Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A New Adult Curriculum is Coming!

I had the privilege to be invited to work very briefly on a subcommittee for the new adult curriculum.  It's going to be great!  The lesson format is entirely different, and very like the new youth curriculum.  It reaches much more deeply into your personal life, and translates into your actions throughout the week, if you let it.

This old-program blog will still be here, though.  It's a great way to store all my research and make it searchable and accessible to myself, my family, and all of you.  Thank you all for your wonderful feedback!  It made it all worth it!

More on the New Curriculum

Whether I do a new blog to go with the new curriculum remains to be seen...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Old Testament Lessons

Here are links to the first ten Old Testament Lessons,  You can find all the Old Testament lessons by clicking "2010" on the sidebar, which is when they were originally posted.

Lesson #1  "This is My Work and My Glory."  Moses 1 as an introduction to the Bible and an excellent example of how to resist pornography

Teaching Tip  My Seven Dispensations Memory Aid

Lesson #2  "Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born." Preordination and hope for members of dysfunctional families

Lesson Addition  "The Amazing King James Translation"

Lesson #3 "The Creation."  Creativity as a godly attribute

Lesson #4  "Because of My Transgression My Eyes are Opened."  The conflicting commandments given by God to Adam and Eve, leading to the Fall and Redemption

Teaching Tip An easy way to have scriptures read aloud by class members

Lesson #5 "If Thou Doest Well, Thou Shalt Be Accepted." Tom Holdman, Palmyra Temple stained glass artist as an example of triumph over adversity

Lesson #6 "Noah Prepared an Ark to the Saving of His House."  Additional insights into the story of Noah found in the Joseph Smith Translation, particularly the beautiful but little-known Covenant of the Rainbow

Lesson #7  "The Abrahamic Covenant."  The Abrahamic Covenant simplified.  What it means to belong to the House of Israel

Lesson #8  "Living Righteously in a Wicked World."  Comparisons between Abraham and Lot

Lesson #9  "God Will Provide Himself a Lamb."  Abraham's sacrifice as a type of Christ

Supplement to Lesson #9  "Ishmael, Our Brother."  Understanding the faith of our cousins, the Muslims

Lesson #10  "Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant."

Lesson #11 on Joseph   "How Can I Do This Great Wickedness?" on the importance of Joseph, and the birthright

Lesson #12 on Joseph  "Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction" includes comparisons to the Prodigal Son, and Joseph as a type of Christ

Lesson #13  "Bondage, Passover, and Exodus"

Lesson #14  "Ye Shall Be a Peculiar Treasure Unto Me"

Lesson #15  "Look To God and Live"

Lesson #16  "I Cannot Go Beyond the Word of God"

Lesson #17  "Beware Lest Thou Forget"

Lesson #18  "Be Strong and of a Good Courage"

Lesson #19  "The Reign of the Judges"

Lesson #20  "All the City ... Doth Know Thou Art a Virtuous Woman"

Lesson #21  "God Will Honor Those who Honor Him"

Lesson #22  "The Lord Looketh On the Heart"

Lesson #23  "The Lord Be Between Thee and Me Forever"

Lesson #24  "Create in Me a Clean Heart"

Lesson #25  "Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord"

Lesson #26  "King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness"

Supplement to Lesson #26

Lesson #27  "The Influence of Wicked and Righteous Leaders"

Lesson #28  "After the Fire a Still Small Voice"

Lesson #29  "He Took Up the Mantle of Elijah"

Lesson #30  "Come to the House of the Lord"

Lesson #31  "Happy is the Man that Findeth Wisdom"

Lesson #32  "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth"

Lesson #33  "Sharing the Gospel With the World

Lesson #34  "I Will Betroth Thee unto Me in Righteousness"

Lesson #35  "God Reveals His Secrets to His Prophets"

Lesson #36  "The Glory of Zion Will Be a Defense"

Lesson #37  "Thou Hast Done Wonderful Things"

Supplement to Lesson #37

Lesson #38  "Beside Me There is No Savior"

Lesson #39  "How Beautiful Upon the Mountains"

Lesson #40  "Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent"

Lesson #41  "I Have Made Thee This Day ... an Iron Pillar"

Lesson #42  "I Will Write It in their Hearts"

Lesson #43  "The Shepherds of Israel"

Lesson #44  "Every Thing Shall Live Whither the River Cometh"

Lesson #45  "If I Perish, I Perish"

Lesson #46  "A Kingdom, Which Shall Never Be Destroyed"

Lesson #47  "Let Us Rise Up and Build"/Christmas Lesson

Lesson #48  "The Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord"

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Merry Christmas for Missionaries!


