Honoring the Prophet on his Birthday

Today is President Monson’s 90th birthday. Tonight we will be holding our Family Home Evening in his honor. We will talk a little bit about his life, and review his teachings from General Conference in recent years. Here are some of the highlights:

Recent Teachings of President Thomas S. Monson

April 2017

“If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so.”

“I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will in a position hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.”

October 2016

“We are blessed to have the truth. We have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth.”

“This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

“I testify of the great gift which is our Father’s plan for us. It is the one perfect path to peace and happiness both here and in the world to come.”

April 2016

“If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.”

“May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

Oct 2015

“We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.” (see 1 Timothy 4:12)

“As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16)

April 2015

“As we attend the temple, there can come to us a dimension of spirituality and a feeling of peace.”

“The blessings of the temple are priceless”

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

October 2014

“Ponder the path of thy feet” (Proverbs 14:26).

“The Savior’s example provides a framework for everything that we do, and His words provide an unfailing guide. His path will take us safely home.”

April 2014 GC

“Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.”

“Love should be the very heart of family life.”

“As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”

An Index to Resources about the Sabbath Day

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is focusing on the Sabbath Day, encouraging all people to observe the Sabbath and find delight in the day. We have been teaching our children about the Sabbath Day in a few different ways, and I have taught a Sunday Relief Society lesson and a monthly enrichment lesson on the topic. Today I am sharing the resources that I have found helpful in preparing lessons. Hopefully they inspire you to teach your family and reflect on the quality of your own Sabbath Day.

The Doctrine of the Sabbath 

Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Sabbath is a Delight.” April 2015 General Conference.

Elder L. Tom Perry, “The Sabbath and the Sacrament.” April 2011 General Conference.

General Authorities Reflect on Sabbath Day: Eleven short video clips of training by apostles and auxiliary leaders that was given in October 2015.

Teachings about the Sabbath Day from the October 2015 General Conference.

Sabbath Day topic on lds.org: doctrinal overview, links to teachings of prophets, scriptures, video clips, etc.


Exodus 20:8; Exodus 31:16-17; Mark 2:27; Ezekiel 20:20; Mosiah 18:23; Isaiah 58:13-14; D&C 59: 11-14; D&C 68:29; Moses 3:1-3.

Blog and other Online Resources

lds.org/blog: Click on the Sabbath tag on the left side of the page. There are a number of helpful posts that would spark great discussions. Many of the articles include downloadable printables. For example, after reading “There’s Really No Such Thing as a Sabbath Cannot”, you might be inspired to make your own family “Sunday Can.”

How Would Your Family describe the Sabbath?

Making a Sabbath Day plan

A Dad’s guide: Making Sacrament Meeting special for your wife and kids

Five Ways to Celebrate the Sabbath as a Family: includes images for how the Sabbath should sound, feel, look different, etc.

80 Ideas for More Satisfying Sundays

Small Refinements from Raising Lemons

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy One Hour at a Time from  beinglds.blog

Helps from Sugardoodle: includes quotes, story of Olympian Eric Liddel (Chariots of Fire movie), and 1110 things to do on the Sabbath


The Sabbath is a Delight: new Mormon Message released in January 2016

Short video clips (some like commercials) from the LDS media library

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy by John Bytheway

Family Home Evening Lessons

Sabbath Day Puppet Story: includes a story and word strip game

FHE Lesson from Deseret Book: includes a Sunday plan maze

Teachings about the Sabbath from October 2015 General Conference

The Sabbath is a Delight: lesson based on Elder Nelson’s address in April 2015

Object Lesson found on Sugardoodle: We did an object lesson regarding the Sabbath day… We had told them we were going to be having ice cream Sundays and … we gave them their bowls and spoon and started dishing out the ice cream… as this was being done I started putting out the toppings such as: Pepperoni, chopped onions, grated cheese, BBQ sauce and some cheeze whiz….. they started grossing out. I asked them why what’s wrong, don’t you like cheese? or onions, pepperoni etc. they came back with “Yeah, but not on Ice cream” so we talked about the Sabbath day and how it is exactly like the same. Some activities we do during the week are not bad activities just not appropriate for Sundays.

Teachings about the Sabbath Day from the October 2015 General Conference (FHE plans)

One of the current Prophetic Priorities set by the Prophet and First Presidency of the Church is to focus on Sabbath Day observance to strengthen individuals and the family. During the October 2015 General Conference I asked my children to specifically listen for speakers who mentioned the word Sabbath. We counted at least nine talks! For a recent FHE lesson I compiled all of the references into one sheet. We picked one to really focus on for the week, and an accompanying scripture (we say it every morning during the drive to school). For the rest of the week at dinnertime we picked an additional quote to discuss.

Our focus quote for the week came from Elder Claudio R. M. Costa: “The Sabbath and the Sacrament become much more enjoyable as we study the stories of Christ.”

Scripture of the week: “And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:20).

To help our family remember I created a poster using this meme, and also included the scripture on the bottom.

Here is the compilation of teachings about the Sabbath day from the October 2015 General Conference.

