The Holy Ghost only whispers: “The Holy Ghost Testifies the Truth of All Things”

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Get ready for the quietest Primary you’ve ever heard, while a child whispers which box holds the trinket. Read below or download the lesson plan for June 2015 Sharing Time here: Holy Ghost lesson outline

While preparing this lesson, I came across an answer to something I’ve been wondering for a long time:  “The Holy Ghost is properly referred to as ‘he.’ The gift of the Holy Ghost is properly referred to as ‘it.'” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 257). It underscored for me that the Holy Ghost is actually a personage, not just a vapor or a feeling. I love thinking about Him as my constant companion — a real personage — who can walk with me and steer me around bumps in my journey. I can love the Holy Ghost the way I love God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

-Marci

Lesson Outline: “The Holy Ghost Testifies the Truth of All Things”

(See above to download this lesson plan as a single page.)

Items needed:

  • Prepare a banner or poster, or write on the board: “The Holy Ghost testifies the truth of all things.”
  • Pictures of heart, ear, and mind from lds.org (June and July 2014)
  • Set out three open boxes, one of which has a small object inside, and place a cloth over the top.

Lesson Principles:

  • There are many ways to know truth.
  • The Holy Ghost tells us in our mind, heart, and ear.
  • The Holy Ghost can tell us of things we can’t know otherwise.

Lesson Outline:

DISCUSSION:

  • Welcome the children. Say “Raise your hand if you think that ice is cold. How do you know?” (Children may say “I’ve touched it.”) “Raise your hand if you think that the sun is hot. How do you know? You’ve never been to the sun.” Point out that you can know the truth of many things that you can’t sense with your five senses (touch, sight, smell, sound, taste). There are many ways to know truth.
  • Explain: “One way to know the truth is by the Holy Ghost, which can tell us of things we can’t see or touch, but can know in our heart or mind.” Give examples of things we may need to know that we can’t find out by seeing or touching such as:
    1. Is God real? We can’t see Him, but the Holy Ghost can tell us that He is real and He loves us.
    2. Does He hear my prayer? The Holy Ghost can tell us that God really is listening, and will answer in His own way.
    3. Is the Book of Mormon true? Did those stories in the book really happen? We can’t put the Book of Mormon on a scale and weigh it to find out if it’s true. We can’t use a measuring stick and find out if it’s true. We can only know if the Holy Ghost tells us.

ACTIVITY: (from 2014 Sharing Time Outline, page 15)

  • The Holy Ghost tells us in our mind, heart, and ear. Show the pictures of mind, heart and ear.
    1. Junior Primary: Have a teacher or older child read the following scriptures. D&C 11:13 (mind), Helaman 5:45 (heart), Helaman 5:46-47 (ear), and D&C 8:2 (mind and heart). Have the children repeat the scripture, a phrase at a time. Ask a child to point to the correct picture, and have all the children place their hands on their own mind, heart or ear.
    2. Senior Primary: Post the pictures. Assign children to four groups; each group looks up one of the scriptures above and stands beneath the picture that applies to their scripture. Then have the children read the scripture aloud together. (Trick question: one of the scriptures has two answers, so the group will have to split up.)

SONG: “Listen, Listen” (Children’s Songbook 107), “The Holy Ghost” (105), or “The Still Small Voice” (106)

ACTIVITY:

  • The Holy Ghost whispers things we can’t know.
    1. Point to the boxes, set up as above. Remove the cloth, so that the boxes are in plain view but the contents are still hidden. Ask the children to guess which box has the object inside. They’ll protest that they can’t tell. Choose a child to look and see which choice is right. Have that child whisper the answer so the whole group can hear. Invite a child to come up and retrieve the object. Repeat as time allows, holding up the cloth in front of the boxes so you can mix them up – and perhaps even sneak another small object into one or both of the other boxes! That way there are two or three right answers.
    2. Point out that sometimes we need to make important choices when we can’t see what the choice actually is. But the Holy Ghost knows everything, and He can whisper the right choice.
    3. Notice that we have to take time to be quiet and listen carefully, because the Holy Ghost only whispers. Reread Helaman 5:46-47.
    4. Tell about a time you had to make a choice without knowing the outcome, such as which school to attend, which person to marry, or where to live. Tell how the Holy Ghost helped you.

TESTIMONY: Testify that the Holy Ghost can guide us to truth.

