April: The Apostacy and The Restoration


Say to the class:  I'll bet everyone in class knows about the First Vision--right?  Let's see how much you know and whether you can learn a little bit more today.  I'm going to ask some questions and we'll see if you know or can find the answers.

Q:  If I wanted to read about Joseph Smith's First Vision, where would I look?

A:  Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith--History

Q:  Joseph Smith decided to pray after reading what scripture?

A:  James 1:5.  (Read it together in verse 11.)  Look at verse 12:  "Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.  It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart." 

Q:  What power can give this kind of feeling when you are reading the scriptures?  

A:  The Holy Ghost.  (You may want to ask the class if they have ever had a scripture reinforced to them by the Holy Ghost in this manner, or share an incident when you experienced that.)

Q:  What was the question Joseph was asking?

A:  Which church to join.  (Verse 18)

Q:  How important was this question to Joseph Smith?

A:  We can tell it was of utmost importance to him because of the effort he put into thinking about it.  Verse 8:  "...serious reflection..," "...my feelings were deep...," "I attended [churches] as often as occasion would permit...," "in process of time...."  Verse 10: "I often said to myself..."  Verse 11: "...laboring under the extreme difficulties..."  Verse 12:  "I reflected on it again and again."  Verse 13: "... at length I came to the determination to ask of God."
     This is an important thing to understand:  Joseph Smith didn't just decide in one afternoon to ask God something he really wondered about.  He had thought, and thought, and though about it.  He really, really wanted to know.  He had studied the scriptures and attended meetings to find the answer, and still he couldn't figure it out.  But he did find out that God would answer him if he prayed.  He intended to change his life to match the answer he got. 

Q:  What year was it?

A:  1820 (verse 14)

Q: Had Joseph ever prayed out loud before?

A:  No (verse 14)

Q:  Why not, and in a related question, why do you think he went out into the woods to pray, instead of praying in his bedroom?

A:  He had eight brothers and sisters and two parents and they all lived together in a tiny cabin.  There was no private place indoors.

Q: Before Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and surrounded him with light, he was surrounded by something else.  What was it?

A:  Darkness, the power of the devil.  (verses 15-16)  Just as the Holy Ghost wants to help us find truth when we are seeking it, the devil wants us to be confused and afraid.  If something very wonderful is about to happen, the devil always wants to hurry and get in the way.  This is an important thing to remember.  If you felt the Holy Ghost tell you to do something, and you know it is a good thing to do, and then everything starts going wrong, remember it may be the devil trying to stop you.  If you know it was the right thing to do, don't let the devil frighten you away from it; just keep going and Heavenly Father will help you.

Q: How many things can we learn about the Godhead from Joseph Smith's experience with the First Vision?

A: (Read aloud the last part of verse 16 and all of verse 17, and write the class members' answers on the board.  Some possible answers are listed below, but your class may have additional ones.)

  • Satan is powerful.
  • God is more powerful than Satan.
  • Satan does not want good things to happen.
  • Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are more bright and glorious than we can imagine. 
  • Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate people.
  • Jesus Christ is Heavenly Father's Son.
  • Heavenly Father loves Jesus Christ.
  • The Holy Ghost testifies to us when we read the scriptures.
  • Heavenly Father will answer our prayers if we pray sincerely.
  • Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have the same bodily form that we do.
  • Jesus Christ speaks for Heavenly Father. 

Here is a nice little worksheet I found on Pinterest about the Apostacy and Restoration.


Don't forget all the great old Gospel Doctrine videos.  Some I'm sure are on line.  We have the old VHS at our house, so that's what I'll be using.  I really like the 15-minute episode "A Search for the Truth" about Wilford Woodruff, found on "Teachings from the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History.  Your church media center probably has it.  "Joseph Smith and the Restoration" from the same video is also wonderful.  It is 16 minutes long.


Here is a really fun Object Lesson on the Apostacy using paper cups I found on Pinterest.


And look what else I found online?  My own mneumonic device and drawings on dispensations, reworked onto an informative pdf handout.


  1. Thank you so much for these great questions! They will be a huge help to my lesson this week x

  2. I am interested in the rest of April's lessons too... Are they yet to come..

  3. I am interested in the rest of April's lessons too... Are they yet to come..

  4. Dorothy, this blog isn't all-inclusive. I just post the ideas that occur to me. I haven't had time to add anything for quite a while. Hopefully something is still useful for you.

  5. Used some of your questions in my lesson 2 weeks ago. Thanks! I'm really glad that I mentioned the different accounts of the First Vision as they appear in gospel topics on lds.org. Didn't spend much time on them, but my lesson was in keeping with the new First Vision movie that is being shown at the LDS Church History Museum.

  6. Your questions are very insightful. Thanks for a great beginning to our lesson this week.

  7. I made a kahoots quiz using your questions. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for the quiz! With technology nowadays, this is a good way to get through to teenagers!

  8. Thomas, I love it! We'll use it for family night with our three remaining teenagers! Thanks for contributing.


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