Jenny's blog

Plan of Salvation Part Deux and Education the Key to Opportunity

GREAT NEWS!!! The county transportation department was able to find transportation on a bus for our kids, and now the Seminary students will be able to ride the bus from my house to school each morning! Now all the mommies have to do is get the kids here, and the kids’ ride to school is taken care of. What a blessing for the families!

Brother and Sister Dingess brought over the tables and chairs last night, so I’m all set now for class. Tomorrow we really will need tables (making scripture mastery posters), so I’m glad that the tables are here for that lesson.

God had mercy on me today, and all of the kids were in their seats at 5 minutes after, and so I went ahead and started them off a little early. I knew this lesson would cut it close on time, so it was good that we were able to start a little early.

I reworked today’s lesson because like I said, yesterday’s was pretty somber, and I wanted to emphasize that we can have fun while talking about the plan of salvation (and other gospel topics), too. I also needed to cover the required Education the key to Opportunity stuff. Since last night’s reading assignment was to visit and read Genesis 3, I started the lesson talking about kinds of knowledge (v 5). Then I segued into furthering our gospel knowledge. Encouraged them to get more education after high school. Played the portion of the video at where the girl calls out young women on thinking they don’t need an education because they plan to be mothers or housewives. I let it play through the Hinckley quote. Wrapped up telling them that the courses I took in college outside my major are what got me my first job. Being willing to work outside my department gave me the training to operate the business I do now from home. Bore my witness.

Plan of Salvation Presentation

Then we moved into the plan of salvation activity. I complimented them on the way they handled the lesson yesterday, and mentioned how we choked on the missionary part. Told them we would be doing an activity that doesn’t use that Mormon jargon “I’d like to bear my testimony…” using power phrases instead. Then I explained the rules for our activity. As zones, the kids were to present a portion of the plan of salvation using any method they chose. They had 8 minutes to prepare, and here was the scoring:


1) Presentation includes a scripture quote – 5 points
2) Presenters use a power phrase – 5 points, 1 per presenter up to 15 points
3) All zone members actively participate – 15 points
4) Presentation lasts between 4-7 minutes – 5 points
5) Presentation includes a visual aid – 15 points
6) Presentation utilizes RELEVANT objects or costumes – 15 points
7) Presenters answer an impromptu question from Sister Smith by using a scripture reference – 30 points

I gave them
– the scoring instructions above,
– a couple of relevant props (fake weapons, wig, scraps of fabric, fake apple, etc),
– a list of OT scriptures relating to the plan of salvation (with helpful topic headers to make it a little easier), and
– the following list of power phrases:

Power Phrases

  • In my reading last night, I learned _______________.
  • I have learned that this means _____________.
  • This is important to me because _______________.
  • This is important to you because _______________.
  • I know a scripture that can help me/you. The scripture is __________, which says _____________.
  • I’ve seen this gospel principle in action when _____________.
  • I have prayed about _________________ and received a witness of it’s truth.
  • The scripture mastery ________________ relates to that verse.
  • Let me tell you what I know about ____________.
  • In other words, this verse means ________________.
  • This verse relates to my/your problem/question. It’s here in _____________.
  • A scripture helped me understand that better. It’s ___________.
  • That’s something I don’t understand fully, but I do know _____________.

Most lists of power phrases include “I’d like to bear my testimony,” but I intentionally left that off. If we are going to be member or full time missionaries, we need to be able to converse with people in a way that makes sense. I will try to refer to our power phrases in the future.

My secretary set the timer, the zone leaders ran into the hall to choose their stack of props and instructions and the kids got to work. It was easy for some, and more difficult for others, but I think that they all had a good time. My favorite part was when the tree/serpent asked Eve to take the fruit. She said, “Well, I don’t understand that fully, but I do know ‘don’t eat the fruit’!” Of course, the boy dressed as Satan with the sword, breastplate, Moses wig, and 1980s headband was awesome, too. LOL.

My internet died and we weren’t able to do the computer music again, so instead we sang Popcorn Popping. That was the most enthusiasm we’ve had for a song. :-) I got on Facebook a few minutes later to post a picture I got, and one of the kids had posted that Seminary was great and “thank you sister smith”. So, successful lesson for a few of them at least.


Seminary inservice was last night. Wasted a whole bunch of time reintroducing ourselves and on learning a map overview that the teacher said would take 10 minutes but that took him 20+ to teach and included a travelogue of his visit to Egypt. The map started at Abraham (ostensibly because we don’t actually know the location of the garden of Eden), and went through the end of the OT chronologically. I wouldn’t use it myself, because my kids don’t have enough background to follow that. When we get partway or all of the way through the OT, that will be more useful. It would not be helpful for a group that hasn’t even gotten out of the garden of Eden yet. So, I read my lesson material for today again. Our SI guy hates me. But there was one good thing — another teacher said she cut out little images and people that happened during OT times and had the kids organize it using the knowledge they had. They got it mostly correct, and the teacher helped them get it right, while they discussed the happenings. You could glue something like that on a strip of paper and post it, and it would serve as a great timeline for the year. Now THAT I can use. I wish we had more time for teachers to share ideas at inservice. I feel like we waste so much time.

He also spent some time showing us a crazy detailed XLS spreadsheet for tracking student information. Too bad I already created a better one :) Mine actually calculates percentages AND prints whether they qualify for seminary credit based on those percentages. I’m annoyed that they are asking us to do CSTAR and this duplicate reporting system that exists only for their internal record-keeping, AND that so much of the data is duplicated in CSTAR anyway. PLUS the only thing I actually have to report outside of CSTAR is the number of days read. He did say the phrase “if it’s useful for you,” and so I will cling to that. :)


Realized I can’t go to the Constitution Week bell ringing because of Ricky and Andy’s farewell/homecoming. Oh well. Today I need to catch up on stuff around the house. The cement looks good, and tomorrow the kids will get to walk on the new steps to class. I think I will buy some of those glow in the dark lights to help when it gets darker outside.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.