Possible scriptures: Moses 1:30–39; Moses 2:27; Genesis 1:27;Psalm 24:1; Amos 3:7; Matthew 5:48; Luke 24:39; John 3:16; John 14:6–9; Acts 17:27–29; 1 John 4:7–9; 1 Nephi 17:36; Mosiah 4:9; Alma 7:20; Alma 5:40; 3 Nephi 12:48; 3 Nephi 14:9–11; Mormon 9:15–20; Joseph Smith—History 1:14–17; D&C 38:1–3; D&C 88:41–44; Doctrine and Covenants 130:22;
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;
Possible Materials: Creation picture from Gospel Art Book; First Vision picture from Gospel Art Book, or this one; Puppets of Ammon and Aaron
Preparation: Begin with prayer. Ask yourself how understanding the nature of God will help yourself and each member of your family. Read the suggested scriptures, the articles listed in Resources, and the section on the Godhead in True to the Faith.
Children: think about how to prepare a camping scene in your living room. Then watch the videos on Joseph Smith’s first vision and Ammon teaching Lamoni and his father.
Introduction: Have everyone pretend we’re on a camping trip in the middle of nowhere. 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)
Discussion: Begin 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 audiences, possible discussion topics include Divinity, perfection, love, mercy, truth, justice, goodness, glory, and creation.
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: 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.
Activity: Hold up Ammon and Aaron finger puppets. Read Alma 18:24–40and 22:4–23, allow the children to “teach” Lamoni and his father.
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:
- Believe that He exists and that He loves us (see Mosiah 4:9).
- Study the scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:14–17).
- Pray to Him (see James 1:5).
- Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21–23).
Challenge: 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. If the article of faith is already memorized, memorize Moses 1:39. Discuss what unknown words mean.
Resources: Sunbeams Manual Lesson 2; Gospel PrinciplesChapter 1; Preach My Gospel Chapter 3, part 1 (You'll have to scroll down); Come, Follow Mediscussions on the Godhead and knowing Heavenly Father. 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