Close your eyes and picture a temple. What color is it? How big is it? Does it have any windows? Are there spires? How many?
The temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are unique. The Salt Lake Temple in Utah has gray granite walls and six spires. It looks different from the Cardston Alberta Temple in Canada, which has natural stone walls and no spires. Even though each temple looks different, all are beautiful and are built for the same purpose. They are places where special ordinances take place that are needed for us to return to Heavenly Father. Temples are also places where Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father can come.
You are like the temple. You are different from everyone else, but you, too, are a house for the Spirit of God (the Holy Ghost). The Apostle Paul said: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor. 3:16–17.) Your body is a temple.
Just as you treat temples with respect, you should treat your own body with respect. You can do this by obeying the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89), by dressing modestly, and by following the counsel of President Gordon B. Hinckley to “be clean” (see Friend, February 2001, page 25). One way to be clean is to not have tattoos. President Hinckley said, “A tattoo is graffiti on the temple of the body” (Ensign, November 2000, page 52). You should also keep your heart and mind clean by reading, listening to, and watching only “things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father” (see My Gospel Standards).
If you are clean in mind and body, you can receive great blessings because “the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell” (Alma 34:36).
Find your way through the maze. When you get to a picture, follow the path that represents your choice. Choose the Yes path if the picture shows something that helps you keep your body “a temple of God.” Choose the No path if it is something that would not be good for your mind or body.
Draw small pictures of five other things that are good for you, and five things you should avoid. Place your pictures over corresponding good-and bad-choice pictures in the maze.
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit)
1. Teach about the Word of Wisdom by playing a scripture scavenger hunt for some of the foods that are good for us to eat. Teach the children how to use the Topical Guide in the Bible. Show how to find words alphabetically and how to read the scripture references; then locate that scripture. Practice with the word food. Read several of the references and choose D&C 89:16 to locate. Have the children read it aloud as a choral reading. Review the promised blessings of obeying the Word of Wisdom by reading with them D&C 89:18–21.
Divide the Primary into groups of two or three children. Each group should have a set of scriptures. Give each group a pencil and a scavenger-hunt list with words such as apple, bread, corn, fish, fruit, grain, grape, herb, honey, meat, milk, and wheat. The children find one of the words in the Topical Guide, write a reference by it, then locate the scripture and raise their hands. A teacher or adult leader listens to them read the scripture, then puts her/his initials next to the word. Repeat the process for all the words on the list. When the groups have completed their lists, have the children share with the Primary some of the scriptures they have found. Bear testimony of the blessings you have received by obeying the Word of Wisdom. Sing “The Word of Wisdom” (pp. 154–155).
For younger children: Divide the Primary into two groups. Make two sets of paper body parts—head, torso, arms, legs, hands, feet, eyes, nose, mouth, hair. In a container, place pictures from magazines (or draw them) of various foods, drinks, and other items that are either good or bad for the body. Have the children take turns drawing items from the container. If the item is good for you, they add a part to their group’s body. If the item is bad, they must remove a body part. Continue playing until one group has completed a body.
2. My Gospel Standards reminds us of principles that help us treat our bodies as temples. Review it by making “I Spy” bottles. (You may want to make one at home first.) Fill small, empty, clear plastic bottles with birdseed (or wheat or rice or lentils), leaving 1″ to 2″ (3 cm to 5 cm) of air space. Add wordstrips and small pictures relating to one of the standards (write the word or duplicate the picture on both sides of each paper). Cap the bottle and shake it. Turn the bottle on its side, and as you rotate it, the wordstrips and pictures will come to the surface.
Give each class the materials to make an I Spy bottle, using the standards or things suggested by a standard. For example, for the standard “I will do those things on the Sabbath that will help me feel close to Heavenly Father,” children could write wordstrips such as Attend church, Read scriptures, Visit sick, Visit grandparents, Write to missionaries. Or they could draw pictures of a meetinghouse, sacrament tray, the Book of Mormon, etc. The class counts the number of wordstrips and/or pictures they add to the bottle (about 20 is good) and writes that number on a piece of tape attached to the bottom of the bottle.
In thirty seconds, see how many things they can find in the bottle, then check that number against the number on the bottom of the bottle. Sing a song that reinforces one of the standards as they trade bottles and repeat the process.
3. One way we can keep our “temple brighter” (see p. 153) is to “only listen to music that is pleasing to Heavenly Father” (see My Gospel Standards). Help the children understand the influence of music in their lives by having the pianist play several songs that are unfamiliar to them, such as “Help Us, O God, to Understand” (p. 73) and “Birds in the Tree” (p. 241). Ask the children how each song made them feel and why. Even though they didn’t know the words, the tempo (speed) and volume and melody made them have different feelings. While one song made them want to sit and think, the other made them feel like dancing or marching.
Discuss things in music that are pleasing to Heavenly Father: appropriate words, messages that do not contradict gospel principles or suggest immoral behavior, tempo and volume and melodies that do not drive away the Spirit.
Play a musical game to show the children how they can remember the message in a song. Using the songs they have learned this year, as well as other songs they are familiar with, play “Name That Tune.” Challenge them to identify ten songs, using no more than fifty notes (total) for clues. Ask a child to suggest how many notes the Primary would need to identify a song, then have the pianist play that number of notes, using the right tempo and rhythm. If the children don’t name it after one guess, the pianist plays the song again, adding one note. Continue until the song is identified. On the chalkboard, write the number of notes it took to identify it, then sing the song. Repeat with the remaining songs.