Here is a fun Christmas package idea for missionaries.  Individually wrap all the little gifts listed below and attach the appropriate scriptures.  Enclose them all in one big package, and your missionary's gift-opening time on Christmas morning will have a spiritual bend and will also last a little bit longer.  (You may want to label the mini nativity set to be opened as soon as the package is received, so that the missionaries can have it as a Christmas decoration.)

Socks

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
(Old Testament | Isaiah 52:7)

Band-Aids

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
(Old Testament | Psalms 147:3)

Pens

And I also command you that ye keep a record of this people, according as I have done…
(Book of Mormon | Alma 37:2)

Canned Cheese          

Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
(Old Testament | Job 10:10)

Caramels

And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan
(Old Testament | Jeremiah 50:19)

Hand Warmers

He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
(Old Testament | Psalms 147:17)

Q-Tips

For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing
(New Testament | Matthew 13:15)

Kleenexes

…and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
(New Testament | Revelation 7:17)

Scotch Tape

Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
(Old Testament | Isaiah 8:16)

Toothbrush

And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities…
(Old Testament | Amos 4:6)

Comb

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?  and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father [knowing].  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
(New Testament | Matthew 10:29 - 31)

Hershey’s Treasures

And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure
(Old Testament | Genesis 43:23)

Hershey’s Kisses

Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity.
(New Testament | 1 Peter 5:14)

Hand Sanitizer or Soap

The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
(Old Testament | Job 17:9)

Tie

My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
(Old Testament | Proverbs 6:20 - 21)

Mini Flashlight or LED Key Ring

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
(Old Testament | Psalms 119:105)

Temple Tie Tack

…the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
(Old Testament | Malachi 3:1)
Small Teddy Bear

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
(New Testament | Galatians 6:2)

Super Glue

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
(New Testament | Colossians 3:14)

Scripture Marking Pencil

Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:37)

Fingernail Clippers

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?  and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
(Old Testament | Psalms 8:3 - 4)

Chapstick

The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
(Old Testament | Proverbs 15:7)

Small Nativity Set

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
(New Testament | Luke 2:7)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book of Mormon Pocket-Sized Study Guide


I was sent a copy of the "Book of Mormon Perspective Chart: The Ultimate Pocket-Sized Study Guide" by its maker, Matthew Wilson, and asked to comment on its usefulness.  I can indeed endorse this little aid for two reasons:
  1. It is comprehensive.
    1. It contains a chart of the assemblage of the Book from the various plates.
    2. It shows a timeline of the various peoples, major events, places, doctrines and personal relationships of the Book of Mormon with references to the pertinent scriptures.  It might actually be instructive just to read through the items on the timeline as an overview of the entire Book of Mormon.
    3. It has a pertinent map of the exodus from Jerusalem.
    4. It shows the great missionary journeys of the Book of Mormon.
    5. It includes Seminary Scripture Mastery verses
  2. It is unbelievably portable. 
    1. This is the greatest advantage of this little guide.  It literally folds up to slightly larger than the size of a playing card.  It opens up to 24 times that size, and then folds easily and flatly again inside the laminated cover cards that protect it.  It stays flat when folded.  It can easily be carried in any size scriptures, or inside the cover of an electronic reading device.
This is a great little study guide which would be handy for this coming year's Gospel Doctrine Book of Mormon study, for Seminary students, for missionaries, and for use by any individuals wishing to understand the Book of Mormon better.  I definitely intend to use it myself this coming year!

