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.

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

The Parable of the Sower (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Oaks)

My 10-year-old daughter taught our Family Home Evening lesson tonight. She read the story of the Parable of the Sower, as recorded in Mark 4. We discussed and explained some of the words along the way as she read (like fowls and devoured and withered).

3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:

6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.

Then we watched the Bible Video of the parable. (We skipped over the section in the middle where Jesus explains why he teaches in parables).

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Then she gave a visual demonstration of the parable. She had gathered cups to show the wayside, the stony ground, and the thorns. Then everyone planted a seed in the good soil. Hopefully we can get the seeds to grow!

We finished with a discussion of a few quotes from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Parable of the Sower”. April 2015 General Conference.

“My message concerns those of us who have committed to be followers of Christ. What do we do with the Savior’s teachings as we live our lives?”

“We have the seed of the gospel word. It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Colossians 2:6–7). We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart (see Alma 5:12–14) that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children.”

The Fall of Adam and Eve (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Holland)

My husband taught our Family Home Evening lesson tonight about the Fall of Adam and Eve. He based the lesson on Elder Holland’s April 2015 General Conference talk.

Doctrine: The Fall of Adam and Eve

Scripture: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Story: two brothers rock climbing, “brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins”.

Quote: “That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet”. April 2015 General Conference.

Hushing Fears (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Bednar)

Lesson Plan

Share and discuss the following quotes from Elder David A. Bednar, “Therefore They Hushed Their Fears”. April 2015 General Conference.

Elder Bednar shared an experience when he was very afraid when he was a young boy:

I remember vividly an experience I had as a small boy. One day while playing with my friends, I accidentally broke a window in a store near our home. As the glass shattered and the security alarm blared, a paralyzing fear filled my heart and mind. I realized immediately I was doomed to spend the remainder of my life in prison. My parents eventually coaxed me out from a hiding place under my bed and helped me to make amends with the store owner. Fortunately, my jail sentence was commuted.

Do you remember a time that you were really afraid? Share stories.

In our world today there are lots of things that can cause fear: criminal violence, famine, wars, disease, destructive weather, etc.

Elder Bednar taught that “fear is dispelled through a correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Share the story of Alma and his people.

In the land of Helam, Alma’s people were frightened by an advancing Lamanite army.

“But Alma went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but … should remember the Lord their God and he would deliver them.

“Therefore they hushed their fears” (Mosiah 23:27–28).

Notice Alma did not hush the people’s fears. Rather, Alma counseled the believers to remember the Lord and the deliverance only He could bestow (see 2 Nephi 2:8). And knowledge of the Savior’s protecting watchcare enabled the people to hush their own fears.

Introduce scripture of the week.

“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me” (D&C 19:23).

Elder Bednar taught three basic principles that central to receiving the blessing of hushed fears.

1) Look to Christ: story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter walking to him (Matt 14:27-31). Show the Bible Video: Wherefore Didst Thou Doubt?

2) Build upon the Foundation of Christ: firmly establish our desires and deeds upon the sure foundation of the Savior through our ordinances and covenants. (Helaman 5:12)

3) Press Forward with Faith in Christ: learn and live gospel principles and press forward on the covenant pathway. 2 Ne 31:20

Further Study: The Fear of the Lord

“As the scriptures certify, godly fear “is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), “the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33), a “strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26), and “a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27).”

“If our desires have been for righteousness and our works good, then the judgment bar will be pleasing.”

“Godly fear dispels mortal fears. It even subdues the haunting concern that we never can be good enough spiritually and never will measure up to the Lord’s requirements and expectations. In truth, we cannot be good enough or measure up relying solely upon our own capacity and performance. Our works and desires alone do not and cannot save us. “After all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23), we are made whole only through the mercy and grace available through the Savior’s infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice (see Alma 34:10, 14). Certainly, “we believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

“Godly fear is loving and trusting in Him.”