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.”


Let Your Light Shine (FHE plans)

With the start of a new school year I have been thinking of the lessons that I want my children to remember and take with them as they head out into the world. One important lesson I wanted them to understand is the concept of letting our light shine. I was thrilled to discover today that the First Presidency message in the August 2015 Ensign was focused on this theme. My daughter and I put together a FHE lesson that drew primarily from President Monson’s words, along with the great scripture from Matthew 5:16.

Lesson Plan

Share and discuss the following quotes from President Thomas S. Monson, “Stand as a Light”. August 2015 Ensign.

I would like all of the youth of the Church to know that they are children of light. As such, they have a responsibility to be “as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). They have a duty to share the truths of the gospel. They have a calling to stand as a temple beacon, reflecting gospel light to an increasingly dark world. They have a charge to keep their light aflame and burning brightly.

“In order for us to be “an example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12), we ourselves must believe. We must develop the faith necessary to survive spiritually and to project a light for others. We must nurture our testimony until it becomes an anchor to our lives.

Among the most effective ways to gain and keep the faith we need today is to read and study the scriptures and to pray frequently and consistently. To the youth of the Church, I say, if you haven’t done so, develop now a habit of daily scripture study and prayer. Without these two essential practices, outside influences and the sometimes-harsh realities of life can dim or even extinguish your light.”

Discussion and Personal Reflection: Do I have a daily habit of scripture study and prayer? Encourage everyone to work on this habit!

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

“As you follow the example of the Savior, yours will be the opportunity to be a light, as it were, in the lives of those around you. When you are a light to the world, people around you will feel a special spirit that will make them want to associate with you and follow your example.”

Activity: Complete the worksheet included with the Ensign article, discussing ways that we can each shine our light.

Surprise: Present each child with a small flashlight to help them remember to let their light shine.

Conclusion: Remind the children how much they are loved!

“To our youth, I say, our Heavenly Father loves you. May you feel also the love which Church leaders have for you. May you ever have a desire to serve your Heavenly Father and His Son. And may you always walk in truth and stand as a light among God’s children.”

Other resources

fr11mar10_posterBright Idea Scripture Poster

Listen to “Child of Light” by Mindy Gledhill (find it here).

“Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations” (D&C 115:5).

Messages from President Monson

My 5-year old son taught our FHE lesson last week. He wanted to “put the prophets in order”, which means that we lay out our pictures of the First Presidency and  Twelve Apostles and say the names and put them in their correct order of seniority. (This has been a regular activity at our house, and a good way to learn their names and faces). Then he chose a Mormon Message video from President Monson for us to watch.

One of my goals for the summer is to seize opportunities for sharing gospel messages with my children daily. I have realized that I have a bit of a captive audience during breakfast time, so I often use that time to review scripture verses. This week we watched some of the online videos of messages from President Monson, and reviewed some of his recent conference addresses.

What Matters Most

Dare to Stand Alone

Have I Done any Good in the World Today? along with this music video of the song by Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmusen

Help Someone Today

Sunday morning we watched the video clips about the life of President Monson, available through the Gospel Library app on the iPad. President Monson is truly a remarkable example of a man who follows in the footsteps of the Savior and listens to and obeys the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Favorite Recent Quotes

October 2008: “What is most important almost always involves the people around us.”

April 2015: “The blessings of the temple are priceless.”

October 2014: Ponder the path of thy feet. “Walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked.”

April 2014: “Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.” “Love should be the very heart of family life.”


Why do we have FHE? (FHE plans and quotes)

Lesson Plan

April 2015 marked 100 years since the First Presidency of the Church first encouraged members to have weekly Family Home Evening.  Joseph F. Smith was the prophet at that time. Here are some excerpts from the letter that was sent out in April 1915:

“We advise and urge the inauguration of a “home evening” throughout the Church, at which time fathers and mothers may gather their boys and girls about them in the home and teach them the word of the Lord. They may thus learn more fully the needs and requirements of their families, at the same time familiarizing themselves and their children more thoroughly with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This home evening should be devoted to prayer, singing hymns, songs, instrumental music, scripture reading, family topics, and specific instruction on the principles of the gospel and on the ethical problems of life, as well as the duties and obligations of children to parents, the home, the Church, society, and the nation. For the smaller children, appropriate recitations, songs, stories, and games may be introduced. Light refreshments of such a nature as may be largely prepared in the home might be served.

Formality and stiffness should be studiously avoided, and all the family should participate in the exercises.”


How can we make our FHE even better?

  • Rotate assignments: give the children a chance to do every job
    • Opening prayer, song, scripture, lesson, treat, conduct
  • Start a FHE journal (inspired by Tiffany): have each family member sign the cover page (and include their age)
  • Brainstorm lesson topics
    • General Conference talks, Primary lessons, scripture stories, learn a new hymn or primary song, family history, learn a new skill, wholesome recreational activities, learn about a prophet or apostle, scripture heroes, share and memorize a great scripture verse, do a service project, lessons from Church magazines, celebrate holidays or special occasions, prepare for sacred ordinances (baptism, priesthood ordination, temple, etc)…

What are the blessings of FHE?

