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Friday, November 4, 2011

Footage of Early Church Leaders

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

My ward calling is to teach Sunday School to the twelve/thirteen/fourteen-year-olds. It's a good gig and I actually relate to people of that age pretty well. The lesson manual is The Presidents of the Church. It spends two lessons on each modern day prophet and each lesson discusses the life of that president, using some stories or quotes to emphasize a certain gospel principle. I'll be blunt—the manual is really boring and it almost seems like they tried to make it not relatable to early teens. Which is a little bit ironic considering it is one of the very few manuals created for that specific of an age range. I often struggle to make the lessons relevant to what an adolescent is experiencing in life. My students weren't connecting to any of the prophets very well, but I recently came across something that helped some of them a bit.

Did you know there's video footage all the way back to Joseph F. Smith and audio recordings back to Wilford Woodruff? You probably did. It makes sense. But I had never thought of it before. (There are also photographs back to Brigham Young and maybe even Joseph Smith.) I don't remember what I imagined Heber J. Grant to sound like before, but it definitely wasn't like this. I love how ebullient he is. Check out this video of George Albert Smith—also more animated than I had supposed.

I'll have to change my intonation when I read their quotes from now on. The leaders start to get that familiar sober tone starting with Joseph Fielding Smith, but it's still fun to get a feel for their personalities. At the very least it was fun for me to get better acquainted with David O. McKay and Spencer W. Kimball and to help my students connect a face to the people we are learning about/from.

Apparently these have just been sitting under my nose and are available on DVD for dirt cheap from the distribution center.

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