Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
Note: This is part of a new occasional series of homeschooling lessons for LDS children. Parents who don’t homeschool may want to use some of this as a family home evening lesson or an educational enrichment lesson. This lesson can be done by children of all ages, or a family with a mixture of ages.
Purposes: To help children see Moroni (son of Mormon) as a real person with emotions and experiences they can understand, to find the connections between his life and theirs, and to improve their writing skills.
Preparation: As a family, read the writings of Moroni over however many days are required.
1. Remind the children there had been a terrible battle in which the Nephites battled the Lamanites. The Nephites were killed, until finally only Moroni, son of the prophet Mormon, remained. It is believed Moroni was only a teenager at this time. Ask the children how they think Moroni felt as he watched the numbers of Nephites grow smaller and smaller. We aren’t told much about Moroni’s family, other than his father, but help the children to realize, through questions, that Moroni must have had a mother, and perhaps siblings, other relatives, and friends who died in this battle. It wasn’t just his people, but people he loved being killed and all in a very short time.
2. Help them to realize he was the last good person in his world. There wasn’t television, Internet, or an airplane. His world was pretty much the area in which he lived, and there were no good people remaining except for him. Ask them how they think he must have felt to be the last good person in a wicked world. (Read Mormon 8: 1-5 and verses 8-9, and help the children sense the sadness in the words.)
3. Ask why God wanted Moroni to remain alive. The answer can be found in the scripture reference you just read.
4. We know very little, really, about who Moroni was at this moment. Ask your children to consider the following: How strong was his testimony? How did he cope with the trials and tragedies of losing everyone he loved and having to hide to avoid his own murder? How did he feel about staying alive for a book? Did he ever have moment of weakness, fear, and discouragement? Ask the children to search his writings for clues. Moroni 1 gives a powerful clue to his level of testimony. Let them discuss their thoughts about who he might have been and how he coped. How might he have grown through this experience?
5. Help the children figure out how long Moroni was alone. To do this, they need to do subtraction using the dates on the bottom of the pages of Mormon 6 and Moroni 10. This will make the extent of his loneliness more real to them. And…we don’t really know when he died, since no one was around to write about it, so it could have been longer than this.
6. Assign your children to write a journal entry as if they were Moroni about his feelings during this time. Have them type their entry, run it through a grammar and spell-checker and review it with you. When grading writing, try to select one or two writing errors to correct so you can teach the missing skill. However, correct all spelling and grammar errors, but teach only a few. Make sure they treat Moroni with respect, since he was a prophet.
7. When you return to Moroni, remind the children that Moroni didn’t have parents, friends, or church leaders to help him live the gospel. He had to do it all alone, even when no one on earth was watching. When he needed advice, he generally had to pray for it, although the scriptures do mention he was sometimes ministered to.
8. Your children are not the last good people on earth, but certainly, those who live as we do are in the minority. In many parts of the world, a child will be the only LDS child in the school other than his own siblings.
9. Print copies of the following story for your Primary age children and help them read it: My Tea Story (Kellie Harding, “My Tea Story,” Friend, Aug. 1997, 40)
10. Print out the following story for your Mutual aged children and ask them to read it: You Know Me Better Than That (Phil Reschke, “You Know Me Better Than That,” New Era, July 1993, 9)
Both of the above stories deal with the Word of Wisdom.
10. Print and display a Mormon Ad about peer pressure. (“New Era Poster,” New Era, Nov. 2003, 19)
11. Ask your children to share their experiences with peer pressure. Is it easier or harder to live the gospel when you have others with you who also live it? Ask them if they have the courage to live the gospel when no one is looking and the stakes are high.
12. Have your children complete some of the following assignments:
a. Write a paper on peer pressure
b. Create an action plan for handling pressure to break commandments.
c. Make a poster about peer pressure or choices.
d. Write a paper about their efforts to live the gospel and the lessons they learn from Moroni.
e. Start a hero book. As your children read the scriptures, have them create a page for the heroes they encounter. They can include a brief summary of the person’s story and the lessons your child can learn from it. They can also illustrate the book.
The Lives and Travels and Mormon and Moroni