Each young woman will understand the meaning of sacrifice and its importance in her life.
Provide a paper and pencil for each young woman.
You may wish to prepare a copy of Elder Loren C. Dunn’s statement used in the lesson’s conclusion for each class member.
Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.
Suggested Lesson Development
People Made Sacrifices in Ancient Times
Write the word sacrifice on the chalkboard. Ask the young women to discuss what the word means.
Explain that sacrifice can be defined as a surrender of some desirable thing for a higher object. We might say that it is giving up something good for something better. Write a definition of sacrifice on the chalkboard.
Explain that throughout the history of the Church, people have been asked to sacrifice, to give up good things to help better things come to pass.
What do you think about when you hear of ancient prophets offering sacrifices? (Answers might include such things as Abraham offering Isaac, building altars, and using animals as burnt offerings.)
Who was the first person to offer sacrifices? (Adam; see Moses 5:5.)
What other prophets offered sacrifices? (Noah, Moses, Isaac, Jacob.)
Have the young women read Moses 5:6. They may want to mark the last part of this verse.
Did Adam know why he was commanded to offer sacrifices? (Not at first.)
Have the young women read and discuss Moses 5:7.
What does similitude mean? (A likeness or comparison; Adam’s sacrifices were a symbol of the sacrifice of the Savior.)
Explain that all ancient sacrifices pointed toward Christ’s great sacrifice to atone for our sins. The Savior gave his life for us, and we should be willing to sacrifice all we have for him and his gospel.
What were the characteristics of the animals that the ancient prophets offered as sacrifices? (Male firstborn animals, animals without spot or blemish.)
Explain that “without blemish” means without imperfection. Only the very best animals were used for sacrifice.
How were these animals symbolic of our Savior? (Jesus also was the firstborn; he was perfect, without spot or blemish.)
Explain that in ancient times, the people depended on their flocks and herds to carry burdens and to supply meat, milk, and skins for clothing. Suppose that you lived in ancient times. Your life and the lives of your family depended upon your flock of sheep.
How might you feel about sacrificing the best animals in your flock?
What would people learn by regularly sacrificing the best of their flocks? (Faith, obedience, patience.)
Explain that the practice of offering sacrifices continued for hundreds of years. It ended with the great and last sacrifice. Have the young women read Alma 34:14 to discover what the great and last sacrifice was. Explain that after Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for sin, Church members no longer sacrificed animals to the Lord. But we are required to make sacrifices in other ways.
We Also Make Sacrifices in Modern Times
Explain that Saints in all ages are asked to make sacrifices for the building of the Lord’s kingdom. True sacrifice is not easy. It is hard and may hurt a little, especially if what we are giving up is very dear to us.
King David said it this way: “Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).
The following story tells about sacrifices made by women in the early days of the Church when the Kirtland Temple was being built.
“Hilda Larson was setting the table for dinner when her father came in and said to her, ‘Put the old dishes away, Hilda. We’re having company.’
“‘Who is coming, John?’ asked Hilda’s mother.
“‘Two of the men I have been working with today on the temple,’ he replied. ‘Heber Kimball and Brigham Young.’ …
“Hilda and her mother went into a small room where the china dishes were kept in a tall cupboard behind heavy glass doors. Although they were used only for company or special holidays, Hilda was familiar with every piece. …
“‘This set of china,’ her mother explained, ‘belonged to your great-grandmother. She wrapped every piece in quilts when she sailed from England in 1770. She worried every time there was a storm on the ocean for fear her dishes would break.’ …
“During the meal Hilda enjoyed listening to her father talk with the two men. They spoke of how the Kirtland Temple they were building was nearly completed.
“‘All the Saints in Kirtland have helped,’ Brother Kimball said.
“‘We may be few in number,’ Brother Young agreed, ‘and poor, but we are rich in faith. While the men labor on the building, the women spin and weave cloth for our clothes.’
“Brother Kimball picked up the china cup that was beside his plate. ‘And now the women give their precious dishes,’ he said, looking at her mother. …
“The next afternoon … Mother guided [Hilda] into the room where the dish cupboard stood. A large box was on the floor beside it.