 

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Transform year-round holiday craziness into holiday service

Did you see the article “Can We Bring the Holidays Down a Notch?” Some folks think that St. Patrick’s Day must involve a leprechaun hunt for gold coins. Valentine’s Day exchanges must be entire goodie bags, not just homemade cards decorated with crooked red hearts. Pie must be served on Pi Day (March 14 — you know, 3.1415. . . ). And Christmas, well, forget it. The author of the article suggests bringing the holiday craziness down a notch.

Marci's Primary class from 2006.

Marci’s Primary class from 2006.

I’ve got a different idea. First, give yourself credit for getting through each day. It seems impossible sometimes even on ordinary days, with everything there is to do, before you add holiday expectations. Then, go ahead and wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, tint your breakfast milk green, even scramble up some green eggs and ham. Whatever makes you happy. Then, if you still have energy, instead of ever more elaborate holiday celebration ideas, how about making each holiday a service opportunity? Those hungry folks in homeless shelters and soup kitchens that you help out at Christmastime — they’re hungry on St. Patrick’s Day and Easter too. And firemen and policemen work around the clock 365 days a year. Somebody is working on every single holiday. Maybe you’d like to bring them a warm cinnamon roll after your own family’s holiday breakfast.

Maybe children would like to collect all green nonperishable food for the local food pantry on St. Pat’s day (let’s see. . .  canned green beans, lime jello, spinach pasta. . . ) or red food for Valentine’s Day (hmm . . . pasta sauce, beets, canned tomatoes. . . ). Bring a pie to your local police station or fire station for Pi Day to thank them for their service to the community. Make and deliver Easter cards to shut-ins. Invite another family (member or nonmember) to join you in your holiday service caper. You can serve as a family or as a Primary or as a school classroom.

Marci's 4-5s Class 004

More service ideas at my one-and-only published Ensign contribution here.

And check out Jackie’s “Pint Sized Service Projects” here.

Then make each holiday a little bit of a holy day, seeking to make others happy too, serving as Christ served.

-Marci

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A Primary Activity to help meet spiritual goals: scriptures, service and fun!

Our guest author Jen H. is back with a fantastic Primary Activity idea and outline!
Our presidency has lots of little goals for our sweet Primary.  One of them is to have the children use their scriptures each week in Sharing Time.  Another goal is for the Senior Primary children to engage and apply the scriptures in their daily lives.  We also want our Primary to do more active service for our ward family.
In the past, we have found that having each presidency member in charge of a portion of the activity makes everything run much more smoothly.  Another thing that helps activities go smoothly is to have the children rotate through different activities, each lasting 20 minutes or less.
So, with those goals and past experiences in mind, we planned a short activity for a Saturday morning.  We began with a song and spiritual thought.  Teachers stayed with and helped their class as they went through each activity.  We planned four activities:
  1. Scripture bags
  2. Scripture journals
  3. Card making
  4. Game
Scripture Bags: This activity was for Junior Primary children. One presidency member planned and prepared for the scripture bags.  We ordered the bags and used permanent markers to have the Junior Primary decorate them.  We had them work around long tables that were covered in craft paper to minimize the mess to clean up after.  Each child also got their own Book of Mormon and a copy of this Mormonad inside.  The last thing that they did was make a keychain with a picture to attach to the scripture bag.
Scripture Journal: While Junior Primary worked on the scripture bags, Senior Primary was with another presidency member making their own scripture journal using stickers, pens, markers and quotes to decorate them.  Each week in Primary, we will have a thought, scripture or picture/quote for them to add to their journal.
Afterwards, we combined Junior and Senior Primary and divided them into two groups.  The older children helped the younger ones.  We asked the Activity Day girls to plan and carry out these last two activities.
Card Making: One group worked on our service project: making cards for two widows (We made valentines because our activity was in February but any type of card will work).  Our secretary took a picture of each child to add to their card so these sweet sisters would know who they’re from.  We set out pre-cut hearts, stickers and markers.  One presidency member worked with this group but the Activity Day girls managed it.
Game: The other group was in the gym for a scavenger hunt game.  Our Activity Day leader and girls led this.  Scriptures are used as clues to race around the building.  The final clue leads them to a treasure chest with treats.
Our secretary was in charge of the snack at the end.  Store-bought muffins, cut into fourths is an easy and delicious option.  We also had grapes and strawberries and served water too.  We served these in the Primary room during the last 15 minutes of the activity.
Download the timetable schedule for planning your own Primary Activity!
Snack time!
~Jen H.

