Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 5 Lesson 14 Emma Smith Selects Sacred Hymns


On the board, post the words to “Hum Your Favorite Hymn”

Have our ward music director come in and talk with the class for a few minutes about how she chooses the hymns for Sacrament Meeting each week.

Why do you think we use music in our Church meetings?
Why do we sing hymns?
Do you have hymns that you like?
What difference do you think it would make if we did not sing hymns?

Today we’re going to learn a little more about Emma Smith and the first hymnbook!

Who was Emma Smith? (show church artwork painting of her)
  • A schoolteacher from a good family
  • Tall with black hair and dark eyes
  • Her family didn’t believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and didn’t want them to marry
  • Later they became friendly to him

What was life like for Joseph and Emma?
  • She supported her husband in his calling
  • She was his scribe for a time between Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery
  • She wasn’t allowed to see the plates even though they were in her home for 2 years!
  • Joseph and Emma suffered a lot of persecutions and had to move around a lot. They also did not have a lot of money.

Open to D&C 25
This was received for his wife Emma to comfort her and help her understand how she can support him in his calling.

It also tells her to compile a hymnbook for the Saints to sing during their meetings.

It was completed in 1835 and had 90 hymns
34 of these were written by Church members about the restoration of the gospel
The rest were from other churches. Remember these Church members had been going to other churches!
There was NO music printed in it (show in our hymnbook what that means)
They would sing the words to melodies they already knew from other songs.

Which are some of hymns from that first hymnbook that we still sing today?
Redeemer of Israel, How Firm a Foundation, Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah

John Taylor story from the manual (illustrate it)

Native American story from the manual (illustrate it)

Pass a hymnbook to each person
  1. Study the layout and discuss and discover how they can find hymns in it (topics in the back, first lines, etc.)
  2. Pass out index cards that say: Find a hymn about _____________ (fill in the blank with a topic...see below for mine) and give them a few minutes.
  3. See which one they have chosen and play it on your laptop or phone
  4. Then have everyone pick a hymn they like
  5. Bring the hymnbooks to the library and everyone gets to photocopy their hymn of choice to take a copy home

Back in the classroom...
Remember how I said the early church members would sing the words with a different melody?
Here’s an example to try:
Pass out the words to How Firm a Foundation and Away in a Manger (just the words)
Sing it (words of one to the melody of the other), then switch!

  • Discuss the words on the board and what they mean
    • When we have angry or unrighteous thoughts, we can replace them with good thoughts by singing or thinking of the words to a hymn
  • Play the song with words, then play the "music only" version and sing it together

  • Use app to play and use cards from Chicken Scratch N Sniff

Really easy list of things for them to find home online!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 5 Lesson 13 The First Missionaries Preach the Gospel


On board write:
And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. - D&C 133:37

Get out dominoes
Talk about how one affects the other (set up just a few and demonstrate)
Carefully set up more in a circle and talk about how one person starts a chain reaction
  • How can we connect this with sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ? 
  • What does it mean to “share the gospel”?
  • How can we be like that first domino when we share the gospel with a friend?

LESSON (from the manual mostly)
After the Book of Mormon had been printed and the Church was organized, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ wanted everyone to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to join the Church.

Discuss scripture written on the board
  • This was given in 1831, a year after the church was organized
  • To whom does the gospel need to be preached?
  • How long do you think it would take Joseph Smith to teach everyone on earth?

Look up D&C 133:8 → “Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations…”

So let’s learn about some of the missionaries!

Who was he?
  • One of Joseph Smith’s younger brothers
  • First person baptized after Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
  • One of the six original members of the Church (remember the NY law?)
  • One of the Eight Witnesses
  • When he was 22 he became one of the first full-time traveling missionaries

The first day he walked 25 miles and stopped at many houses to teach (make an illustration for this)
He was not treated kindly! They didn’t listen to him.

