1.1.4 The Role of Families in God’s Plan
As part of our Heavenly Father’s plan, we were born into families. He established families to bring us happiness, to help us learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and to prepare us for eternal life.
Parents have the vital responsibility to help their children prepare to return to Heavenly Father. Parents fulfill this responsibility by teaching their children to follow Jesus Christ and live His gospel.
11.1 Parents have the first responsibility for the spiritual and physical welfare of their children (see D&C 68:25–28). The bishopric, Primary leaders, and Primary teachers support but do not replace parents in this responsibility.
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20.3.1 Under the direction of the presiding authority, children who are members of record should be baptized and confirmed on or as soon after their 8th birthday as reasonable. These are children for whom Church membership records already exist.
Bishops give special attention to 7-year-old children in the ward, ensuring that their parents, Primary leaders and teachers, and home teachers help them prepare for baptism and confirmation. Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society leaders also encourage parents to teach and prepare their children for these ordinances. When children reach age 8, the bishop makes sure they have every opportunity to accept the gospel and be baptized and confirmed.
Faith in God
11.5.2 Where practical, the Primary may hold activity days for boys and girls ages 8 through 11. Leaders and teachers use the Faith in God guidebooks as resources for activity days, supporting the work children and parents do at home to fulfill Faith in God requirements.
Activity days are held no more than twice each month. They may be held at the meetinghouse or in a home. As leaders determine the frequency and location of activity days, they consider the time constraints of the children’s families, travel distance and costs, children’s safety, and other local circumstances. Leaders ensure that activity days follow the guidelines in 11.8.1 and in chapter 13.
Scouting in Primary
Scouting supports boys and their families by giving them an additional opportunity to put into practice the gospel principles they learn at home and in Primary. Parental involvement and help is a key to success in this program. (Scouting Handbook, 6.0)
Preparation for Aaronic Priesthood
8.2 Parents have the first responsibility for the spiritual and physical welfare of their children (see D&C 68:25–28). The bishopric and other Aaronic Priesthood leaders support but do not replace parents in this responsibility. They offer support in the following ways:
They assist parents in helping their sons prepare for priesthood ordinations, the temple endowment, full-time missionary service, temple marriage, and fatherhood.
They encourage communication between young men and their parents.
They ensure that quorum activities and other youth events do not put undue burdens on families or compete with family activities.
Leaders should be especially sensitive to young men who come from homes that lack strong support for gospel living.
8.6.1 The parents of a 10- or 11-year-old boy have the primary responsibility for helping him prepare to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. Other family members and home teachers assist. The support of home teachers may be especially important in homes where the father is absent or is not an active member of the Church.
Temple and Priesthood Preparation
11.5.5 Each year, the Primary presidency, under the direction of the bishopric, prepares a meeting called Temple and Priesthood Preparation. The meeting is held for 11-year-old boys and girls together. Their parents are also invited. The purpose of this meeting is to help these children understand the blessings of temple service, priesthood service, and making and keeping sacred covenants.
Possible topics for the meeting include:
- Teaching about priesthood purposes, responsibilities, ordinances, and blessings.
- Helping boys strengthen their commitment to prepare to receive the priesthood.
- Helping boys and girls understand their opportunities to participate in the work of salvation.
- Encouraging children to prepare to receive a limited-use temple recommend when they turn 12 and to participate worthily in proxy baptisms as their circumstances allow.
A member of the bishopric conducts the meeting, and at least one member of the Primary presidency attends. Other leaders who may attend include members of the deacons quorum presidency, Beehive class presidency, and Young Men and Young Women presidencies.
If a ward has very few 11-year-olds, the meeting may be held, under the direction of the stake presidency, with other wards or with the entire stake. According to local needs, it may be held on a Sunday evening, as part of a Primary meeting on Sunday, or at another time.
Testimony Bearing in Primary
Testimony meetings are discouraged in Primary. However, parents, Primary leaders, and teachers may provide other opportunities for testimony bearing. For example, children may share their testimonies when they give lessons in family home evening and when they give talks in sharing time. Such opportunities help children prepare to share their testimonies in fast and testimony meeting when they are old enough to do so without assistance from a parent, sibling, or other person.
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