Resources for 2015 Mutual Theme

Mormonad-new-era-embark-serviceThis year, LDS youth are embarking in the service of God for their mutual theme.

Below is a video “Embark” that introduces the theme.

The video “7 Days of Service” shows the rewards of embarking in the service of God with the Seven Days of Service Activity.


Keep the Sabbath with Family History Work

family-historyHaving trouble finding appropriate activities for the Sabbath day? Family history is a great Sunday activity to get the family engaged.

Here are three simple ideas you can use with your family:



New Friend Magazine Features Help Families Learn Together

mother-son-readingTo encourage learning and teaching as a family in the home, each issue of the Friend magazine provides activities, suggestions, and ideas that parents can use for family home evening, family scripture study, and other informal teaching opportunities.

Beginning in January 2015, the Friend has the following new features:

  • Scripture Time helps families learn about the New Testament together.
  • Articles of Faith helps families memorize and learn about each article.
  • Family History Mystery is a fun way for children to learn about their ancestors.
  • Give Us a Hand encourages children to serve.
  • Special Witness helps children learn and apply teachings of inspired Church leaders.
  • Primary Connection provides resources for Primary teachers and leaders to enhance their Sunday class and sharing time lessons.
  • Family Home Evening Ideas gives an instant FHE tied to one of the stories in the Friend.

You can also find more stories, messages from leaders, activities, and media resources for family home evening and Primary at These resources are organized by topic, category, and Primary lesson to make them easy to find and use.

Learn more about each of these new features in the article “New Friend Magazine Features Help Families Learn Together.”


millerIn a new video from the Church, “Finding Your Purpose in Life: Does Faith Matter? – His Grace,” an LDS man shares the story of how he lost and regained his faith.

“I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers or that I have experienced everything someone else has. I’m a firm believer that everyone’s life/spiritual journey is unique and personal, and I’m in no place to tell you what you have or have not experienced. However, I CAN tell you what I have experienced and learned, and I hope it is of use to someone out there.” -Ryan Miller

Rich Millar is featured in the latest “His Grace” video, created by the Mormon Channel. Millar originally posted his experience in a Facebook post titled “How I Lost and Regained My Faith.” Millar, who served a mission prior to falling away from the Church, says that shortly after he created the post he was contacted by the Church and asked to share his story in a video.

In his Facebook post, Millar shares 18 lessons he learned from his experience of leaving and then returning to the LDS faith. I especially like lesson #16:

Lesson #16: “Don’t let what you don’t know, keep you from following what you do know.” Show me the person who has the answer to every question in life. They don’t exist. Why? Because NO ONE knows the answers to some of the questions we have. Not even that really smart professor at that one university, or that really smart person who’s written a lot of books. They don’t know. I don’t know. We don’t know. Nobody knows. And it’s okay. I’ve come to realize there are questions that will likely never be answered in this life. And that’s the way God intended for it to be. I believe there are things not even the living prophet knows the answers to right now. Does he know more than us? Yes. But he’s got to learn and progress like the rest of us….

Don’t allow the fact that you don’t have the answer to every single question that goes through your head, keep you from acting on and following things you do know or have felt. Life requires faith. Every person on the earth must live by faith, period.

Who do you know that you could share this video and the Facebook post with?

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Online Exhibit: Life of President Ezra Taft Benson

benson-online-exhibitThe Church History Library has created a new online exhibit on the life of President Ezra Taft Benson. This resource gives insight to President Benson’s life, teachings, and his testimony of Jesus Christ.

In 2015, Priesthood and Relief Society classes will study the teachings of President Benson on the 2nd and 3rd weeks of each month. (Learn more about the curriculum for 2015.)

This digital exhibit uses materials from the Church History Library to highlight key areas in President Benson’s life, such as his

  • Early life in Whitney, Idaho
  • Mission president in Europe following World War II
  • Appointment as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
  • Calling as prophet

You will see personal photos of President Benson throughout his life, as well as video clips of experiences he had during his life and the lessons he taught.