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Pint-sized Service Projects

Looking for good service projects that even kids can do? Enjoy this sample chapter Pint-sized Service Projects by Jackie from the book “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids”!Click on the book cover below to learn how this blog became a book!

See related posts:

Serving in our community: a ward food drive, and

5th Sunday in August: Celebrate birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson

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An Open Letter from an Adoptive Parent to Primary Leaders

Today’s guest author is Janeen, a mother of 4 and a foster parent of 2, a number-crunching “retired” accountant who loves skiing and good food.  Today Janeen shares some of her feelings about raising her adopted son.

The introduction. That is always the hardest and most uncomfortable part. Blank stares, awkward questioning faces, stuttered words and confusion… pleas for help painted all over their bodies. The curiosity that will surely leave wonder and speculation without a described answer. A question that shouldn’t be asked and an answer that shouldn’t be required. But it’s who we are. Every time without fail. That is the introduction. We adopted. We are an interracial family.

The answers are always, “Yes, we did adopt.” “Yes, he is ours.” “No, she didn’t want to meet us.” “He came from a hospital in Utah.” “We are his real parents.” “Because our hearts love beyond just our genetics.” “Because God wants us to love all his children not just ‘our own.’” “Yes our hands are full…and our hearts are too.”

We are not bothered by the questions. We understand they are coming from a harmless place…mostly. We answer them with kindness and love and respect. There are hardships though in those questions, in that pursuit to help define what our family is. Each question is asked usually within ear shot of the boy that causes the confusion and search for definition sending messages of his different colored skin and his “non-conformity” to the community around him. Like all kids, he hears and sees our questions. We send messages.

Our church community exists with little variety, as most do here in the Southwest. There are wards designed specifically for “other” language speaking members….which also leaves those wards with little variety. It supplies a beautiful thing to worship in your native language. But that also supplies a more striking variance when a black child shows up in a predominantly white Primary. We have been in several wards with this sweet boy and have seen lots of love alongside the questions. Recently, my son was heard saying to another, younger child who was following him around, “Are you following me because you think I am chocolate?” They see their own differences.

Kyron has never been treated poorly. No one has ever been mean to him because of his skin color, but there is a strange need to define and understand how he could be in our family with that skin color. One young lady, at first meeting him, said, “I know you are adopted because of your skin color. You would have to be adopted.” No malice, but a message sent.

As we teach of families and oneness and forever togetherness. It becomes a strange concept to explain real moms versus biological moms and adopted moms. We are moms. We are all the same and all so different. Needing to define the real mom sends a message.

As we approach Primary, the question always begs: are we the same or are we different? And how to maneuver within that distinction or recognition? We are one in faith, one in love, one in humankind. But we are each so different and allowing for difference does not have to interfere with our color.

His skin is strikingly different than mine. His understanding is strikingly different than mine. But he and I both pray to the same God. How he and all kids relate to God is our purpose. Finding how Kyron relates to and understands God is my goal. Finding ways to enlighten his spirit and help him connect with his Father in Heaven, the Father in Heaven of all, is my goal. There is oneness in our differences.

Please don’t hear me saying these things are offensive. They are not…to us. We are secure in our love and his understanding of who he is, who he is with God and how he became a part of our family. We don’t spend time dwelling on these minor matters. We love Primary. We love God. We love our family. But our words and actions always send messages.  What does your message say to the children around you? Is he a black child of white parents, or a child with different skin, or just a child that’s unique as we all are? A child of God.

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Our family is not typical, though more and more it is becoming commonplace, and it poses a hardship when we don’t fit the mold of eternity as we are most used to describing it. Our temple covenants bind us eternally.  We are as one, all born under the promises of eternity.

We spend so much time trying to tell ourselves that the color of our skin makes no difference, we are all equal. And we are when talking about rights and respect and all those really important things we do to respect human life but the color of our skin is different. We are each different. That cannot be ignored with pleasantries. We need to embrace that difference. Send that message. The message of love and acceptance.

We worship one God but take many different paths to know Him. Help him find that path, his path.

Sending a message of love,

~Janeen

Please remember to:

  • Love them because of (or within) their differences
  • Teach children that eternal families are colorful
  • Help them feel empathy for all God’s children
  • Lead them to their Savior
  • Support them in feeling the Spirit
  • Embrace their differences rather than highlight them
  • Remember your words send messages

 

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Daily repentance in daily prayers: May 2015 Sharing Time idea

Personal PrayerThe May 2015 Sharing Time theme for week 2 is “I can repent.” This is an ideal opportunity to teach children repentance as a positive, ongoing, daily process of becoming better and better. As we leave behind mistakes, we let the atonement of Jesus Christ give us a fresh start. Speaking to all church members of all ages, Elder Robert C. Gay of the Seventy said, “The question before us is not whether we are doing things which need correcting, because we always are. . . The Lord loves our righteousness but asks of us continued repentance and submission.” (“What Shall a Man Give In Exchange for His Soul?” Ensign, November 2012, 34.)

