“Celebrating the Restoration,” Ensign, February 2020
Two hundred years ago, a 14-year-old boy went to the woods with questions. The answers he received opened the doors for the Restoration of the Lord’s Church. In commemoration, the following ideas could be adapted for use in families, youth groups, wards, or branches.
Identify songs and scriptures that you could organize to tell the story of the Restoration. These could come from Joseph Smith—History, other scriptures, and hymns about the Restoration from the hymnbook and the Children’s Songbook. Invite people to help read the parts and perform the music. If possible, consider having a 14-year-old boy read Joseph Smith’s words.
Invite people to create artwork about the early events of the Restoration. It could include paintings, illustrations, sculptures, photographs, and so on. Ask them to choose an event or theme from the Restoration for their art. Schedule a time and place to display them all together and invite others to come and see them.
Find a peaceful place away from distractions, like Joseph did. Consider a setting in nature if there’s a place near enough to your home. Read Joseph Smith’s account of his going to the Sacred Grove to pray. Invite participants to share how they received a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel or experiences when Heavenly Father answered their prayers.
Ask someone to prepare a presentation about the Restoration. The speaker could be a Church leader, a gifted teacher, or someone with a good background in Church history. Invite friends or neighbors to learn about the Restoration and what it means for us today.
Gather everyone together with their personal copies of the scriptures. Joseph Smith studied the scriptures, believing he would find answers. Read James 1:5 together. Joseph said these words entered “with great force into every feeling of [his] heart” (Joseph Smith—History 1:12). Invite participants to share verses of scripture that have had a powerful effect on them or that have provided answers to their questions.
Organize a simple parade with different individuals or groups representing different events, revealed truths, or blessings of the Restoration. If circumstances allow, invite each individual or group to share the significance of the event, truth, or blessing they represented. Perhaps you could have a parade just for children.
Get together to watch the short video “Ask of God: Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” found on ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Discuss what you can learn about prayer from Joseph’s example. Share how communicating with Heavenly Father makes you feel.