The exhibit also includes a recent address by Sister Sheri Dew where she shares her personal experiences with President Benson, of whom she previously wrote a biography.

The online exhibit is available in 10 languages and is found online at


6 Tips to Empower Children Against Pornography

tips-empower-children-pornographyJoseph Harrison wrote an excellent article “6 Tips to Empower Your Children Against Pornography.”

It’s no secret that pornography has become a major issue in our society, especially among youth. According to one study, over 90 percent of boys and over 60 percent of girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18. Other studies have linked pornography to a number of detrimental effects on children’s social, emotional, and psychological development. With this in mind, it is perhaps more important now than ever before that parents consciously confront this pervasive problem. So where do we begin? Below are a few ideas from professional experts and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

He then gives 6 briefly-worded but well-founded ideas to help parents:

  1. Build a Christ-centered home.
  2. Educate your children about procreation and the dangers of pornography at an early age.
  3. Create a safe environment to discuss difficult issues.
  4. Keep the lines of communication open.
  5. Set appropriate boundaries and include your children in the process.
  6. Seek help together.

Read about these tips in the article “6 Tips to Empower Your Children Against Pornography.”


Family Home Evening Lessons: Family History Stories

familyThe more children know about their family history, the better they are able to handle stressful situations. Family history helps children realize that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Family stories help children learn that they can overcome trials and difficulties in life.

The Church has prepared 6 family home evening ideas to help your family learn more about your extended family and start building bonds with parents, grandparents, and ancestors.

These family home evening ideas take little or no preparation. The ideas can be used individually or combined to make a longer family home evening activity.



#ShareGoodness Idea: Share Goodness Song

Today’s #ShareGoodness Idea: Enjoy the song “Share Goodness.”

Singer and musician Rick Graham was impressed with Elder David A. Bednar’s address “To Sweep the Earth As With A Flood” last August. As he thought about the message about sharing the gospel through social media and the hashtag #ShareGoodness, a tune popped into his head. He collaborated with fellow Mormon Tabernacle Choir member, Michael Young, who wrote lyrics, and the song “Share Goodness” was born.

Enjoy the sheet music and words to the song below.

Share God’s goodness with your neighbor, share His gifts with gratitude.
Turn your gentle thoughts to actions, give a cheerful attitude.
When dark thoughts depress your mind, drive them out with service kind.
Share God’s goodness with your neighbor, share His gifts with gratitude.

Share with those who need the gospel, share and plant its tender seeds.
Give to all the living water, quench the thirsty soul who needs
Faith’s full flower soon will bud, as these drops become a flood!
Share with those who need the gospel, share and plant its tender seeds.

Share when prompted by the Spirit, share with wisdom and control.
Working through you, God our Father, seeks to heal, to bless, console.
The Spirit knows just what to say to each one in his own way.
Share when prompted by the Spirit, share with wisdom and control.

Share your light and do not falter. Share with all, do not delay.
Soon there comes a night of darkness, work while it is called “today”.
Then with many you’ll find rest in our Father’s kingdom blessed.
Share your light and do not falter. Share with all, do not delay.

Click on the sheet music below to get a higher resolution version and to hear an MP3 recording of the music.


This is one article in a series of ideas on how to #ShareGoodness with others. For more ideas of easy, practical things you can do, see the book 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online.




FamilySearch Celebrates 120 Years


FamilySearch International recently observed the 120th anniversary of the formation of its forerunner, the Genealogical Society of Utah. FamilySearch is the largest worldwide Internet genealogy service in the world.

The Genealogical Society of Utah was formed in 1894 under the direction of President Wilford Woodruff to help Church members—then largely immigrants from Europe and the British Isles concentrated in Utah—to seek out their ancestors and preserve their family trees for future generations.

