The Visiting Teaching Message for September is about how we can better understand and live the gospel of Christ. I chose this quote by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to share with my sisters:
“Faithful members of the Church should be like oak trees and should extend deep roots into the fertile soil of the fundamental principles of the gospel. We should understand and live by the simple, basic truths and not complicate them. Our foundations should be solid and deep-rooted so we can withstand the winds of temptation, false doctrine, adversity, and the onslaught of the adversary without being swayed or uprooted. . . .
“Spiritual nourishment is just as important as a balanced diet to keep us strong and healthy. We nourish ourselves spiritually by partaking of the sacrament weekly, reading the scriptures daily, praying daily in personal and family prayer, and performing temple work regularly. Our spiritual strengths are like batteries; they need to be charged and frequently recharged” (“Deep Roots,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 75).
I love this visual of being deeply rooted oak trees. To discuss the quote I made a simple visual aid consisting of a yogurt cup, some playdough, a branch, and some paper leaves. I first covered the outside of the clean, empty yogurt cup with scrapbook paper, tucking in the top edges inside the cup.
As you discuss being firmly rooted in the gospel of Christ, place balls of playdough inside the cup. The playdough represents the fertile soil of the fundamental principles of the gospel. Elder Wirthlin in his talk, “Deep Roots”, mentions these specific principles into which our spiritual roots should sink deeply:
The reality of our Heavenly Father; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost. Elder Wirthlin talks about each member of the Godhead, and our relationship with them. He also mentions the importance of moral purity and the Word of Wisdom in giving us spiritual and physical strength.
Once your cup is full of rich (playdough) gospel soil, demonstrate how we can extend deep roots into that soil by placing your branch deep into the cup. All that soil holds up our tree nicely, so we can “withstand the winds of temptation, false doctrine, adversity, and the onslaught of the adversary without being swayed or uprooted. . . .”
To discuss the spiritual nourishment that we require, I have some paper leaves on which I printed keywords for the things Elder Wirthlin mentions: “partaking of the sacrament weekly, reading the scriptures daily, praying daily in personal and family prayer, and performing temple work regularly”. I also have a few blank leaves to place on the tree as we discuss other ways we “recharge” our spiritual batteries. Things like listening to General Conference, reading the Ensign, and journal writing are things on my list.
Finally, I made a bookmark with the quote to leave with my sisters. You can download it and the leaves here.
Download in Spanish here.
Don’t forget a spoon to help you dig out the playdough at the end of your lesson, so you can place it in a baggie and reuse for your next visit. Go here for an easy fun playdough recipe!