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).

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.”

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.”

 

The Sabbath is a Delight (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Nelson)

Lesson Plan

Share and discuss the following quotes from Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Sabbath is a Delight”. April 2015 General Conference.

“The Sabbath was His gift to us, granting real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal. God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.”

“In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means “rest.””

“We now partake of the sacrament on the Sabbath day in remembrance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

“It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father.With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, “What sign do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.”

Discussion: What activities can we do on the Sabbath that would make it a delight to us?

Elder Nelson suggested: going to church, partaking of the sacrament, being diligent in our callings, strengthen family ties, study and teach the gospel, family history work, give service to others.

“Not pursuing your “own pleasure” on the Sabbath requires self-discipline. You may have to deny yourself of something you might like. If you choose to delight yourself in the Lord, you will not permit yourself to treat it as any other day. Routine and recreational activities can be done some other time.”

Personal experience: After pondering Elder Nelson’s counsel, I have decided to forego my pleasure reading on Sunday (novels,  Facebook, and blog subscriptions) and instead spend my free time studying the gospel. I have been amazed to discover what is available on the Gospel Library iPad app!

Scripture

“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 … are ye sanctified in Christ.” (Moroni 10:32)

Further Study

Video excerpt from Elder Nelson’s talk

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

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.”

Discussion

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).

Eternal Life-Knowing God (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Hales)

Lesson Plan

What are some gifts that you have received? (Children will likely mention toys, Lego, books, etc).

What is the greatest gift that you have ever received? We have all received the same greatest gift, and the answer is found in D&C 14:7.

“And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”

The greatest gift is eternal life. What is eternal life? The answer is found in John 17:3.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Dad gave a great talk on this subject just a few weeks ago. He said “Life eternal is knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. As we strive for eternal life we must strive for a knowledge of God. Even more, we must not only have a knowledge of Him but also truly know Him. The better we know Him the more we love Him. How can we fully love something we do not understand? How can we truly love someone we do not know? The more familiar we are with someone, the more we understand and love that person.” (Jared’s talk is here).

In October 2014, Elder Robert D. Hales spoke about eternal life and knowing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Watch the first segment of Elder Hales talk (up to 3:33).

“My own testimony grew as I learned about Heavenly Father and the Savior from the teachings and testimony of my parents, teachers, the scriptures—which I read diligently—and especially the Holy Ghost. As I exercised faith and obeyed the commandments, the Holy Ghost testified that what I was learning was true. This is how I came to know for myself.”

Discuss ways that we can know God: study scriptures and the words of the prophets, love and serve others, meaningful prayers, etc.

Concluding remarks from Elder Hales:

“I testify that our Heavenly Father wants us to seek this knowledge now. The words of the prophet Helaman cry from the dust: “Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation … , a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”Indeed, we will not fail.

That sure foundation is Jesus Christ. He is “the Rock of Heaven.”When we build our house upon Him, the rains of the latter days may descend, the floods may come, and the winds may blow, but we will not fall. We will not fail, for our home and our family will be founded upon Christ.”

Further Study

“All of us need to know God more fully in order to love him more deeply and obey him more completely.” Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Grandeur of God”. October 2003 General Conference.

The March 2014 New Era magazine has a great explanation of John 17:3, including quotes from General Authorities.

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Pitching our tents (FHE plans and a scripture from King Benjamin)

Coming up this weekend our stake is hosting a family campout. My husband is thinking of attending with the children, while I stay home and snuggle with the baby. We haven’t camped in years, so we need to take stock of our tent and supplies. I thought pitching our tent would make for a good FHE activity, and for the lesson part we will make the connection of pitching our tents toward the prophet, just as the Nephites did in the days of King Benjamin. How do we pitch our tents, so to speak, towards the living prophet, and ultimately toward Jesus Christ?

King Benjamin’s discourse is full of great doctrine and wise counsel. For our scripture of the week I chose Mosiah 4:9.

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.”

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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.)

Marriage Matters: Celebrating our Marriage (FHE plans and quotes from Elder Perry)

My husband and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage today, and what better way to celebrate than a FHE lesson on marriage!

Lesson Plan

“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph seven).fh_lt_antique_2_sm

image source

Use photo albums and scrapbooks to share pictures and stories from our wedding day thirteen years ago. 1-wedding_photo

Discuss ways that we can focus on and live the teachings of Jesus Christ in our family.

Celebrate our family with a fancy cake for dessert made by dad!

Further Discussion

Discuss the following points from Elder L. Tom Perry, “Why Marriage and Family Matter-Everywhere in the World”. April 2015 General Conference.

“The family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness.”

“Last November, Elder Perry attended a colloquium, which is an educational conference, at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, with Pres. Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Bishop Gérald Caussé. Explain how the location is honored by the Catholic religion and other Christians. The fact that leaders from our church would also be invited shows that many of our beliefs are honored by other religions too” (source).

Pope Francis opened the first session of the assembly with this statement: “We now live in a culture of the temporary, in which more and more people are simply giving up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. … It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.”-

“It was remarkable for me to see how marriage and family-centered priorities cut across and superseded any political, economic, or religious differences. When it comes to love of spouse and hopes, worries, and dreams for children, we are all the same.”

“What the restored gospel brings to the discussion on marriage and family is so large and so relevant that it cannot be overstated: we make the subject eternal! We take the commitment and the sanctity of marriage to a greater level because of our belief and understanding that families go back to before this earth was and that they can go forward into eternity.”