The first night he stopped at an inn and tried to sell a Book of Mormon to the innkeeper. (make an illustration for this)
The innkeeper heard it was translated from gold plates and shouted, “You liar! Get out of my house!”
He was sad and discouraged, and spent the night sleeping on the ground under a tree. (make an illustration for this)

The next day he came to the house of John P Greene, a minister in another church.
He didn’t want to buy a book, but he said he would help find someone who did. (make an illustration for this)

A few weeks later, Sam returned and found no books had been sold.
But the Spirit told him to give a book to Rhoda Greene, John’s wife, and to ask her to pray to find out if it’s true. They both read the book and both believed it was! (make an illustration for this)

Sam had also given a book to Rhoda’s brother, Phineas Young. He read it and believed it was true! He gave a copy to his younger brother, Brigham Young, who also read and believed it. (make an illustration for this)

Who recognizes the name Brigham Young? (show church artwork of Brigham Young)

Brigham gave the book to Heber C Kimball. Within 2 years, all of these people and their families joined the Church, thanks to Sam Smith!

One evening, Hyrum Smith was herding his cows home and a stranger approached him and asked for Joseph Smith. He knew he had translated the Book of Mormon.

Hyrum told him that Joseph lived about 100 miles away, but that he was his brother. (make an illustration for this)
He invited the man to come inside his house.
The man’s name was Parley P Pratt and he was a preacher for another church.
He told Hyrum that he had a copy of the Book of Mormon and stayed up all night reading it! He read the whole thing in a week and knew it was true, and wanted to learn more!
Hyrum spent all night teaching Parley the gospel and bearing his testimony. (make an illustration for this)

A few days later, Parley and Hyrum walked 25 miles to have Oliver Cowdery baptize Parley. Parley then went to visit his relatives, and soon his brother Orson Pratt was baptized! (make an illustration for this)

Hyrum was not officially a missionary when he taught Parley. But we can follow his example and always be quick to share the gospel.

Start singing the Primary Song “I Want To Be a Missionary Now”
Then post words on the board
Sing it again (they’ll sing along without being prompted)

Let’s talk about how we, how YOU, can be a missionary now!

D&C 4  (open to the scriptures there)
What characteristics does a missionary need to have?
Have each line printed or written on a separate piece of paper
Post each on the board and discuss
  • Serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength
  • Desire to serve God
  • Faith, hope, charity, love, eye single to the glory of God
  • Virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, humility, diligence

Hand out printout to take home with the following list, and discuss in class:
  • Be an example of hard work.
  • Make some cookies for a friend
  • Write a letter to a missionary.
  • Smile at a new friend.
  • Play with someone new at recess.
  • Say hello to someone new.
  • Invite a friend to church.
  • Read your scriptures.
  • Invite a friend to a church activity.
  • Invite a neighbor or friend to Family Home Evening.
  • Pray for the missionaries
  • Do service for a neighbor.
  • Memorize a hymn from the Church hymnbook.
  • Attend Church meetings and listen well.
  • Attend a baptism.
  • Bear your testimony in Sacrament Meeting.
  • Share the Friend magazine with someone.


Have previously chosen a post or two (with photos) from a blog for a missionary serving from our ward. Read them interesting stories from the posts, and especially their testimony, and show the photos.

Write one card per missionary with a question or testimony of the Book of Mormon, and gratitude to them for serving! Mail these later. You could also instead write them emails in class (one email per missionary from the whole class).

Bring a card with this written at the top: “I’m going to give the Book of Mormon to someone in 2017” and have everyone sign it!

Hand it to our missionaries after class, with a treat!

