“Sharing Time: I Can Follow the Prophet,” Friend, Sept. 2001, 20
Sometimes on a hot summer day, after you have been working or playing outside for a long time, do you feel really thirsty for a drink of water? When you are really thirsty, there is nothing as good as a cool drink of water! Plants, animals, and people all need water to stay alive. When it doesn’t rain for a long time and there isn’t enough water for all the plants and animals, it is called a drought.
Many years ago, in 1899, there was a terrible drought in southern Utah. For more than two years there was no rain. The streams, and even the wells, around the town of St. George had dried up. There was no water for the crops, so they withered up and died. Thousands of cattle died of thirst. Many people began moving away because of the lack of food and water.
Nell was a little girl living in St. George at that time. Her father told her that things were so bad that they would also have to move away soon.
In June, Nell and her mother went to a Church conference in St. George. The prophet, President Lorenzo Snow, was going to speak. Nell’s father stayed home to pack the family’s things for their move. Nell listened carefully to what the prophet said. After the conference, she could hardly wait to tell her father about it. As soon as she arrived home, she ran to find him. She told him that President Snow had promised that if the people would pay their tithing and plant their crops, it would rain and they would have food for the coming year.
At first, Nell’s father was reluctant. He explained that their family couldn’t survive another year if the crops didn’t grow. Nell reminded him that her grandfather had told her about how the people in his day were blessed by doing exactly what President Young asked them to do. Nell had wished that she could have lived then and followed President Young. Grandfather had smiled at her and had reminded her that President Snow was the prophet now and he was the one Nell needed to follow. Her grandfather said that if she followed the living prophet, she would be blessed. She believed her grandfather, and she believed that President Snow’s promises would all be fulfilled. She even offered to give her father the money she had saved to help pay their family’s tithing.
The next morning, Nell saw her father out plowing, getting ready to plant their fields. Her family stayed in St. George and did exactly what the prophet asked them to do. During the hot, dry weeks that followed, the people of St. George paid their tithing, planted their fields, prayed, and watched the cloudless sky for rain. Neither Nell nor her father was surprised when two months after the conference, it began to rain. The crops grew in abundance that year!
Nell had faith that if her family did what the prophet asked them to do, they would be blessed. We will be blessed if we follow the living prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, have faith and pay our tithing, read the scriptures, have family home evening, keep the Sabbath Day holy, say our prayers, and obey the commandments. President Hinckley speaks for Heavenly Father. Whatever he asks of us is what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to do. If we are obedient, we will be blessed.
See if you can follow the teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley that will lead you through the maze to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Color the correct pathway, then cut out the page and hang it in your bedroom to remind you of some of the things the prophet has counseled us to do so that one day we can return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Pay an honest tithing.
Live the Word of Wisdom.
Choose your friends carefully.
Be thankful to your parents.
Participate in family home evening.
Listen to the still, small voice.
Don’t shop on Sunday.
Read the scriptures.
Be a little kinder.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
(CS = Children’s Songbook; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
1. Explain that throughout our lives, we will have to make choices. When we choose to do what the prophet asks us to do, our choices will guide us back to Father in Heaven. Prepare a board game for the children to play (see Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 168–170.) Make a game piece—a picture of a boy and a girl—for each class. Color them different colors. On a large piece of paper, draw a path leading from our home on earth back to Father in Heaven. Draw other paths breaking off from the main one and leading to dead ends. Divide the paths into squares. At the point where the paths intersect, put a picture of a latter-day prophet (see GAK 400, 507–520). On the space beyond the intersection of the path that leads to Heavenly Father, write a counsel given by that prophet to help us return to Heavenly Father (i.e. Joseph Smith / we must be baptized by someone with authority from God; Joseph F. Smith / family night (family home evening); Ezra Taft Benson / read the Book of Mormon, etc. See the backs of the GAK pictures of the prophets for other suggestions.) On the spaces next to the intersections on the dead-end paths, write something that the prophets have told us to not do (for example: steal a candy bar, cheat on a test, be unkind to others, pay tithing only when it’s easy to do so). In a bowl, place folded pieces of paper with numbers written on them. To play the game, have each class in turn draw a number and move its game piece along the path. When the game piece comes to an intersection, ask which path the class wants to follow and why, then move the game piece accordingly. Play until all classes reach the end. You may wish to work with your music leader and choose songs from the CS to sing that reinforce the choices the children make. (For example: “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (p. 153), “Family Night” (p. 195), “Nephi’s Courage” (pp. 120–121).
2. Using the information on the backs of the pictures of the Latter-day prophets in the GAK for suggestions, choose a variety of things the prophets have counseled us to do (see Sharing Time Idea #1). On separate pieces of paper, write down the counsel the prophets have given; fold the papers. Place them in a box. Let each class draw a paper from the box and pantomime the counsel. Have the rest of the children guess what the class is doing to “follow the prophet.” When they have guessed correctly, have them guess which prophet gave this counsel (there may be more than one correct answer). Post the prophet’s picture with the piece of paper the children drew from the box posted under it. When the last class has finished, sing a song to reinforce the need for each of us to choose to follow the prophet, such as “Stand for the Right” (CS, p. 159). Bear your testimony of how following the counsel of the prophets has blessed your life.
For older children: You may wish to have the classes draw a reference to a quote from the Ensign or the scriptures related to the counsel. Have them all look up the references they picked before they take turns pantomiming the counsel.
3. Show the children a picture of your bishop/branch president. Invite his wife to come and tell about his childhood, family, job, and what some of his duties are as bishop/branch president. Explain that because of his testimony of the gospel and his desire to sustain our prophet, the bishop/branch president has accepted his calling to serve the ward/branch. Have the children think of some of the things the bishop/branch president has asked the ward/branch members to do that will help them follow the prophet (pay tithing, pray as families, study the scriptures daily, hold family home evening, keep the Sabbath Day holy, etc.). Explain that part of sustaining the bishop/branch president is doing what he asks us to do. Have each child trace his or her hand onto a piece of paper, then write what he or she will do to sustain the bishop. Cut out the hands and place them in a container. If possible, invite the bishop or branch president to Primary and present him with the container. Have the children sing “Fathers” (CS, p. 209, v. 2) or “Our Bishop” (CS, p. 135).
4. Review “My Gospel Standards” and prayerfully select a few principles that you feel need to be taught in your Primary. Choose several adults serving in the Primary and have them conduct a station (see Teaching, No Greater Call, pp. 117, 179) to teach the principles selected. For example, at one station, the music leader could teach a song such as “The Word of Wisdom” (CS, pp. 154–155) and bear her testimony to this principle; at another station, a member of the presidency could tell a story about being kind to others. At a third, a teacher might have the children play a matching game of things we can do to keep the Sabbath day holy, and make a list of them for each child to keep. After the children have rotated through all the stations, give each a piece of paper with “I will always obey the prophet by ___________” written across the top. Have them fill in the blank by writing or drawing one principle that they will work on during the coming week. Ask the children to share their goals with their families and hang their papers where they will be seen each day.
5. Additional Friend resources: “Nephi Gets the Brass Plates” (Feb. 1996, p. 43); “We Have a Work to Do” (Aug. 1997, IFC); “His Servants the Prophets” (Jan. 1998, pp. 42–43), “What Would the Prophets Want Me to Do?” (Sep. 1999, pp. 36–39).