Today, the vast collection of historical records and family history services are available for free to anyone at, at Family History Centers worldwide, and at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Here’s a quick overview of the history. For more details, read the article “FamilySearch Celebrates 120 Years.”

  • During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the society pioneered the use of microfilm to preserve and provide access to the world’s genealogical records.
  • In 1963, the society completed the Granite Mountain Records Vault for long-term storage of microfilmed records. More than 2.4 million rolls of film from more than 120 countries and principalities are stored there today.
  • In 1984, the society pioneered one of the first desktop genealogy management software programs, Personal Ancestral File. It also developed GEDCOM, a software code for sharing genealogical data.
  • In 1999, it launched the free website, which is available today in 10 languages.
  • In 2007, FamilySearch began crowd-sourcing family history by creating a website where volunteers could index records to make them searchable. Over 1 billion records have been indexed in just 7 years.
  • In 2013, they introduced Family Tree and Memories, which let you build, preserve, and share your family trees, photos, stories, and historical documents collaboratively.
  • Today, FamilySearch is used by tens of millions of people to build, preserve, share, and research their family histories and records.



Silent Notes Taking

Mitt_Romney_0001Mitt Romney spoke at the BYU Forum on November 18, sharing the behind-the-scenes lessons he learned while running for President.

He said, “At the beginning of a campaign you experience a great deal of what I’ll call unwelcome anonymity.  Nobody knows who you are…

“The anonymity is soon lost and in some remarkable ways.  During my last campaign I was taken aside by one of our national security agencies and I was informed that all my emails were being monitored and closely read by a foreign government.  In fact the same was true for all the people who had emailed me, my staff, my friends, my family. All of their emails were also being monitored by the government of that nation. And believe it or not the words of a hymn came to my mind, ‘Angels above us are silent notes taking, of every action, then do what is right.’

“The government involved was no angel, but our words and deeds may well be recorded in heaven and so I presume are the pages we open on the Internet and the sites we browse.  Our anonymous surfing may not be recorded on earth but it surely leaves an imprint in the book of life. Remember every day you’re writing your autobiography.”

Related article: “Future Missionaries: Consider Your Online Reputation.”

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Mormon Channel Kids Mobile App

mormon-channel-kidsMormon Channel Kids is a mobile app from the Church made especially for children.

This story book app will entertain curious minds and busy fingers with uplifting, interactive tales. Kids can read to themselves, hear from a narrator, and play within each short story. The app gives children fun new ways to learn gospel principles, such as charity, prayer, and love.

Two stories are available now: “The Coat” and “The Old Shoemaker.” New stories will be released monthly


mormon-channel-kids-the coat


Temple Infographic 2014: I Love to See the Temple

love-temple-lds-mormonBrian Olson has completed an annual update of his infographic about LDS Temples. In this update, he added several temples and within a few more iterations, expects to have all the temples.

Go to the infographic, then click and drag right and left on it to see the whole infographic, or you can download it in a convenient zip file.

Also see Brian Olson’s LDS Temple Models in 3D and his 3-D Rendering of the Provo City Center Temple.



Unbroken: A Movie About Forgiveness

unbroken-movieThe movie Unbroken recounts the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louie Zamperini, whose plane was shot down in WWII, survived in a raft for 47 days, and then was brutally abused in a prisoner-of-war camp for years. Through it all, his spirit could not be broken. He survived against incredible odds.

Below is the movie trailer:

It is a great story of one man’s survival, endurance, and unbroken spirit. The film is rated PG-13 for scenes of brutal war time torture.

But there is more to the story. At the end of the movie, it briefly explains that Louie Zamperini forgave his captors and even returned to Japan to face them and tell them he forgave them. The video below illustrates the power of forgiveness.

See memes with quotes from the movie.

