September 2009 Sharing Time: Messages of Strength
Preparation: Create a simple, poster-sized dot-to-dot of a house similar to this sample drawing. Lightly sketch the shape of the house in pencil. Add dots and numbers with a black marker at each corner. Erase the pencil lines. If you wish you can add a few details with the marker, such as a door or some windows.
Obtain a picture of each of the leaders quoted below from the meetinghouse library or print from lds.org. Familiarize yourself with their talks. Post the pictures and the poster at the front of the room.
Presentation: Tell the children that they are going to learn some important messages the prophet and other leaders have for us. Explain that when we follow the teachings of these leaders we will improve ourselves and strengthen our families. Tell them that as they learn, they will also be able to complete a dot-to-dot picture.
Have a child come up and select one of the pictures. Tell the children the name of the leader in the picture and summarize their message. Discuss the message by asking the children for examples that might illustrate the principle taught. Then, have a child draw the first line on the dot-to-dot. Repeat with another child—another picture, message, and dot-to-dot line until all ten have been discussed. You may have the children occasionally sing a song that reinforces a concept.
1. President Thomas S. Monson (see "Reach Out to Others," Friend, Aug 2009, 2-3). "Our daughter, Ann, turned five shortly after we arrived in Canada [when I was assigned there as mission president]. She saw the missionaries going about their work, and she too wanted to be a missionary. Ann [took] to class a few copies of the Children's Friend [magazine]. She also [took] with her a copy of the Book of Mormon so that she might talk to her teacher, Miss Pepper, about the Church.
Just a few years ago, long years after our return from Toronto, we [received] a note from Miss Pepper which read:
Dear Ann: I made a commitment that one day I would come to Salt Lake City and see why you talked as you did and why you believed in the manner you believed. Today I had the privilege of going through your visitors' center on Temple Square. Thanks to a five-year-old girl who had an understanding of that which she believed, I now have a better understanding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
2. Elder Boyd K. Packer (see "Counsel to Young Men," Ensign, May 2009, 49-52). "When I was five years old, I became very ill. It turned out that I had polio. I lay for several weeks on a World War I army cot in our front room beside a coal stove. Afterward, I could not walk. I remember very clearly sliding around on the linoleum floor and pulling myself up on chairs, learning to walk again.
"As I moved into school, I found that my muscles were weak. I was very self-conscious. I determined to compensate in other ways.
"I learned that you should always take care of your body. Take nothing into your body that will harm it, such as we are counseled in the Word of Wisdom: tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco, or anything else that is habit-forming, addictive, or harmful.
"[In] section 89 [of] the Doctrine and Covenants. You will find great promises:
"'All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings . . . shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; . . . And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.'"
3. Elder Russell M. Nelson (see "Lessons from the Lord's Prayers," Ensign, May 2009, 46-49). "We can use 'right words' - special pronouns - in reference to Deity [when praying]. While worldly manners of daily dress and speech are becoming more casual, we have been asked to protect the formal, proper language of prayer. In our prayers we use the respectful pronouns Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine instead of You, Your, and Yours. Doing so helps us to be humble. That can also enhance our prayers. Scripture so declares, 'Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.'"
4. Elder Richard G. Scott (see "Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need," Ensign, May 2009, 43-45). "Our son, Richard, was born with a heart defect. A few years later a daughter was born. She died after living only a few minutes. . . [Richard's] surgery was performed just six weeks after the birth and death of our baby daughter. . . . [After the surgery] the doctor came in and told us, 'Your son has died.' I embraced my wife and said to her, 'We do not need to worry, because our children were born in the covenant. We have the assurance that we will have them with us in the future. Now we have a reason to live extremely well. We have a son and a daughter who have qualified to go to the celestial kingdom because they died before the age of eight.' That knowledge has given us great comfort. We rejoice in the knowledge that all seven of our children are sealed to us for time and all eternity."
5. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (see "The First Vision," Friend, Jun 2008, 2-3). "The chapel in Zwickau [Germany] had an old air-driven organ. Every Sunday a young man was assigned to push up and down the sturdy lever operating the bellows to make the organ work. I sometimes had the great privilege to assist in this important task.
While the congregation sang, I pumped with all my strength so the organ would not run out of wind. The bellows operator sat in a seat that offered a great view of a stained-glass window that portrayed the First Vision, with Joseph Smith kneeling in the Sacred Grove, looking up toward heaven and into a pillar of light.
