“Sharing Time: He’s Talking to Me,” Friend, May 1998, 36
Do you know what a multitude is? A multitude is a great number. It can refer to a great number of people. When Jesus Christ taught in Judea, great numbers of people followed after Him to hear what He had to say. He taught multitudes on the shores of Galilee. He taught multitudes on the mountain. He taught multitudes in Jerusalem. He wanted each individual person in the multitude to listen, to believe, and to decide to follow Him.
Moses taught a whole multitude in Old Testament times. He taught them the Ten Commandments. He told them, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut. 6:5). He wanted them to keep those words close to their hearts and to teach the words to their children. Even though he was speaking to a large group, he wanted each person to hear and to do the things that he told them. And he wanted their children and their children’s children to know those things too.
To the people of his day, Nephi read from the books of Moses and also from the prophet Isaiah. Nephi said, “I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Ne. 19:23). What does it mean to “liken” the scriptures unto us? It means that we see how our life is like the lives of the people we are reading about. If the Lord says something to those people, we know that He is saying it to us too. We can learn from the scriptures what happens when we keep the commandments—it brings happiness and peace. We can also see the sorrow that comes when people break the commandments.
The Savior’s speech called the “Sermon on the Mount” (see Matthew 5–7) is for us! We are happy and blessed when we are meek or merciful (see Matt. 5:5, 7). King Benjamin’s speech from the tower (see Mosiah 2–5) is for us! We, too, can have a mighty change in our hearts (see Mosiah 5:2). The Word of Wisdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 89) will help us find health and great treasures of knowledge. It helped the Saints who lived in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, and it can help us. When the prophets speak today, their message is for us and for those who come after us. And when we liken the scriptures to ourselves and listen to the Spirit, we can hear the Lord talking to us.
Carefully remove page 37 from the magazine, mount it on heavy paper, and color it. In the center oval, glue a small photo of yourself, a mirror, or a picture that you’ve drawn of yourself. Cut off the bottom strip along the broken black line. Cut out each box in the strip, read each title and its scripture, then glue the box under the appropriate picture. Hang the poster in your room.
When I Liken the Scriptures to Myself …
… the Lord Is Talking to Me!
Moses Teaches Israel the Ten Commandments
King Benjamin Preaches His Sermon
Jesus Teaches the Sermon on the Mount
Joseph Smith Teaches the Word of Wisdom
Note: CS = Children’s Songbook. To reinforce the theme, sing from the CS v. 4 of “This Is My Beloved Son,” p. 76, and v. 2 of “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” p. 57.
1. Discuss 1 Nephi 19:23 [1 Ne. 19:23] with the children and help them understand that to “liken” means to compare or to illustrate by comparison. When we “liken all scriptures” to ourselves, we apply the lessons and instructions of the revelations to our own lives. To memorize 1 Nephi 19:23 [1 Ne. 19:23], have five children hold up key words (liken, scriptures, us, profit, learning) in the front of the Primary while the others repeat the scripture two or three times. Then have one child at a time hide his word while everyone continues to repeat the scripture.
2. On cards large enough for everyone to see, print the first part of each beatitude (see Matt. 5 or 3 Ne. 12), such as “Blessed are the merciful.” Then print on another card the second part of the beatitude “for they shall obtain mercy.” Mix up the cards and place them face down in rows on a chalkboard, wall, or the floor. Have a representative from each class come up one at a time and try to find a match. Have each class use their scriptures to help their representative know if the cards match. If they do match, post them together and have the class supply the scripture reference. Have a child explain what that scripture means to him/her. If the cards don’t match, turn them face down again for the next child. See Primary 4 manual, lesson 34 or Primary 7 manual, lesson 10 for other activities related to the Sermon on the Mount.
3. The Lord gave the Ten Commandments in the time of Moses, but they apply to all of us today. Write large numbers 1–10 on separate sheets of paper. On the opposite side, write a short version of the appropriate commandment (see Ex. 20:3–17). Teach the song “The Commandments” (CS, pp. 112–113). Then have the children form a circle and put the papers in the center with the numbers facing up. While the pianist (or tape) plays the song, have the children pass a beanbag around the circle. When the music stops, the child holding the beanbag says the next phrase (commandment) of the song. He/she can ask for help from the child on his/her right. That child identifies the number of the commandment from the cards on the floor and turns it over to see if the choice is correct. Every so often, ask a question about a commandment, e.g., “How can we keep the Sabbath day holy?” or “What are some ‘gods’ (toys? sports? clothes?) that people might be tempted to put before the Lord?” or “How can we show that we honor our father and mother?”
