeeper without pay.)
Remind the class that another thing Ricardo must do is to decide not to make that wrong choice again. Have another child post the wordstrip “Don’t repeat the wrong” beneath the other wordstrips. Conclude that Ricardo has to decide never to make that wrong choice again. He will know he has truly repented if he feels sorry for doing wrong and is willing to admit it, asks to be forgiven, tries to right the wrong, and decides never to make that wrong choice again. As you say each step of repentance, point to the appropriate wordstrip.
Sing or say the words to the second verse of the song “Help Me, Dear Father.”
Repentance Is a Step in Becoming a Member of the True Church
Chart and discussion
Explain that Jesus Christ wants us to know how to repent so that when we become members of his Church, we can repent of our mistakes.
Display the chart “Becoming a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ” from lesson 7.
Remind the class that in a previous lesson they learned about one step in becoming a member of the true Church. That step is faith in Jesus Christ. Remove the wordstrip “Repentance” from the display area and place it on the chart above the wordstrip “Faith in Jesus Christ.”
Have the children say aloud these two steps that are necessary to become members of the true Church—faith and repentance.
Explain that after we are baptized we should repent throughout our lives whenever we make a wrong choice. The Savior promised us that whenever we truly repent, he will forgive us and he will remember our sins no more.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 58:42 to the children.
What is the great promise that Jesus gives to us if we repent?
Explain that repentance should be an important part of our lives. After we reach eight years old, we are responsible for the choices we make. Jesus knows we will not always make the right choices. He loves us and has given us a way to overcome our wrong choices. He has told us that we must repent so we can return to live with him and Heavenly Father.
Read aloud or have an older child read the first sentence of 3 Nephi 9:22.
Explain that repentance is a very important blessing that can help us prepare to live with Heavenly Father again. Also, explain that even after we have done all we can to correct our wrongs, Heavenly Father will forgive us only because of the atonement of Jesus Christ (see 2 Nephi 25:23).
Bear testimony of the principle of repentance, and invite the children to ask their parents to explain repentance to them again at home. Express your gratitude that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have made it possible to correct our mistakes so that we can enjoy life here on earth and eventually return to live with them forever.
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.
Choose from the following activities those that will work best for your children. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”
Prepare the following sheet for each child. Have the children write the four steps used in repentance. For younger children, draw circles for the two faces and have the children draw the faces in the circles themselves. Suggest that the children place this paper in their homes where they can easily see it to remind them how to repent and change their sad feelings to happy feelings.
Have the children act out feeling sorry and asking someone for forgiveness for some wrong they have done. Emphasize that sincerity is important when asking for forgiveness. This sincerity often shows in their tone of voice. Demonstrate for them how to ask for forgiveness both insincerely and sincerely, and have them practice asking with the right tone of voice and posture.
In your own words, tell the story of the repentance of Alma the Younger and the four sons of Mosiah (see Mosiah 27). As you tell the story, refer to each step of repentance.