By Emily Metheny
Teaching a lesson at church, holding family home evening, beginning your family history work, or planning a ward activity—if it’s your first time tackling one of these responsibilities, the task can seem overwhelming. You might wonder where to begin and what resources are available to help you succeed.
The Church provides valuable tools to help you fulfill your responsibilities in all of these activities, in your ward or branch, and at home.
Church Web Sites
Many resources for your family and your ward or branch can be found on the Church’s Web sites.
LDS.org is the official Web site of the Church. The site includes links to descriptions of basic beliefs, the scriptures online, and the gospel library (Church publications including curriculum materials, talks, and broadcasts). You will also find links to home and family, stake and ward Web sites, serving in the Church, temples, news, family history, Church history, and more.
Mormon.org is a Web site for anyone who wants to learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here, your friends and family members of other faiths will find basic information about the Church’s beliefs and members, as well as times and locations of worship services worldwide.
FamilySearch.org is the Church’s Web site for family history work. It offers step-by-step research guides, family history forms and charts, and the world’s largest genealogical index.
ProvidentLiving.org is a Web site focusing on temporal and spiritual welfare. Here you will find information about social, emotional, and physical health, as well as education and employment opportunities.
LDSCES.org is your source for information about the Church Educational System (CES) and, specifically, about the seminary and institute programs. Students and instructors, as well as priesthood leaders and parents, will find study helps, manuals, schedules, and meeting locations. You can also learn about the Perpetual Education Fund, Church-sponsored colleges and universities, and CES firesides.
BeSmart.com is a site designed especially for the youth of the Church, with a focus on preparation for gaining an education. Youth can learn about Church-sponsored conferences, colleges and universities, and even find admission applications. They can also sign up to receive BeSmart e-mails.
LDSCatalog.com is the Web site for the online distribution center. Here you can purchase scriptures, lesson manuals, magazine subscriptions, gospel art, hymnbooks, Church CDs and DVDs, supplies for missionary work, materials for members with disabilities, and much more. Temple clothing can also be ordered here. All materials can be ordered online or by calling 1-800-537-5971 in the United States and Canada.
As Church materials are referred to in this article, the distribution center item number is indicated in parentheses next to the publication’s title to assist you when placing orders.
Your gospel knowledge and understanding will increase as you study the scriptures, talks, and other gospel literature.
Scriptures. The standard works of the Church may be purchased from the distribution center. They are the Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Scriptures online. If you prefer, you can read or listen to the scriptures online at Scriptures.LDS.org and also use the online Topical Guide to the scriptures. You can also download the scriptures as an MP3 file and listen to them on your MP3 player. Downloads are available from LDS.org/audio.
General conference and devotional addresses. You can access recordings of recent addresses and devotionals by clicking on “Gospel Library” on LDS.org. Among these are broadcast events and items from audio and video archives that include the scriptures, general conferences, devotionals, and firesides.
Church publications for handhelds. You can download the scriptures, conference talks, Church magazine articles, and other materials to your personal digital assistant (PDA) or pocket PC system. C
Church manuals for adults. Gospel Principles and Teachings of Presidents of the Church are used in Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society lessons. They can be read online, received from your ward or branch, or ordered from the distribution center.
Youth materials. The Church has published several important manuals and guidebooks for youth. Parents may also benefit from becoming familiar with these materials. The following are available online, through your ward or branch, or from the distribution center: Faith in God for boys and for girls ; For the Strength of Youth for young men and young women ; True to the Faith for young men and young women, Personal Progress for young women; and Aaronic Priesthood: Fulfilling Our Duty to God for deacons, teachers , and priests .
Temples booklet. With beautiful temple photography and a variety of articles about the history and significance of temples, the booklet Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an excellent resource for teaching your family about temples and for preparing to receive your own temple ordinances.
The Church magazines can be an important resource for inspiration and gospel knowledge and for supplemental use in family home evening and Church lessons. Subscriptions to the Ensign (for English-speaking adults), the New Era (for English-speaking youth), the Friend (for English-speaking children), and the Liahona (available in over 50 languages for all ages) can be ordered from any Church distribution center, through LDSCatalog.com, or by calling 1-800-537-5971 in the United States and Canada. Material from the Church magazines can also be accessed online at LDS.org by clicking on “Gospel Library.”
Family Home Evening Helps
These resources can help you plan enjoyable and effective family home evenings.
