“Sharing Time: The Prophet Speaks for Heavenly Father,” Friend, Jan. 2001, 14
Pretend that it’s a beautiful summer evening and you have been playing outside with your brothers and sisters. Now imagine that your mom calls to you and asks you to tell them to come in for dinner. You are speaking for your mom, delivering a message for her to your family. Will they listen?
Throughout the ages, Father in Heaven has chosen certain men to speak for Him. These men are called prophets. They teach us what Heavenly Father wants us to know. They warn us about what will happen if we disobey. They also tell us about the wonderful blessings that will come when we do obey. Will we listen?
The scriptures tell us about the prophets who were called by Father in Heaven to speak for Him. Noah was asked by the Lord to warn the people that if they didn’t repent, a terrible flood would come and cover the earth. Noah’s family were the only ones who listened, and they were saved from the flood (see Gen. 6–8; 2 Pet. 2:5).
The prophet Lehi was shown that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come and be the Savior of the world. Lehi’s son Nephi prayed to know if the words of his father were true. The Lord visited Nephi, and he believed all the words of his father. Later, Nephi also spoke for the Lord (see 1 Ne. 1:18–19; 1 Ne. 2:16–18).
As a young boy, Joseph Smith went into the woods to pray to Father in Heaven and ask which church he should join. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and gave him instructions that opened the way for the restoration of the gospel in our day (see JS—H 1:11–20).
We have a living prophet today, Gordon B. Hinckley. He is the President of the Church, and he speaks to us for the Lord. He was chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority. President Hinckley testifies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and he teaches us the gospel. All the prophets testify of Jesus Christ and teach us what He wants us to do (see Jacob 7:11; D&C 21:1, 4–5).
When we pray to Heavenly Father as Nephi did, we can know that the words of the prophets are true. Prophets are men who “walk with God” (see Gen. 6:9). They keep His commandments and are obedient to the things He tells them to do. When we hear the prophet, we will know that he speaks to us for the Savior. Yes, we will listen.
Mount page 15 on cardboard, then carefully cut out the three pieces of the mobile.
Draw or glue a picture of yourself in the empty square; write your name under it.
Fold along the dotted lines; punch holes where indicated on each piece (4 holes in all).
Fold a 2′ (60 cm) string (or yarn or narrow ribbon) in half. Make a loop by threading the fold up through the back of the picture of the Savior to a length of about 2″ (5 cm) (see illustration), then tie a knot just behind the hole so that the piece won’t slide down.
Twist the string so that it will more easily go through the holes, and thread it through the remaining holes (see illustration), making a knot just below the middle mobile piece, and another at the end of the string.
Read the scripture referenced under each prophet’s picture, then hang up your mobile to remind you of what the Savior tells the prophets to tell you.
I Will Follow the Prophet
Obey My Parents
Ask of God
ALMA THE YOUNGER
Keep the Commandments
Love One Another
Forgive One Another
Keep the Sabbath Holy
Doctrine and Covenants 59:9
Serve the Lord
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
As we begin to discuss the theme for this year, “Follow the Prophet,” it is important for the children to understand that a prophet is called by God to speak for Him. Help them understand that each prophet through the ages has been given special messages for the people of his day and that they have been blessed as they have followed his directions. The children can then better understand that if they follow our prophet today, they also will be blessed.
1. Make a chart, using a picture of the Savior on the left, then an arrow with TELLS inside it, then a picture of President Hinckley, then another Tells arrow, then a space for simple figures and paper dolls (or pictures) of children (see below). Display the chart and explain that President Hinckley speaks for the Lord and tells us what the Lord wants us to do. Ask, “Whom does the Savior talk to through our prophet?” (Me, you, adults, children all over the world, etc.) Have each child who responds come forward and place a simple paper figure in the space on the right side of the poster. Explain that when we do what our prophet tells us to do, we are doing what the Lord wants us to do.
Sing “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (Hymns, no. 21) or other songs about obedience. You might adapt the first words of “Quickly I’ll Obey” (CS, p. 197) to be: “When the prophet tells me.”
Ask, “Who can tell me one thing the prophet has told us that the Savior wants us to do?” (Pray, read scriptures, be kind, etc.) Write their answers on the poster and have the children write their initials by their own answers. Have each child color a paper doll (or draw a picture) to look like him/herself and attach it to the right side of the chart. You might have each older child write on the back of his/her picture one thing he/she will do to follow the prophet. Sing “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 19); conclude with your testimony.
2. Explain that through the ages, Heavenly Father has called prophets to speak for Him. Divide the children into classes or into three or four groups, depending on the size of your Primary. Give each teacher/group leader a piece of paper with the name of a prophet and with scripture references that tell about what he did or said. (Examples: • Noah / Gen. 6:11–14; Gen. 7:5, 7–10 • Moses / Ex. 14:8–9 (including footnote 8a), Ex. 14:13–14, 21–22 • Malachi / Mal. 3:10 • Abinadi / Mosiah 13:1–5, 9–10 • Samuel the Lamanite / Hel. 14:1–8; Hel. 16:2–3 • Brigham Young / D&C 136:1–4 • Spencer W. Kimball / D&C OD–2:first and last paragraphs.)
