A picture I took from our recent vacation to the motherland aka California-
San Diego Temple
Monthly Theme: The Temple Is a House of God.
Monthly Scripture: “Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally” The Family: A Proclamation to the World, paragraph 3
Week 1 God has commanded His people to build temples.
* D&C 88: 119 "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
Divide into groups. Give each group an outline of a house and a word from the above scripture, e.g. fasting, faith, learning, glory, order. Have them draw a picture of what that word means or for older primary, have them list scriptures that can explain the term. Have them discuss and be ready to share with the whole primary how each of these words have to do with temples.
* D&C 97:15 "And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;"
Bring in a construction hat and tool belt. Heavenly Father has commanded us to build temples. How do we build them? There is an article from the Ensign, Worthy to Enter By Elder Daryl H. Garn, where he talks about what is expected of the workers who actually build temples.
Have about 6 signs numbered 1-6 throughout the room. On the back of the paper, have a part of the Houston Temple (Just like they will be putting together a puzzle) All quotes come from the above talk. Choose a child to wear the hat and tool belt and choose a number. Read to them the following and have them answer a question to see what's on the back, and then build the temple picture. Tell the children that what we will be learning comes from a general authority who went to Houston to see how that temple would be built. He asked a lot of questions to the construction supervisor and this is what he learned.
1- "Contractors are told that there is to be no graffiti on the walls of the temple. Often, workers at construction sites will write inappropriate things on the walls. Brother Rowley shared an incident he had experienced a few days previously. He had noticed some inappropriate words written on a wall of the temple and reminded the contractor of their agreement. The following day, he noticed that the words had been painted over. He went to the contractor again and told him that the offensive words were still on the wall of the temple and needed to be removed. The next morning, the paint and the words were sanded off the temple wall." Now ask your primary friend- Why is it important that there is no graffiti in the temple?
2- "Contractors are told that all the rooms in the temple will be finished and painted. That day in the temple, every room was painted white. Even the storage rooms and mechanical rooms were white. There were no dark places in the temple." Why do you think the color white is so important in the temple?
3- "How blessed we are to have temples! The holy temple is “the place of [the Lord’s] throne” on the earth (Ezekiel 43:7). President Gordon B. Hinckley has told Church members: “Until you have received the sacred [temple] ordinances of the gospel, you have not received all of the wonderful blessings which this Church has to offer. The great and crowning blessings of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are those blessings which come to us in the house of the Lord." How is the temple the Lord's throne?
And thank you very much, you are lovable and capable. You can come up with 3 other quotes and questions from the article :) Si? Si!!
* On the chalk board have a picture of the temple and the week's theme written, "God has commanded His people to build temples."
Have 5 chairs up front. Invite 5 children to come up and play Reverent Chairs. Each chair will be numbered and they will walk around the chairs while the primary sings songs having to do with commandments (Look up commandments in the topics section in the back of the Children's Songbook, there are about 10) Once the music stops, they sit in a chair. Have another primary friend come up and draw from a hat a number and from another hat a question having to do with temples. The person sitting in that number chair gets to answer the question and if they need help, they can choose another number to help them. After each question, choose another 5 friends to come up.
* Um, yeah.... This is another GREAT one from the Friend by Judy Edwards. Click HERE.
Week 2 Families are blessed through sacred temple ordinances.
* Sing My Eternal Family as a primary. How does a person build their family? Could we build a family if we didn't have temple ordinances? Have a bag of dress up clothes and build a family in primary! Choose children one at a time to come up front and represent mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, etc. To earn clothes for dad the primary will have to answer a couple questions or read a scripture about temples. Next, we move on to mom, to earn clothes we'll have to sing I Love to See the Temple.... You'll need to come up with other questions and scriptures for the rest of the family members. Have each family member stay in the front as you build them. Have a picture of the temple on the chalkboard and end your lesson by singing My Eternal Family one more time.
* I LOVE this sharing time from the Friend. Click HERE. I would definitely use the gum drop idea and just tweak it by having a primary friend come to the front and name 2 or 3 things about temples or how to have eternal families to earn a gumdrop temple to place on a map. Read Pat's introduction about the hymn- The Spirit of God and then end your lesson by having the children sing it.
* Play Mystery Families. You'll need to get about 10 different pictures of different primary friend's families at the temple. When you call the families on the phone, ask them to share with you a special experience they've had at the temple, or just some thoughts they have on the temple (for your clues for the sharing time). Have the pictures covered with something with a big question mark. Tell the children today we're going to learn about temples and how they bless families. We have some pictures of some mystery families and you're going to share some clues with the primary to see if they can guess who that family is!
* Sing Families Can Be Together Forever (CS 188) Have an 11X17 piece of paper for each of the children. Use an 8 1/2 X 11 for them to draw a picture of their family. Then have a smaller picture of a local temple in your area (you can actually have a photo made for about 8-10 cents each). Have the children glue their family picture and temple picture on the larger sheet of paper. Then have a small square of paper to put under the temple picture where they can write (or a teacher can write for them) something they know to be true about temples. It will be a masterpiece they can hang in their home to remind their families the importance of temples and blessings!!
