CHOICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY – We invited a set of 1 year old twins to our opening exercises. The Westover twins.   We introduced them as Choice Westover and
Accountable Westover.  I then told the girls what each twin was thinking.  For example
“this bunch of girls look like the type that are doing their personal progress.”  It was cute to see the expression on the little twins faces as I said what they were thinking.  (It gives the effect of the show, baby talk.) After you do this for a while then say, Choice and Accountability are always linked together, they are never one without the other.  I hope you make the choice to do your personal progress this month cause you will be accountable.
(Handout – Stick of Double mint gum written on it was “Chews to do your personal progress this month”)  I told them they could not chew the gum until they got a goal done in their pp books.

Where’s Your Light?
Under a Bushel or on a pole?
Have you lost your Savor?

1. Have your friends noticed that you have a high standard when choosing movies?
2. Do your friends know where you are right now, and what you’re studying?
3. Can people tell by your language that you are a Latter Day Saint?
4. If your paper and the student’s next to you in class were so similar that the teacher suspected cheating would she assume that you were honest because of your fine reputation?
5. There’s a new student in your English class that is awkward and just doesn’t fit in. If one student stepped forward to be kind and friendly is there a good chance that might be you?
6. If someone that doesn’t, know you snuck in your room and listened to your CD’s and tapes would they suspect that you are a disciple of Christ?
7. If someone looked at what is hanging on the walls of your room would they also suspect that you were a follower of the Savior?
8. Do your friends know that you read the Bible?
9. Do you let people know that you’re Mormon?
10. In the past 6 months have you invited a friend to church, given away a Book of Mormon, or told someone you knew the church was true?

8-10 You are full of savor. Your light is shining bright for all who see
5-7 You need to be a little bolder in your example and testimony
0-5 The FBI might have a hard time finding out you are LDS.  Throw away the bushel and let your light shine forth.

How tough is Your Heart
1. Are you often bored, sleepy or just not listening in Sacrament meeting? (and then are surprised when others say afterwards what a great or inspiring meeting it was)?
2. Do you often find your mind wandering during the sacrament and find yourself forgetting to think of the Savior and his great sacrifice for us?
3. Do you forget to listen when others offer prayers in meetings, class or at home?
4. Has it been more than 3-4 months since you felt prompted to share your testimony in sacrament or young men/young women’s meetings?
5. Do you forget to read your scriptures daily or do you find yourself reading several verses without even knowing what you have read?
6. Have you been skipping your morning and evening prayers? If you are praying are you forgetting to Kneel, focus, express gratitude, or really express your true thoughts and feelings or really listen for answers and impressions?
7. Have you noticed that while others are reverently participating in Seminary you are sleeping, talking, doing homework or acting stupid?
8. Are you Forgetting your standards and watching and listening to movies, television or music that drives away the spirit?
9. Do you find that you often have a bad or argumentative attitude when asked by your parents to do things?
10. Do you resent it when church assignments or meetings take time away from “what you wanted to do?”

0 Points-Please tell Sister _____________ good-bye before you get translated.
You have a heart that is faithful, loving and true and we will greatly miss you!
1-3- You are pretty good about doing what you should do, but work harder on putting your whole heart into it.  Just being there isn’t enough.  Do what you can to really, feel the spirit and make progress in the gospel.  It will take your whole heart to accomplish it.
4-6 You are mostly just going through the motions.  You obey but your heart is not in it.  Work and pray that your heart might be softened.  There is hope for you yet!
7-9 You’ve definitely got hardening of the spiritual arteries. Angioplasty is needed immediately.  Start with heartfelt daily prayer.  Add to it focused and prayerful scripture study.  It’s time you found your own testimony and you’ll only do that by putting your heart into it.
10-You’re a mean one Mister Grinch.  You have a heart that is several sizes to small (and hard as a rock).  Don’t wait until you’re on a mission in Russia to start softening it up.  Take the steps necessary to circumcise your heart. Pray, read your scriptures, ask for Heavenly Father’s help and the Bishop’s too if you need it.

Sunflowers always face the sun.   In the morning, they face east. By evening, they have turned west.  They follow the sun as it crosses each days sky, so they can gather in as much sun as possible.  We can be like sunflowers, and  turn to the SON, Jesus Christ, and gather spiritual light from him.

A sunflower’s seed will grow almost anywhere.  You, too, can bloom and grow where you are planted.   By desiring to believe and by studying the scriptures prayerfully, you will nurture your personal gospel seed.

As the sunflower grows, small birds soon appear, surround by protecting leaves.  Like those leaves, your parents, Young Women leaders, and teachers surround you, and love  you, and protect you,  and  help your budding testimony grow.

