Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Week 2 Lesson: Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.

I just finished re-reading the Book of Mormon a couple of weeks ago. I feel so blessed that I get to teach this lesson in church just after having finished reading this great and wonderful history. We have so much we can learn from the Book of Mormon. 

This time around, I was especially moved by the brother of Jared, to whom the Lord said, "and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou has" (Ether 3:9), and of whom Moroni wrote, "there never were greather things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared" (Ether 4:4). Joseph Smith was a modern man of great faith, and I am so grateful that because of him and his faith, we have this history from which we can be inspired, and from which we can learn the teachings of God.

I have a few visuals and interactions to help enhance this week's lesson.

1. Gold plates that I made a few years ago - this is super easy - just spray-painted some cardboard "pages" gold. I think I payed $2 for a small spray bottle. You can't tell from this picture but it's a stack of cardboard "plates," all painted gold, and the exact same size, that saved out of some packaging material. I want to also hold up an example of what type of characters were probably on the plates, which is that paper to the right.

2. Some fake trees for effect (we had a counselor teach a lesson last week who had children hold up branches to emulate being in the forest where Joseph Smith prayed. It was awesome!).

3. For Junior Primary, because they can't read, I'm going to use the symbols and shapes below but make them huge on the board, so that even if kids can't read, they can match the letter to the shape.
     a. I'll hide the letters underneath the chairs with the matching symbol on the back
     b. I'll have the kids come up 
     c. Then, the kids just have to put their letter next to a blank spot that has the matching symbol.

4. For Senior Primary, I'll hand out sheets for them to fill out with their classes OR just have it on the board and have them figure it out as a large class. Depends on time. I included the scripture though, because we'll reference it next, and I want the children to be able to take the scripture home with them.

At this point, I'd like to use the suggestion to have children share what they know about how the Book of Mormon was translated focusing on:
1. Joseph used the Urim and Thummim to help him translate
2. Joseph translated while Oliver wrote it down
3. Joseph translated the Book of Mormon in

There's a great talk on called, "The Translation Miracle of the Book of Mormon," by Robert K. Dellenbach to supplement this lesson. I am considering making some sort of "spin the wheel" fact wheel or some drawing on a poster board for children to pull items off to learn fun facts about the Book of Mormon, that this article helps teach. Some of the fun facts include:

80 - over eighty languages in which the Book of Mormon is currently in print
4 - average number of years it takes the church to translate the Book of Mormon in a new language, even with translators, scholars, computers, etc.
24 - Joseph's age when he completed translating the scriptures
3 - Likely number of years that Joseph was in elementary school
Joseph Smith was the first person in over 1400 years to read the words of the Savior as written by these prophets, like Nephi, Alma, and Mormon.
First published in 1830.
More than 150 million printed copies
3 months - length of time it took him to translate the Book of Mormon

Also, I love Oliver Cowdrey's quote in this same talk: "Oliver, reflecting on this miraculous event, testified, “Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated … the history, or record, called ‘The book of Mormon’” (Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, pp. 14–16).

Week 2: Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God.

Encourage understanding: Write power of God on the board using a code (for example, you could replace each letter with a symbol). Ask if anyone can read the message. Write a key on the board that shows which letters the symbols replaced, and have the children work in groups to decode the message. (Remind the children not to call out the answer.) Read the phrase together. Read Doctrine and Covenants 1:29. Explain that Joseph Smith could not read the writing on the gold plates without the help of the Lord. Invite the children to share what they know about how Joseph Smith was able to translate the Book of Mormon. Invite several children to share how they feel about the Book of Mormon.

Introducing Doctrines

Clearly introduce the doctrine you are teaching. This helps the children understand and apply it better. Consider ways to have the children see the words of the doctrine and commit them to memory.