Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bathroom Book of Mormon with a Hand Drawn Book of Mormon Reading Chart

When my boys were younger and preparing to go on their missions I wanted to try to encourage them to read the Book of Mormon on their own.  I got this idea from my father who used to read his scriptures when he went to the bathroom every day.  So I went out an got a cheap hardcover Book of Mormon and had it embossed with the words "Bathroom Copy" on the cover.  I'm not sure if they used it, but all three of them served missions.  Since then I have noticed that it ended up in my daughter's bathroom.  I have to admit that it has come in handy on several occasions.  Who knows, maybe a guest might find it interesting enough to learn more?

Here's where we keep it now:

When I was a teenager someone gave me this reading chart to chart my progress of the Book of Mormon.  I wore out the one they gave me, and redrew it many years ago.  I know that in the age of computers that someone could really make a fantastic version of this chart, but this one holds a soft spot in my heart.

Hand Drawn Book of Mormon Reading Chart:

Here is another reading chart that I have that is great for Summer reading.  It is reading the Book of Mormon in the time that it took Joseph Smith to translate it.  I'm not sure where it came from to link to the original source.  I searched for it but couldn't find it.  If you know the original source please share it with me and I would gladly link into it.

When I finished my reading I just highlighted the day that I read in a highlighter.  I often found that I read even more than the designated amount just for a personal challenge.

Here is another scripture related idea that I have used with my seminary students.  Just click on the picture below and it will take you to the link:

Friday, May 18, 2012

That the Lost May Be Found Lesson Plan and Handout

That the Lost May Be Found


 By Elder M. Russel Ballard

That the Lost May Be Found Lesson Plan
1.    Write the title of the lesson on the board.  Ask the sisters what they think the lesson will be about from the title.  Write all the answers on the board.

2.   Refer to a situation of when you were lost and how scary it was.  How did you find your way?  Refer to the GPS and how handy it is.

3.   Read together Luke, chapter 15.  Break down the story and discuss who the Savior was teaching, and then how he tells of the effort of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, of a woman searching for a lost coin, and of the welcome received by the prodigal son returning home. Why did Jesus teach these parables? 

4.    Tell the story of talking to a missionary in Argentina.  He is in an area where there are 800 members and only 40 people will come to church.  Last month they had 5 baptisms.  When asked about those baptisms he referred to it as “Completing 5 families.”  In this missionaries view, the missionary work of finding the lost meant to complete families.

5.      Have someone read quote #1 from Elder Ballard’s talk:  Now, brothers and sisters, we have available to us a tool even more remarkable than the best GPS. Everyone loses his or her way at some point, to some degree. It is through the promptings of the Holy Ghost that we can be brought safely back onto the right path, and it is the atoning sacrifice of the Savior that can return us home .Being lost can apply to whole societies as well as to individuals. Today we live in a time when much of this world has lost its way, particularly with regard to values and priorities within our homes.

6.   Write the word “families” in large letters over all the answers that you have written on the board.  Ask the sisters how they think that families have lost their way?

7.    Have someone read quote #2:  One hundred years ago, President Joseph F. Smith connected happiness directly to the family and admonished us to focus our efforts there. He said: “There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home. … There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life. … The home is what needs reforming” 

8.    Discuss and write on the board the statistics from Elder Ballard’s talk: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage, among couples in the United States who do marry, nearly half get divorced, those who stay married often lose their way by letting other things interfere with their family relationship, the gap between rich and poor,

9.  Quote #3:Equally worrisome is the ever-growing gap between the rich and poor and between those who strive to preserve family values and commitments and those who have given up on doing so. Statistically, those who have less education and consequently lower incomes are less likely to marry and to go to church and much more likely to be involved in crime and to have children outside of marriage. And these trends are also troubling in much of the rest of the world. Opposite of what many had thought, prosperity and education seem to be connected to a higher likelihood of having traditional families and values.

10.  Ask the sisters how does family life effect education, quality of life for children, etc.   What are the benefits of living in the family unit?

11. Ask the sister how do we keep from becoming lost?  Have someone read quote #4: “So what can we do to not become lost? First, may I suggest that we prioritize. Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home. Remember President Harold B. Lee’s counsel that “the most important … work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes” Organize your personal lives to provide time for prayer and scriptures and family activity. Give your children responsibilities in the home that will teach them how to work. Teach them that living the gospel will lead them away from the filth, promiscuity, and violence of the Internet, media, and video games. They will not be lost, and they will be prepared to handle responsibility when it is thrust upon them.

12. Write on the board the first step of “Prioritize with family first.”  Then write the next four steps as they are discussed.

13. Elder Ballard’s second step is “to do things in the right order! Marriage first and then family.”  He tells those who are not married to focus on finding an eternal companion. He goes on to say “Young men, remember something else that President Joseph F. Smith said: “Bachelorhood … [carries] to the superficial mind the idea that [it is] desirable because [it brings] with [it] the minimum of responsibility. …The real fault lies with the young men. The license of the age leads them from paths of duty and responsibility. … Their sisters are the victims … [and] would marry if they could, and would accept cheerfully the responsibilities of family life” And to you young women, I would add that you must also not lose sight of this responsibility. No career can bring you as much fulfillment as rearing a family. And when you are my age, you will realize this even more.” Discuss as a group.

14. Have someone read quote #5 “Third, husbands and wives, you should be equal partners in your marriage. Read often and understand the proclamation on the family and follow it. Avoid unrighteous dominion in any form. No one owns a spouse or children; God is the Father of us all and has extended to us the privilege of our own family, which was previously only His, to help us become more like Him. As His children we should learn at home to love God and to know that we can ask Him for the help we need. Everyone, married or single, can be happy and supportive within whatever family you may have. Discuss as a group.

15. Fourth, use the family resources of the Church.  What are the family resources?

16. End with quote #6:  Now, if for any reason you individually or as a family have lost your way, then you need only apply the Savior’s teachings from Luke, chapter 15, to correct your course. Here the Savior tells of the effort of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, of a woman searching for a lost coin, and of the welcome received by the prodigal son returning home. Why did Jesus teach these parables? He wanted us to know that none of us will ever be so lost that we cannot find our way again through His Atonement and His teachings. As you seek to live the gospel and doctrine of Christ, the Holy Ghost will guide you and your family. You will have a spiritual GPS to tell you always where you are and where you are going. I bear witness that the resurrected Redeemer of mankind loves all of us, and He has promised if we will follow Him, He will lead us safely back into the presence of our Heavenly Father, of which I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Bare your testimony if time.