We know that Jesus loves children. He said to His disciples “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) When He visited the Nephites, “He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.” (3 Nephi 17: 21)
Primary, the Church’s organisation for children, has been blessing the lives of millions of children and their families since it was first organised nearly 140 years ago. Here is how it has blessed these families in South Africa:
Catherine Lawrence: The object of the Church is to strengthen families. What better way to do that than by teaching our children from birth the eternal principles of the Gospel? With all the chaos in the world, it is a great comfort for me to know that my children have been blessed by faithful teachers, blessed with the wonderful knowledge of the scriptures and a foundation that will be their guide when they get older. My children have been able to develop special talents through Primary's Faith in God program. I am so blessed to have them attend such a spiritually inspired program.
Tarisai Muchuchu: The scriptures and latter day prophets teach us that the greatest responsibility we have is to teach our children to develop a testimony of Jesus Christ, and to learn the ways of the Lord. The Primary program has made the task easier. My children have learned the basic gospel principles in the Primary nursery. I have been able to use those lessons to enhance their understanding. They are blessed because they have had many loving teachers who support and care about them. They always look forward to the singing in sharing time. My oldest daughter, who is intimidated by crowds, is learning with the small assignments she gets, to understand the gospel better and to develop confidence in her abilities.
Aurelia Rogers, a 44-year-old mother of 12, felt strongly that something should be done about the behaviour of the neighbourhood boys who ran freely through the town day and night. She felt many of these children were not being taught basic principles and values and therefore would not be prepared in either knowledge or behaviour to carry the gospel forward, or even to be good parents or citizens.
Sister Rogers discussed her concerns and a plan of action with the general Relief Society president, Eliza R. Snow. With the approval of President John Taylor, and after receiving a calling from her Bishop, Sister Rogers began planning for the first meeting of the Primary Association. Children ages 4 to 14 were invited to participate in the first Primary.
Under the direction of the priesthood, the first Primary was held in the Farmington Rock on Sunday, 25 August 1878, with 224 children attending. Now, more than 130 years later, this organization for children has approximately one million attending.