Teach your family about the Prophet Joseph Smith and how his family helped him prepare to be a prophet. Encourage your family to love and help each other fulfill their own divine potential.
Teach the entire lesson, or just choose a few sections. Use whichever parts will suit your family and your schedule best!
Principles: Teaching Children, Love
“We sing that great hymn ‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophetʼ (Hymns, number 19)… I think of the Prophet Joseph Smith, of the boy who went into the woods and prayed for light and understanding, unto whom God the Father and the risen Son appeared and spoke. Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became the first prophet and President of the Church… I want to give my testimony that what he said is true, and I want to urge you to teach your children of the Prophet Joseph.”
~Gordon B. Hinckley
Scripture: Doctrine & Covenants 135:3
“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing
it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lordʼs anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!”
Video Clip: Animated Book of Mormon The Joseph Smith Story ch. 13
(For younger children, it may be helpful to summarize the following ideas)
Teach your children of the prophet Joseph Smith.
President Gordon B. Hinckley teaches: “We sing that great hymn ‘We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophetʼ (Hymns, number 19)… I think of the Prophet Joseph Smith, of the boy who went into the woods and prayed for light and understanding, unto whom God the Father and the risen Son appeared and spoke. Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became the first prophet and President of the Church… I want to give my testimony that what he said is true, and I want to urge you to teach your children of the Prophet Joseph.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Regional conference, Asunción, Paraguay, 10 August 1997 © 2005 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Joseph’s family was prepared to accept him as a prophet.
Grandfather Asael Smith in 1791, long before Joseph was born said “It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate [put into action, begin] a work to revolutionize [change] the world of religious faith” (Emma Marr Petersen, The Prophetʼs Story for Young People, page 11).
A Mother’s Role
Lucy prepared herself early in her marriage to raise a prophet. At one time she became seriously ill, and the doctors thought she would die. Lucy recorded “I made a solemn covenant with God that if He would let me live I would endeavor to serve him according to the best of my abilities… ” After the spirit assured her that she would live, she told her mother, “The Lord will let me live, if I am faithful to the promise which I made to him, to be a comfort to my mother, my husband, and my children.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, ed. Preston Nibley, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979, pp. 34.)
The Smith Family
Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, recorded his birth with these words: “We had a son whom we called Joseph after the name of his father; he was born December 23, 1805” (History of Joseph Smith). When Joseph was born his family was living on a farm in Sharon, Vermont. His oldest brother, Alvin, was seven years old.
His brother Hyrum, was five, and his sister, Sophronia, was two. Josephʼs father, Joseph Smith, Sr., was a strong man, standing six feet four inches. During the winter he taught school, and in the summer he farmed. He was a talented carpenter who built houses and made split-wood chairs. He built stone fences and dug wells. Josephʼs mother, Lucy Mack Smith, was a good mother and teacher to her children. She sold tablecloths she made and decorated with oil paints. Nine children were born to the Smith family. Ephraim died when only eleven days old. Joseph Smithʼs family prayed, sang, went to church, and read the Bible together. They always tried to obey the teachings of Jesus.
A prophetic fatherʼs blessing.
In December 1834, Joseph Smithʼs father confirmed a fatherʼs blessing upon him: “Thy God has called thee by name out of the heavens … to do a work in this
generation which no other man would do as Thyself… ” Joseph also heard his father promise, “Thou shalt like to do the work which the Lord shall command Thee.” (Ensign, November 1983, © 2006 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.)
A vision of eternal marriage and families.
“Few men have so fully understood the proper perspective of family life in the eternal scheme as did the prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith. Not only was he taught from on high the theology of eternal families, but more important, he incorporated these eternal truths into acts of love, tenderness, and concern for his own family… It is no wonder that he so vigorously taught the Saints to love their spouses fully, to be tender and faithful… Josephʼs contemporaries report that he was quick to exhort Latter-day Saint husbands to take good care of their wives and warned them that if they did not, they would not have them hereafter.” (Brent L. Top,” Tambuli, Dec. 1992, © 2006 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Joseph Smith helped to restore the gospel to the earth and organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He became the first prophet and President of the Church. He translated The Book of Mormon, built the first latter-day temple, and received most of the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants. Joseph Smith, Jr. was an example of faith and courage.
How can we show our gratitude to Joseph Smith for his role in the restoration of the gospel?
The love and devotion for family that the Prophet Joseph exemplified can do much to inspire all Latter-day Saints to become celestial sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, as our prophets have counseled.
What can we do as a family to show our love and devotion to Joseph Smith and each other?
Activity Time: “Make a Miniature Butter Churn”
Do your children know how Joseph Smith’s family made butter?
Your children will not only have fun making their own fresh creamy butter in a Miniature Old Fashion Butter Churn they make themselves, but they will also learn about one of the many chores that Joseph Smith’s family had to do and how working together as a family can promote love and harmony in your home.
For each churn you make you will need a copy of the “Miniature Butter Churn” pattern [print artwork], one empty yogurt tub (printout fits Yoplait® 6 oz. tubs.), one wooden skewer or chopstick, lid from a plastic 35 mm film case (or drink bottle, small enough to fit inside the yogurt container), one 12 oz. paper or plastic cup, scissors, glue or tape and 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream. (Optional: pinch of salt.)
Explain: Joseph Smithʼs family worked hard. One of the many chores they had to do was to make their own bread and butter. They made their butter by pouring fresh cream, they skimmed off the top of the milk after they milked the cow, into a big butter churn. Then they would sit and churn for hours until the cream turned to butter.
Tell them that they are going to get to learn how to churn butter, but because their butter churns are miniature it wonʼt take as long as it took the Smith family. Pour 1/3 cup heavy cream and a pinch of salt (optional) into each butter churn. Put on lid (with plunger handle and plunger attached). Have the children churn the cream into butter by moving plunger up and down for 10-15 min. (To churn faster remove plunger and shake.) When cream has solidified pour off excess liquid.
Click the button below to download the printable version of this family home evening plan to get the pattern and instructions for this activity.
Treat Time: Honey Wheat Bread
2 cups scalded milk cooled to 110 degrees F
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (or 1 package dry yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup melted butter (or vegetable oil)
5 cups all-purpose flour
Slice warm bread and serve with your fresh churned butter (and jam or honey if desired) just like Joseph Smithʼs family did.
To download all the activity resources, a bonus story, and the entire lesson plan in an easy to use printable, click here to get it now!