Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 135:3
Give everyone a piece of paper and pen. Give them two or three minutes to make a list of basic doctrines and practices of the Church. (Answers might include items such as: baptism by immersion, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, priesthood is on the earth, modern revelation, living prophets, missionary work, eternal families, tithing or other principles from the Articles of Faith.)
Have everyone share their lists and ask them how we know these principles or truths. Show them how they can all be traced back to Joseph Smith. By the power of God he wrote the articles of faith, received revelation on temple marriage, the priesthood was restored through him, he translated the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price, and so on. (Display the picture of Joseph Smith).
David B. Haight said: "Our understanding of and belief and faith in the vision of the Father and the Son to Joseph are not only essential but are also the basis for the authority to proclaim to the people of the world that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son in the flesh of our Eternal Father and is the Redeemer of the world."
One precious truth we understand through Joseph is that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two distinct beings, and we truly are made in their image. Discuss what other truths Joseph learned through the First Vision and make a list, which could include:
1. God is in the form of a man
2. God has a voice--he speaks
3. God is considerate and kind
4. God answers prayers
5. God's Son, Jesus Christ, is obedient to the Father and is the mediator between God and man
6. The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also.
Why is it so important to know these truths and have a testimony of them?
Make another list of things Joseph was called of God to do as part of his mission here on earth. The First Vision was only the beginning for Joseph. In the following 24 years he:
1. Organized the church on April 6, 1830
2. Found, protected and translated the Book of Mormon
3. Received the priesthood, as well as the keys of the dispensations
4. Oversaw the building of two temples
5. Translated portions of the Bible, Pearl of Great Price
6. Received innumerable revelations including the Word of Wisdom, the temple endowment, the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood and the vision of the three degrees of glory, which now comprise the Doctrine and Covenants.
Add as many items as your family can think of to help them understand the importance and scope of Joseph Smith's mission as the prophet of the Restoration.
How do these truths bless our lives? (We can be sealed in the temple, we can protect our bodies, the many blessings of additional scripture such as a greater understanding of the atonement, we know there is life after death and that brings peace to our lives, we have a wonderful church to belong to, etc.)
Ask your family how we can know that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God, then read the following quote: "If there were no other evidence for the divine mission of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon would stand as an irrefutable witness of that fact. To think that anyone less than one inspired could bring forth a volume which should have so profound an effect for good upon so many others is to imagine that which simply cannot be. The evidence for the truth of the Book of Mormon is found in the lives of the millions, living and gone, who have read it, prayed about it, and received a witness of its truth." (President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Praise to the Man," Ensign, Aug. 1983, 2)
Share Elder Haight's testimony. "As the years have passed, with my many experiences with people, places, study, prayer, and personal events of an intimate, spiritual nature, I have been blessed with an ever-deepening faith and knowledge and witness of this heavenly restoration of the Lord's work. The events of the Restoration related by Joseph Smith are true. We who labor in this cause can develop in our bosoms an uplifting, sanctifying, and fortifying feeling of its truth. The Holy Ghost will reveal and seal upon our hearts this knowledge."
Tell your family your own feelings about the mission of Joseph Smith and how it has blessed your life. Share with them an appreciation for all he went through so that we could have the knowledge and faith we have today. Have someone read again Doctrine and Covenants 135: 3.
Try stick pulling, which was one of Joseph's favorite games. In a stick pull, the two opponents sit flat on the floor facing each other. The stick is held directly between the two where both can get a hold of it. The knees are pulled up enough so the soles of both feet can be placed flat against those of the opponent. On a given signal, both contestants begin to pull, the objective being to pull one's opponent to his feet, to pull him out of his original position, or to make him break contact with either hands or feet. (As pictured in the small picture to the right of the FHE article.)