Have the children write the last line of the thirteenth article of faith, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things,” on a paper musical note. Have them share the note with their family and then place it by their radio or CD player as a reminder to choose good music.
4. Invite members of the ward/branch to participate in a panel discussion on “My Body Is a Temple.” Gather a panel from some of the following: a health-care professional, a mother, a young man, a member of the Young Women presidency, and a member of the bishopric/branch presidency. Give the panel members copies of the questions a week before so that they can think about possible answers. Sample questions (your questions should be those to best help your Primary and may not be identical to these): How much sleep should you get each night? Does it make a difference for you when you don’t get enough sleep? What is the value of good hygiene (bathing, dental care, hair care, washing hands before meals)? Why is it important to dress modestly? Why shouldn’t we get a tattoo? What do you do to help you make right choices? You may want the panel members to review the video President Gordon B. Hinckley Speaks to Parents and Youth (item #53591) or these printed talks: “‘Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children’” (Ensign, Nov. 2000, pp. 50–53), “Your Greatest Challenge, Mother” (Ensign, Nov. 2000, pp. 97–100), and “The Prophet’s Counsel: The Six Bs” (Friend, Feb. 2001, pp. 24–25).
Write the questions on separate pieces of paper. Have the children take turns choosing and reading a question. Have a member of the Primary presidency act as moderator. Have the panel members volunteer their answers. Bear testimony of the blessings that the children can receive now as a result of treating their bodies with respect. Sing “Seek the Lord Early” (p. 108).
5. Song presentation: Ask an older class to present this month’s song, “The Lord Gave Me a Temple” (p. 153). Arrange with the teacher in advance for you to teach the song for a few minutes each week in class. Help the class understand the message of the song. Let them take turns practicing as duets, trios, and solo, if they choose. You might consider having them perform this song for the Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation.
During Sharing Time, have the class sing the song several times and ask the other children to listen for specific information each time they hear the song. Questions might include: How many times is the word temple sung? What words rhyme? Ask the other children to sing along with the class as they feel comfortable with the song.
Have the class take turns reporting on the message of each line, then have the Primary sing that line. Ask the class members to sit in various classes of the Primary as mentors to help the other children learn the song.
6. Help the children understand the influence of visual media by showing how long an image can be retained in the mind, even if seen for just a short time. Use an overhead projector if available from your meetinghouse library. If not, use large pictures. Find pictures of landscapes or individual people. Put the picture up for only five seconds. Have the children close their eyes and see if they can visualize the picture. Ask specific questions about it, like “What color were the clothes the girl was wearing?” or “Where is the tree located in the picture?” Discuss the importance of watching movies, television shows, video and computer games that are wholesome. Sing “Choose the Right Way” (pp. 160–161).
Make a moving-picture book to show each child how the mind remembers a visual image. Use eight half-size sheets of paper. On page one, draw a vertical line. On each succeeding page, draw the line at progressive angles until the line is horizontal. Staple the pages together and flip through the book. The line should appear to fall down. This is the same process used in movies.
Use one of the following activities. (1) Have each child make a moving picture book. Give each child a pencil and eight pieces of paper that are the same size. They may be as small as 1″ x 2″ (2.5 cm x 5 cm) or as large as 3″ x 5″ (7.5 cm x 12.5 cm). Have them draw a simple scene from one of their favorite scripture stories. For example, a rectangle that flattens might represent the falling of the walls of Jericho; a tree that blossoms might represent the Tree of Life. In order for the movie to work, the drawing must be in the same place on each page, with just small changes made from page to page.
Or (2), give each child a piece of paper and a pencil and have him/her draw a scene from his/her favorite scripture story. Have the children take turns sharing their picture by covering it with another piece of paper or with their hand and then removing the covering for five seconds. When the picture is re-covered, ask the other children to describe what was drawn. Have the artist tell the scripture story, then show the picture again.
Have the children share the activity with their families. Show the video segment “The Body Is a Temple” from New Testament Video Presentations (item #53914). You may wish to preview this video. Testify of the blessings that come from “only reading and watching things that are pleasing to Heavenly Father” (see My Gospel Standards). Sing “Dare to Do Right” (p. 158).
7. Additional Friend resources: “The Choice,” June 2000, pp. 12–14; “Decided Not to Play,” Sep. 2000, IBC; “Robby’s New Words,” Apr. 1999, pp. 44–46; “No, Thank You,” Jan. 1998, p. 41; “My Body Is a Temple,” Feb. 1998, p. 31; “Daniel Obeys the Lord,” June 1998, pp. 34–35; “My Gospel Standards,” Feb. 1997, pp. 8–9, 43; “Daniel’s Choice,” Mar. 1997, pp. 28–29; “My Tea Story,” Aug. 1997, pp. 40–41; “The Decision,” Oct. 1997, pp. 40–41. Ensign resources: “The Joy of Womanhood,” Nov. 2000, pp. 14–16; “Ye Are the Temple of God,” Nov. 2000, pp. 72–74.