Something apple related...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 5 Lesson 12 Important Ordinances Are Restored

Birds-eye view screenshot of our church building and the pathways


How is life like a maze? ← write big on the board
  • hand out chalk to each kid and tell them to write an answer underneath

  • Hand out the maze from the manual with “gate” on one side and “eternal life” on the other
  • Notice how there's only one path!
  • How is life like a maze? (We can make many different decisions and follow different paths, only one path will lead us to eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus, the path of the gospel of Jesus Christ!)
  • If the maze is life and the path is the gospel, and eternal life is after this life, what does the “gate” represent? What starts us on the path to eternal life? (Read 2 Nephi 31:17 - baptism/gate)
  • What happens after our baptism that we receive? (gift of the Holy Ghost)
  • Does this help us stay on the path? How? (protects us, guides us, etc.)
  • And what do we do each Sunday that helps us remember our baptismal covenants? (sacrament)

  • Have one hymnbook per kid from the chapel, overflow, or library.
  • Have them look up the Sacrament hymn that was sung just before (be sure to make note of this during Sacrament Meeting as it’s sometimes easy to forget!).
  • Talk about why that hymn is a Sacrament hymn
  • Look at the other hymns in the Sacrament section (show them the hymnbook and how they are listed and categorized) and discuss what baptism covenants, principals, thoughts, etc are shown in the lyrics of the various Sacrament hymns (this is a slight preview of an upcoming lesson about the hymnbook)

LESSON (6 STORIES - see below for stories!)
Have each story printed out on a separate page and give one to each kid in your class or to a pair (depending on how many are in your class). Give everyone 3+ minutes to read it and really know it and prepare to read/teach it to the class. There are discussion questions I've added that they can ask their classmates too.

  • Use printed out birds-eye view of our church building and the walkways around it (use Google Maps satellite image to recreate this), have “gate” marked as the door you’ll leave the building from, have “eternal life” marked as the door you’ll come back into the building through. Have a tree chosen on the church grounds near the end (near the eternal life door) marked as “tree of life” on the map.
  • Walk reverently around the building on the walkways as if you’re in a maze. Be sure to find the tree of life!

At home prior to class, make LEGO/marble maze...inspiration--> here at this link.
Also bring a bag of extra LEGOs (squares and rectangle shapes)

When building, have part of the maze represent: baptism, confirmation, temple endowment, temple sealing. Best way might be to have these four elements color coded on the maze in the same color LEGOs that the marble will pass through on the way to the end, or in the same shape obstacle.

In class talk about the maze with them, that it also represents what the paper maze represented, and show them what each of the four above sections represent.

Have them take turns solving the marble maze.
  • Talk about the "strait and narrow path" the marble is following to get to the end. How can we stay on the path? (praying, reading scriptures, obeying parents, going to church, listening to the holy ghost)
  • Using the extra LEGOs, talk about the obstacles that can make it harder for us to stay on the path. Add in LEGOs to stop the marble or divert it to the wrong path (depends on how you built your maze...plan this all out in your design). This LEGO could represent a way we stray from the path - talk about what that could be? (being mean, not obeying parents, not going to church, fighting with others, lying).
  • Keep adding more LEGOs for each difficult element in life/wrong choices we can make that make the path harder and cause us to leave the path.
  • Jesus is the strait and narrow path that we must follow! We can repent and do better (remove extra pieces to restore the path).

- a maze kit in a Ziploc bag with a paper plate, straws, and a bead

These stories are directly out of the manual. However for my age group of 8-year-olds, they probably could have used more summarized version as they didn't quite want to read the entire story in order to summarize it themselves. They wanted to just read the whole thing out loud. So for the younger ages I would recommend summarizing it first and then handing them that shorter version.

Joseph Smith received a revelation that said all people who wanted to join the church of Jesus Christ must repent of their sins, become humble, and be willing to serve Jesus Christ (see D&C 20:37). They could then be baptized into the Church and have their sins forgiven.
At the meeting where the Church was organized, those people who had already been baptized were confirmed as members of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. The people at the meeting also partook of the sacrament. After the meeting other people were baptized, including the Prophet’s mother and father, Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. The Prophet’s parents were very happy to be baptized, and Joseph was also filled with joy. Lucy Mack Smith wrote that when her husband came up out of the water where he was baptized, “Joseph stood upon the shore, and taking his father by the hand, he exclaimed, with tears of joy, ‘Praise to my God! that I lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ!’”