4. The Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89) was given to the Saints in 1833 when few people thought those dietary suggestions and substance prohibitions were important. Many scientists now affirm the value of such “wisdom,” but the most important lesson we learn is that when we listen to the Lord’s voice of warning and follow His instructions, we shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge and the destroying angel will pass us by (see D&C 89:18–21). Prepare two sets of wordstrips, four in each. Set A: (1) “Just try it. Once won’t hurt you.” (2) “Everyone is doing it. Don’t you want to fit in?” (3) “All the famous people in the movies and on television do it.” (4) “It will make you feel good.” Set B: Number the remaining wordstrips 1–4, and on the opposite side of each, write “No, thank you!” Pass out Set A and put Set B with the number facing up on a table. Ask the children to name substances we should avoid (tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, harmful drugs, etc.). Then ask someone, “What would you do if someone tried to tempt you by saying …” Have the child holding #1 read his or her wordstrip. Ask someone to select the same numbered wordstrip on the table and read it. Repeat the procedure with the remaining wordstrips. We have good food choices we can make to keep our bodies healthy. Give a piece of paper and pencil to each child. Prepare three wordstrips: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains. Post a wordstrip, give the children one minute to write down as many items in that category that they can think of that are good for their bodies, then discuss their lists. Repeat with the other categories. Younger children could use pictures from magazines to make two collages, one of good food choices and one of bad choices. See Primary 5 manual, lesson 24 for more stories and activities on the Word of Wisdom.
5. Discuss how blessed we are to have prophets speak to us today in general conference. These talks are for us and will be important for those who come after us. Have pictures of the First Presidency and other General Authorities displayed. In advance, ask four adults to choose a conference talk from the last two years that has a message appropriate for children (see Ensign, May and November general conference addresses, or any Friend IFC). Have them obtain a picture of the speaker and some information about him or her (see the Friend, “Friend to Friend”). Have the children move by class(es) to different areas to hear the message and a little bit about the speaker. Ask the pianist to play, or play a tape of the Tabernacle Choir as the children move from area to area.
6. King Benjamin spoke to his people three years before he died (see Mosiah 1–5). He gave important information for us too. To represent tents, place blankets or large mats on the floor and ask each class to sit on one. Use a step stool for a tower. Explain to the children that they are assembled for an important reason (see Mosiah 2:9). Since everyone cannot hear, you are going to pass out some important parts of your talk (see Mosiah 2:8), and they will have to be the messengers. Pass out the following wordstrips to the classes: Serve Others (Mosiah 2:17–18; Mosiah 4:15); Have Faith and Repent (Mosiah 3:21); Make and Keep Baptismal Covenants (Mosiah 5:5, 7); Pray Daily (Mosiah 4:11); Help the Poor (Mosiah 4:16). Have them read the scripture, discuss ways they can obey the commandment, then choose someone to display the wordstrip and report to everyone. Discuss the joy the people felt and their desire to keep the commandments (see Mosiah 5:1–9). Bear your testimony of the joy that comes from keeping the commandments and taking upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. Conclude by singing “The Church of Jesus Christ” (CS, p. 77). For other activities related to King Benjamin’s address see Primary 4 manual, lesson 10.
7. For additional resources on likening the scriptures to us, see the following from the Friend: “The Golden Rule,” Jan. 1995, p. 29; “I Just Remember Jesus,” Apr. 1995, p. 19; “The Calling of the Twelve,” May 1995, p. 48; “Let the Word Fill Your Hearts,” Mar. 1996, IFC; “The Gift of Love,” July 1996, IFC; “Alma and Amulek,” Aug. 1996, p. 48; “Trying to Be Like Jesus Christ,” starting in Sep. 1996; “Little Testimonies,” Mar. 1997, pp. 16–18.