Monday, October 25, 2010

Scripture Study

If you haven't figured out by now that I'm a Primary teacher... well, I am.  My husband and I team teach 5 cute little nine year-olds, the babies of Senior Primary.  Yesterday's lesson was on studying the scriptures, and guess what today's lesson is on... (I love multi-tasking)!

Prep:  Sugar cookies. 

Lesson:  Start off by playing a game of Telephone.  Whisper something into one person's ear.  Have them pass it on until everyone has been told the secret.  Have the last person repeat it aloud.  Was it the same as what you whispered in the beginning?  Now ask your family if they remember what things you learned about in FHE at the beginning of the year.  Or the beginning of the summer.  Or the beginning of the school year.  It's hard to remember things we learned a long time ago.  That's why repetition is important. 

We talked about King Josiah and the Prophet Ezra in Primary.  You could relay these stories again from 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 23-24.  Or talk about when Lehi sent Nephi, Laman, Lemuel and Sam to get the brass plates from Laban.  Why was it so important for them to have the scriptures that they needed to go back and get them?  Not only did it have their ancestral history, but God's words.  It's important to have them written down so they don't get changed and altered through verbal repetition.  It's important for us to regularly and diligently study the scriptures so that we can remember things we have learned in the past.

Activity:  Play a game of charades, acting out each action until they are correctly guessed.
1)  Eating breakfast
2)  Planting and watering a garden
3)  Filling your car with gas
4)  Changing the batteries in something
5:  Reading the scriptures
Ask your family what each of these has in common.  Just as with many other things in our lives, we need to spiritually refuel ourselves.  Reading the scriptures is an excellent way to do this.  You may want to set a goal to read your scriptures together as a family for the remainder of the week.  At next week's FHE, discuss how well you did.  Another option is to begin a journal jar.  See this post for those instructions and the things you will need to do that.

Treat:  Sugar cookies cut into rectangle shapes and decorated like the scriptures. 
Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, whether it's great-great grandma's or Pillsbury's, cookie cutter out rectangle shapes.  Or roll out the dough and cut it with a knife.  Bake according to the directions.  Frost the cookies with icing  (store bought icing works just fine) that you tint black (or red or green or blue or brown...).  Use yellow icing to write "Book of Mormon"  and "Holy Bible" on them.

You could also turn some of the rectangles horizontal and frost them white.  Use some black icing to draw scribbles on the pages and a line down the middle of the book.  Get creative!  Enjoy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Family History

The most obvious and probably one of the easiest Family History activities is to make a family history chart. Yes, it is a lot easier for me to say that than it is to actually do it. But this will definitely get you started.

Things You'll Need:
A copy of "My Family History" for each member of your family  (Printable Below)
Colored Pencils or Crayons to color your trees with
General Knowledge of your ancestors back 3 generations

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, Page 94 - Family History, I Am Doing It

If you know any stories from your grandparent's childhoods, tell them to your children. If not, tell them stories from your childhood. Let your children tell of some of their favorite family memories, even if it just happened yesterday.

Give each family member a copy of "My Family History". Help each person fill out their chart with information relevant to them. Your kids' will pretty much all be the same, except for their names. Mom's (and Dad's) will be different though. Talk about the differences, what generations are and how families are joined through marriage.

Treat Ideas:
Homemade Cookies, Caramel Popcorn, another one of your family's favorite desserts, or a special family recipe you enjoy.

Click on the images to make them full size. You can print them from there. There is a page for girls and one for boys.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baptism for the Dead

This week we're gonna talk about Baptism.  For the Dead.  It's a very unique practice.  Here's the basics.


Lesson:  Begin by briefly discussing baptism for the living.  Why are we baptized?  Who performs baptisms?  What covenants are made?  Now explain that when your children turn 12 they have the opportunity to go to the temple and perform baptisms for the dead.  Read this New Era article together. (Pasted Below for convenience.)

D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Do We Baptize for the Dead?,” New Era, Mar 2009, 2–5
From an October 2000 general conference address.
Christian theologians have long wrestled with the question, What is the destiny of the billions who have lived and died with no knowledge of Jesus? With the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has come the understanding of how the unbaptized dead are redeemed and how God can be “a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also” (Alma 42:15).
While yet in life, Jesus prophesied that He would also preach to the dead. Peter tells us this happened in the interval between the Savior’s Crucifixion and Resurrection (see 1 Peter 3:18–19). President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) witnessed in vision that the Savior visited the spirit world and “from among the righteous [spirits], he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness. …
“These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, [and] the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands” (D&C 138:30, 33).
The doctrine that the living can provide baptism and other essential ordinances to the dead vicariously was revealed anew to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 124; 128; 132). He learned that the spirits awaiting resurrection are offered not only individual salvation but they can be bound in heaven as husband and wife and be sealed to their fathers and mothers of all generations past and have sealed to them their children of all generations future. The Lord instructed the Prophet that these sacred rites are appropriately performed only in a house built to His name, a temple (see D&C 124:29–36).
The principle of vicarious service should not seem strange to any Christian. In the baptism of a living person, the officiator acts, by proxy, in place of the Savior. And is it not the central tenet of our faith that Christ’s sacrifice atones for our sins by vicariously satisfying the demands of justice for us? As President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) expressed: “I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know. It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind. What a glorious principle.”1
Some have misunderstood and suppose that deceased souls “are being baptized into the Mormon faith without their knowledge.”2 They assume that we somehow have power to force a soul in matters of faith. Of course, we do not. God gave man his agency from the beginning. The Church does not list them on its rolls or count them in its membership.
Our anxiety to redeem the dead and the time and resources we put behind that commitment are, above all, an expression of our witness concerning Jesus Christ. It constitutes as powerful a statement as we can make concerning His divine character and mission. It testifies, first, of Christ’s Resurrection; second, of the infinite reach of His Atonement; third, that He is the sole source of salvation; fourth, that He has established the conditions for salvation; and, fifth, that He will come again.