Repentance is not just for extraordinary circumstances; it is a principle of daily self-examination as we seek to be better. Therefore, there is always a place for repentance in our personal prayers. As you teach, have the children count with you on their fingers:

  1. Heavenly Father,
  2. I thank Thee . . .
  3. I ask Thee . . .
  4. Forgive me for . . .
  5. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Using the downloadable handout here, ask the children to line up their fingers and trace around their hands. Then, in the spaces between the fingers, children can write or draw illustrations for the various steps.

Be sure you teach that these are the five steps of personal prayer. We should not talk about our mistakes when we are praying in front of other people. (If we need to tell someone besides Heavenly Father about something we’ve done wrong, we should talk to our parents in private, or our bishop.)

Learning frequent repentance young is building a lifelong habit to becoming more like Jesus, a day at a time.

FYI: The theme for week 3 of May 2015 is “When I am baptized I make a covenant with God.” See “Baptismal Promises – sharing time lesson and family night idea (English and Spanish visuals included!)”

~Marci

This idea is one of the chapters in “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids,” page 25. Read more about how Primary in Zion became a book by clicking on the book cover. SundayLessons_Front_RGB

 

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Do Pets Go to Heaven? Finding comfort through scripture and Primary songs

My 5-year-old daughter got her first pet for her birthday last summer: a fish she lovingly named Beanbag.  When inquisitive minds inquired about the origin of his name she excitedly explained, “In preschool I had this favorite game that was a beanbag toss and since he is my favorite fish I named him Beanbag!”

Sadly, Beanbag will not be with us this year to celebrate her 6th birthday.  The evening my daughter discovered his lifeless form “laying on the ground” of his fishbowl there were many tears shed.  It seemed a milestone of childhood.  A rite of passage.  An event a child will remember even years later in adulthood. 

As we held a short memorial for Beanbag we began with a prayer.  We took turns saying something we liked about Beanbag and remembering funny moments like when he jumped out onto the table while we were changing his tank water.  My daughter worried that Beanbag would be sad or lonely and experience pain as we flushed him down his watery grave.  This might sound silly, but as we sat there in the bathroom preparing to say goodbye to Beanbag, it was the scriptures and Primary songs that brought comfort to a little girl who was mourning the death of her first pet.

Section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that “Beasts have spirits and shall dwell in eternal felicity…” (chapter heading, see also verses 1-4 and additional scriptures below).  This scripture eased her fears knowing Beanbag would not be sad or in pain but indeed enjoy eternal happiness.  We talked about the resurrection and how spirits live on after the body dies.  To end our memorial we suggested we sing a song.  She immediately liked the idea but didn’t want a “Rock ‘n’ Roll song or a ballet song” (her older brother’s and her typical requests respectively).  No, she wanted, “a song of God: I am a Child of God,  and Our Father Has a Family“.   And so with many a tear we sang the familiar words that now offered peace and comfort to a little girl learning about mortality and eternity.

Our Father has a family. It’s me, it’s you, all others too; we are His children.  He sent each one of us to earth, through birth, to live and learn here in families.  God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be.  This is how He shares His love.  For the family is of God.  (The Family is of God)

I am a child of God and He has sent me here, has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.  Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.  Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday. (CS 2)

~Michelle

More about the role of animals in God’s eternal plan:

* Bible Dictionary, “Christ:” “He rose from the grave and brought to pass the bodily resurrection of every living thing.” (page 633)

* Bible Dictionary, “Revelation of John: “Animals are resurrected from the dead, and there are animals in heaven, redeemed by the blood of Christ.” (page 763, referring to Revelation 5:11-14)

* Moses 3:19 “. . . God formed every beast of the field, . . . and they were also living souls.”

* Genesis 9:9-10 “. . . “I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark,to every beast of the earth.” (That is, God covenanted with man and animals.)

 

 

 

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Utah, DC, and New England friends – “Primary in Zion Live!”

