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Primary Class Missionary Story Activity from “Fourth Floor, Last Door”

I’ve recently been called back to Primary, teaching the CTR4s! (Yay!) Anyway, I was teaching this lesson from the Primary 3 manual “Lesson 24: The Lord Helps Missionaries,” but this activity could work with any missionary themed Primary lesson or Sharing Time. Taking President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s story “Fourth Floor, Last Door,” we acted out the story of the hard-working missionaries knocking on every door in the apartment building.
For “doors” I had corrugated cardboard rectangles, a bit bigger than a notebook sheet of paper, one for each child in the class. I cut up a box that had something printed on the outside for my “doors,” but the inside was plain brown, so that side was a door. With a large black marker I created doorknobs (just black circles filled in) on the plain brown sides. The kids did not mind the print on the wrong sides. I also created a missionary name tag by printing a look-a-like I found on the internet.
Showing the class a picture of President Uchtdorf and explaining how he is a helper (counselor) to our prophet President Monson, I said I was going to tell a true story that he told. In Germany where President Uchtdorf came from, there was an apartment building with four (show 4 fingers) floors. The missionaries were looking for a family to teach about Jesus. They started knocking on every door on every floor.
I picked a child to be our missionary (keeping it simple for 4-year olds, we had only one missionary, not a pair), and I put the missionary name tag on the child. I instructed him or her to go to a door and knock. The cardboard was stiff enough to make a satisfying knocking sound. I instructed the child holding the door to say, “nobody home.” Very quickly the kids caught on and continued through all the doors. When they finished the last door, I said, “That was the first floor. Now let’s climb the stairs,” (acting out climbing stairs) “and let’s do the second floor.” We continued like that to the fourth floor. Sometimes we switched out the child playing the missionary, and we had to add a few extra turns on a floor to let everyone who wanted to be a missionary have a turn. Finally on the fourth floor, I said, “something special is going to happen at the last door,” to build some suspense. When the “missionary” got to the last door, I whispered to the child holding the last door, “say ‘come in and teach us.'” I then finished telling the story about how the mother read the Book of Mormon, she and two daughters joined the Church, and one of the daughters grew up to be Sister Uchtdorf, etc. I followed up with questions, “Do you think Heavenly Father was glad those missionaries worked hard, knocking on all those doors?” “Was the family glad the missionaries taught them about Jesus?” etc.
This activity was a big hit with the 4- and 5-year olds.
Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter one.
~~Matia Bryson

Great Idea for Creating Personalized YW Value Experiences

Kudos to Mormon Girl at the Personal Progress Helper Blogspot for coming up with a list of General Conference talks from April 2014 that have application to the Young Women values.

These can make a handy start for someone seeking to personalize a value experience: read a talk and write your feelings or observations about the principles taught by the general authority in your journal. There you go!

See Mormon Girl’s list by clicking here.

Also, on the subject of updating links on the LDS Coloring Pages website:

I have completed the home page and the years 1992 through 2014. I will continue plugging away at the rest of the years until it is done. It is slow-going and tedious, but hey, if anyone would like to help… I’ll take it!

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter one.

~~Matia Bryson

General Authority Clout and Correct Attribution

This is one of my pet peeves.

Why is it that so many people post quotes on Facebook and Pinterest that are attributed to leaders of the LDS Church when these leaders were actually quoting someone else? If you are reading the Ensign or an address that is published on, you will see a footnote right at the end of a quotation.  Page down and you will see the source of the quote.

Okay, I will answer my own question of why people do this:

1.  Laziness/indifference/gullibility/stupidity. Call it what you will, but most of us are too busy to check everything out and we trust our friends, and some of us don’t know what a footnote means.

2. This is more insidious, but yes, there are people who crave attention and receive gratification seeing their stuff shared on the internet.  As a result you will notice that the more clout or authority a person or institution has, the more likely they are to have things falsely attributed to them. That’s all to help insure that the quote will receive more shares.

3. This is even more insidious, and perhaps it is my own evil imagination getting overworked here, but an incorrectly attributed quote makes our Church leaders look like plagiarists. And nobody would want want that to happen, right? (Note: heavy sarcasm)

I think if someone says something particularly clever, they should be given credit for that. I mean, how often do I say anything particularly clever or original? Not giving proper attribution is kind of like stealing, or another term that could apply here is plagiarism.

It’s stealing someone else’s original thoughts or wording.

If General Authorities care enough to give correct attribution, I think we should, too. And I know, we are all busy and we don’t want to check every little thing before we post it. It’s very common for people to feel moved by some quotation and to want to pass it along.

