|Enos Praying, by Robert T. Barrett (62604);|
GAK 305; Primary manual 3-49; Enos 1
Accessed March 23, 2017 from the
LDS Media Library
As a lifer (in the Church for my lifetime), I want to give you my thoughts on how best to teach kids and converts the gospel. These are not wholly my own ideas, some come from others.
Also, these ideas are not intended to replace the marvelous Church materials on teaching, especially Teaching in the Savior's Way, Scripture Stories for Children or the Lesson Helps for Teaching Children which are all marvelous.
The vast bulk of these resources were not available when I was a child. Yet, some of the ways that helped me the most are still available. In addition, one resource I thought was lost, is now available in a new format.
Long before I ever read the Book of Mormon, I knew the people and their stories. One of the only tools available to me at the time was Deta Petersen Neeley's four books that make up A Child's Story of the Book of Mormon. A later effort combined all four books under one cover.
By knowing all the people and story lines in the Book of Mormon, reading the Book of Mormon turned out to be relatively easy. In fact, I got pretty bored in Seminary and BYU religion classes when the teacher tried to sort out these characters and stories in class. I had already mastered it.
Things do get a bit convoluted trying to keep Zeniff, Limhi, Noah, Ammon, Noah's priests and Alma sorted out. So, the teacher's help on these details wasn't entirely wasted on me.
My point is this: Knowing the story beforehand made it a lot easier to pick up the doctrine when I was ready for the full Book of Mormon immersion. I wish Ms. Neeley had written on the Bible and our other books of scripture.
Both children and converts could benefit from the Scripture Stories for Children. These are bite sized bits of the gospel, manageable chunks. I'm not suggesting they should be used instead of the Book of Mormon, I just think they are a quick summary that can easily launch someone into reading the Book of Mormon themselves.
In addition, the first time I listened to the Book of Mormon on audio really cemented in my mind that it is indeed a story. Slow reading didn't reveal that to me. Fast listening did.
My husband and I had set a goal to teach our children the gospel on a daily basis, but the question was how? Our children are young: two preschoolers and one in kindergarten. I tried scheduling time in the morning for a gospel lesson, but that always seemed to get pushed aside for housework, errands, or projects. We also tried to discuss the gospel just before bedtime, but we were usually too tired.
Finally I found a time that worked: lunchtime. While my three little ones ate their sandwiches, I read to them from the Book of Mormon. Yet they frequently lost interest even though I tried to explain the verses.
Our answer finally came when we discovered a wonderful resource available through the Church’s Distribution Centers—the Gospel Art Picture Kit (item no. 34730; U.S. $25.00) which we began using during lunchtime. This was the perfect combination! The pictures, which focus on scripture stories in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Church history, gave our children something to look at. The simplified story with corresponding scripture references on the back of each picture gave me a ready-made lesson.
We started with the first picture in the Book of Mormon section, which I showed to them as they ate. I told them the story from the back and then read a verse or two out of the scriptures. They loved it! They even asked me questions about details in the pictures.
After each short discussion, I reinforced the story in their minds by asking them questions about it. We talked about ways they could apply the scripture story in their own lives. I then bore my testimony to them of the truthfulness of what I was teaching them. I knew that along with reading the scriptures, this was another sure way to bring the Spirit of the Lord into our lessons.
The following day, before we looked at a new picture, we reviewed the previous day’s story. I was amazed at how much my two older children retained. For example, when we reviewed Moroni’s visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith, our four-year-old daughter told me that Joseph Smith was tired the next day because the angel came to see him three times in the night, and he didn’t get any sleep.
My two-year-old doesn’t understand as much, but she likes to look at the pictures and can repeat names and events. She frequently tells me, “I make Jesus happy,” so I believe the Spirit is in our lessons and knowledge is being stored in her mind and heart.
Using pictures from the Gospel Art Picture Kit during lunchtime has been an easy way for us to study the scriptures consistently. Now on days when I forget or think we’re too busy, it’s my children who say, “Mom, don’t forget the scripture story,” or “Mom, do another one. We want to learn more.”—Roselyn Sant, Wasilla Third Ward, Wasilla Alaska Stake
The Church stopped publishing the Gospel Art Picture Kit some years ago after it introduced the Gospel Art Book. However, I recently noticed it is now digital! It is in the LDS Media Library under Gospel Art Kit.
You can download it all in a zip file! You get both the images in JPG's and the lessons in PDF's.
I think this is one of the best ways to teach the gospel to children and make it a daily event.