“Sharing Time: Joseph Smith—Valiant Servant of God,” Friend, Oct. 1997, 14
“The Lord needs valiant servants, To do his work in the latter day” (Children’s Songbook, page 162). Do you know what it means to be valiant? It means to be brave and courageous in doing what’s right, even in the face of danger.
Joseph Smith was a valiant servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was brave and courageous in standing for right. One time, the Prophet Joseph and several other brethren had been taken from their families and put into jail. They were chained together and had to sleep on the cold prison floor.
During one of the long, cold nights of their imprisonment, Joseph and his friends were unable to sleep. For hours the guards had been boasting about the horrible things they had done to Latter-day Saints. They bragged about robbing, shooting, and killing. They used loud voices to tell about the horrible things they had done to men, women, and even little children.
Suddenly Joseph, unarmed and in chains, stood up and spoke in a voice like thunder: “SILENCE, ye fiends [devils] of the infernal pit [hell]. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and bear such language. Cease [stop] such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, page 180.)
The guards shook, and some dropped their weapons. Some of the guards begged Joseph’s pardon. All of them remained quiet until a change of guards.
You can develop courage to choose the right, even when others around you choose differently. As you make righteous choices day by day in little things, the Lord will strengthen you and help you choose the right at difficult times. You can follow the example of the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can be valiant. You can “stand for truth.” You can “stand for right.” The Lord can depend on you. (See Children’s Songbook, page 162.)
Mount page 15 on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard. Fill in the blanks, color the picture, and hang it up somewhere in your room. Each time you look at the picture, remember how valiant the Prophet Joseph Smith was; then try to be a valiant servant, too, by choosing the right.
Note: This month you might practice “Dare to Do Right” (Children’s Songbook, p. 158).
1. Invite six older children to portray the prophets, listed below, who chose to do what was right when others around them chose differently. Give the information to the children ahead of time so they can prepare. After each child has told about his/her prophet, let the other children guess who it was. (1) The Lord asked me to build a ship. I had never built a ship before. At first my brothers refused to help me. I bore my testimony to them, and with the Lord’s help, I built a ship. Who am I? (Nephi—1 Ne. 17:18, 50; 1 Ne. 18:2); (2) The Lord showed me the destruction of Jerusalem. I tried to warn the people and tell them that they must repent. I spoke of the Messiah, Who would come. The people were so angry that they wanted to kill me. Who am I? (Lehi—1 Ne. 1:18–20); (3) I preached upon the walls of the city. I told of the coming of the Savior. The people tried to kill me with stones and arrows, but the Lord protected me. Who am I? (Samuel—Hel. 16:1–2); (4) I prayed to Heavenly Father, and as a punishment, I was thrown into a den of lions. I was protected by the power of God. Who am I? (Daniel—Dan. 6:4–7, 10, 16, 19–22); (5) As a young boy of 14, I prayed to know which church I should join. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to me and told me I should join none of them. When I told other people about seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, they persecuted me. But I was still firm in telling what had happened to me. Who am I? (Joseph Smith—JS—H 1:16–25); (6) I preached before wicked King Noah and his priests. They were going to kill me, but I told them that they could not until I finished delivering the message that the Lord had sent me to deliver. Then, after I finished, they burned me at the stake. Who am I? (Abinadi—Mosiah 13:3–6; Mosiah 17:1, 13).
2. Sing “I Will Be Valiant” (Children’s Songbook, p. 162). Ask the children to explain what it means to be valiant (boldly courageous; brave; stouthearted). Tell them that early members of the Church faced terrible persecution because of their beliefs. Divide the children into four groups and give each group a story from the life of an early Latter-day Saint. Have each group prepare to tell the story and create, by posing, a still scene from the story. You may wish to use a sheet as a curtain behind which each group can prepare. After each story, discuss how the early Latter-day Saint in the story was valiant. You could use the following stories from the Primary 5 manual: Bishop Partridge, p. 88, paragraphs 2–5; “The Twelve Apostles Go to England,” pp. 161–162; “The Book of Commandments Is Published,” pp. 116–117; “Mary Fielding Smith’s Cattle Are Stolen,” pp. 246–247.
3. Invite an adult member of the ward/branch to portray the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ask him to explain the change in the Prophet as he learned to trust in the Lord. Have him discuss the loss of the 116 pages that were given to Martin Harris. (See D&C 3:heading, D&C 3:7–8.) Also have him tell about Joseph’s rebuking the guards during his imprisonment. (See “Joseph Smith Rebukes the Guards,” Primary 5 manual, p. 182.) Ask the member to discuss how the children will grow in trust of the Lord as they keep His commandments and “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).
4. Explain that early Latter-day Saints moved many times because they were persecuted. Play a game about the things a pioneer might take on his journey to Zion. Say, “I am going to Zion, and I’m taking a hammer” (make a hammering motion with your hands). The next person in the circle says, “I’m going to Zion, and I’m taking a hammer (make hammering motion) “and a needle” (make the motion of drawing a needle through fabric), etc. To play another game, have everyone stand, then repeat, in rhythm and with the indicated actions, each of these phrases: (1) We’re going to walk to Zion (pat your knees—right, left, right, left); (2) We’ll have to walk through tall grass (rub the palms of your hands together); (3) We’ll have to swim through rivers (make swimming motions with your arms); (4) We’ll have to push a handcart (make pushing motions while groaning); (5) We’ll sing around the campfire (beat a 4/4 conducting pattern); (6) We’ll have to climb the mountains (take four giant steps in place); (7) We’ll have to help each other (shake hands with your neighbor); (8) And when we finish walking (pat your knees—right, left, right, left); (9) We’ll all kneel down together (kneel on or touch right knee, then left knee); (10) And thank our Heavenly Father (fold arms and bow head).
5. Write the names of the children on slips of paper or Popsicle sticks and place them in a container. Sing “Dare to Do Right” (Children’s Songbook, p. 158). Have each class write on paper three or four situations that would require a Church member to “dare to do right.” Place these situations in another container. Invite a child to select both the name of a child and a situation. Have the child whose name is selected explain how he would choose the right in that situation. Explain that everyone can do what is right, even when those around him choose differently. Ask the children to share this activity with their families during family home evening.
6. Explain that it is important to keep the commandments, even when others around them are not. Help the children understand what it means to endure to the end and why it is important. Read and discuss “The Peanut Race,” (Friend, May 1996, pp. 27–29). Suggest that they share this story with their families.
7. For additional resources on “I will have the courage to be obedient and choose the right, even when others around me choose differently,” see the following from the Friend: “Danny’s Own Lions’ Den,” Jan. 1994, pp. 2–4; “The Choice,” July 1994, pp. 8–10; “R.A.D.A.R.,” Apr. 1995, pp. 42–43; “Lost and Found,” July 1995, pp. 2–4.