Monday, September 15, 2014

The Lesson - How will keeping a personal journal bless me and my family? - What I did.

Kay, so I wanted to kind of introduce the lesson by testing the reliability of the students' memories.  I gave each kid this little sheety:

The Reliability of Your Memories

Directions:  In the space below, describe this past Christmas Eve.  What did you do to celebrate?  How did you feel?

I also wanted to do this part of the introduction:


  • If possible, share an entry from your personal journal or the journal of an ancestor (or invite a class member or ward member to do this). Why was it important to record this experience? How are others blessed because someone kept a journal?
I loooooved this part, because I have some really amazeballs stories from my family history.  I would have definitely shared these two.

One of my ancestors is Jonathan Harriman Hale.  He joined the church in 1834 in Dover, New Hampshire.  He went on two missions, moved his family to Kirtland, went on two more missions, then moved his family to Far West (later, he would move to Nauvoo and become a bishop there, go on a mission, and be a colonel in the Nauvoo Legion).  Isn't he incredible?  I just read in his autobiography that his favorite hymn was "How Firm a Foundation."  I can't even believe that - it's been my favorite hymn for years!  That is so neat!!

Well, his wife was also incredible.  Her name was Olive Boynton Hale.  So while they were living in Far West, Governor Boggs issued his extermination order, and mobbers started burning houses and killing and driving off the settlers' livestock.  The following is an account from Olive and Jonathan's son, Aroet (who is my dear friend Gregg's direct ancestor.  I come from Alma, Aroet's brother):

"Our tents were searched by a  mob militia.  My dear Mother was lying sick in a wagon box in a tent.  Four men entered our tent, two on each side of the bed where Mother was lying, evidently in search of firearms.  They rolled Mother from side to side of the bed, roughly thrusting her against the sides of the wagon box, until she was nearly exhausted.

"The tents and wagons of other families were treated in like manner.  After obtaining all the arms and ammunition they could find, they took Father and the other brethren prisoners and marched them away.  I was about the largest boy in camp.  I had to cut wood, burn it into coals, and take the hot coals into the tent in a bake-kettle to keep my mother and the children from freezing.

"Father returned in a few days.  Mother handed him two silver-mounted Derringer pistols, which she had preserved from the mob by concealing them under her breasts.  We lived in the tent until the ice on Grand River had frozen sufficiently to bear loaded wagons across."

Can you belieeeeeeve this story?  How cool is Olive??  Sadly, Jonathan, Olive, and the two youngest children died of malaria at Council Bluffs.  The youngest was a baby, only one month old.  This left four children - four orphans - to cross the plains.  Somehow, they managed to do it.  They kind of joined one of the wagon trains across the plains and arrived in Salt Lake.

Alma went on to settle in Logan.  Every winter, his brothers (their sister passed away as a young mother in Salt Lake) would come to Logan, and the three of them would do temple work in the Logan temple.  The following is taken from Jonathan Hale's biography, part of which was devoted to each of his surviving children's lives:

"Upon the completion of their record of sealings of husbands to wives and children to parents, following a Hale program in the Logan Temple one evening in February, 1896, that a strange phenomenon was reported; the sacred structure, it is said, became suddenly illuminated - flooded from dome to foundation with a blaze of light.  Apostle Marriner W. Merrill, who was then President of the Temple, observed the phenomenon as he was traveling on the highway that night from Logan to Richmond.  It was likewise observed by many residents of Logan.

"'President Merrill viewed the occurrence with some concern,' the account in the Deseret News read, 'and he made anxious inquiry the following morning to determine the cause.  There were no electric lights in Logan at that time and no means were provided for illuminating the Temple in any such manner.  Furthermore, he had closed the Temple for the night and was on his way home.  He could find no physical means by which to answer his interrogations.  The following night, however, the Temple was again flooded with illumination, the same as the previous night.'

"President Merrill finally concluded and announced to the general assembly in the Temple that this beautiful and glorious manifestation was a spiritual phenomenon.  'The matter was subsequently called to the attention of President Wilford Woodruff,' the account continued, 'who declared it to be an assembly of the great Hale family from the spirit world, who had gathered within those sacred walls in exultation over their liberation through the beneficent ministrations in their behalf.'"

A. maze. ing.  I love these stories.  So I shared them as an introduction to the lesson.

  • Invite the youth to read the first eight paragraphs of President Henry B. Eyring’s talk “O Remember, Remember” (or show the video based on the talk), and ask them to look for blessings that came because President Eyring wrote about his experiences daily. What else do they learn about keeping a personal journal from President Eyring’s message? Read together the last paragraph of his talk, and share a recent experience from your life in which you saw the hand of God or He seemed to have a message for you. Invite the youth to ponder their own answers to the questions suggested by President Eyring and record their thoughts.

O Remember, Remember
Henry B. Eyring, Oct. 2007 General Conference

Directions:  We're going to read this talk together.  Then we'll answer the questions on the back of this sheet together.

When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”

I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened.

The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, “Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when …” and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day.
My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Make a list of the blessings Elder Eyring received from keeping a journal:






Read the last paragraph of his talk:
Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him. I testify that He loves us and blesses us, more than most of us have yet recognized. I know that is true, and it brings me joy to remember Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Now think about the last 24 hours.  Answer Elder Eyring's questions in the above paragraph below.  You don't have to share these – they are for you.

Ask each youth to read one of the following scriptures:1 Nephi 1:1–3Alma 37:8–9Moses 6:5, 45–46. Ask the youth to think about and share some of the blessings that have come because the people in these scriptures kept a record. What are some reasons people do not keep a personal journal? What do the youth learn from these verses that helps them see the importance of journal writing? 



