Class members will appreciate the great blessing of latter-day revelation.
See that each class member has a copy of the Bible and Pearl of Great Price (check with your meetinghouse library for copies).
Prepare paper or other cups for each member of the class.
Prepare to show the picture of a beggar with a cup at the end of the lesson.
Suggested Lesson Development
How did reading the scriptures every day last week affect you? (Ask for brief responses from any who followed last week’s challenge and who would like to share their feelings.)
Spiritual Hunger Results from a Lack of Receiving God’s Word
Read Amos 8:11–12. This scripture compares the lack of revelation to a famine.
What are the results of a famine? (There is little or no food, people suffer hunger and sickness, and some die.)
How long could you live without food? (Accept varied answers.)
Have you ever been in a situation where food was not available and you were forced to go hungry for a time? (Accept varied answers.)
How did it make you feel? (Accept varied answers.)
We Must Feed Our Spirits
Read John 6:35. Explain that Jesus speaks in this scripture about spiritual food, which is as important to our spirits as bread and water are for our bodies.
A Latter-day Saint girl tells of a time when she felt hungry for spiritual food. She describes her visit to Germany as part of a high school class member exchange program. She was graciously received into the home of her host family. However, at the end of her first day, she found herself strained by her new surroundings.
“After all the day’s activities I felt very lost to be back in my strange, new bedroom alone. I let myself fall into the puffy softness of the bed. …
“Jet-lag exhaustion caught up with me and I started to cry. The more I cried, the harder I cried, because I didn’t know why I was crying. True, I was separated from my family, but I would be seeing them again in only a month. My new family treated me like a princess, yet still I felt horribly empty and I sensed something had been missed that day. As I lay there crying, feeling helpless and frustrated, I remembered: Today is Sunday. Of course. I had forgotten, but my heart had not, and it had been trying all day to get through to me. I wanted desperately to go to church, but it was far too late by then. So I closed my eyes and went through a typical Sunday at home: family prayer, journal writing, dinner together, classes, and sacrament meeting. …
“This day there had been no routine, no sacrament, and I felt painfully void without it. I knew then that I needed that time. I got to my knees and let the pillow absorb my tears as I asked Heavenly Father for the opportunity to attend an LDS church the following Sunday” (Kirsten Christensen, “A Sunday without the Sacrament,” New Era, Jan. 1986, p. 49). Kirsten’s German family did help her to find a Latter-day Saint Church by the following Sunday.
If you were to go without the blessings of the gospel for many years, or a lifetime, what would you miss the most? (Accept varied answers.)
We Share the Blessing from Joseph Smith’s Prayer
The blessings of the gospel were withheld from the earth for many years because most of the people and the leaders of various churches of the earth chose not to receive them. In the latter days, the Lord prepared a nation, the United States of America, whose government allowed the freedom necessary for the gospel to flourish. Again the Lord sent his choice gospel gifts to the people of the earth. He began by answering the prayer of a humble young farm boy in the year 1820.
Who was that boy? (Joseph Smith.)
Joseph Smith saw the spiritual hunger of his area. He felt hungry himself and was confused by the contradicting counsels given by churches of his day. They each encouraged him to seek for God in different ways. He was distressed. In one account of his life he wrote:
“Thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the situation of the world of mankind, the contentions and divisions, the wickedness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind. My mind became exceedingly distressed, for I became convinced of my sins, and by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith” (Joseph Smith, “Kirtland Letter Book,” 1829–1835, pp. 1–6, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Explain that Joseph learned through reading scriptures that God would answer his prayers if he asked in faith. He believed God’s promise and showed faith as he knelt in a grove of trees near his home and earnestly prayed to God.
Read with the class Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26.
Activity and picture
Hand each class member a paper cup or a cup of some kind. (If you use paper cups, you might attach a message such as “Fill with Spiritual Nourishment,” and allow class members to take the cups home.) Show the picture of a beggar with a cup.
Explain to the class members that in many parts of the world a cup is held out by hungry people to beg for money for food.
Suppose you are a person who knows nothing about the gospel of Jesus Christ and you are hungry for spiritual food. If Joseph Smith were to tell you about his prayer and the appearance of the Father and the Son, what items of spiritual food might then be in your “cup”? (List answers on the chalkboard. They might include such things as: Assurance that God lives. Assurance that God cares about us. Assurance that our prayers may be answered. An understanding that God is our Father and we are made in his image.)
Testimony and Challenge
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have been richly blessed with many spiritual gifts and with abundant food for our spiritual growth.
Others whom we know or meet may be hungry for these gifts. Certainly the Lord is pleased when we share what he has given us with those who have less, who are indeed hungry from lack of spiritual food.
Challenge the class to strengthen their testimonies of the restoration of the gospel by reading and praying about Joseph Smith’s testimony in the Pearl of Great Price (see Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26). Challenge them to be prepared to share this testimony with others when the opportunity seems right.
Assure the class that you know God hears and will answer their prayers and that he will direct them as they seek to share the gospel.