SundayLessons_Front_RGBUTAH friends: Sat April 11 at 3 pm in downtown SLC: Marci is doing a hands-on workshop of many Primary in Zion ideas from the book “Sunday Lessons & Activities for Kids!” All ages welcome, refreshments served. Join the action as Marci demonstrates ideas about nurturing children in a tough world. Come home with ideas for fun activities for children in a church class or your own children or grandchildren. Audience volunteers of all ages might be part of the action! Details here.

 

FINAL LOGO_Light2015_VerticalNEW ENGLAND friends: Register now for “Let Your Light Shine 2015!” Although this FREE 13-stake Women’s Conference isn’t happening until Sat May 30 in Lowell, Mass, seating is limited and tickets are going fast! Primary in Zion co-founders Michelle and Marci are presenting “Busting Out of the Bubble: Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service.” The session will be recorded and available as a podcast after the conference.

 

WASHINGTON DC friends: Sat May 2 at 4 pm in Annandale, VA: Join contributing author Tina and editor Marci in a hands-on workshop of many Primary in Zion ideas from the book “Sunday Lessons & Activities for Kids!” All ages welcome, refreshments served. Join the action as they demonstrate ideas about nurturing children in a tough world. Come home with ideas for fun activities for children in a church class or your own children or grandchildren. Audience volunteers of all ages might be part of the action! Details here.SundayLessons_Front_RGB

 

 

 

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Scripture study habits bring peace to children in turmoil

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Today’s guest author Holly is a wife, mother of 8 (four mine, four his), grandma to 7, and daughter of God.

When my children were young we had family prayer and family scripture study every day without fail. EVERY DAY. Many of those days our family scripture study didn’t go well. Someone is poking someone. Someone was touching or looking at someone, etc…you get the picture, but we did it anyway. Most days scripture study was between 20-30 minutes long as we read scriptures and discussed them. Days, months, and years passed.  We found out from our kids that none of their friends did it that way, but we kept on. This was sacred time to us.

Our older children grew to be young teens and then their world crashed. My husband and I divorced. This was a traumatic time for them and, in essence, they went off the deep end. Our life was in uproar. They were angry and frustrated, and since they lived with me, they took all that anger and frustration out on me. It felt like a war zone. For the first time, I dreaded the moment they stepped in the door from school.

But here is the important part of the story. At 8:30 every night without me prodding them, they would each come in my room for family scripture study and prayer. There was no fighting, no evil looks….just peace as we studied scriptures and prayed. 20-30 minutes of peace every day.

Afterwards, they stepped out my bedroom door and it was a war zone again. Those really were the only peaceful moments we had for several months. It was a remarkable miracle that I will forever value.

I didn’t know when my children were young just how much of a sacred time our crazy scripture study was. If we hadn’t been having scripture study on a consistent basis all along, I wouldn’t have been able to start it at that tumultuous time in their life.  But during those days of turmoil, that sacred time brought peace, and from that the strength to move forward, for each one of us.

“Wherefore, be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” Doctrine & Covenants 64:33

~Holly

Other related posts: Scripture Power! Where to find that memorable song?

 

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5th Sunday in March Sharing Time Lesson Idea: Preparing for Easter

This year Easter Sunday happens to fall on General Conference weekend.  This happens every few years.  I love having the opportunity to listen to the prophet and apostles on Easter and be home together as a family.  But I do miss having regular Sunday meetings and Primary.  But who says you can’t teach about Easter in Primary the week before Easter or the week after?  Or both?  In fact, I think anytime is a good time to help children learn about Jesus’ life mission, celebrate His resurrection and get to know Jesus better!

Image from photobucket.com

Image from photobucket.com

If you plan ahead you can prepare children for the true meaning of Easter by teaching about Palm Sunday and Jesus’ last week on Palm Sunday, March 29. Since this is a 5th Sunday there isn’t a lesson topic in our Sharing Time Outline for Primary. We’ve got you covered!  Check out the link below for some Palm Sunday and Easter Sharing Time Lesson ideas with links to visuals that will help you tell the story of Jesus’ last week.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sharing Time Idea and Family Activity

Share this 1 page document with your Primary children’s families so they can follow along at home through the week leading up to Easter and draw closer to Jesus through scripture.  This is always a memorable week in our house when we dedicate a little chunk of time each morning or night to study Jesus’ last week. Easter morning comes and the kids are definitely excited for their Easter basket treats but we also burst into song and praise our Lord through music inspired by the scripture verses we’ve been studying.  Learning and thinking about Jesus all week makes Easter so much more meaningful for me.  Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection are…well…everything!

“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28: 6

~Michelle

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