“Sharing Time: President Gordon B. Hinckley Is Our Prophet Today,” Friend, Feb. 2001, 45
Have you ever been a member of a club? How did you choose the leader of it? You may live in a country in which the people choose their leaders by voting. In some countries, leaders are chosen by their birth.
Every organization needs some order, someone to lead them. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lord chooses the President to lead His people. The Lord also calls twelve men to be Apostles, special witnesses of Jesus Christ to all the earth. In our dispensation (period of time when the Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth), the man who has served the longest as an Apostle is the prophet and President of the Church. This is how the Lord chooses the President.
Father in Heaven chose Joseph Smith to restore the Savior’s church on the earth and to be the first prophet and President of it in our dispensation. Since the death of Joseph Smith, fourteen other prophets have served as the President of the Church. Each has taught us things that we need to know to return to live again with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Prophets teach us to love one another, keep the commandments, study the scriptures, and follow the example of the Savior. They are messengers to the world for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has been called by Heavenly Father to be our prophet and the President of the Church today. He has traveled to many countries and taught the people to follow the Savior. He has planned for temples to be built all over the earth. He cares about what happens to members of the Church throughout the world. He is helped by his two Counselors and by the Twelve Apostles, who also travel throughout the world, testifying of the Savior and teaching the people. These men are all special witnesses of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
When we listen to our prophet, we are listening to the one whom Father in Heaven has called to represent Him and speak for Him. When we do what the prophet asks us to do, we are doing what Heavenly Father wants us to do. We can be sure that He will bless us when we do what the prophet asks us to do.
Mount pages 30 and 44 on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard, then cut out each circle along the heavy lines. Cut out the two windows on the title circle, put it on top of the picture circle, and fasten the two circles together with a metal fastener through the center dots. Find the picture of Joseph Smith; in the window below his picture you can read an interesting fact about him. Continue turning the top circle to the right to see the men in the order that they served as Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to read something that that prophet is remembered for. You might want to use the wheel to help you sing “Latter-day Prophets”* in a family home evening.
When he was fourteen years old, he saw the Father and the Son.
He led the Saints to Utah
He was in Carthage Jail when Joseph Smith was martyred. He himself was saved when a bullet was stopped by his watch.
He dedicated the Salt Lake Temple in 1893.
He taught the importance of paying tithing.
Joseph F. Smith
He counseled Saints to hold family home evening.
Heber J. Grant
He taught the importance of hard work in developing talents.
George Albert Smith
He taught the importance of loving one another.
David O. McKay
He said, “Every member a missionary.”
Joseph Fielding Smith
During his administration, the Friend magazine was first published.
Harold B. Lee
He helped establish the Welfare Program.
Spencer W. Kimball
He received a revelation stating that “every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood” (Doctrine and Covenants OD 2).
Ezra Taft Benson
He encouraged members to read and study the Book of Mormon.
Howard W. Hunter
He asked us to live more Christlike lives and to prepare to go to the temple.
Gordon B. Hinckley
He was sustained as the prophet on April 1, 1995.
(Note: CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
(Note: Sometime during the month, please discuss “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign, Apr. 2000, pp. 20–21.)
(Note: Words and music for President Hunter are in Friend, Apr. 1995, p. 5; words (only) for President Hinckley are in Friend, Oct. 1995, p. 24, paragraph at top.)
1. Using paper attached to the wall, create a time line marked in 10-year increments, beginning with the organization of the Church in 1830 and ending with 2001. Prior to Sharing Time, select 15 children and give each one information about the Latter-day prophet he/she will present (GAK 400, 507–520). Have him/her tell about that prophet and show his picture; have the remaining children guess when that prophet served as Church President. Place the picture in the correct segment of the time line. Sing “Latter-day Prophets” (CS, p. 134) to see if the prophets are in the right order. Have each class draw pictures of two or three Presidents, depicting something that happened during the time that they served (e.g., Joseph Smith receiving the First Vision; Brigham Young crossing the plains; Wilford Woodruff dedicating the Salt Lake Temple—see Friend, Oct. 1995, pp. 24–25). Place the drawings on the time line and talk about the ways people have been blessed for following the prophets. Bear your testimony of the importance of listening to our prophet today and doing the things he asks us to do.
