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FHE: Experience

Conference Talk:
For more information on this topic read “Waiting Upon the Lord,” by Elder Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Nov 2011, 71.

Thought:
The purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences.

(Elder Robert D. Hales, “Waiting Upon the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 2011, 71.)

Song:
“Seek the Lord Early,” Children’s Songbook, p. 108.

Scripture:
Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7)

Story:
On October 27, 1838, Governor Lilburn B. Boggs, heeding the false accusations of many apostates and enemies of the church, ordered, “The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the State, if necessary for the public good.” Three days later was the massacre at Haun’s Mill. By October 31 state militias had surrounded Far West, outnumbering the Saints five to one. Colonel Hinkle, the commanding officer for the Saints, betrayed the prophet and other church leaders by convincing them that General Lucas of the militia wanted to meet with them in a peace conference. Once they met the General, Hinkle surrendered them as prisoners.

On the night of November 1, 1838, an illegal court was held where the prisoners were not invited. The court sentenced Joseph and his companions to be shot in the Far West town square at eight o’clock the next morning. General Doniphan refused to carry out the sentence saying, “It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order, and if you execute those men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God!” This courageous action saved their lives. Joseph Smith and the others were then taken from one jail to another until settling in Liberty Jail for five months. It was in this setting that the Prophet wrote an important letter from which sections 121, 122, and 123 are taken. Of this letter, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“It is a prayer and a prophecy and an answer by revelation from the Lord. None other but a noble soul filled with the spirit of love of Christ could have Conference Talk: written such a letter. Considering the fact that these prisoners had been confined several months; were fed on food at times not fit for a pig, and at times impregnated with poison and once being offered human flesh, evidently from the body of one of their brethren, it is no wonder that the Prophet cried out in the anguish of his soul for relief. Yet, in his earnest pleading, there breathed a spirit of tolerance and love for his fellow man. . . . It was his people for whom he pled, more than for himself.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 3:197.) Watch for how differently the Lord views our troubles from the way we view them.

(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004], p. 268.)

Lesson:
Ask family members to think of and share one of their greatest trials. Read together the story above and the section heading to D&C 121. Compare the trials mentioned by family members with those of Joseph and ask:

• When a person is suffering a great trial, what kind of questions might they ask of God?
• What kinds of questions do you think Joseph Smith might have asked of God?

Invite someone to read D&C 121:1–3 aloud and have your family identify and mark each question Joseph asked. Ask:

• What questions does Joseph ask instead of “why”?
• In what way might asking God “Why?” show a lack of trust in Him or even accuse God of not being there when needed?
• How do questions like, “Where art thou” and “How long,” show more faith than asking, “Why”?

Read together D&C 121:4–6 and look for what Joseph requested of the Lord. Ask:

• Who is Joseph requesting the most help for?
• What does it teach us about Joseph’s heart that he prays for others more than for himself?

Encourage your family to remember others during their prayers and challenge them to trust that God has a purpose behind the trials we are given.

(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004], p. 268.)

Activity:
All players, except one, are seated in a closed circle which contains one empty chair. One player is “it” and stands in the center. He tries to seat himself in the vacant chair that is continually being taken by the person next to it. “It” calls “slide right” or “slide left” and thus controls the direction the group moves. Whe he calls “slide right,” the person who finds the chair on his right empty, must slide into it. When “slide left” is called, each player is responsible for occupying the vacant chair on his left. When “it” gets a chair, the person who should have taken the chair becomes “it.”

(Alma Heaton, The LDS Game Book, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], p.43.)

Refreshment
Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

1 (16-ounce) package Pecan Sandies Cookies, divided
1 1⁄2 tablespoons butter, melted
11 ounces cream cheese, softened (not low-fat) 2 eggs
2⁄3 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sour cream
1 1⁄4 cups strawberry jam, divided (you can also use bottled strawberry topping or canned strawberry pie filling)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a food processor, process 3⁄4 of the Pecan Sandies (reserve 6 cookies). Mix with melted butter and lightly press onto the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond extract, and sour cream. Beat on high for 4–5 minutes. Spread half of the cheesecake batter onto the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Pour 3⁄4 cup of the strawberry sauce over the batter, spreading gently to cover the surface (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Spread remaining cheesecake batter over the strawberry layer and then spoon remaining 1⁄2 cup of strawberry sauce over the batter. Being careful not to cut into the surface of the cookie crust, swirl the strawberry mixture with a butter knife.

5. Bake for 25–35 minutes or until center is jiggly but not liquid. While baking, process remaining 6 cookies. During the last 10 minutes of baking, sprinkle the cookies on top of the cheesecake. Chill for at least 8 hours and cut into squares. If desired, drizzle remaining strawberry sauce over the individual squares.

(Sara Wells and Kate Jones, Our Best Bites, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 2011], p. 216.)

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