“‘We must pack the china into the box, Hilda,’ her mother told her. ‘The dishes are needed to help build the temple.’ Hilda could not imagine how china dishes … could help build a temple. She watched her father lift the box of dishes into the back of a pony cart. Then they rode to the bluff where the temple was being built.
“Hilda climbed off the cart and followed her father toward a large vat where a workman was stirring something inside.
“Bending down, Hilda’s father said over the noise, ‘We’re making stuccoed plaster for the outer temple walls. We have discovered that broken china helps hold the plaster together. Also,’ he added, ‘the walls look very beautiful with the sparkling bits of china and glass shining through.’
“A man nearby said, ‘Nearly all the Latter-day Saint women have given their best china for the temple.’
“Hilda could hardly believe it when she saw her mother take the lovely Dresden china from the box and hand each piece to a man who stood beside the vat. He put them on a flat board, broke them into bits, and scraped the shattered pieces into the vat. … All the way down the hill in the cart, with the empty box rattling in back, Hilda was quietly crying.
“One evening after the temple was finished, Hilda walked with her father and mother up the road toward the beautiful building. The sun was setting and Hilda saw the temple walls. They sparkled and shimmered in the sunlight.
“‘Oh, Mother!’ she exclaimed, her heart suddenly full and happy. ‘Do you see that sort of blue brightness beside the front door? Only [our china dishes] could sparkle like that!’” (Iris Syndergaard, “Sparkling Walls,” Friend, Mar. 1975, pp. 11–12).
How would you feel if you were asked to make a sacrifice like this?
More recently, some Saints from Mexico made great sacrifices to attend the temple:
“Recently, workers at the Mesa Temple welcomed a busload of Church members from the interior of Mexico. They had been traveling for five days. The bus had broken down. These humble families had been sacrificing and saving their pesos for many months to buy the roundtrip tickets. They had slept on the floor of the crowded bus. President Wright of the temple said their leaders were rather embarrassed and even apologetic for their ravenous hunger, especially that of the children. After paying for the bus, there was no money for food. But that didn’t matter—they were going to the temple, and they made it!” (David B. Haight, “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them,” in Speeches of the Year, 1980 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1981], p. 169).
Why were these people willing to make such a great sacrifice?
Ask the young women to listen to the following quotation and then identify some of the sacrifices made by members of the Church today. List these on the chalkboard.
Quotation and chalkboard
“Our present-day problems in the Church are mainly those related to rapid growth and change. Far-reaching challenges are requiring sacrifices of members’ time, talents, and means, possibly as great as ever before. …
“Today, as was done in the early history of the Church, many are sacrificing friends, family, and positions when they join the Church.
“Today many are sacrificing for missionary work, either in supporting missionaries or by going on missions themselves. We now have the largest missionary force in the entire history of the Church.
“Today we have a full Church program, and whether we are called upon to be a Sunday School teacher, a bishop, or an usher, or to pass the sacrament, to be a missionary, to work on a welfare project, to do genealogical work, to consult on data processing problems, or to fulfill any other Church assignment, we should recognize that ‘whatever [we] do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business.’ (D&C 64:29.)
“Sacrifices today are in reality opportunities, the same as they have always been. Remember the promise made by the Savior: ‘… There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting’ (Luke 18:29–30)” (Franklin D. Richards, “‘Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven,’” New Era, Nov. 1974, p. 5).
What sacrifices for the kingdom of God are being made by the members of our ward or branch?
What sacrifices might a young woman have to make to prepare herself to be worthy of a temple marriage? To prepare herself for eternal life?
You may want to tell of an experience when sacrifice brought blessings to you. Invite the young women to share similar experiences.
Read the following quotation. If you have made copies for the young women, you may wish to distribute these and read it together.
“What we must be willing to do is to sacrifice whatever is required of us, whether time, or talent, or riches, or the praise and honor of men, or whatever it may be, to the extent the Lord may require it” (Loren C. Dunn, “News of the Church,” Ensign, Feb. 1980, pp. 78–79).
Distribute paper and a pencil to each young woman and ask her to list several goals she hopes to achieve. Next to each goal, have her list one or more things she must sacrifice to reach that goal.
Bear witness that each day we should work on worthwhile goals, sacrificing to improve ourselves as daughters of God. Continual effort and sacrifice will help make us worthy to live eternally with our Heavenly Father.