* HERE is a nice handout/activity children can do at home to reiterate this week's lesson. Make sure to print out the article of course as well as the cut out figures.
Week 3 The pioneers worked hard and sacrificed to build temples.
* HERE is a wonderful sharing time from the Friend entitled Pioneers and Temples by Vicki F. Matsumori
* In regards to the Kirtland temple (like the Sharing Time Outline says)... "In addition to their great personal efforts, the Saints spent from forty to sixty thousand dollars on the temple. Because they were so willing to sacrifice in building the temple, the Lord poured out great blessings upon them. From 21 January to 1 May 1836 probably more Latter-day Saints beheld visions and witnessed other unusual spiritual manifestations than during any other era in the history of the Church. Members of the Church saw heavenly messengers in at least ten different meetings, and at five of these gatherings different individuals testified that they had beheld the Savior Himself. Many experienced visions, some prophesied, and others spoke in tongues." (pg. 164 Church History in the Fullness of Times Student Manuel)
On the black board have a path of 10 squares leading to the Kirtland Temple- it could be as simple as drawing them in chalk. Have a paper pioneer you can move to each square. Read THIS, yes... all of it, and especially carefully the part "Building the Lord's House". Come up with 10 things you'd like to share with the children on the early saints and the construction of the Kirtland Temple. Have a primary friend come to the front while you share something and then answer a simple question or 2 about what you've said to move the pioneer closer to the temple...for example (Quote taken from above link)
"But the Saints were so poor, an early member recalled, that "there was not a scraper and hardly a plow that could be obtained among the Saints". Nevertheless, "unity, harmony and charity abounded to strengthen" them to fulfill the commandment to build the temple." Why do you think they needed a plow? Has there ever been a time in your life where you worked peacefully with another person that you'd like to share?
* THIS is the most awesome pioneer story ever. You could easily turn it into a felt story or have a couple children come to the front to dress up and act it out while you tell the children. I would start off asking the children if they've ever heard of a name that is a little strange. Well, you have the best story about a wonderful pioneer child named GOBO FANGO!!! But just as a side note, the article is incorrect. Gobo was a slave. He was also denied the priesthood and while I wouldn't delve into this complex subject with the primary children, I think our testimonies can be strengthened by the extreme hardships faced by early Black pioneers and their faith that was equal to that of Job's.
Week 4 I can prepare to be worthy to go to the temple.
*I know I said a Reader's Theater would be coming soon... but that didn't happen. Instead I went dental. I don't know whether I've been spending too much time downtown for our local Reno's festivities in Art, however, the amount of meth mouth is staggering. Also, the sheer quantity of men that wear shorts shorter than I do is disturbing. Ahh... the different flavors of life. I digress.
We've had this game for ages and it's a favorite.
Introduction Activity (1 minute): What do we do before we go to the dentist? Meet Anastassatos Alligator. He has teeth, we have teeth. We need to take care of our teeth and prepare for the dentist! Just like the dentist, there are certain things we need to do to prepare for the temple!
Activity: Using the chalkboard, make a path/curvy line to Jesus with small marks. Have a primary friend (boy or girl) magnet you can move along the path. Using Anastassatos Alligator, count each # it takes before he chomps you. If you’re able to answer the question correctly, then you can move our primary friend closer to the picture of Jesus. Make sure to have lots of temple pictures displayed.
*What are temples? (houses of the Lord)
*Why can’t everyone go in the temple?
*What is the most important purpose or reason we go to the temple?
(The principle purpose is to provide ordinances necessary for the children of God to enable them to return to dwell with Him)
* How have you felt when you’ve been to a temple?
* What does endowment mean?
(Gift-The endowment focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father's plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him.)
* What are other temple ordinances?
* Please read Isaiah 2:2-3
* Why should you want to go to the temple?
* What is written over the doors of the temple?
(Holiness to the Lord)
* Why are temples dedicated?
* How would you explain to a friend about baptisms for the dead done in temples?
* Are the things we do in the temple secret or sacred?
* Why do you think people wear white in the temple?
* How do you feel about paying tithing and why is that important for temple worship?
*How often should we go to the temple?
*What are the best things you can do to prepare now to go to the temple?
Conclusion: Just like we have to brush our teeth and floss and be consistent and constant in maintaining our dental health, we need to be diligent in our spiritual health! We need to prepare now to go to the temple!! Bear testimony.
You'll notice I didn't focus a lot on the things we need to do to prepare, which is the lesson theme. I just felt like there are a lot of basics that children don't understand about the temple. They know what they need to do, but sometimes the temple can be a little mysterious. These questions provided a basic framework. Of course, you can use whatever questions you are inspired to ask!
I also had some extra toothpaste and toothbrushes that I handed out to some reverent superstars. If you have My Gospel Standards posters to pass out to the children, that would be wonderful too!