What have we learned from this story?
  • When people make righteous decisions, it can make us very happy!
  • It’s important to write down things in a journal (as Lucy Mack Smith did)
  • We need to help our families (living and passed away) come to know and believe in Christ

The Church began to grow. People listened to the teaching of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and other missionaries, and many wanted to join the Church. Some people had already been baptized into other churches, and they wondered why it was necessary to be baptized again. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 22. In this revelation the Lord explained that the people who had been baptized into other churches had not been baptized by someone with the proper priesthood authority, so they needed to be baptized again by someone who did have the authority.

What have we learned from this story?
  • We can ask Heavenly Father when we have questions
  • Priesthood authority is required for baptism
  • When someone asks us this same question, we have the answer
  • When we have a gospel question, we can ask the prophet (Thomas S Monson now)

Two months after the Church was organized, Joseph and Emma Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and others traveled to Colesville, New York, because several people from that area wanted to be baptized.
When they arrived in Colesville, they built a dam in a stream to make a pond for the baptism.
But that night a mob of their enemies tore down the dam.
The next day was Sunday, and the Saints held a meeting where Oliver Cowdery preached and other people bore their testimonies of repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Some members of the mob were at the meeting, and afterwards they insulted and bothered the Saints.

On Monday morning the Church members repaired the dam and held a baptismal service for the Prophet’s wife, Emma, and twelve other people. By the time the service was over, the mob had gathered again and threatened to harm the Saints. When the Saints went to a nearby home, the mob followed them, but Heavenly Father protected the Saints and the mob did not harm them.

What have we learned from this story?
  • Heavenly Father protects us
  • It’s important to not give us
  • Important gospel things take sacrifice and take time

A meeting was planned that evening to confirm those who had been baptized that day, but just before the meeting began, a constable (law enforcement officer) came and arrested Joseph Smith for being a “disorderly person, … setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon” (History of the Church, 1:88). The constable knew that the mob was planning to harm Joseph, so he put Joseph in a wagon and drove away from the mob. As they drove away, one of the wagon wheels came off, and they were nearly surrounded again by the mob. They quickly replaced the wheel and drove on. The constable took Joseph to another town. That night the constable slept with a loaded gun by his side, in case he needed to protect Joseph from the mob.

The next day a trial was held, but Joseph was released because there was no evidence against him. He was immediately arrested again by a different constable and put on trial in another town, but again there was no evidence, and Joseph was finally allowed to go home.

What have we learned from this story?
  • Our prophet is protected when it’s the Lord’s will
  • Joseph Smith had a lot of enemies
  • Joseph Smith was faithful and willing to be treated badly for the gospel

Meanwhile, the Saints in Colesville had been praying that Joseph would be safe and would be able to return and confirm them as members of the Church. At the end of August, Joseph and Oliver Cowdery returned with some other men to Colesville. On the way they came upon a large group of men working on the road. Some of these men were enemies of the Prophet, but although they looked closely at the Prophet and his friends, the men did not recognize any of them and allowed them to pass by. Because of this miracle, Joseph arrived safely in Colesville, and the members there were able to be confirmed and partake of the sacrament.

What have we learned from this?
  • Early members of the church had a lot of faith enough to pray for the prophet
  • The Lord can protect us even in miraculous ways

Many people who desire to be baptized face challenges. For example, sometimes people do not have the support of their families and friends. In some countries where the Church is just starting to grow, it can be difficult to find a place to baptize people.

In the Republic of Kenya, Africa, Church members had to make many preparations to hold baptisms. They brought a water tank from a neighboring country. They spent five hours pumping water from a well and carrying it to the church building, which was four miles from the well. The level of the water in the tank was not high enough to completely immerse the person being baptized, so ten people stood inside the font to raise the level of the water.

  • We should be grateful for our buildings and our baptismal fonts
  • People sacrifice many things in order to be part of the Lord’s church
  • When we have difficult problems, we can be inspired with creative solutions