Featured Stories

Elder Rasband and President Johnson Teach Primary Children in Alaska About the Holy Ghost

Apostle assures children that they have ‘a constant friend in the Holy Ghost’

Before speaking at a Primary devotional in Anchorage, Alaska, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked his Primary-age grandchildren what he should share with them.

“Pa, tell them that you know Jesus and that He loves them.” And that is what Elder Rasband did.

“My simple message for you tonight is that you are known and you are loved,” Elder Rasband testified to the children in Anchorage. “You are known by name by Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. You are loved by Them also.”

Elder Rasband was joined by Primary General President Camille N. Johnson at the devotional for Primary children and their parents at the Alaska Anchorage North Stake center on Saturday, June 11. The Church leaders taught the children at the stake center and those participating virtually via Zoom what it means to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost when they are baptized and how to recognize His presence. Elder Mark A. Bragg, a General Authority Seventy and President of the North America West Area, was also in attendance.

The Apostle assured the children that they never have to feel lonely because they have “a constant friend in the Holy Ghost.”

“If you are lonely, get down on your knees and pray that Heavenly Father will bless you to feel His Spirit,” Elder Rasband said. “That’s the same advice I would give to one of my little grandchildren if they were sitting on my knee.”

Recognizing the Holy Ghost

President Johnson began her interactive message by relaying three points President Russell M. Nelson wants Primary children worldwide to know.

“Number one, thank you to you Primary children for reflecting your light everywhere you go. Number two, He loves you. And number three, He needs you. We need you in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” President Johnson said.

She showed the children a picture of her when she was in Primary. As a child, President Johnson loved to wear dresses and she didn’t like to get sticky or dirty. She was an only child until her brother was born when she was 9 and her sister was born when she was 10.

Some children in the audience may have families with a lot of siblings, and some may like to play in the dirt. “We are all different,” she explained, “but we are all the same because we are children of our Heavenly Father.”

President Johnson pulled out a special musical instrument she brought from Salt Lake City to Alaska — a xylophone — and invited a child from the audience to play a short sequence of chimes. The children recognized the sequence as the first notes of “I Am a Child of God.”

Similar to how the children thought of the words “I am a child of God” while the chimes were played, one of the ways Holy Ghost can speak is by putting words into one’s mind, President Johnson pointed out.

She then invited the audience to sing together the first verse of “I Am a Child of God” and asked how they felt while singing. She helped the children recognize that the good feelings they had came from the Holy Ghost.

“What do you think the Holy Ghost is teaching when we have those good feelings?” President Johnson asked. A young girl answered: “He wants us to feel loved.”

This feeling of love from the Holy Ghost is an expression of love from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, President Johnson emphasized. “And why does Heavenly Father want you to have those good feelings?”

“He wants us to live with Him again,” another young girl said.

Building on the child’s response, President Johnson continued: “You are a child of God and He wants you to return home to Him, doesn’t He? So the Holy Ghost is testifying to you the truth of the words that you sang.”

President Johnson taught the children how to sign the words Holy Ghost in American Sign Language and shared a story of an 8-year-old girl named Maya who felt prompted to plan a party for new friends in her neighborhood. Those friends were later baptized.

“I hope you know that it was the Holy Ghost that gave Maya the idea to do something good for someone else,” she said. “My dear young friends, the Holy Ghost will inspire you and give you ideas of things you can do to love others, care for others, invite others and unite your families for eternity.”

She showed the children the painting “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them,” by Michael Malm and highlighted the child who is pointing at the Savior and leading her family and friends to Him.

“I want you precious Primary children to know that we do need you, and that you can lead, and that you can point your families and your friends to our Savior Jesus Christ,” President Johnson said.

She concluded her message by extending an invitation to the children: “When you kneel down and say your prayers before you get into bed, I want you to ask your Heavenly Father these very important questions: Heavenly Father, do you love me? Heavenly Father, do you need me? Will you let me know in a way I can understand?

“And then boys and girls, will you wait and listen? I testify to you that you will know, through the power of the Holy Ghost, that Heavenly Father does love you, and that He does need you.”

‘Spread the Love of Jesus’

At the end of the devotional, Elder Rasband reiterated the invitation from President Johnson to pray and ask Heavenly Father if He loves them and needs them. He then invited the Primary children to do one additional thing.

“After this meeting is over, I want you to write or call someone who is not in the meeting and say ‘I want you to know I love you,’” Elder Rasband said. “Think how many people tonight are going to find out you love them. That’s what Jesus would have us do — spread the love of Jesus. We love you, our young friends. …

“I want you Primary children to know that I love Jesus Christ. He really is everything that your Primary teachers, your moms and dads, your grandmas and grandpas, your brothers and sisters testify to you that He is. He is our loving Savior and He loves you children so much that He gave His life for you.”

Elder Bragg told the Church News after the devotional: “Having Elder Rasband share his testimony with the children of Alaska is something never to be forgotten. Those in attendance from 2-11 honestly were completely focused on him while he spoke. Sister Johnson taught a beautiful lesson that involved the children in a beautiful way. Then, to see both of them interact with each child in attendance was amazing. The children loved it.”

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.