Knowing that our Church leaders are particularly susceptible to being falsely credited and that they have clout, I think we should be especially careful with their quotations. It only takes a few seconds to look these things up with a few words typed into the search box on  Also, a great source of Church material in your social reading are the Church’s official Facebook pages.

I don’t think it serves the Church’s mission to give the impression that we believe our church leaders hold a monopoly on wisdom.

It kind of looks like we (the LDS members) are a little too eager to co-opt credit for all the good things in the world. This is not a healthy thing.

Obviously General Authorities know we don’t hold the monopoly on good or they would not be reading and quoting from non-Church sources.

I just think we should be more honest with ourselves, with each other, and with the people who deserve the credit for the wise and original things that we want to repeat.

True, sometimes we want “the message” to take center stage and not give it more clout or detract from it by giving a prominent attribution.

We could follow the example of Elder Holland1 who recently showed he wanted to credit “a gifted writer” by mentioning the writer in general terms, but then gave the attribution its proper source in the footnote when his address was published. We could also use footnotes and/or hyperlinks or a URL shortener.

As my friend Melissa Burton recently said, “Please don’t miss the beauty of the meaningful quote by being too concerned over who said it first.”

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter one.

~~Matia Bryson

1. “Lord, I Believe” By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2013 Conference, quoting Alfred Edersheim when he said, “As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fullness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all.”


Scripture Quotes Game for FHE

The September 2011 Friend magazine had this cute story about a family that played “Scripture Quotes,” and I thought it would make a great Family Home Evening lesson/game for our family. The gist of the game is that someone thinks of a quotation of something that someone said in the scriptures and everyone else must guess who said it. Examples: “Let my people go” (Moses) and “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him” (Heavenly Father to Joseph Smith). Of course, it gives one ample opportunity to discuss the stories themselves.

I gave it some thought and decided it might be wise to forestall any cries of “I can’t think of anything” (including from myself) by setting it up the following way. I divided our family into two teams with a parent on each team. Each team had some time to themselves to browse a children’s scripture stories book for quotes to use and wrote them on a piece of paper.

Fortunately, I had this book (Scripture Stories 31120, published in 1980) that had plenty of speech quotations in it (though they weren’t always word perfect quotes); unfortunately, the newer children’s scripture picture books from Church Distribution do not have any quotations in them. I suppose you could use the newer books to remind yourself of a story with speech in it, and then go to the scriptures to find a quotation.

This inconvenience reminds me that while reading the children’s scripture picture books have their place, eventually we need to work toward reading directly from the scriptures to our children and with our children.

Anyway, for those who would appreciate it, I posted the list of quotes we used in our game last night.

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter one.

~~Matia Bryson


Scripture Quotes

  1. “Peace, be still”
  2. “Behold, he is feeding thy horses”
  3. “Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood”
  4. “Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.”
  5. “I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
  6. “What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times”
  7. “Thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head”
  8. “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?”
  9. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
  10. “Sun, stand thou still”
  11. “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
  12. “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?”


  1. Jesus (Mark 4:39)
  2. King Lamoni’s servants (Alma 18:9)
  3. The Premortal Christ (Ether 3:9)
  4. Goliath (1 Samuel 17:44)
  5. Moses (Exodus 4:10. By the way, it was Enoch that said, “all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” Moses 6:31)
  6. Baalam’s ass or donkey (Numbers 22:28)
  7. Angel in the story of Samson (Judges 13:5)
  8. Martha (Luke 10:40)
  9. Jesus (Luke 23:34)
  10. Joshua (Joshua 10:12)
  11. Angel Gabriel (Luke 1:28)
  12. Cain (Genesis 4:9)

LDS Remembrances of 9/11

This is a wonderful video of LDS 9/11 survivor Victor Guzman speaking of that day, and also addressing how he dealt with the emotional stresses years later.

President Monson (along with other religious leaders) was given an opportunity to blog at the Washington Post about 9/11. President Monson’s contribution is here:

Also, as 9/11 falls on a Sunday this year, there will be a special “Music and the Spoken Word” by the Tabernacle Choir and special guest Tom Brokow. I understand there will be no archiving of the program on the internet so if you want to see this be sure to check out the schedule for one of the airings on Sunday. There are many TV stations nationwide that broadcast “Music and the Spoken Word” and some will do so for the first time for this occasion. More information on the program schedule can be found here:

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter one.