It is available at Deseret Book, DeseretBook.com, or Amazon.com.  It will soon be at Seagull Book as well.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Remaining Doctrine and Covenants Lessons

I began this blog four years ago with Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #39, so I have run full-circuit now!  The lessons were originally given in my ward from 1998-2001.  Here are links to the remainder of the Doctrine and Covenants Lessons as originally posted:

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #39 "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn To Their Fathers"  highlights the great Vision of the Redemption of the Dead received by Joseph F. Smith.

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #40 Finding Joy in Temple and Family History Work  discusses family history work done in Joseph and Emma Smith's family.

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #41 "Every Member a Missionary" includes the story of Jim and Janette Wyatt, missionaries to the South Seas.

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #42 Continuing Revelation to Latter-day Prophets focuses on the revelation to extend the Priesthood to all worthy male members of the Church.

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #43 "Take Upon You My Whole Armor" explains the scripture on the armor of God.

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #44 Being Good Citizens tells the story of Pat and Clyde Braegger, mayors of Providence, Utah.

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #45 "The Family is Ordained of God"  includes a story from my personal life (forgive me for that).

Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #46 "Zion--The Pure in Heart" contains just a small essay on unity.


Doctrine and Covenants Lesson #38 "In Mine Own Way"

This lesson is about the Church Welfare Program.  We all know that the LDS Church Welfare Program is one of the great programs of its kind in the world, helping people to become self-sufficient, and the Church is able to run it because the Church itself is self-sufficient.  It is easy to forget that the Church faced many hard times before it became self-sufficient.

CALLED TO BEG

When the Twelve Apostles returned to Winter Quarters from Salt Lake City in the fall of 1847, they found the saints there still in extremely dire conditions.  The Church was in debt and could not offer any aid to them.  They tried to get another contract with the government (besides the Mormon Battalion) to build forts or carry mail, but they did not succeed.  Finally, in desperation, 100-150 men were called on special missions to the east, not just to teach the gospel, although they did that along their way, but to beg aid for the suffering Mormons from their fellow Americans, "a little known but colorful attempt to rally public sympathy for the plight of the Latter-day Saints."  Throughout the states, they preached, sought after those who had gone inactive in the Church or joined break-off groups, and most of all, tried to raise money for the Winter Quarters saints to buy medicine, bedding, clothing, food, and passage to the Great Salt Lake Valley.    (Richard E. Bennett, We'll Find the Place, p. 302)

Their missions were very difficult and the return received was "paltry," as Erastus Snow stated, when compared with the wealth of the people among whom they labored.  One managed to influence benevolent and rich Washington ladies to have a benefit tea party which raised the amount of $82.50.  A Mrs. Reed was the hostess, and scores of society women came.  Even a "colored" servant woman contributed 12-1/2 cents.  The elders petitioned government leaders for contracts or charity.  The President of the United States, James Polk, listened sympathetically and politely gave $10. 

The missionaries who had to travel through Missouri, from which they had recently been expelled, used assumed names and identities. $705.84 was raised from members of the Church still living in St. Louis. In Mississippi (refer to Lesson 33 regarding the Mississippi Saints) three elders encouraged the rest of the Crosby family to move to Winter Quarters and raised over $1500 from the saints there, $1,368 of that from William Crosby himself.  One elder in Boston collected $1,000, one hundred of which came from Josiah Quincy, the mayor who made that most favorable statement about Joseph Smith (see Lesson 32).

William Clayton published 5,000 copies of his overland travel guide for emigrants and gold prospectors to help the cause.  It quickly won attention and approval from travelers across the country as one of the finest.

Altogether, this missionary/begging force gathered about $10,000, an impressive feat considering the public sentiment toward the saints at the time.  Although it wasn't enough money to solve all their problems, it was enough to bring hope and encouragement at a critical hour.  (Bennett, p. 301-310)

SPIRITUAL SELF-RELIANCE

There are two kinds of self-reliance that this lesson counsels us to have.  The first kind is that possessed by many of the early saints in great abundance.  We certainly see it exemplified in the works of the begging missionaries.  That is spiritual self-reliance. Elder Boyd K. Packer taught in April Conference of 1978, "We have been taught to store a year's supply of food, clothing, and, if possible, fuel--at home...Can we not see that the same principle applies to inspiration and revelation, the solving of problems, to counsel, and to guidance?  We need to have a source of it stored in every home..."  Have you stored up a year's supply of spiritual strength?