Have each class/group prepare a dramatization of the assigned situation and present it to the whole Primary without using the name of the prophet. Have the other children guess who the prophet is and then tell what he is telling the people to do. Ask the children who dramatized the story to help you discuss what happened as a result of the prophet’s message. Bear your testimony that we are led by a prophet today and that we will be blessed when we follow him.
3. Work with the music leader for this Idea. Prepare a chart with squares, numbered from 1 to 15, forming a path from a picture of the Sacred Grove to the words Celestial Kingdom. Explain that each square represents a prophet to lead us and that today they will learn about the first six of these prophets, Latter-day Presidents of the Church. As they learn about each one, they should think of a song (from the CS) about what he taught or did, and where he belongs on the chart.
Have six children hold up pictures of the first six Church Presidents (see the GAK for pictures and information on each one). Have another child draw a prophet’s name from a container. Help the child identify which picture belongs to that name. Have the child holding that picture step forward and tell (with your help, as needed) a little about that prophet. Ask for songs (from the CS) that teach us what the prophet taught or about the prophet himself; sing the songs. (E.g.: • Joseph Smith—translated the Book of Mormon / “The Golden Plates,” p. 86 • Brigham Young—led the pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley / “Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked,” p. 214 • John Taylor—taught that Heavenly Father loves all people everywhere / “God Is Watching Over All,” p. 229 • Wilford Woodruff—served several missions and encouraged youth to learn the gospel early in their lives / “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission,” p. 169 • Lorenzo Snow—taught tithing / “I’m Glad to Pay a Tithing,” p. 150 • Joseph F. Smith—first instituted “family night” for Church members / “Families Can Be Together Forever,” p. 188.)
To help children learn where on the chart the prophets’ pictures belong, they might sing the first part of “Latter-day Prophets” (CS, p. 134). Tell the children that Heavenly Father has promised that we will always have a prophet to lead us until the Savior comes again. Do a similar activity using the remaining LDS Presidents later in the month.
4. Have each class teacher select a child to be a messenger and quietly tell her/him something important in that class’s lesson for the day. Have each messenger come forward and tell the whole Primary what that something important is. Thank the messengers, then explain that they were sent to speak for their teachers to the whole Primary. Ask all the children if they’ve ever been messengers (for parents, friends, siblings). Have a few tell what message they were asked to give. Ask them if it was important for them to give the right message; explain that whenever we speak for someone else, that person is depending on us to give the entire message correctly and to not leave out any of it. Ask, “Whom does Heavenly Father ask to give us His messages?” (The prophet.) Some of the messages warn us of things to come; some teach us to do certain things; others witness to us that Jesus Christ lived and atoned for our sins. Explain that sometimes the people did not want to hear the message the prophet was asked to give and that it took great courage for the prophet to speak for Heavenly Father.
Have several ward/branch priesthood holders, dressed in simple costumes (or wearing name tags), represent various prophets. Have each share that prophet’s message with the children. Ask if these messages are still important for us today. Tell the children that we can read their messages in our scriptures. Hold up a picture of President Hinckley and explain that he has been called to be a special witness of Jesus Christ and to speak to us for Heavenly Father today. His teachings can help strengthen our testimonies of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
5. Song presentation. Use questions (see “How to Teach a Song to Children,” 2. b, in CS, p. 300) to help the children learn and discover the meaning of “We Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (Hymns, no. 22). Tell them that in Amos 3:7, we learn that “the Lord God will do nothing, until he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” and that this scripture helps us understand the first verse of the hymn. Direct the children’s listening by asking questions. For example, for Line 1, tell the children to listen for the answers to “Whose voice do we listen to?” and “For whom is he speaking?” Sing the first line of the song to them. Let them answer the questions, then sing that part with you.
Ask, “Who is our prophet today?” (President Hinckley.) Have a child hold up a picture of President Hinckley. Ask, “Whom does he speak for?” (The Savior.) Have a child hold up a picture of Jesus Christ.
Continue teaching the hymn by asking questions about the words, singing the music to the children, then having them answer the questions and singing with you. Examples of questions for the rest of the song: Line 2—“How does the prophet ask us?” (With love.) “What does he ask us?” (To do what the Lord wants us to do.) Line 3—“Who calls the prophet?” (The Savior.) “What is another name for prophet?” (Seer.) Line 4—“Why has the Lord called the prophet?” (To admonish us to study the scriptures [the iron rod].) More questions might include: “Where do we hear the prophet speak?” “Where can we read his words?” Share your witness of the blessing it is to be members of the Church and to be led by a prophet.
6. Additional Friend resources: “The Godhead,” Feb. 1995, IFC; “Prophets ABC,” June 1995, p. 11; “God Tells His Prophets,” Jan. 1998, pp. 12–13, 45; “‘Follow the Prophet’ Face Frame,” Aug. 1997, pp. 30–31; “His Servants the Prophets,” Jan. 1998, pp. 42–43; “He’s Talking to Me,” May 1998, pp. 36–37, 11; “Prophets Then and Now” (song), Oct. 1998, p. 38; See also “Prophets of God,” Gospel Principles, pp. 47–51.