~~Matia Bryson

One-in-a-Million Primary Children Launched

I just found this sweet little web page through the Friend magazine online. It commemorates the one million children served in the Primary organization throughout the worldwide Church. It is a child-friendly page — just click on a star on the world map to hear a profile video of a child somewhere in the world. The page is available in several other languages besides English. There is also some background music of children singing “We’re One in a Million.” Maybe we will be learning this song in Primary in 2012? This is a great little place to get your children to visit to learn that the gospel is important to children all over the world.

Click here or the image below to visit the One-In-A-Million Primary Children Page

One-in-a-million LDS Primary children web page graphic

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter a comment.

~~Matia Bryson

Help for Atonement Object Lesson With Bleach and Food Coloring

(How to make this object lesson work or “Help! My bleach did not turn the water clear!”)

I am teaching Sharing Time tomorrow, and it is a lesson on the Atonement. The Sharing Time Outline, page 9, suggests:

Testify that one way the Atonement of Jesus Christ saves us is that it saves us from sin. Show the children a clear glass of water and explain that it represents a person who is free from sin. Drop a small amount of food coloring in the water. Point out how the food coloring spreads throughout the water and makes it no longer clean. Explain that when we sin, we become unclean, like this water. Then add a few drops of liquid bleach to make the water clean again. Explain that when we repent, the Atonement cleanses us from sin and we are forgiven.

After hours of experimentation and research on the internet, I finally discovered the secret to making the water turn clear. Add vinegar to the water first. This is the recipe I am using:

2 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup water

Add just 1 drop of food coloring to depict sin.

Add 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach to symbolize the Atonement of Christ. This also makes a good object lesson for repentance.

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

This is my new favorite video from MormonMessages. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says, “May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given this responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you.”

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter a comment.

~~Matia Bryson

Why Is It Important To Study The Scriptures?

Studying the scriptures is important, and everyone would benefit from its practice. As we learned from Nephi’s experience of fetching the brass plates in Jerusalem, without the scriptures nations will perish (1 Nephi 4:13-17). We need scriptures to teach us the commandments. We need scriptures to teach us doctrine (2 Timothy 3: 15, 16). The scriptures help us to have faith in Jesus Christ and be more believing in those things that we should believe. The scriptures help us to be aware of and to repent of our sins. If we did not have the scriptures we would not know how important it is to be baptized and to receive the Holy Ghost. Reading the scriptures can cause us to feel the Holy Ghost testifying that the things we are reading are true. (Luke 24:32, Moroni 10:5) It can strengthen our testimonies. From personal experience I know it can give us comfort when we are experiencing adversity. If we continue to study the scriptures regularly during our entire lives and live its principles to the best of our abilities, we will have eternal life. That is a promise from God. (John 5:39, 2 Nephi 31:20).

Recently I was asked to teach a Relief Society class about studying the scriptures. In preparing for that class I discovered a free e-book about studying the scriptures. The book is Please Pass the Scriptures by John Hilton III and can be downloaded from I must admit that in recent years my scripture study has been only scripture reading and I have not been edified with mere reading as well as I could have been. Now I am enthusiastic about keeping my scripture journal, and I look forward to getting up in the morning and studying my scriptures. I am getting more out of my reading and study of the scriptures.

Your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter a comment.

2010 General Conference Printables for Children

Recently the site has launched a special page for General Conference activities for children. The general menu page is here: General Conference Activities for Children on

Here are some of the activities they list:

Conference Notebook

This is for children that can write, and would work well for youth and adults too. There are several pages with a very nice photo of each member of the First Presidency and Twelve with space to write notes of what they talked about. It also suggests activities for before, during and after conference. 12 pages.

Conference Squares

Pass out a “Conference Squares” sheet to each member of your family and use markers such as beans or candy to mark a square when a speaker mentions the subject in the square. (This is a bingo-like game.) Topics include things like the First Vision, prayer, Heavenly Father, scriptures, baptism, the Word of Wisdom and more. There are seven unique sheets.

Conference Coloring

A “color-by-numbers” page that is an illustration of a pair of missionaries with numbers in each area to color. As you listen to conference and hear certain color-coded topics mentioned, you color those areas on your sheet. 1 page.

There are also links to two online games. One is a “Prophets and Apostles” matching game where you match the pictures of the current First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve members. It would be a good exercise for learning their faces and names. The second game is played in a similar manner but with the pictures of all the previous Presidents of the Church.

*New* General Conference Activities for Children on

As always, your comments are welcome below. Click on “Comments” to enter a comment.

~~Matia Bryson