Elder M. Russell Ballard
Another important doctrine that we should cling to is to observe the Sabbath day. This helps us remain unspotted from the world, provides us with physical rest, and gives each of us the spiritual refreshment of worshipping the Father and the Son every Sunday. When we delight in the Sabbath day, it is a sign of our love for Them.

Elder Quentin L. Cook
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, honoring the Sabbath is a form of righteousness that will bless and strengthen families, connect us with our Creator, and increase happiness. The Sabbath can help separate us from that which is frivolous, inappropriate, or immoral. It allows us to be in the world but not of the world. In the last six months, a most remarkable change has occurred in the Church. This has been in the response of the members to renewed emphasis on the Sabbath by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve and to President Russell M. Nelson’s challenge to make the Sabbath a delight. Many members understand that truly keeping the Sabbath day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life. It is also a sign of our devotion to our Father in Heaven and an increased understanding of the sacredness of sacrament meeting. Still, we have a long way to go, but we have a wonderful beginning. I challenge all of us to continue to embrace this counsel and improve our Sabbath worship.

President Henry B. Eyring
If you receive a spiritual impression to honor the Sabbath day, especially when it seems difficult, God will send His Spirit to help.

Elder Kim B. Clark
Simple obedience brings the Spirit into our hearts. In our homes, we pray in faith, search the scriptures, and keep the Sabbath day holy. In our chapels, we partake of the sacrament and make sacred promises to our Heavenly Father in the name of Christ.

Sister Neill F. Marriott
When we open ourselves to the Spirit, we learn God’s way and feel His will. During the sacrament, which I call the heart of the Sabbath, I have found that after I pray for forgiveness of sins, it is instructive for me to ask Heavenly Father, “Father, is there more?” When we are yielded and still, our minds can be directed to something more we may need to change—something that is limiting our capacity to receive spiritual guidance or even healing and help.

Elder Randall K. Bennett
Two essential weekly signposts that mark our journey back to our Father in Heaven are the perpetual covenant of the ordinance of the sacrament and our Sabbath day observance… If, in remembering Him each Sabbath, we turn our hearts to the Savior through these two important signposts, our efforts are again more than matched by the Lord by His promised blessings. We are promised that, with devoted Sabbath day observance, the fulness of the earth will be ours.

Elder Claudio R. M. Costa
I believe that starting a tradition of telling the stories of Jesus to our children and families is a very special way to keep the Sabbath day holy in our homes…I am grateful for our leaders, who are constantly teaching us about Christ, about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and about partaking of the sacrament each Sunday in honor of the Savior. The Sabbath and the sacrament become much more enjoyable as we study the stories of Christ. In so doing, we create traditions that build our faith and testimony and also protect our family.

Sister Carole M. Stephens
Recently, living prophets have counseled us to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and to live the law of the fast. Obedience to this prophetic counsel provides a way for us to be obedient to God’s commandment to love Him and our neighbor as we increase our faith in Jesus Christ and extend our hand to love and care for others.

A FHE Lesson on Gratitude

My five-year-old son taught our FHE lesson tonight. With it being Thanksgiving this week, of course he chose the theme of gratitude. First we watched this video. Then he presented our scripture for the week:

D&C 98:1 “…rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;”

For our activity we each filled up a sheet of paper with things that we are grateful for. We used this activity to give us ideas as needed.  I think my 8-year-old enjoyed this activity the most–she filled her page and didn’t leave any white space at all!

Be Thou an Example of the Believers (FHE plans and quotes from President Monson)

Our Family Home Evening lesson tonight was focused on President Monson’s Sunday morning talk in the October 2015 General Conference, President Monson asked us to be an example and a light to the world. “We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity,” he said. “As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.”

We discussed the two scriptures he shared, Matt 5:16 and 1 Timothy 4:12. We recently had a lesson focused on Letting our Light Shine, so this time we focused more on “Be thou and example of the believers…” We reviewed and discussed the following highlights from his talk.

Be an Example and a Light

In the October 2015 Sunday morning session, President Monson asked us to be an example and a light to the world. “We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity,” he said. “As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.”

Cultivating the following “attributes of a believer” will allow our lights to shine:

Be an example in word and in conversation.

“Let us speak to others with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend. May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.”

Be an example in charity.

“Throughout [the Savior’s] ministry He reached out in charity to any in need. As we emulate His example, we will bless lives, including our own.”

“I am confident there are within our sphere of influence those who are lonely, those who are ill, and those who feel discouraged. Ours is the opportunity to help them and to lift their spirits.”

Be an example in spirit.

“To me that means we strive to have in our lives kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and goodwill.”

Be an example of faith.

“We trust in the Lord and in His word.”

“In order to gain and to keep the faith we need, it is essential that we read and study and ponder the scriptures. Communication with our Heavenly Father through prayer is vital.”

Be an example of purity.

“We need to be clean in body, mind, and spirit to be worthy to have the Holy Ghost. “Purity will bring us peace of mind and will qualify us to receive the Savior’s promises.”

“That each of us within the sound of my voice may
pledge to follow Him, thus becoming a shining light to the world, is my prayer.”