“If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influences and temptations which beset them” (First Presidency Letter, April 1915).

“We promise you great blessings if you will follow the Lord’s counsel and hold regular family home evenings. We pray constantly that parents in the Church will accept their responsibility to teach and exemplify gospel principles to their children. May God bless you to be diligent in this most important responsibility” (“Message from the First Presidency,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, 1983).

“We cannot afford to neglect this heaven-inspired program. It can bring spiritual growth to each member of the family, helping him or her to withstand the temptations which are everywhere. The lessons learned in the home are those that last the longest” (President Thomas S. Monson, April 2005 General Conference).

On Temples and Peace (FHE plans and quotes from President Monson)

Lesson Plan

Share the following quotes from President Thomas S. Monson, “Blessings of the Temple”. April 2015 General Conference.

“The blessings of the temple are priceless.”meme-monson-blessings-temple-priceless-1447015-gallery

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

“As we go to the temple, as we remember the covenants we make there, we will be better able to overcome those temptations and to bear our trials. In the temple we can find peace.”

Scripture of the Week

“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).

Discussion (inspired by this message in The Friend magazine)

President Monson announced the building of 3 new temples. Where are they located? Find them on a map (a helpful online map is available here).

Temple Math: 144 now open +13 being built+13 being designed+5 being renovated+3 new ones just announced=how many total temples?

Which temple is closest to you?

Which temples have we visited as a family (or have special meaning to our family)?

  • Mom visited the Cardston, Alberta temple as a youth.
  • Dad visited the Mesa, Arizona temple as a youth.
  • We were sealed in the Salt Lake City temple.
  • We attended the Provo, Utah temple while going to school at BYU.
  • As a family we visited the Atlanta, Georgia temple open house in 2011.
  • Dad, Mom, and Anwyn viewed the Fort Lauderdale temple dedication in 2014.
  • Our closest temple is currently the Orlando, Florida temple.

How can you prepare to go to the temple after you turn 12?

Another Important Quote

“Now my young friends… always have the temple in your sights. Do nothing which will keep you from entering its doors and partaking of the sacred and eternal blessings there.” (Thomas S. Monson,”The Holy Temple”. April 2011 General Conference.)

October 2014 General Conference Themes: The Pathway to Jesus Christ

As I have studied and pondered the counsel given at the October 2014 General Conference, I noticed a few consistent themes. A number of talks related to the idea of following  a path that leads to Jesus Christ, and making sure that we are facing him.

President Thomas S. Monson, “Ponder the Path of Thy Feet”.

“As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father to live with Him forever.”

“Physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked.”

“As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives by learning His words, by following His teachings, and by walking in His path, He has promised to share with us the eternal life that He died to gain.”

“Nothing else, no other choice we make, can make of us what He can.”

“Ponder the path of thy feet” (Proverbs 4:26).

“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.”

Elder Eduardo Gavarret, “Yes, Lord, I Will Follow Thee.”

“The decision to “come unto me” and “follow me” is personal. When we accept this invitation, our level of commitment is raised, and it is then that we can “walk with Him.” This level establishes a closer relationship with the Savior—the fruit of our accepting the first invitation.”

What steps can we take today to “walk with Him”?

  1. Feed the desire to be a better follower of Christ.
  2. Pray for this desire that your faith in Him may grow.
  3. Obtain knowledge from the scriptures, lighting the way and strengthening your desire to change.
  4. Make the decision today to act and say, “Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!” Simply knowing the truth will not change your world unless you turn knowledge into action.
  5. Persevere in the decision you have made by exercising these principles daily.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Free Forever, to Act for Themselves”.

“The gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become.”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Lord, Is it I?”.

“Is your heart set on the convenient things of this world, or is it focused on the teachings of the diligent Jesus Christ? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

“Does the Spirit of God dwell in your hearts? Are you “rooted and grounded” in the love of God and of your fellowmen? Do you devote sufficient time and creativity to bringing happiness to your marriage and family? Do you give your energies to the sublime goal of comprehending and living “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height”of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?”

“May I suggest that the holy scriptures and the talks given at general conference are an effective mirror we can hold up for self-examination.

As you hear or read the words of the ancient and modern prophets, refrain from thinking about how the words apply to someone else and ask the simple question: “Lord, is it I?”

We must approach our Eternal Father with broken hearts and teachable minds. We must be willing to learn and to change. And, oh, how much we gain by committing to live the life our Heavenly Father intends for us.”

Elder Carlos A. Godoy, “The Lord Has a Plan for Us!”.

“We are not here in this life just to waste our time, grow old, and die. God wants us to grow and achieve our potential.”

“I know that the Lord has a plan for us in this life. He knows us. He knows what is best for us. Just because things are going well does not mean that we should not from time to time consider whether there might be something better. If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?”

Elder Larry S. Kacher, “Trifle Not with Sacred Things”.

“The decisions we make in this life greatly affect the course of our eternal life.”

“Heavenly Father has blessed us with the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost to guide our choices. He has promised us inspiration and revelation as we live worthy to receive such. I invite you to take advantage of this divine gift and examine your choices by asking yourself the question, “Are my decisions firmly planted in the rich soil of the gospel of Jesus Christ?” I invite you to make whatever adjustments are needed, whether small or large, to ensure the eternal blessings of Heavenly Father’s plan for you and those you love.”

