12 weeks + 716 words = 1 great experience
Last fall, I read an article from the September 2010 Ensign called "Bringing Christ into Our Home." In the article, Cynthia Green described how she and her family (including kids from ages 4-11) made it a family project to memorize "The Living Christ" together.
As the Green family worked, over a period of four months, to accomplish this great task, they saw many blessings come to them for their effort. Cynthia wrote, "Family prayers became more meaningful because the children gave more thought to Him in whose name they were praying. The Spirit filled our home. We felt like Nephi when he wrote, 'We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ' (2 Nephi 25:26). Our home became a place of greater peace."
Wow! I began to wonder if my family could do it, too. It seemed like a LONG and daunting project, but worh the effort. So, we talked about it in Family Home Evening and decided to set a goal to memorize "The Living Christ" together as a family in the twelve weeks before Christmas. We've even talked Grandma, Grandpa, and an uncle into to doing it with us!
The next few months were so interesting! I learned a lot about my kids - they are amazing memorizers, they work hard to reach a goal, they are smarter than I am, the list goes on. In December (after twelve weeks of studying), we were able to recite most of "The Living Christ" by memory. My four year-old (he's the cute one with the cheeky smile in the picture above) managed to memorize almost half of it - despite the fact that he was mostly running circles around the living room and pinching his little brother while we worked on it! In fact, I hadn't planned on having him memorize at all until one day when we were reciting in the car and he corrected his big sister! I had no idea he had been listening (and learning). After that, I worked with him to memorize as much as he could using pictures as cues. I was so proud of him when he gave a Primary talk in December and was able to recite what he had learned!
Over this last year, I have seen my children draw on what they learned during those months. In writing talks and giving prayers, the words from "The Living Christ" come naturally to their minds. For the Primary program this month, when the four year old (now five) was asked to tell why he loved Jesus he said, "He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead." Words right from "The Living Christ." We haven't worked on it for eight months - but those words were still in his mind. Success!
This year, for Christmas, we are re-memorizing "The Living Christ." For those of us in the Keogh family that didn't finish is all the first time (that would be mom and dad), it's a chance to finish what we started. For those who finished last year, it's a great chance to review and relearn. For all of us, it will be a time to think more about Jesus Christ and what He means to each of us.
So - why not join us? Twelve weeks, 716 words, one great experience!
So why not take the "Memorize the Living Christ for Christmas 2011 Challenge" with us? If you'd like to memorize "The Living Christ" with your family, check out the memory helps below! » Download study helps from Discover the Scriptures
"Memorized scripture becomes an enduring friend that is not weakened over time." -- Richard G. Scott
Here's how we memorized: I've divided "The Living Christ" into 44 small sections (usually shorter than one sentence for each section). Our family memorized four sections a week, to finish the entire "Living Christ" in twelve weeks (with a little time for review). I took Cynthia Green's idea of using pictures to go along with small sections - to give a visual clue of the passage you are trying to remember.
This project turned out to be a great blessing to our family. We feel like our children have really internalized the messages in "The Living Christ" and can use what they have learned to bear testimony of Christ and describe who he is and what he means to them. The memorization part was easier than we thought it would be, too!
To make it easier for your family to memorize, below I've posted small sections to memorize along with accompanying pictures and copy work (for those who love to write!). We posted the pictures on the frig and in the kids' rooms and bathrooms so they could see them often and repeat the words throughout the week. In family scripture study and at family prayer, we repeated the sections for the week.
Cynthia Green wrote of her family's experience, "Our family finished memorizing 'The Living Christ' the following Easter. It was the greatest four-month experience we have ever had. Even though the project is over, I know the effects of what we learned can remain with each family member for the rest of our lives."
I hope that your family has a similar experience memorizing the words of the prophet and apostles as they testify of Christ. What could be better than that?
Study helps (download them below) each week include an 8.5" x 11" poster with text to memorize for the week, copy work (for those of you who love to write!), four 8.5" x 11" picture posters with matching text, and four small picture cards with pictures and text. Also included are a set of small picture cards with keywords only (rather than the full text) to help you review once you've learned the material.
Download the complete packet of study materials
for memorizing "The Living Christ." (This is a very large download. If you have trouble downloading the entire packet, try downloading a week at a time.)
» OR download one week at a time below.
» We now have study helps in Spanish! Download study helps in Spanish.
» Download an MP3 file of "The Living Christ" from the Church website to put your MP3 player or computer. Listen to it every day while you are memorizing as a family. You'll be surprised at how much it helps!
» Watch the video below with your kids for family scripture study or Family Home Evening. It's a good one to use to practice reciting because the speaker talks very slowly.