2. Play “Leader Says.” The children are to do only those things prefaced by “Leader says” (e.g., “Leader says, ‘Stand up.’”). If they do what they are told to do without having been told “Leader says,” they must sit down. Play until nearly everyone is sitting. Explain that many people will try to tell us what to do. We can trust some of them but not others. Heavenly Father has promised that we can trust our prophet to always tell us right things, things He wants us to know. Sing v. 9 of “Follow the Prophet” (CS, pp. 110–111) and explain that doing the things the prophet asks us to do will give us direction throughout our lives. Discuss some of the directions he has given. Show a tree branch without leaves. Give each child a green leaf (cut from paper) and have him/her write on it something he/she will do to follow the prophet’s teachings. Attach the leaves to the branch and present it to the bishop/branch president. (Younger children could each draw a picture, with all the pictures made into a booklet to be presented.) Say that as we do what our “Leader (prophet) says,” we will be blessed. Sing “Keep the Commandments” (CS, pp. 146–147) and bear your testimony.
3. Choose one thing each Latter-day prophet has taught (see “Latter-day Prophets,” Friend, Oct. 1995, pp. 24–25; GAK 400, 507–520, backs of pictures) and select a song from the CS that reinforces that teaching. (Examples: • Joseph Smith / Word of Wisdom / “The Lord Gave Me a Temple,” p. 153 • John Taylor / God loves His children everywhere / “God Is Watching Over All,” p. 229 • Lorenzo Snow / tithing / “I’m Glad to Pay a Tithing,” p. 150 • Heber J. Grant / everyone is invited to come unto Christ / “He Sent His Son,” pp. 34–35 • George Albert Smith / loving each other / “Love One Another,” p. 136 • Ezra Taft Benson / Book of Mormon study / “Book of Mormon Stories,” p. 118 • Gordon B. Hinckley / temples / “I Love to See the Temple,” p. 95.) Display the prophets’ pictures. Have their names and what they taught on one side of a piece of paper; on the other side, the name of the corresponding song. Have a child draw a piece of paper from a container and read (or you read) about that prophet’s teaching and match his name with his picture; then have all the children sing the song. Bear your testimony that President Hinckley is giving us guidance today.
4. Song Presentation: “The Sixth Article of Faith,” CS, p. 126. (See “Music,” Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 172–174; “Using the Songbook,” CS, pp. 300–304.) Sing the song to the children. Hold up “Christ Ordaining the Apostles” (GAK 211). Explain that the Primitive Church is what we call the church that Jesus Christ Himself organized when He lived upon the earth. Sing the song up to Church with the children. Explain that the restored Church is organized just as Jesus Christ organized the Primitive Church, with Apostles, prophets, pastors (bishops), teachers, evangelists (patriarchs), and so forth. Have pictures of President Hinckley, a bishop, a teacher (GAK 520, 611, 614), and a patriarch (from the meetinghouse library—or a rolled up paper representing a patriarchal blessing). Sing the rest of the song, with children holding up the pictures as the people are sung about (one child holds up GAK 211). Discuss how blessed we are to have each of these people in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Have the children sing the song through several times, each time removing one of the pictures. Bear your testimony that the Savior guides us today through His prophet and priesthood leaders just as He did through the Primitive Church.
5. Before Sharing Time, write the testimony of each current Apostle on separate pieces of paper and hide them. (Their testimonies can usually be found at the end of their general conference addresses.) Explain that we have Twelve Apostles now, just as Jesus Christ had in the Primitive Church, and that they are special witnesses of the Savior. Tell the children that they will have a treasure hunt to find what today’s Apostles have witnessed about Him. Give one child a clue to the location of the first written testimony. When he/she finds it, have him/her read it (or you read it) and, if available, hold up a picture of that Apostle, then place his testimony in a container labeled Treasure Box. Continue with different children until all the testimonies have been found and the Apostles identified. Explain that as we listen to the testimonies of the Apostles, our own testimonies will be strengthened. There is no greater treasure than to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.
6. Additional Friend resources: “The Calling of the Twelve,” May 1995, pp. 48–IBC; “Latter-day Prophets,” Oct. 1995, pp. 24–25; “Prophet Puzzle,” Jan. 1997, p. 14.