"I often looked at this depiction of a most sacred moment in world history. I felt a special spirit while looking at the beautiful scene in this window. By the universal power of the Holy Ghost, I felt in my heart and in my mind that it was true, that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ and heard Their voices.
"The Spirit of God comforted my soul at this young age with an assurance of the reality of this sacred moment. I believed Joseph Smith's testimony of that glorious experience in the Sacred Grove then, and I know it now. God has spoken to mankind again!"
6. Sister Margaret S. Lifferth (see "Respect and Reverence," Ensign, May 2009, 11-13). "Ask yourself these questions: Am I an example of respect in my home by the way I treat those I love the most? [How do I act] during a sports event? Do I show respect for the property of others as well as take care of my own? How do I respond to others with whom I disagree?
"Respect for others and reverence for God are close cousins. Primary children learn this concept as they sing this verse from a Primary song: Rev'rence is more than just quietly sitting: It's thinking of Father above, A feeling I get when I think of his blessings. I'm rev'rent, for rev'rence is love. (Children's Songbook, p. 31)
"I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father and that His Son, Jesus Christ, is my Savior. Our increased reverence will reflect our deepest love for Them."
7. Elder Robert D. Hales (see "Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually," Ensign, May 2009, 7-10). "When we were newly married and had very little money, I saw a beautiful dress in a store window and suggested to my wife that if she liked it, we would buy it. Mary went into the dressing room of the store. After a moment the salesclerk came out and returned the dress to its place in the store window. As we left the store, I asked, 'What happened?' She replied, 'It was a beautiful dress, but we can't afford it!'
"We all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can't afford it, even though we want it!' With all the love in me and with the Savior's love through me, I invite you to come unto Him and hear His words: 'Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted (2 Nephi 9:51).'"
8. President Henry B. Eyring (see "Adversity," Ensign, May 2009, 23-27). "My friend served as our bishop [many years ago]. [As he aged] he was in constant pain. His health began a slow decline. Yet every time I visited him to give him comfort, he turned the tables; I always was the one comforted. His back and legs forced him to use a cane to walk. Yet there he was in church, always sitting near the door, where he could greet those arriving early, with a smile.
"I will never forget the feeling of wonder and admiration which came over me when I opened the back door at home and saw him coming up our driveway. It was the day we put out our garbage cans to be picked up by city workers. I had put the can out in the morning. But there he was dragging my garbage can up the hill with one hand while he balanced himself with a cane in his other hand. He was giving me the help he thought I needed when he needed it far more than I did. And he was helping with a smile and without being asked."
9. Elder Quentin L. Cook (see "Our Father's Plan - Big Enough for All His Children," Ensign, May 2009, 34-38). "In 1863 Charles Dickens, the English novelist, went on board the passenger ship Amazon, which was bound for New York. His purpose was to report on the Latter-day Saint converts who were emigrating to build up the Church in the American West. There had been thousands of converts who had already emigrated, and much had been written, particularly in the British media, about them and their beliefs. Most of what was written was [unkind].
"'I went on board their ship,' wrote Dickens, 'to bear testimony against them if they deserved it, as I fully believed they would; to my great astonishment they did not deserve it.'
"[Despite] our doctrinal differences with other faiths, our attitude toward other churches has been to refrain from criticism. They do much good. They bless mankind. Many help their members learn of the Savior and His teachings.
"Our leaders have consistently counseled us 'to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies.'"
10. Dallin H. Oaks (see "Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament," Ensign, Nov 2008, 17-20). "The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church. It is the only Sabbath meeting the entire family can attend together.
"The modern revelation directing us to partake of the sacrament each week, tells us how we should prepare. Our manner of dress indicates the degree to which we understand and honor the ordinance in which we will participate.
"During sacrament meeting - and especially during the sacrament service - we should concentrate on worship and refrain from all other activities, especially from behavior that could interfere with the worship of others. Sacrament meeting is not a time for reading books or magazines. When we partake of the sacrament, we make a sacred covenant that we will always remember the Savior. How sad to see persons obviously violating that covenant in the very meeting where they are making it.
"The music of sacrament meeting is a vital part of our worship. How wonderful when every person in attendance joins in the worship of singing - especially in the hymn that helps us prepare to partake of the sacrament."
After all the messages have been presented, you will have finished the picture of the house. Bear testimony that as we follow the counsel of our leaders, we'll help build strong homes and families.