Online family home evening tips. From the LDS.org homepage, click on “Home and Family.” You’ll find a list of quick tips and helpful ideas for family home evening—even a planner to create your family home evening program. Suggested lesson plans are offered on a variety of gospel topics such as appreciating music, forgiving others, and reading the scriptures. Each lesson suggests articles to read when preparing, discussion questions to ask while teaching, and pictures and video clips to supplement the lesson. The Web site also outlines several fun family activities meant to build communication, creativity, and knowledge.
Family Home Evening Resource Book . This guidebook includes sample home evening lessons, activity ideas, teaching helps, and other suggestions to make your family home evening successful. Each lesson and activity in the book is designed to help you build family unity and teach gospel principles. You can tailor the suggestions in this book to meet your own family’s needs. The book can also be found online by clicking on “Home and Family” on LDS.org.
Pictures and visual aids. Visual aids will add interest to your family home evening lessons. The Gospel Art Picture Kit contains 160 8 1/2-by-11-inch pictures depicting scripture stories and events. A written account of the scriptural event appears on the back of each picture. The kit can be purchased from the distribution center, or the pictures can be printed free from “Gospel Art Picture Kit.” Other useful visual aids are the Articles of Faith poster , New Era posters , and scripture charts and maps .
Hymns and Children’s Songbook. Opening and closing your family home evening with a song will help to invite the Spirit into your home and will help you and your family members learn the hymns of the Church. Hymns is the standard hymnal we use in sacrament meetings, and the Children’s Songbook ) contains the songs children sing in Primary.
You can enjoy Church music at home, at work, and on the go with CDs, cassettes, MP3s, LDS-related radio, and hymnbooks.
Interactive Church music player. This online music player is located at LDS.org/churchmusic and allows you to view, listen to, transpose, and print the Church hymns and children’s songs.
MP3s. Browse a list of downloadable hymns and children’s songs at LDS.org/churchmusic. All downloads are free.
LDS-related radio online. Listen to live streaming instrumental music and LDS-related radio at LDS.org/broadcast.
Hymns on CD or cassette. Many CDs and cassettes with hymns, children’s songs, and classical music, including recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, are available from the distribution center.
Music training resources. At LDS.org/churchmusic, you can learn how to conduct and accompany music, learn how to teach songs to children, and find the meanings of music symbols and terms.
Hymns and Children’s Songbook. The Church hymnbook and book of children’s songs can be purchased from the distribution center, and the printed music to many of the hymns can be viewed online at LDS.org/churchmusic.
Serving in the Church helps us grow in gospel knowledge and allows us to develop friendships in our wards and stakes. There is more than one right way to function in a Church calling, but the Church has published handbooks and manuals in order to provide guidance and helpful direction. For more information and understanding about your calling, go to LDS.org and click on “Serving in the Church.”
Teaching, No Greater Call provides helpful guidelines for teachers in all Church organizations. It includes a section on teaching those with disabilities. It can be read online or purchased from the distribution center.
Seminary and Institute
Seminary and institute classes are gospel study classes for the youth and young adults in the Church. Seminary provides weekday religious instruction for members of the Church in the 14-to 18-year-old range. Four one-year courses are offered, teaching the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants and Church History. Seminary classes are held in Church-owned buildings close to local schools, in meetinghouses, or in members’ homes.
Institutes of religion provide weekday and evening religious instruction for LDS college students and young single adults ages 18 through 30. Each stake also offers an institute class open to all adults. A variety of classes are available to teach students about the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Church history, family history, courtship and marriage, doctrines of the gospel, and teachings of the living prophets. Many institute programs also provide a place where students can study and socialize.
For more information about seminary and institute, click HERE
Ward and Stake Calendars
Many wards and stakes have a Web site that includes a calendar of activities, classes, and other events you won’t want to miss. Some wards also list the schedule of the weekly lessons for Sunday School, Melchizedek Priesthood, and Relief Society.
You can access your online ward and stake calendars from LDS.org. Click on “Stake and Ward Web Sites.” You will need your membership number and confirmation date (available from your ward clerk) to enter the Web sites the first time.
Church History Sites
Planning a vacation? Consider taking a trip to visit some of the significant historical sites of the Church. Look online at LDS.org/churchhistory to learn about Church history sites across the United States, including Palmyra, New York; Kirtland, Ohio; Nauvoo, Illinois; Jackson County, Missouri; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; and Salt Lake City, Utah. A Church history trip could be one of the most meaningful and memorable trips you will take. As you learn about the faith and the struggles of early Church members, you will more greatly appreciate the strength of the Church today.
Ward Meetinghouse Library
Each ward meetinghouse has its own library with materials that can be checked out by members. Books, videos and DVDs, gospel art, and other resources are on hand to enrich members’ lives and gospel study.