There is a great deal of relevance for us today in the words of  D&C 38:15, 29-30:

"Therefore, be strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours.  [This is followed by promises that if we are righteous, we will inherit the land of promise and Christ will be our King and watch over us.]

"Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.

I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."

Anxiety grips many in this world, especially since terrorism reared its ugly head on September 11, 2001.  Do you think that if members of the Church are also filled with this fear it is because they do not have a year's supply of spirituality in their homes?  The "voice which shall shake the earth" in the scripture is, of course, God's voice.  If we do not "treasure up wisdom in our bosoms," we will hear the reports of the wickedness of men louder than the voice of God, but "if we are prepared, we shall not fear."  Perhaps if we listen to the evening news for 30 minutes every evening, we should read the scriptures for 35.  If we read the news on the internet for 15 minutes each morning, we should read the conference talks for 20.  We are surrounded by fear through the constant reports from the news media if not through the circumstances of our lives, and we must follow the counsel to make God's voice louder than the voices of wickedness in our own ears.

PHYSICAL SELF-RELIANCE

The other kind of self-reliance is, of course, temporal self-reliance, and part of that is financial self-reliance.  The Church members leaving Nauvoo faced great financial losses which had undoubtedly been a surprise to them, since they were still building and improving homes right up until the year they left.  They had been told all along that Nauvoo would not be a permanent residence, but they undoubtedly expected that they would be able to realize a return on their investment there.  If they had known that they would, once more, be forced out under the threat of their lives, leaving most of their belongings behind, do you think they might have collected less belongings to start with, and saved more food and money?  Can we learn something from this?

Our prophets have counseled us to "be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases," and have advised us to avoid debt to the extent possible (All is Safely Gathered In, Church pamphlet).  There is plenty of guidance from the Church on how to teach ourselves to be financial stable, and even to thrive.  Here is the link.

Two questions for discussion:  What methods have you found helpful in limiting spending and saving money?  and, How can we teach our children wise money management?

CARING FOR THE POOR

In all our budgeting and saving and limiting of expenditures, there are some expenditures that we might need to increase.

"I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low. For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

"Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment." (D&C 104:14-18)

The begging missionaries and the Nauvoo trustees all did their utmost to care for the poor.  We need to be sure that return gratitude to the Lord by sharing what he has entrusted to us with the poor.  This is one excellent reason to get out of debt: so that we can have complete stewardship over our money and we can choose what to do with it.  Notice the Lord said, "It is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things therein are mine."  When we are in control of our own financial situation, then we can unite with the Lord in his purpose to provide for others.

We are blessed for giving.  It is not only a principle of faith, but a truth that has been scientifically proven.  Just for fun, I'm providing a link to a most amazing and delightful talk given at BYU by Arthur Brooks, a Catholic economist, entitled  "Why Giving Matters."  He is the author of Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservativism.  The surprising truth he discovered, which surprised himself more than it should LDS people, was that people who give, end up richer than people who don't.  God blesses them with money to give even more.

APPLICATION

If you are in debt, or out of work, or in poor health, or in any of a number of circumstances that place you in need beyond what you can manage yourself, know that this marvelous worldwide Church has been in that position as well.  Although it seemed hopeless for the Church and its members to ever overcome its early financial difficulties, they were overcome, gradually, as the members and leadership adhered to the principles of the gospel and followed the words of the prophet.  If we develop spiritual self-reliance, financial self-reliance, and a willingness to care for the poor, we will link together a chain of preparedness.  And "if we are prepared, we shall not fear."

Lesson #37 "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet"

Sing "Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice" as a class.  Note that Joseph Daynes wrote the music, the first Tabernacle organist, whom we learned about in Lesson #36.  Or, if you have an able violinist and vocalist ask them to perform "Come, Come Ye Saints," (violinist accompanying) as this was sung at the Conference of December 1847.