“As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.”

“To each of you, I say that you are a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. You have come from His presence to live on this earth for a season, to reflect the Savior’s love and teachings, and to bravely let your light shine for all to see.”


Bullying vs. Kindness (FHE plans)

My eight-year-old daughter Lily taught our FHE lesson tonight. She used this article from the October 2015 Friend magazine, and we had a good discussion about bullying vs. kindness. We also watched this short video about bullying from the Mormon Channel.

We ended the lesson with a few thoughts/quotes/scriptures for the week:

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you…By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).

Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do to you!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (as cited in the Friend magazine)

We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbors.

We should love all people, be good listeners, and show respect for what others believe.

We should avoid bullying, insulting, or saying things that might hurt others.

We should especially be kind to our family members.

The Baptismal Covenant (FHE plans)

Lesson Plan

Share the story of Alma teaching and baptizing at the Waters of Mormon (Mosiah 18:8-11). We read the version that was shared in the June 2013 Friend magazine.

Let the children work on a baptism coloring page (here, here, or here) while we discuss the following points.

  • Our baptismal covenant is a sacred two-way promise with Heavenly Father.
  • We promise to keep His commandments and serve Him. We take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and become members of His Church.
  • In return, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the promise of eternal life as we repent and prove faithful.

“Making and keeping our covenants is an expression of our commitment to become like the Savior.” Linda K. Burton, “The Power, Joy, and Love of Covenant Keeping”.October 2013 General Conference.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Every day, every day, every day! (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Pearson)

My husband taught a great Family Home Evening lesson tonight based on Elder Pearson’s recent General Conference talk, Stay by the Tree. He had the children follow a path and stopped to discuss each principle on enduring to the end from Lehi’s vision of the tree of life that Elder Pearson taught.

  1. Don’t forget to pray
  2. Come unto Christ and be perfected in him
  3. Press forward with faith
  4. The Book of Mormon is key to spiritual survival
  5. Don’t be distracted and deceived
  6. Stay by the tree

After they reached the tree (made out of Lego) we discussed Lehi’s dream a little more, and emphasized the following point:

Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day!

After dessert we ended the evening with our family study of the Book of Mormon. Up to this point we have been taking turns each reading (or repeating) a verse each day. We have been using the Gospel Library app on an iPod and passing it around to each person when it is their turn to read, but a few days ago I felt that our scripture reading would be more meaningful if each person had their own scriptures to follow along with as we read. So I gathered up hard copies of the Book of Mormon (enough for each member of our family), ready to go in our living room in a basket. Tonight we used them for the first time, and the children were excited to touch and read their own copies. We spent a few minutes orienting them to the book, and helped them find our current place in Mosiah. It was a testament to me of the power of the scriptures to see how much the children were drawn to them. I wish we had done this sooner!

Additional Quotes from Elder Pearson

Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life. But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply “hang in there.” Let me be clear: to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him.

Search the Book of Mormon and the words of the living prophets every day, every day, every day! It’s the key to spiritual survival and avoiding deception. Without it, we are spiritually lost.

True disciples continue to awaken unto God each day in meaningful personal prayer, earnest scripture study, personal obedience, and selfless service. Stay by the tree and stay awake.

If you are struggling, confused, or spiritually lost, I urge you to do the one thing I know will get you back on track. Begin again to prayerfully study the Book of Mormon and live its teachings every day, every day, every day! I testify of the profound power in the Book of Mormon that will change your life and strengthen your resolve to follow Christ.

Elder Kevin W. Pearson, “Stay by the Tree”. April 2014 General Conference.

Heavenly Father Hears Your Prayers (FHE plans)

My five year old son came home from Primary yesterday with this poster (from the September 2015 Ensign).september-2015-ensign-magazine-mormon_1523495_tmb

I thought this poster would make a great focus for a Family Home Evening lesson, so Zach and I prepared and shared a lesson to go with it tonight.

Lesson Plan

Show the video You’re Never Alone: A disciple of Jesus Christ, Elaine S. Dalton, shares how her experience of running in the Boston Marathon taught her about prayer and the strength we can receive from God. She was comforted by the words, “I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand.”

Discuss how we can offer prayers at anytime of need, in addition to daily morning and evening prayers.

Sing “How Firm a Foundation” vs. 1 and 3 (Hymns, 85) and review our family theme for 2015

Discuss the following quotes from President Henry B. Eyring.

“Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He loves you. He knows your name.” (“Continuing Revelation”. October 2014 General Conference).

“God the Father lives, loves us, and hears our every prayer.” (“Priesthood and Personal Prayer”. April 2015 General Conference).

Jesus Was Baptized (FHE plans)

My daughter will be turning eight next month, so we had a lesson tonight about baptism  to help prepare her for that important event.  I used the article from the February 2015 Friend Magazine as the basis for the lesson.

  • Read the story of the baptism of Jesus Christ.
  • Take turns asking the questions provided, looking up the scriptures to answer the questions.
  • View the Bible Video.

Scripture of the Week

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5)

Additional Resources

Coloring Page: Baptism and Confirmation are Ordinances that Bless My Family