|Malachi's Primary Class
Learns the Old Testament
My name is Malachi, and let me tell you about Brother Smith's Primary class,
and I know, because I there; Brother Forbes only knows about them second-hand.
Brother Forbes published this story called FIELD TRIP in a 1995 issue of the FRIEND
Magazine - it's about an old man who teaches Primary and was teaching his class that the
Bible is, like, this little library we carry to church every week.
And then he let the whole project just sit for, like, years and years while he got old enough,
smart enough, and wise enough to really write the stories that he needed to write. Finally,
after, like, a million years, he meets this wonderful lady on the internet who encouraged him
enough to write them. And, being a professional editor, she even edited the first volume for
him! Pretty cool. She'd make a wonderful grandmother, I can tell you that!
But I have to tell you: that first story Brother Forbes wrote was lame compared to the truth!
And that's why I talked him into rewriting it for this book project. Brother Smith wasn't just
some old man. He lived and breathed the scriptures. And he had this little red wagon with
stake sides and a canvas top that made it look like some sort of flat-topped covered wagon.
And the things he pulled out of it! Most of those things would never have fit in it in the first
place, and we'd be down on our hands and knees looking under it and trying to figure out
how he was pulling things out of it!
Okay, so, when Brother Smith became our teacher, we didn't have a classroom. The Church
was building a new wing of classrooms on to our building, and where our classroom should
have been was the entry to that new wing that was being built. So, the Cultural Hall became
our classroom! Can you imagine giving a Primary class with boys like me the Cultural Hall
for a classroom?
Brother Smith taught the Gospel, to be sure. We learned all the spiritual lessons we were
supposed to, and we learned history and even some Hebrew. Meanwhile, some strange
things went on.
For the lesson on the Creation, Brother Smith pulled out this thing that looked like a
Christmas tree made out of camera lenses, and this movie starts to play through all billion
lenses, and we're in the middle of the Creation! Our shoes even got wet! The next week we
went next door to Brother Smith's flower gardens to learn about the Garden of Eden. A few
weeks later we were riding tricycles as we time-traveled through the era of the Patriarchs.
And what the Cultural Hall turned into the week we learned about Noah and the Ark! I'm
surprised the place doesn't still smell!
And the things he pulled out of that wagon! Ten clay jars like the ones the Egyptians stuffed
the mummy's guts in were waiting for us the week we learned about the plagues the Lord
brought against Egypt because Pharaoh wouldn't free the Hebrews. The week we learned
about David and Goliath there was this . . . no, I can't tell . . . but it made good target
practice with our shepherd's slings and ping pong balls. When we learned about Deborah
and Barak, the little red wagon had swords on this wheels, just like a real war chariot! I am
not making this up! And there were thousands of little toy soldiers covering the Cultural Hall
floor the week we learned about Gideon.
We wore detective hats and used magnifying glasses to uncover the truth about Jephthah and
his daughter; you can read that story right now if you want. We learned a heart-breaking
secret about our teacher the week we learned about Job. We even did a Sharing Time on
how to use King James English correctly in prayers and hymns - you can read that one right
When we learned about King Solomon, it was right at the time that the beautiful little temple
next to our chapel was finally completed and dedicated, and we not only got to attend the
temple dedication, but we found out that the President of the Church and Brother Smith were
old friends, and I do mean old.
We used spyglasses and binoculars the weeks we were learning about Isaiah and the
prophecies he wrote about the Messiah and about our day.
I won't even tell you how dark and crowded and fish-smelly the Cultural Hall was the day
we learned about Jonah! I did not put my scriptures on the floor that week!
There was a Middle-Eastern wedding the week we learned about Amos and Hosea and the
allegory of the Bride and the Bridegroom. I am not making this up!
And speaking of Babylon! We discovered an old boiler room in the basement of our chapel
the week we learned about the fiery furnace. We took a field trip to Temple Emmanu El, our
town's synagogue, to learn how the synagogue replaced temple worship while in Babylon,
and our school teacher, Mr. Wilcox, who attends Temple Emmanu El, taught us about Daniel
and the lion's den. And the kids from the synagogue came to our class to teach us about
Brother Forbes is trying real hard to find a publisher to publish these stories, so if you know
a publisher who would like these stories - please! Let Brother Forbes know! Let the
publisher know about Brother Forbes!
Malachi's Primary Class Learns the Old Testament:
Part One: Genesis to Joshua
Part Two: Judges to the Kings
Part Three: The Divided Kingdom to the Return
Malachi Learns the Ten Commandments
Malachi Learns the Whole Armor of God