Sunday, January 15, 2012

FHE: God the Eternal Father

Purpose: To teach that we can come to know God, that he has a body, and is a perfected being who loves us.

Reminder: Do not use all of the material presented in this lesson. Pick which stories and activities work best for your family and your ages.

Possible scriptures:John 14:9; Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; Moses 2:27; and Joseph Smith—History 1:14–17.Acts 7:55–56 (Son at the right hand of the Father) D&C 88:41–44 (attributes of God) Psalm 24:1 (the earth is the Lord’s) Moses 1:30–39 (Creation) Alma 7:20 (God cannot do wrong) Joseph Smith—History 1:17 (Father and Son are separate beings) Alma 5:40 (good comes from God) John 14:6–9 (Son and Father are alike) Mormon 9:15–20 (God of miracles) Amos 3:7 (God of revelation) John 3:16; 1 Nephi 17:36 3 Nephi 27:13–22 John 3:16–17 2 Nephi 9:6 D&C 38:1–3 Acts 17:27–29 Mosiah 4:9 D&C 130:22 Romans 8:16 3 Nephi 12:48 Moses 1:39 Hebrews 12:9 3 Nephi 14:9–11 Matthew 5:48 1 John 4:7–9

Possible Songs: A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook 12; “My Heavenly Father loves Me,” Children’s songbook 228; “I Need my Heavenly Father,” Children’s songbook 18; “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” Hymns 68; “Because God loves Me,” Children’s songbook 234; “God’s Love,” Children’s Songbook 97; “Dearest Children, God is Near You,” Hymns 96; “I am a Child of God,” Hymns 301 or Children’s Songbook 2; “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer,” Hymns 26; “Our Saviour’s Love,” Hymns 113; “The First Article of Faith,” Children’s songbook 122a;

Materials: 


Creation picture from Gospel Art Book
First Vision picture from Gospel Art Book, or this one
Puppets of Ammon and Aaron

word art for quotes. (If not linked, I made my own. I haven’t shared them yet, because I don't know if anyone wants them. Solution: let me know you'd be interested.)



Lesson:
Introduction: Have everyone pretend we’re on a camping trip in the middle of no where. There are no lights besides our warm and cozy fire. Lay down like we’re all in our sleeping bags looking up at the stars. Ask how many stars there are. How did they get there? Was it an accident? Do you think that our universe could have happened by chance? Show a picture of what it’s like in the universe. Now sit up and look at the “Forest” around you. Have people tell you what they “see.” Talk about how it is so amazing that God created this earth for us. Read Alma 30:44, starting at “yea, even the earth.” Then read this quote by President Thomas S. Monson:

If there is a design in this world in which we live, there must be a Designer. Who can behold the many wonders of the universe without believing that there is a design for all mankind? Who can doubt that there is a Designer? (source)

{Because of the nature of this lesson, most of it will be discussion. Start by asking “Who is God? What are some of God’s attributes? ” This will help lead your discussion. For younger children, focus on that God has a body of flesh and blood, and that he is a loving Father. For older children, discuss Divinity, perfection, love, mercy, truth, justice, goodness, glory, creation, or any other characteristics that come up. It will help in your discussion if you have read all of the “Possible Scriptures,” the talks listed in “Resources,” and have made this lesson a matter of earnest prayer.}

Quotes:

For us the truth about the nature of God and our relationship to Him is the key to everything else. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, February 26, 2010
God is perfect. He is a God of righteousness, with attributes such as love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment. He has all power. He knows all things. He is full of goodness.All good things come from God. Everything that He does is to help His children become like Him. He has said, “Behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). From Gospel Principles, Lesson 1
God is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He is full of love, mercy, charity, and compassion. He is the Author of the plan for our happiness... God is perfect in His love, wisdom, care, and concern for us. He knows us individually and loves us more than we can comprehend, and He wants us to find happiness. (Source)
He is “the Great Parent of the universe,” and He “looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 39).
Joseph Smith taught, "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves" (TPJS, p. 343) (From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism)
I know with surety that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. The Atonement is real. God the Father and Jesus Christ are distinct, separate, immortal beings. They know us as individuals, and They hear and answer our sincere prayers. The Savior testified to the inhabitants of the New World, “I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me.” The Holy Ghost has testified to me that these things are true. Robert D Hales
“It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God” (History of the Church, 6:305).These tremendously significant and overarching declarations are in harmony with the words of the Lord in His great Intercessory Prayer:“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)...I believe without equivocation or reservation in God the Eternal Father. He is my Father, the Father of my spirit, and the Father of the spirits of all men. He is the great Creator, the Ruler of the universe. He directed the Creation of this earth on which we live. In His image man was created. He is personal. He is real. He is individual. He has “a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22). Gordon B. Hinckley
“God is a spirit, and so are you in the combination of spirit and body that makes of you a living being, and so am I.”Each of us is a dual being of spiritual entity and physical entity. All know of the reality of death when the body dies, and each of us also knows that the spirit lives on as an individual entity and that at some time, under the divine plan made possible by the sacrifice of the Son of God, there will be a reunion of spirit and body. Jesus’s declaration that God is a spirit no more denies that He has a body than does the statement that I am a spirit while also having a body.I do not equate my body with His in its refinement, in its capacity, in its beauty and radiance. His is eternal. Mine is mortal. But that only increases my reverence for Him. I worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” I look to Him as my strength. I pray to Him for wisdom beyond my own. I seek to love Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. His wisdom is greater than the wisdom of all men. His power is greater than the power of nature, for He is the Creator Omnipotent. His love is greater than the love of any other, for His love encompasses all of His children, and it is His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His sons and daughters of all generations (see Moses 1:39). Gordon B. Hinckley, same source.

From Church History: Show picture of The First Vision. Tell the story of the First Vision, as found in Joseph Smith—History 1:14–17.How did Joseph Smith know what Heavenly Father and Jesus look like? What kind of bodies do Jesus and Heavenly Father have? What else do we learn about the nature of God from this story. Explain that because we are spirit children of Heavenly Father, we also look like him. We have bodies like his. That what it means when it says “created in Heavenly Father’s image” (see Moses 2:26-27; 6:9). Our bodies are like His body. His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). God’s body, however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description.

From the scriptures: Hold up Ammon and Aaron finger puppets. Ammon and Aaron, two missionaries in the Book of Mormon, knew that it was important to start our faith with an understanding of who God is. They taught people who did not grow up knowing about God or Christ. They taught simple truths and invited their investigators to pray. Two kings, Lamoni and his father were converted. Read Alma 18:24–40 and 22:4–23,.

Further discussion: Ask, “why is it important for us to understand the nature of God? How can we come to know God?” some possible answers include:
  • Knowing God is so important that the Savior said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
  • The first and greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37).
  • The more we know God, the more we love Him and keep His commandments (see 1 John 2:3–5). By keeping His commandments we can become like Him.
We can know God if we will:
  1. Believe that He exists and that He loves us (see Mosiah 4:9).
  2. Study the scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:14–17).
  3. Pray to Him (see James 1:5).
  4. Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21–23).

Closing Application: Have the children stand. Help them memorize the
first article of faith. If too young, just help them memorize the first part: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ.” Practice all week.




Resources:   Sunbeams Manual Lesson 2;  Gospel Principles Chapter 1; Preach My Gospel Chapter 3, part 1 (You'll have to scroll down); Fundamentals to our Faith by Elder Dallin H. Oaks; In These Three I believe by President Gordon B. Hinckley; Gaining a Testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost by Elder Robert D Hales; Encyclopedia of Mormonism: God the Father; LDS Study Topics, God the Father; Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, lesson 2




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