“Sharing Time: I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ,” Friend, Jan. 2003, 32
You belong to many groups. Can you name some? You belong to a family. You belong to a school. You may belong to a Cub Scout den or an Achievement Day group. You may belong to a sports team or a performance group. But one very special organization that you belong to is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This organization is different from all the rest, and it is much more valuable because it is sacred.
Every group, team, or organization has a leader. The leader might be a president or a coach or a teacher. In a family, it is usually a parent or guardian. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the leader is the Savior Himself.
When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He organized His church. He called and “ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
“And to have power to heal sicknesses” (Mark 3:14–15).
These twelve Apostles were given the authority to govern the Church of Jesus Christ after He was gone.
Today the prophet and the Apostles have the same priesthood, or authority, to govern His church that Jesus Christ gave His Apostles when He lived upon the earth. When the Apostles of His church today speak to you at general conference or send messages through a stake president or a bishop, they represent the leader of this special organization to which you belong: The Church of Jesus Christ.
To help you remember the words to the song “The Church of Jesus Christ” (Children’s Songbook, page 77), make this booklet. Remove page 33 from the magazine and mount it on heavy paper. Cut the solid line in the middle of the page, being careful to not cut any broken lines. Fold the page in half, long way. Then follow the diagrams to fold the pages into the booklet.
I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I know who I am.
I know God’s plan.
I’ll follow Him in faith.
I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’ll honor His name.
I’ll do what is right; I’ll follow His light.
His truth I will proclaim.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit; TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call)
1. Help the children understand the important part they play as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Hinckley said: “You who are members of this Church must have a loyalty to it. This is your church. You have as great a responsibility in [what you do] as I have in [what I do]. It belongs to you just as it belongs to me.” (Ensign, Jan. 2001, 9–10.)
Draw a body on a piece of paper and cut it into puzzle pieces. Place the pieces in a container, leaving one piece out. Have the children take turns choosing a puzzle piece and assemble the body. Ask what is wrong with the body. Have the children locate 1 Cor. 12:14–20 and then help them read the scripture aloud together. Discuss its meaning, and talk about how every member of the Church is important. Add the final piece to complete the body. Sing “The Church of Jesus Christ” (p. 77).
Draw or trace a paper doll for each child to color and, on the back, write or draw something he or she can do to be a good member. Testify of the blessings you receive from your membership.
2. The New Testament teaches us about the Church during Jesus’ time on earth. Have the children learn about the Church at that time by having them locate and read scriptures. Write the following scripture references in random order on one side of a chalkboard: Matt. 3:13–17; Matt. 6:9–13; Mark 3:14–15; Mark 12:41–44; Luke 22:19–20; John 5:39; Acts 5:42; 1 Cor. 15:29; Eph. 4:11–12; Eph. 5:19. On the other side of the chalkboard, write these terms: “baptism,” “prayer,” “priesthood,” “tithes and offerings,” “sacrament,” “scriptures,” “temple,” “baptism for the dead,” “apostles and prophets,” and “singing songs.” Choose a scripture. Have the children locate it and read it aloud. Have another child draw a line from the reference to the correct phrase. Discuss how these aspects of the gospel are the same today; sing songs about each one.
3. For younger children: Post these GAK pictures in random order around the room: John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus (208); Baptism (601); Jesus Healing the Blind (213); Administering to the Sick (613); The Last Supper (225); Passing the Sacrament (604); Boy Jesus in the Temple (205); Young Couple Going to the Temple (609); Go Ye Therefore (235); Missionaries Teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ (612).
Sing “When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (p. 102) and ask the children to locate the two pictures that deal with baptism (208, 601). Invite two children to get the pictures and post them side by side on the chalkboard. Discuss how we learn about the Church during Jesus’ life when we read from the New Testament. Tell the account of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus, and read Matt. 3:17 aloud. We can see that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same ordinance today.
Repeat the process with other songs, pictures, and stories-with-scriptures, such as “The Priesthood Is Restored” (p. 89) (GAK 213, 613) / Mark 3:14–15; “The Sacrament” (p. 72) (GAK 225, 604) / Luke 22:19; “I Love to See the Temple” (p. 95) (GAK 205, 609) / Luke 2:46; “I Want to Be a Missionary Now” (p. 168) (GAK 235, 612) / Matt. 28:19–20.