Learn more at

Recent Christian-themed movies:

  • Son of God epic movie about the life of Jesus Christ (February 2014)
  • Noah retells the story of the great flood. (March 2014). Read my review of it.
  • God’s Not Dead is about a faithful college student who defends his belief against an atheistic professor. (March 2014)
  • Heaven Is for Real chronicles a 7-year-old’s recollection of being in heaven. (April 2014)
  • Left Behind is the story of a group of survivors left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction. (June 2014)
  • A Matter of Faith is about a Christian girl who goes to college and is influenced by a professor who teaches that evolution is the answer to the origins of life. (September 2014)
  • Meet the Mormons (October 2014)
  • Exodus is the story of Moses leading the children of Israel from Egypt. (December 2014)
  • Unbroken recounts the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louie Zamperini whose plane was shot down in WWII, survived in a raft for 47 days, then was abused in a prisoner-of-war camp for years.
  • Mary, Mother of Christ is the story of Mary from her youth to her struggles as a young mother caring for her child Jesus. (1st quarter 2015)

2015 Mutual Theme

2015-YouthThemeBack in August, I noted that the Mutual theme for 2015 is D&C 4:2:

“O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”

Resources to support the theme, including videos, articles, music, and graphics, are available on the youth website.

Additional materials will be made available in Church magazines and on throughout 2015.

See the following in the January issue of the New Era magazine:

Below is a video about a suggested service project:

Related articles:


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Studying the New Testament in 2015

teen-reading-bibleThis year in Gospel Doctrine Sunday School classes, we will be studying the New Testament. This article lists resources that can help you in your study this year.

New Testament

Online. The Church provides the full text of the Bible online at where you can also listen to a high-quality audio recording. When in any chapter, just click Listen in the right margin, or click Download to get your own MP3 file for listening offline. (If you want to download entire books, or the whole Bible at once, you can get a convenient .zip file at

Print. The New Testament is available in various printed formats, including a handy softcover edition and pocket sized edition which is currently 50% off.

Mobile. Read and listen to the New Testament on the Gospel Library mobile app. The app also has the other manuals and videos mentioned in this article.


New Testament Gospel Doctrine manuals are available online for the teacher as well as the Class Member Study Guide. They are also available in printed format and in the Gospel Library mobile app.

There is a brand new Institute manual New Testament Student Manual with commentary, maps, charts, and illustrations that cover the life of Jesus and His Apostles. It is available online in text and PDF and also in print. It has accompanying New Testament Independent Study Lessons.

Seminary materials are available online and in print, including a timeline poster, bookmark, scripture mastery cards, and a student study guide.

LDS Institute also offers independent study courses for students who are unable to attend a regularly-scheduled institute of religion class. Learn more about the Institute Independent Study Courses.


Watch high-quality videos from the New Testament in the “The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos” series available online at You can also get a DVD of 50 videos from the four Gospels.

Related videos: Finding Faith in Christ (online and DVD) and The Lamb of God DVD.


Get the special magazine issue “The Lord Jesus Christ” (Ensign and Liahona).

Watch for articles throughout the year about the New Testament in the Ensign, Liahona, New Era, and Friend.


The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles is availabe online in textdownloadable PDF, and in print.


The Church offers beautiful printed pictures of Jesus Christ at reasonable prices, including new sizes of artwork to hang in your home.


Colorfully illustrated scripture stories are available online at Each of the four books has downloadable text, audio, and video. They are also available as printed books and on a DVD set.

The weekly Scripture Stories radio series (New Testament, D&C/Church History, Book of Mormon) is designed to inspire children to come to know and love stories from the scriptures. Each episode features children sharing their insights and favorite experiences from the scriptures, along with music and readings of the best stories from the scriptures. All 33 episodes are completed for the Book of Mormon. The first 4 of 41 episodes of the New Testament are completed. So check back often to see new episodes.


Audio recordings of the New Testament are available on CD or you can listen online at (When in a chapter online, just click Listen in the right margin.)

Reading Charts

Watch the video “The Miracle of the Holy Bible:”

The video “What the Scriptures Mean to Me” describes the personal value of the scriptures:



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