The Power of Christ’s Resurrection

As regards the Resurrection, Paul asked, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). We are baptized for the dead because we know that they will rise. “The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame” (Alma 40:23). “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:9).
It matters tremendously what we do in relation to those who have gone before, because they live today as spirits and shall live again as immortal souls, and that because of Jesus Christ. We believe His words when He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). By the baptisms we perform in behalf of the dead, we testify that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. …
“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 25–26).

Jesus Christ, the Sole Source of Salvation

Our anxiety to ensure that our kindred dead are offered baptism in Jesus’s name is testament to the fact that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” and that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Him]” (John 14:6). Some contemporary Christians, concerned for the many who have died without a knowledge of Jesus Christ, have begun to wonder if there truly is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). To believe that Jesus is the only Savior, they say, is arrogant, narrow-minded, and intolerant. We say, however, that this is a false dilemma. There is no injustice in there being but One through whom salvation may come, when that One and His salvation are offered to every soul, without exception.

Conditions of Salvation Set by Christ

Because we believe that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, we also accept His authority to establish the conditions by which we may receive His grace. Otherwise we would not concern ourselves with being baptized for the dead.
Jesus confirmed that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:14). Specifically, He said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means we must “repent, and be baptized every one … in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and … receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
Notwithstanding He was sinless, Jesus Christ Himself was baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He said, “He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do” (2 Nephi 31:12).
There are no exceptions granted; none are needed. As many as will believe and be baptized—including by proxy—and endure in faith, shall be saved, “not only those who believed after [Christ] came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came” (D&C 20:26). It is for this reason that the gospel is preached “also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Peter 4:6).

Freeing the Dead from Prison

The vicarious ordinances we perform in temples, beginning with baptism, make possible an eternal welding link between generations that fulfills the purpose of the earth’s creation. Indeed, without these ordinances, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at [Christ’s] coming” (D&C 2:3).
In the scriptures, the spirits of the dead are sometimes referred to as being in darkness or in prison (see Isaiah 24:22; 1 Peter 3:19; Alma 40:12–13; D&C 38:5). Contemplating God’s glorious plan for the redemption of these, His children, the Prophet Joseph Smith penned this psalm: “Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free” (D&C 128:22).
Our charge extends as far and as deep as the love of God to encompass His children of every time and place. Our efforts on behalf of the dead bear eloquent witness that Jesus Christ is the divine Redeemer of all mankind. His grace and promises reach even those who in life do not find Him. Because of Him, the prisoners shall indeed go free.

Briefly discuss what you have read.  Answer any questions your family may have.  If you don't know, say so, do some research and then get back to your family with your findings.  What a great way to all learn together!

Activity:  Choose 2 family members to participate in this demonstration.  Place a set of scriptures on a table (or the floor) on one side of the room and a chair on the other side of the room.  Give one of your volunteers instructions to sit in the chair.  Then tell them to look up and read out loud one of the following scripture verses:  D&C 124:93 or 1 Peter 4:6.  However, there is a stipulation.  They must not move the chair.  Unless they have these verses memorized, they won't be able to recite it.  Now tell them that your other volunteer may help them.  But the scriptures are not to be moved and the chair must remain in it's spot.  If they can't come to the conclusion to have your second volunteer read aloud the scripture and your first volunteer to repeat it, prod them in this direction.  After the exercise is complete, compare how the spirits in spirit prison don't have the ability to perform their own baptism, as it is an earthly ordinance.  They need our help to complete this essential step.  They need us to physically perform it so they can spiritually accept it. 

Treat:  Tombstone Cupcakes (Recipe HERE)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Keep Following the Prophet

Did you get to listen to Conference this past weekend?  Wasn't it so good?  But, then aren't they always?  Did you hear Elder Costa's talk on The Principles of a Prophet quoted from Pres Ezra Taft Benson?  Did you catch it being repeated again in Elder Duncan's Talk?  Most be important, right?  Guess what this week's FHE is on?  No, it's not the art of asking questions... lol. 

Song: Follow the Prophet, Children's Songbook pg

Lesson:  It's the challenge that was given to discuss the last six principles and to find evidence of it in our lives today.  Discuss these statements and try to find evidence of it in recent events ("recent" may date back several decades...). 

1.  The Prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
2.  The Prophet may be involved with civic matters.
3.  The two groups that will have the greatest difficulty in following the Prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
4.  The Prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or worldly.
5.  The Prophet and his councilors make up the First Presidency, which in the highest quorum.
6.  Follow the living prophet and First Presidency and you will be blessed.

Activity:  Pick a handful of revelations and commandments that we have been given from our prophets recently.  For example:  one ear piercing hole for females, weekly family home evenings, daily family scripture study, ect.  I know those aren't brand-newly recent, but they were all mentioned in Conference this past weekend (except the earring thing) as things that we need to work just a little harder on.  (I'm so totally guilty of this).  Ask your family why these things are important.  Discuss ways to implement some of these things in your families.  Set up a plan to follow the prophet more diligently as a family.  Good Luck! 

Treat:  Rice Krispy Treats.