4. Help the children understand how the Apostasy changed the Church. Use small boxes or blocks to build a building. As each child adds a block to the building, have him or her name something that existed in the Savior’s church and then all sing an appropriate song, such as baptism—“When Jesus Christ Was Baptized” (p. 102); sacrament—“Before I Take the Sacrament” (p. 73); tithing—“I Want to Give the Lord My Tenth” (p. 150); temples—“I Love to See the Temple” (p. 95); priesthood—“A Young Man Prepared” (pp. 166–167); Apostles—“The Fifth Article of Faith” (p. 125); Prophets—“Follow the Prophet” (pp. 110–111).
Have the children read Eph. 2:20 aloud. As you explain how the Apostasy caused division in the Church, dismantle the building. Divide the blocks among several classes and have them use them to build smaller buildings. Explain how no single church had all of the same parts as the Savior’s church. Help the children memorize A of F 1:6. Sing “The Sixth Article of Faith” (p. 126).
Note: Save the blocks for next month, when you teach about the Restoration. At that time, repeat the process of building the Church in New Testament times, dismantling and building small buildings to represent churches after the Apostasy. Then help the children understand that we have the same principles and ordinances and priesthood offices as the Church did in Jesus’ day by rebuilding the original building to represent His church today.
5. Help the children understand the special calling of an Apostle. Have them read Matt. 4:18–22. Discuss what these men were asked to do (follow Jesus and be “fishers of men”). Discuss how these men followed Jesus (they “straightway left their nets, and followed him”) and what the phrases “follow Me” and “fishers of men” mean to us.
To help the children learn more about the men Jesus called to be Apostles, make twelve slips of paper. On each slip, write the name of one of these men; on the back, write the Bible Dictionary page number where information about that Apostle can be found—Peter, p. 749; James, p. 709 (#1); John, p. 715; Andrew, p. 608; Philip, p. 750, (#1); Nathanael, p. 737; Thomas, p. 785; Matthew, p. 729; James, p. 709 (#2); Judas, p. 719 (#4); Simon, p. 775 (#2); and Judas, p. 719 (#2). Place the slips in a container.
Have a child from each class draw a slip from the container. The class then locates the information and some of the scriptures listed in the Bible Dictionary about that Apostle. Have each class present the information to the Primary. The class may choose to read a scripture about that Apostle as a choral reading (see TNGC, p. 163), or dramatize (see TNGC, p. 166) a scene from that Apostle’s life. If the latter is chosen and the incident includes the Savior, have the teacher or a child hold a picture of Him and quote His lines from the scriptures. “If the Savior is portrayed, it must be done with the utmost reverence and dignity. Only people of wholesome personal character should be considered for the part. Only scriptures spoken by the Savior should be spoken by the person who portrays Him.” (TNGC, p. 166.)
Have a child locate and read “Disciple” in the Bible Dictionary (p. 657). Help the children understand that they can be disciples, or followers, of Jesus Christ. Sing “Love One Another” (pp. 136–137). Challenge them to strive to be better disciples of Jesus Christ throughout the week.
For a class presentation: Have each member of the class locate information (see above) on one or more Apostle, then prepare a short report to share with the Primary. During Sharing Time, display a picture of the Last Supper (GAK 225) while the class members make their reports. With the help of the music leader, have the class help the Primary learn the signing for “Love One Another” (pp. 136–137). The teacher concludes by bearing testimony about the current Apostles and their divine calling, about the importance of every child being a disciple, or follower, of Jesus Christ, or about the blessings of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
6. Song Presentation: Explain that “The Church of Jesus Christ” (p. 77) is a song of commitment to things the children know and do. Ask the children to count the number of times the word I or I’ll is used in the song. Sing the song. Have the children hold up a finger for each I or I’ll (10 times). Sing, stopping after each phrase to discuss what it means.
Give each child a small piece of paper shaped like a brick or a stone, and a pencil. Divide the Primary into nine groups. Have each group illustrate one phrase, such as “I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Have each child in the group draw a picture on the brick or stone of something that shows their membership, such as being baptized or taking the sacrament or wearing a CTR ring. Ask the pianist to quietly play the song while the children draw.
Invite each group to stand and show their pictures as they sing their phrase. Then have the children place their brick or stone pictures on a simple outline drawing of a church (allow space for each child’s picture in an area for his or her group’s phrase). Have the Primary sing the entire song again. Point to each section of the church that reminds the children of that phrase. Have each group stand as their phrase is sung.
7. Additional Friend resources: Sharing Time Idea #2, Mar. 1999, p. 43; “The Basics Have Not Changed,” Sep. 1998, IFC. Ensign resources: “At the Summit of the Ages,” Nov. 1999, pp. 72–74; “‘From the Beginning,’” Nov. 1993, pp. 18–20; “Apostasy, Restoration, and Lessons in Faith,” Dec. 1995, pp. 25–31.