As a sunflower grows taller, its stalk grows thicker, for it must support the large flower that will soon be full of seeds.  So your spiritual stalk must grow, and your testimony will grow stronger as you prayerfully read the scriptures that teach of Jesus Christ and strive to become like him.

When the sunflower bud opens, bright yellow petals form, and its head becomes a golden crown.  The blessings of its growth at last begin to show. And, having been born of a seed, it now produces seeds of its own that nourish people, animals and birds.  Your testimony will likewise produce its own new seeds, and you will nourish family, friends and others who will see the Son reflected,  like a golden crown, in you, for you have become like Him.

So turn to the Son.  Open your heart to His light.  Seek it first thing each morning.  Follow its warmth across each days sky, and let its comfort be the last thing you feel each night.  Then, when the evening of your lifes last setting comes, you will arise to a glorious new morning and turn again to Him and he will see His image in your countenance.

A fun Choice and Accountability activity we have done in the past is to buy Harry Potter nasty flavored jelly beans and the similar colored ones from Jelly Belly (that taste good).  Match them up and let the girls choose one each from six or seven pairs.  If you want you can label the pairs with choices the girls face in their lives – Should I go to seminary?  Should I buy that really cute 2 piece swim suit? – Then they can experience the results of their choice with a sweet reward or a nasty flavored one.  It’s not too time consuming or
expensive and the look on their faces with a bad choice is pretty funny.  Be sure and have “spit-out” tissues near by.

1. Display a poster saying, “This is my life, and I can do as I please with it.” Ask your children to discuss this issue. Don’t debate it with them, but simply listen and ask questions. This is when you will find out what they already know about this subject.

2. Suggest a game. Blindfold one or more children and tell them they will tour the house with a guide. Ask them if they trust the guide enough to do that. Let them try it out if you like. Then return, and tell them you are going to do it all over again, but this time, the guide can choose whether or not to give you safe directions for getting around. Do they still want to trust their guide? Point out that it is the guide’s life and he can do as he chooses. He can choose to be a safe guide, or he can choose to make bad decisions and harm the person he is leading. Teens should be able to make the connection between the sign and the object of the lesson: We are free to make choices, but those choices can have negative effects on others.

2. Point out to your teens that in the above activity, they were allowed to choose whether or not to be endangered by the guide. In real life, people often make decisions that affect us, but often we are free to choose whether or not to participate. Ask them to offer examples of these kinds of decisions.

“Processionary Caterpillars”
Author unknown

Processionary caterpillars feed upon pine needles.  They move through the trees in a long procession; one leading and the others following- each with his eye half closed and his head snugly fitted against the rear extremity of his predecessor.

Jean-Henri Fabre, the great French naturalist, after patiently experimenting with a group of these caterpillars, finally enticed them to the rim of a large flowerpot where he succeeded in getting the first one connected up with the last one, thus forming a complete circle which started moving around in a procession which had neither beginning nor end.

The naturalist expected that after a while they would catch on to the joke-get tired of their useless march and start off in some new direction. But, not so.  Through sheer force of habit, the living, creeping circle kept moving around the rim of the flowerpot-around and around, keeping the same relentless pace for seven days and seven nights-and would doubtless have continued longer had it not been for sheer exhaustion and ultimate

Incidentally, an ample supply of food was close at hand and plainly visible, but it was outside the range of the circle; so they continued along the beaten path.  They were following instinct-habit-custom-tradition- precedent-past experience-“standard practice”-or what ever you may choose to call it; but they were following it blindly. They mistook activity for accomplishment.  They meant well-but they got no place.

I just taught our value lesson on Choice & Accountability this past Sunday. There was some great material in “The Latter-Day Saint Woman” manual Part B. There is a lesson called “Agency and Accountability”. There is an excellent story that stresses how all choices have consequences.  If anybody is interested, I could post it.  I also went through a Glamour magazine and pulled out a lot of ads to show the girls how we are bombarded with worldly messages that trick us into believing that to be really free and happy, we can do anything we want and not suffer any consequences.  Kind of the “anything goes” attitude that is so prevalent in today’s society.  I found a Gitano ad that said “Live outside the lines” in bold letters, a clothing ad that showed a woman who just received a parking ticket with the slogan “looking right when you might be wrong”.  There were many!!  I also explained to them how we as a society are starting to reap the consequences of these
attitudes by seeing children younger and younger involved in horrible crimes and senseless killings without any sense of accountability or remorse. I displayed a portion of the news articles from our local paper about the most recent tragedy in Arkansas.  The lesson went well and really sparked lots of comments from the girls!