In November of 1847 with the settlement of Salt Lake City begun, the apostles gathered at Winter Quarters to decide whether the Church needed a First Presidency.  They asked a question that may be asked today: why is a First Presidency necessary when the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles holds all the keys?  But as they considered and debated over the days, they all felt that the focused leadership of a presidency was God's will for the Church.  Brigham Young, already the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, emerged as the obvious choice.  "None questioned his industry, integrity, or shrewd political savvy.  His status grew the further west they [had] traveled.  As Orson Pratt put it [in their final meeting, December 5]: 'There is no man in this Quorum who I respect more than Brother Young, and no man that I would wish sooner to be at the head...He has a great anxiety on his mind and although I consider I have seen errors in him, I feel that I could lay down my life for him.'" (Richard E. Bennett, We'll Find the Place: The Mormon Exodus, 1846-1858, p. 289)  The other apostles were in agreement. Heber C. Kimball motioned and Wilford Woodruff seconded that Brigham Young be sustained as President of the Church.  All others voted yes.  President Young chose those two men as his counselors.

It was agreed that a special conference of the Church be convened, rather than waiting for April Conference, as many of the Apostles were about to leave on missions.  It was decided that Christmas would be the best time, as many people would gathering to Winter Quarters from the outlying areas to be with family.  One problem presented itself:  Where to hold this conference?  It would be too cold outside, and the size of the crowd exceeded the size of any building.  It was decided that they build a tabernacle.  200 men immediately agreed to help.  On the evening of December 23rd, the log tabernacle was completed!  "It was, for its time, a wonderfully large cottonwood log tabernacle 65 feel long by 40 feet wide, complete with newly hewn benches, stoves for heating on all sides, a large fireplace, several doors, glass windows, and a smooth floor--[As Wilford Woodruff said,] 'an ornament to this new country.'" (Bennett, p. 290-291)

The special conference was held December 24-27.  The new Tabernacle was a wonderful meetingplace, housing 1,000 attendees, some on buffalo robes on the floor.  A band and choir participated.  On the final day, which was Sunday, Brigham Young's name was presented for a vote.  After a soloist sang "Come, Come Ye Saints," accompanied by a violin, Orson Pratt rose to speak.  Among other things he said, "The time has come when the twelve must have their hands liberated to go to the ends of the earth."  All present voted in favor of Brigham Young and his presidency, there was not a single dissenter.  The meeting concluded with the hymn "The Spirit of God," and all present giving the hosanna shout.  (Bennett, p. 292)

Brigham Young at age 45, circa 1846
(I had never seen this photo before!
Isn't it great?)

The following October Conference in Salt Lake City,  Brigham Young having just arrived back there a couple of weeks before, his name was presented to the saints there, and the voting was again unanimous.  (Bennett, p. 354)

Why was there such a delay between prophets?  Brother Bennett writes, "One very real heritage or result of the exodus was that it made a prophet of Brigham Young in a way perhaps no other circumstance could have...By the time they settled at the Great Salt Lake, for the vast majority there was no longer any doubt who should lead the Church." (Bennett, p. 361)

After Brigham Young's death there was a three-year wait until John Taylor's succession to the Presidency.  But during the Jubilee Year (50th Anniversary) of the Church, the event finally occurred.  Here are a few fun things about the progress that had been made in Salt Lake City in the 33 years since the Saints had entered the valley:

This photo for an antique stereograph viewer shows 
the interior of the Assembly Hall 
in the second half of the 1900th century.
From Wikipedia.

"April in Salt Lake City can be cold, raw, sleety, and snowy; April of 1880 was all of that. The three thousand Saints who crowded from all parts of the territory into the newly completed Assembly Hall for preliminary meetings on April 4 and 5 were impressed with the magnificent ceiling with its frescoes showing the Nauvoo and Kirtland temples and other scenes from Church history. A beautiful pipe organ, second in size only to the great organ in the Tabernacle to the north of the Assembly Hall, accompanied the choir under George Careless’s direction. More important, however, in view of the weather, were provisions for creature comfort; the new building was designed with steam heat that was piped under alternate benches throughout the hall and through twelve radiators against the walls. It was brilliantly lighted, despite the cloudy day, by 24 gas lamps and a huge central chandelier of 12 gas jets."  President John Taylor was sustained as "trustee-in-trust" of the Church at this conference.