Elder Hugo E. Martinez, “Our Personal Ministries”.

“The teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ, show us the way.”

Elder Jorg Klebingat, “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence”.

“The decision to change is yours–and yours alone”.

1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.

2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being.

3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life.

4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly. 

5. Become really, really good at forgiving.

6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience.

” I testify of a loving Savior who rejoices when we apply His Atonement daily with the calm and happy assurance that we are facing in the right direction.”

Moroni 10:32 “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

Messages on Love

Below are some timeless messages on love, messages that are worth studying repeatedly!

Thomas S. Monson, “Love-the Essence of the Gospel”. April 2014 General Conference.

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

“Our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. 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.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Great Commandment”. October 2007 General Conference.

“The measure of our love is the measure of the greatness of our souls.”

“Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship.”

“Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life.”

“Love is the greatest of all the commandments—all others hang upon it. It is our focus as followers of the living Christ. It is the one trait that, if developed, will most improve our lives.”

Moroni 7:45-48

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”

Jeffrey R. Holland,”How Do I Love Thee?” BYU Speeches, Feb 15, 2000.

“Real love is best shown in the “how”.

“True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves.”

Jeffrey R. Holland, “The First Great Commandment”. October 2012 General Conference.

“My beloved brothers and sisters, am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand onecommandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”13 And if at such moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.”

Richard G. Scott,”The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”. April 2011 General Conference.

“Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children.”

Loving Others (FHE plans and quotes)

During the month of February, our Family Home Evening lessons are mostly focused on LOVE. This year we will focus on loving others, loving God, loving ourselves, and loving our ancestors.

Tonights lesson is on Loving Others. I plan to share the following quotes/scriptures. Then for an activity we will “Heart Attack Our Family“: we will cut out hearts and then write “I love_________because_________” for each member of our family. Hang the hearts on the wall to help us feel loved all month long.

I will also bring out our Love Note mailbox, to inspire continued messages of love to each other.

Quotes/Scriptures about Loving Others

“This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12)

“Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love” (President Thomas S. Monson).

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another…” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph 6.)

“Charity begins at home. The single most important principle that should govern every home is to practice the Golden Rule—the Lord’s admonition that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). Take a moment and imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of thoughtless words or actions. By our example, let us teach our family members to have love one for another.” (M. Russell Ballard)

Elder Oaks gave an entire address on this topic at the most recent General Conference.

“We should all follow the gospel teachings to love our neighbor and avoid contention. Followers of Christ should be examples of civility. We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs. Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable. Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious. We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence. In doing so, we ask that others not be offended by our sincere religious beliefs and the free exercise of our religion. We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).”

“The commandment to love one another surely includes love and respect across religious lines and also across racial, cultural, and economic lines. We challenge all youth to avoid bullying, insults, or language and practices that deliberately inflict pain on others. All of these violate the Savior’s command to love one another.” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks).


“Ponder the path of thy feet” (Highlights from President Monson-Oct 2014)

President Monson’s most recent General Conference talk comes from this scripture in Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet”. This is an excellent talk and made for a great FHE lesson. I had the children each trace an outline of their foot while we discussed the highlighted quotes below. 

“As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father to live with Him forever.”

“Physically walking where Jesus walked is less important than walking as He walked.”

Walking-as-He-Walked-Quote2image via Simple As That

Like Jesus, we can walk the path of: obedience, service, and prayer.

Read the scriptures to find instructions given to us by the Savior: be merciful, be humble, be righteous, be pure in heart, be peacemakers, stand up for beliefs, let our lights shine, be morally clean, love and serve our neighbors, improve our talents, rescue others.

“As we strive to place Christ at the center of our lives by learning His words, by following His teachings, and by walking in His path, He has promised to share with us the eternal life that He died to gain.”

“Nothing else, no other choice we make, can make of us what He can.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Ponder the Path of Thy Feet”. October 2014 General Conference.

Love is the essence of the gospel (Highlights from President Monson-April 2014)

“Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.”meme-monson-love-1240651-gallery

“There are many attributes which are manifestations of love, such as kindness, patience, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness. In all our associations, these and other such attributes will help make evident the love in our hearts.”

“To my mind come the words of the scripture: “Charity is the pure love of Christ, … and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”

“Brothers and sisters, some of our greatest opportunities to demonstrate our love will be within the walls of our own homes. Love should be the very heart of family life, and yet sometimes it is not. There can be too much impatience, too much arguing, too many fights, too many tears. Lamented President Gordon B. Hinckley: “Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?”9 The answers to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect.”

“Love is expressed in many recognizable ways: a smile, a wave, a kind comment, a compliment. Other expressions may be more subtle, such as showing interest in another’s activities, teaching a principle with kindness and patience, visiting one who is ill or homebound. These words and actions and many others can communicate love.”

“May we begin now, this very day, to express love to all of God’s children, whether they be our family members, our friends, mere acquaintances, or total strangers. As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “Love-the Essence of the Gospel”. April 2014 General Conference.