Objective:  To show that we must be true and firm in the gospel to avoid falling in Satan’s power.

Material Needed:
1. Pencil
2.  Large flat object, such as a book or a board.

1.  Place the pencil in the middle of the board.  Then by holding onto each end of the board, tip it from side to side, seeing how close to the edge the pencil can roll without falling off.
2. Let the pencil fall off a couple of times.

Lesson Application:
1.  The devil is constantly tempting us.
2.  We don’t know how much temptation we can take before we fall into his grasp, so we need to pursue a firm, straight course in the gospel and not stray from side to side.

Alternate Presentation:
1.  Use a magnet and a nail, labeling the magnet “sin” and the nail “you.”
The magnet held at one end of the board would attract the rolling mail if the latter gets too close.

“Considering the Consequences”

Hymn: Do What Is Right (Hymns, 237)

• Fold four pieces of paper in half so there is a crease in the middle. On the top, left-hand side of the paper, print Commandments. On the top, right-hand side, Consequences. Write one scripture on each piece of paper: D&C 89; D&C 59; Moses 3:16-17, 4: 5-31; D&C 42:18-31
• Prepare to make a small chart on either a chalkboard, white board or large piece of paper
• Find a picture of the pioneers or Joseph Smith

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21).

Every day you have choices to make, and each choice has a consequence, or result. If you choose to not sleep, as a consequence you will be tired. If you choose to not eat, as a consequence you will be hungry. When you choose to read the scriptures, you will learn Heavenly Father’s words. When you choose to draw near to Heavenly Father in prayer, he will hear you and will draw near to you and listen.

“If a person, whether knowingly, ignorantly, intentionally, or accidentally, touches a hot stove or a bare high-voltage wire, he will be burned to the extent of the exposure. If for any reason he steps in front of a rapidly moving vehicle, even to save another life, he will be injured and possibly killed. Numerous examples could be given to show that we are subject to these laws regardless of who we are or what our intentions might be. We cannot change the laws of nature.

As we understand the natural laws and respect them, we can apply them to our good. If we violate law, we suffer; and if we obey it, we are blessed!” (N. Eldon Tanner, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], p. 117).

What are general consequences of sin? (Answers may include that we feel bad, we make Heavenly Father and Jesus sad, we are not worthy of the Spirit, or if it is a serious sin then we need to talk to the bishop).

What are the consequences of making right choices? (We feel happy and peaceful, the Spirit can guide us, we will be blessed).

Story: (show the picture of the pioneers or Joseph Smith).While Joseph Smith was in Kirtland, Ohio, he received a revelation on December 16, 1833. At this time the saints who had gathered in Missouri were suffering great persecution. Mobs had driven them from their homes in Jackson County, and some of them had tried to establish themselves in a different county, but persecution followed them. Threats of death against individuals of the Church were many. The people had lost household furniture, clothing, livestock, and other personal property, and many of their crops had been destroyed.

The revelation said why the people had been so persecuted. Read Doctrine and Covenants 101:1-9. Discuss what happened to the Saints and why the Lord said it happened. Then read Mosiah 2:41 and discuss how happy we will be if we make the right choices by keeping the commandments.

What are some choices between good and evil that you must make every day? (Answers might include decisions such as whether to obey parents, cheat, use vulgar language, see inappropriate media presentations, date steadily, choose worthy friends, tell the truth.) On a chalkboard, white board or large piece of paper, make a list of the answers.

Ask your family what consequences could result from making a wrong choice in each of the areas listed? What blessings would you receive if you made the right choices? Write these answers down as well, making a small chart as shown below.


Wrong choice

Right choice

Obey Parents

lose parents’ trust

receive privileges

Explain that the scriptures not only include Heavenly Father’s commandments, but the consequences of keeping or not keeping them. Often a commandment and its consequences are found side by side or within a few verses of each other.

Give each family member a piece of paper folded down the center. On the top, left-hand side of the paper, print Commandments. On the top, right-hand side, print Consequences. Assign each person one of the following passages to find both the commandment and the consequences. D&C 89, D&C 59, D&C 88:118-126, D&C 42:18-31. After a few minutes, have each person share what they found. When everyone is finished, share your testimony of how important it is to consider the consequences of our choices and that the consequences of right choices are great blessings.

If not already assigned, have whichever child was most reverent and attentive during the lesson choose a favorite board game as a consequence of making a good choice.

Get a variety of doughnuts, ice cream flavors or types of candy and have your family members choose one and enjoy the consequences!