Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration
PREPARE IN ADVANCE: Invite four people to come to Primary dressed in simple costumes as Joseph Smith’s friends or family members and tell about an event as if Joseph had told them, using parts of the scripture as appropriate. Here are some examples (or you can come up with your own):
The First Vision / JS—H 1:14–17
The need for the Restoration / JS—H 1:18–19
Receiving and translating the Book of Mormon / JS—H 1:59–60
The restoration of the priesthood / JS—H 1:68–72
INTRODUCTION: Hold up a picture or two of Joseph Smith. Ask the children who it's a picture of. Ask the children to raise their hand and tell you what they know about him. Explain that Joseph Smith was the first prophet in this dispensation and the reason he is so important is because he restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. Ask the children, "What does restore mean?"
OBJECT LESSON: Bring an orange or banana for this object lesson. Peel the fruit. If you use an orange, tear the orange apart into slices. If you brought a banana, break it into three or four segments. Then tell the Primary that you have changed your mind and you don't want a banana/orange right now. How do I get the fruit to it's original condition...BEFORE it was peeled or cut? (You may want to bring a second banana or orange and hold it up in its original condition). YOU can't. To restore means to make whole again. Jesus Christ used Joseph Smith to "restore" or bring back the gospel of Jesus Christ.
ROTATIONS: Divide the children into four groups and, using stations, have the groups rotate and listen to each visitor testify about the truths that were revealed because of this event:
PUZZLE: If you'd rather not do the rotations, you could do this idea intead: To help the children understand and appreciate the role of Joseph Smith in the restoration of the gospel, make a copy of a picture of an event in Joseph Smith’s life. Trace an outline of the picture onto a piece of heavy paper or lightweight cardboard, then cut the picture into jigsaw puzzle pieces. Trace the outline of each piece in its correct position on the outline of the puzzle. Write one question about the restoration of the gospel on the back of each puzzle piece. For example: When was the Church organized? (April 6, 1830); Who was the first President of the Church? (Joseph Smith); What is a prophet? (One called to speak for Heavenly Father); Who appeared to Joseph Smith when he prayed in the Sacred Grove? (Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ); What was Joseph Smith told during the First Vision? (To join none of the churches); What was the name of the angel who appeared to Joseph Smith about three years after the First Vision?” (Moroni); Who was Moroni? (The last prophet in the Book of Mormon); Why did Moroni visit Joseph Smith? (To teach him and prepare him to receive the gold plates); Who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to restore the Aaronic Priesthood? (John the Baptist); etc. Have the children take turns choosing a puzzle piece, reading the question on the back, answering the question (with help from other children, if necessary), and placing the piece in its correct position on the poster. You may wish to include songs about the life of the Prophet, instead of a question, on some of the puzzle pieces. Examples from the CS: “On a Golden Springtime” (p. 88), “The Golden Plates” (p. 86), “The Priesthood Is Restored” (p. 89), and “This Is My Beloved Son” (p. 76).
CRAFT: Pop Up Craft. You will need:
- drinking straw
- a paper cup
- the following printout that says, "Joseph Smith Restored the Gospel" [Word] [pdf]
- a copy of this clipart from the Friend Magazine: [Word] [pdf]
- crayons, scissors and tape
Have the children color the pictures and have their teachers help them cut them out. (If you have a small Primary, you could print the pictures, cut them out and place them in envelopes/baggie for each child and have the work done in advance. Then the child just has to color and assemble the craft.) Put together according to the following two pictures. Use the tip of the scissors to poke a small hole in the bottom of the cup (do this step in advance).
SUMMARY: Remind the children of how much the Prophet Joseph Smith did for us in helping to restore the gospel and how grateful we should be to him. Bear your testimony of the restoration of the gospel.
(OPTIONAL VIDEO CLIP: Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration - This review of the Prophet Joseph Smith's ministry shows he "has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world", D&C 135:3. (Video Clip 9) 13:08 minutes. You could choose to show one or two minutes if you felt it would be appropriate).
- February 2003 Friend Magazine
- July 2001 Friend Magazine