Doctrine and Covenants 2021
January 4–10. Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26: “I Saw a Pillar of Light”

“January 4–10. Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26: ‘I Saw a Pillar of Light,’” Come, Follow Me—For Primary: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)

“January 4–10. Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26,” Come, Follow Me—For Primary: 2021

the Sacred Grove

Sacred Grove, by Greg K. Olsen

January 4–10

Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26

“I Saw a Pillar of Light”

As you study the scriptures, think about the children you teach. The Holy Ghost can inspire you, through the impressions you receive, to know what to focus on in class.

Record Your Impressions

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Invite Sharing

Invite a few children to share what they know about Joseph Smith and his prayer in the Sacred Grove (showing a picture of the First Vision can help). Ask them how they feel when they hear that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith were to visit our class, what would we ask him about his experience?

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Teach the Doctrine: Younger Children

Joseph Smith—History 1:3–20

Joseph Smith was prepared to be a prophet of God.

Learning about Joseph Smith’s youth could help the children relate to him and prepare to learn from his experiences. Perhaps you can help them see how Joseph’s experiences as a boy prepared him to be a prophet of God.

Possible Activities

  • Ask a child to hold a picture of Joseph Smith (see Gospel Art Book, no. 87) while you share some facts about Joseph found in Joseph Smith—History 1:3–14 (see also “Chapter 1: Joseph Smith and His Family,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 6–8, or the corresponding video on Help them compare details about his family and his life to their own. Share your testimony that Joseph was chosen by God and prepared to be a prophet (see “Voices of the Restoration: Joseph Smith’s Family,” in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families). If necessary, teach the children that a prophet is someone who speaks for God.

  • Invite a young man in the ward to visit your class, pretending to be Joseph Smith. Prepare a few questions for the children to ask him that are answered in Joseph Smith—History 1:3–20 (you may want to share these questions with the young man in advance). Then invite the young man to read some of Joseph Smith’s own words about the First Vision (for example, Joseph Smith—History 1:25).

Joseph Smith—History 1:10–17

Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

Joseph Smith’s experience can inspire the children to pray with faith that God will hear them.

Possible Activities

  • Tell the children about the questions Joseph Smith had (see Joseph Smith—History 1:10). What can we do when we have questions about God? Show the children a copy of the Bible, and explain that when Joseph read the Bible, he learned that he could “ask of God” (James 1:5; see also Gospel Art Book, no. 89). Bear your testimony that we can ask God questions through prayer.

  • Tell about an experience when you were confused, asked God for help, and received an answer. Help the children think of times when their prayers were answered. You could also share a story from the Church magazines about a child’s prayer being answered.

Joseph Smith—History 1:17–19

Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can help the children lay the foundation for a strong testimony of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. Share with them how you gained your testimony of this important event.

Possible Activities

  • Show the picture of the First Vision in this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families, and share in your own words what happened when Joseph prayed. Invite the children to draw their own pictures of the story.

  • Invite the children to color this week’s activity page and use it to tell the story of the First Vision (see also “Chapter 2: Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 9–12, or the corresponding video on

  • Read Joseph Smith—History 1:17, and point out to the children the words that Heavenly Father said to Joseph Smith.

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Teach the Doctrine: Older Children

Joseph Smith—History 1:10–13

God can answer my questions through the scriptures.

Joseph Smith was inspired by a passage he read in the Bible, and this led to the First Vision and the Restoration of Christ’s Church. Help the children see how studying the scriptures can help them find answers to their spiritual questions.

Possible Activities

  • Show the children different books (like an encyclopedia or a cookbook), and help them think of questions these books could answer. Then show them a copy of the scriptures. What questions can these books answer? You might provide an example of a question that is answered in the scriptures. Read together Joseph Smith—History 1:10–11 to find out what questions Joseph Smith had and what answers he found in the scriptures.

  • Help the children find words in verse 12 that describe how reading James 1:5 affected Joseph Smith. Share an experience you have had with the scriptures—for example, when you found an answer to one of your questions through reading the scriptures. Sing together “Search, Ponder, and Pray” (Children’s Songbook, 109).

Joseph Smith—History 1:10–19

Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers.

God knew Joseph Smith, and when Joseph prayed, God heard him. While the experiences of the children you teach may be different from Joseph’s, you can help them feel that God knows them and hears them when they pray.

Possible Activities

  • Invite a parent of one of the children to stand outside the classroom and answer questions from the children using methods such as sending a text message, making a phone call, writing a note, or sending a messenger. What are some of the ways Heavenly Father communicates with us? (see “Revelation,” Guide to the Scriptures, According to Joseph Smith—History 1:16–19, how did Heavenly Father answer Joseph Smith’s prayer? How has He answered our prayers?

  • Sing together “A Child’s Prayer” (Children’s Songbook, 12–13).

    young woman praying

    God hears and answers our prayers.

Joseph Smith—History 1:14–19, 25

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.

Each of the children you teach needs a testimony of Joseph Smith’s experience in the Sacred Grove. How can you help them gain or strengthen their testimony?

Possible Activities

  • To review the account of the First Vision, write summaries of each verse from Joseph Smith—History 1:14–19 on separate slips of paper. Place the papers in a container, and invite the children to choose them one by one and place them on the board in the correct order.

  • Invite the children to close their eyes and imagine what it would be like to be Joseph as you read selected parts of Joseph Smith—History 1:14–17. Ask them to share their thoughts and feelings about Joseph’s experience.

  • Show the video “Ask of God: Joseph Smith’s First Vision” (, and ask the children to share something they learn about Joseph’s vision of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

  • Read together Joseph’s testimony in Joseph Smith—History 1:25. Ask the children to look for words and phrases that show Joseph’s faith. How can we remain faithful to God and our testimonies when other people disagree with us?

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Encourage Learning at Home

Invite the children to share the story of Joseph Smith’s First Vision with someone—if possible, with someone who hasn’t heard it before. They could use this week’s activity page to help them tell the story.

Improving Our Teaching

Encourage reverence. To remind the children to be reverent, you might sing or hum a song, display a picture of Jesus, or use a hand signal that the children recognize.