"As a mom of amazing children ages 18 down to 8 I just wanted to thank you for the helps to memorize The Living Christ! We are on our third week and it has been a great experience so far! Usually trying to memorize things together has been a chore but this time we are all having fun doing it and its a simple, more happy experience. Thank you!" --Margaret
» Present and review. Use the poster with the large pictures in family home evening to present the new sections and review. Be sure to keep each week's posters so that you can continue to review as you learn more. Younger children can use the pictures as a guide when they recite (we put ours into a three-ring binder so the younger kids can flip through the pages as they recite - download a binder cover for your posters).
» Family discussions. You can assign each section to one of the children to "teach" the rest of the family. Pick out tricky words to define and discuss. Choose key ideas for Family Home Evening topics and family scripture study discussions. The more you involve the kids in this ongoing project, the more motivated they will be to finish!
» Scripture Chain. Have the older children choose one of the picture posters and find 3-5 scriptures that illustrate the main idea of the poster. They can share it in family scripture study and show the poster as they talk about their scriptures.
» Flip book. For younger children, make a booklet with the small cards that they can look at and talk about. You can use one of these booklet covers (thanks for the idea Stacy H.). You may want to laminate the cards to make them last longer. These make great sacrament meeting books!
» Sort and order. Cut out the small cards, scramble, and sort into the right order, adding cards to the pile as the weeks progress. Keep your cards in a Ziploc bag and tape one of these booklet covers to the front.
» Draw and recite. Make a pile of your small cards. Turn it upside down. Take turns drawing a card, reading the text, and then trying to recite the next section.
» Picture chain. Cut the small cards apart horizontally, and glue them end to end to make a "chain" along the wall or bathroom mirror. Read it aloud every time you see it during the day. The more you say it aloud, the easier it will be to learn!
» Use the small cards with only keywords to practice reciting once you think you've mostly memorized a passage. Keep your cards in a Ziploc bag and tape one of these booklet covers to the front.
Practice reading, writing, saying, and talking about this week's passage. The more you repeat it aloud, the easier it is to memorize: “As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.”
Don't forget to keep practicing and reviewing the passage from week one as you learn this week's material. Try posting some of the posters on the bathroom mirror and repeating the words every time you see the poster: “He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John 1:3).”
The memorization this week is short, so it's a good week to go back and review weeks 1-2. You might also want to get a head start on D&C 110:3-4, which is included in one of the longer passages in November. If you read through it a lot now, it will be easier to memorize later! "Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He 'went about doing good,' yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example."
You're doing great! You're already on week four. Be sure to download the review sheet for weeks 1-4 below. “He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come. He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice.”
Need to review what you've learned so far?
Try this review sheet with pictures. I printed one for my kids to look at during sacrament meeting this week. It kept them quiet, focused on the Savior, and guess what? They memorized all of week four by looking at it during sacrament! Mom and Dad are soooo far behind, we'll have to get studying to catch up! P.S. These make great breakfast reading, too!
How are your kids doing on the challenge? Help encourage other families by posting your successes on our Facebook page!
We'd love to have you share your videos. Just video your kids reciting what they've learned from "The Living Christ," upload them to YouTube, and share them on our Facebook page!
One month down, two more to go! You can do it! Review what you've learned so far by posting the review sheet (above) for weeks 1-4 on the frig next to this week's pictures. Keep reciting! “He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.”
Take courage, this week's passage is a little shorter than last! You can do it. “We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world. He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life.”
“He also ministered among His ‘other sheep’ in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised ‘dispensation of the fulness of times’ (Eph. 1:10). Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: ‘His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters even the voice of Jehovah, saying: ‘I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father’” (D&C 110:3–4).
“Of Him the Prophet also declared: ‘And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father. That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God’” (D&C 76:22–24).
Need to review what you've learned so far?
Think you've got weeks 1-8 learned pretty well? Quiz yourself with these review sheets. (includes weeks 9-12, so just print the first two pages for now).
“We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—‘built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone’ (Ephesians 2:20). We testify that He will someday return to earth. ‘And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together’” (Isaiah 40:5).
“He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts. We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God.”
This week is shorter! Hooray! Spend some time reviewing weeks 9-10.
“He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”
Weeks 9-11 Review
OK, you've learned it all! Time to review and practice. Use these sheets to help you as you recite!
Review the first 11 weeks and prepare to recite "The Living Christ" with your family!
Also, let me know if you have ideas for materials that might help us memorize in the coming weeks. Let's all encourage each other!
Want to learn more about Church History? Hands-on Church History Volume 1: Restoration and Growth begins with Joseph's childhood and continues through the publication of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the Church, and the gathering of the Saints to Kirtland. Volume 2, covering Missouri and Nauvoo will be available by November 2011. Have fun with activities and crafts as you learn more about the early saints! » Learn more