What if Nephi hadn't kept a record??

Directions:  You and your partner(s) write down the blessings that have come because Nephi kept a record.  (Hint – something that helped me with my list was to flip through first Nephi and noting things that he had written about and done, and what we learn from him.)



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 What if Alma the Younger hadn't kept a record???

Directions:  You and your partner(s) write down blessings that have come because Alma the Younger kept a record.  (Hint – something that helped me with my list was to flip through Alma 32 – 39 and noting things he had written about and done, and what we learn from him.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What if Moses hadn't kept a record??


Directions:  You and your partner(s) write down blessings that have come because Moses kept a record.  (Hint – something that helped me with my list was to read in the Bible Dictionary under Genesis and also to flip through the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, noting things that he had written about and done, and what we learn from him.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I wanted to kind of combine the next two items on the idea list in the lesson, so I came up with these - I gave each kid one, but if you have a bigger class, you could have them couple up or group up.  Each one is different.

        
The Scriptures Teach Us About Journal Writing

Directions:  Read 1 Ne. 1:1-3.  What do you learn from these verses that helps you to see the importance of journal writing?





The Scriptures Teach Us About Journal Writing

Directions:  Read Alma 37:8-9.  What do you learn from these verses that helps you to see the importance of journal writing?



The Scriptures Teach Us About Journal Writing

Directions:  Read Moses 6:5, 45-46.  What do you learn from these verses that helps you to see the importance of journal writing?






The Scriptures Teach Us About Journal Writing

Directions:  Read 1 Ne. 6:3-6.  What does Nephi feel is important to write about in one's journal?




The Scriptures Teach Us About Journal Writing

Directions:  Read 3 Ne. 23:6-13.  How might this scripture apply to our efforts to keep a personal journal?  How much should we write?  

 That's all we got to, I'm afraid.  Theeeee end.  Sorry there's a big old gap at the end of this entry.  I can't make it close.  Ah well.  You can't win 'em all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       






8 comments:

Pamela VanWie said...

Thank you so much for your Blog and great Sunday School Teaching ideas. I use them often to get my tired brain jumpstarted in the right direction. I am also a descendant of Jonathan Harriman Hale through Aroet Lucius Hale. A family in my ward come through Alma. It is a small world in the church! I had not heard the account of the Logan Temple aglow with light. Thank you for sharing! I hope you are doing better!

Cami Bringhurst said...

PRAYER ANSWERWED! I have been preparing my lesson for this week and in the back of my mind I was thinking I needed to share a good family history story and hadn't landed on one yet. I found this blog and started reading and BAM! Jonathan Herriman Hale is a name I am familiar with along with this story (I also come through the Alma line), but it had not come to my mind until this point. So Thanks for the reminder! I don't know if you know this but the Hale family still get together at the Logan temple every year on the last Saturday of February. So there is ‘an assembly of the great Hale family from the spirit world’ every year! Thanks for the Lesson help!

Cami Bringhurst said...

PRAYER ANSWERWED! I have been preparing my lesson for this week and in the back of my mind I was thinking I needed to share a good family history story and hadn't landed on one yet. I found this blog and started reading and BAM! Jonathan Herriman Hale is a name I am familiar with along with this story (I also come through the Alma line), but it had not come to my mind until this point. So Thanks for the reminder! I don't know if you know this but the Hale family still get together at the Logan temple every year on the last Saturday of February. So there is ‘an assembly of the great Hale family from the spirit world’ every year! Thanks for the Lesson help!

erinfaun said...

Your blog has been such an inspiration to me. Thank you for the hard work it is putting your thoughts and lessons online for all to see. I enjoy the ideas - having unique ways to present material. I am preparing the August lesson on family history and was hoping to view what you did. It looks like the link is broken however. Is there any way to get this page back up? Thanks!!

Lisa said...

Thank you so much for your incredible blog! My friend and who teach Sunday School both love to use (steal) your ideas! We appreciate your time, talent, intelligence, creativity, etc!!! I feel like we could be friends! The journal lesson went so well - and it's hard to get 12-13 year olds drawn into the lesson, so kudos! I am also a teacher in the public schools (28 years!), and your ideas/strategies are spot on. (I only taught MS for 4 years though- the rest in elementary)

(PS- just FYI- the link to the webpage on your blog for the lesson on "Why Family History is Important" says webpage not available. :( Not that I waited to plan until Saturday afternoon or anything... ha! AND I think it's a shame that some commenters are spamming on your blog- see way above. :( )

Kar said...

Hey, girls! Dude, I am so sorry I'm just getting to these comments. I was on vacation for a week and a half. So this might be too little too late, but I did fix the link to the family history lesson for this month. It should be up and working now. And Cami, it is so FANTASTIC that we are related! And none of my branch of the family knows about the Hale family get together in Logan every February. I shall be announcing that on my Facebook page TONIGHT! And, as always, thank you so much for your kind words on my lessons. Originally, I put them up here so that I could refer to them year after year, but life happened, we moved, and I got a new calling. I'm just really glad that I can help others so that they don't have to re-invent the wheel every week. And who knows - maybe someday I'll be put into youth Sunday School again. :)

Kar said...

Oh, and yes, I did have some spammers last fall, so I enabled moderation. I need to delete those old messages. They're dirtying up my little piece of the internet. :)

Amanda and Miles said...

Thank you for all your lesson plans. They have helped so much.

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