 I found this "then and now" photo set of the
Assembly Hall ceiling at a lovely blog:

"Salt Lake City, the City of the Saints, had grown much in the 33 years since the Mormon pioneers had first entered the valley. A bird’s-eye view from Ensign Peak, to the north of the city, would have shown a panorama of neatly laid out ten-acre blocks, with wide, tree-bordered streets, most of which were still choked with dust in the summer and mired in mud during the winter, although some of the downtown merchants were laying 'asphalteum' in front of their stores for the benefit of pedestrians. And, for those who did not care to walk these streets, a street railway with horse-drawn cars running every half hour extended to eight different parts of the city. Gas lights illuminated the main streets, most downtown businesses, and many homes.



 Salt Lake City, around 1880
Deseret News archives 

"As it is today, the intersection of Main and South Temple streets was the heart of the city. Immediately to the northwest was the temple block, site of the April conference, surrounded by adobe-plastered walls 15 feet high and 5 feet thick. Within the enclosure stood the great Tabernacle, seating 10,000, that had dominated the Salt Lake City horizon with its elliptical, turtle-backed roof for the past decade. The magnificent new Assembly Hall, used for the first time for the preliminary meetings which conference visitors that jubilee year had attended, lifted its spires south of the Tabernacle. The grey granite walls of the unfinished Temple rose 65 feet above the ground, dwarfing all else but the bulk of the Tabernacle... 

"Loose livestock wandering the city streets was a chronic nuisance; in the midst of April conference that year, a cow was found prostrate on North Temple Street in the 18th Ward area. After two days, the Deseret News editor reported that 'the cow … has gone the way of all cows, at last, but did not go quite far enough to please the good people of that immediate neighborhood. The present state of weather will soon render the carrion a disagreeable source of annoyance and complaint.' (Deseret News, April 10.)"

"The Deseret News also announced regular church services. The first Thursday of each month was fast day; the public works were closed for the day so that men could attend fast meeting Thursday morning. The regular Sunday schedule included Sunday School at 10:00 A.M. in the various ward buildings, a general sacrament meeting in the Tabernacle at 2:00 P.M., which was regularly addressed by the General Authorities, and evening meetings at 6:00 P.M. in the wards...

" It seemed a fitting climax to the Saints’ year of jubilee that at October conference, in solemn assembly in the Tabernacle, John Taylor was sustained as prophet, seer, and revelator, the third President of the Church, with each of the quorums of the priesthood standing separately in turn and voting. The three-year interregnum without a President had been long, yet the Church had progressed under the united direction of the Twelve. As historian Hubert Howe Bancroft put it, 'The world was now to learn that the inherent vitality of Mormonism depended not on the existence of any one man or body of men, not even on the existence of the Twelve' (H. H. Bancroft, The History of Utah, San Francisco: History Company, 1889, p. 677)."
  (Margaret F. Maxwell, "Year of Jubilee," The New Ear, July 1980)

After that, it was clear and automatic that the President of the Quorum of the Twelve would be the next President of the Church.
You may want to read the Parable of the Watchman on the Tower, D&C 101:43-54.  Then discuss what counsel was heard from our present-day Watchman in our most recent General Conference (list on the board) and discuss ideas for carrying out the Prophet's counsel.

I love this photo of President Monson
from Wikipedia's article on the Church.
(I'll tell you:  Someone put some serious effort
into that Wikipedia article!  It's a small book!)

As is often the case, our prophet President Monson closed the April 2013 General Conference with a blessing: "I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you.  May your homes be filled with peace, harmony, courtesy, and love.  May they be filled with the Spirit of the Lord.  May you nurture and nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of Satan.

"Until we meet again in six months, I pray that the Lord will bless and keep you, my brothers and sisters.  May His promised peace be with you now and always.  Thank you for your prayers in my behalf and in behalf of all of the General Authorities.  We are deeply grateful for you.  In the name of our Savior and Redeemer, whom we serve, even Jesus Christ, the Lord, amen." (Thomas S. Monson, "Until We Meet Again,"  Ensign, May 2013, p. 114)

You may want to conclude with a hymn as well, "The Spirit of God" or "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet."