Do you remember the story of the children of Israel? They were led by Moses out of Egypt and wandered for forty years in the wilderness.
Have you heard the story of King Solomon’s great wisdom? He settled an argument between two women who both claimed to be the mother of the same little baby.
Do you recall that Nephi was commanded to return to Jerusalem to get the brass plates? His older brothers went with Nephi, but Laman and Lemuel did not want to. Nephi obeyed the Lord’s request willingly.
What do these people have in common? They were all commanded by Heavenly Father to build a temple. Temples are a sign of the true Church of Jesus Christ. In ancient times and in modern times, the Lord’s chosen people have had temples. These temples are important because they are places for sacred worship and for making sacred covenants.
The temple that the children of Israel built was called a tabernacle. It was portable, which means that it could be carried with them on their journey in the wilderness. It included the ark of the covenant (sometimes called the ark of the testimony), which held the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them. The ark of the covenant was kept in the most holy part of the temple. (See Ex. 25–26; 1 Kgs. 8:9.)
King David collected the materials to build a great temple. However, Heavenly Father wanted Solomon, his son, to build this important temple in Jerusalem. (See 1 Chr. 28:2–3, 6.)
Nephi built a temple when he and his family reached the promised land. This temple resembled the temple that Solomon had built. The Nephites were blessed because of temples. King Benjamin delivered his great sermon at the temple, and the Savior appeared to the Nephites who were gathered at the temple in the land Bountiful. (See 2 Ne. 5:16; Mosiah 1:18; 3 Ne. 11:1–10.)
Through Joseph Smith, Heavenly Father restored all parts of the Church to earth, including sacred ordinances performed only in the temple. The Prophet Joseph was commanded to build the Kirtland Temple as the first temple for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since that time, over a hundred temples have been built, and more are being built so that you can have the same blessings that Heavenly Father’s covenant people have had throughout history.
Draw a modern temple in the blank space. Mount the page on heavy paper or lightweight cardboard, and cut out the temples and the title. Punch holes at the circles. Using string or yarn, hang the title piece from a clothes hanger or stick. Then hang each temple at different lengths from the title piece so that the mobile is balanced. Display it where you can see it every day as a reminder of your goal to be worthy to enter the temple.
Temples in All Times
I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me (D&C 124:31).
(Note: All songs are from Children’s Songbook unless otherwise indicated; GAK = Gospel Art Kit, TNGC = Teaching, No Greater Call)
1. Help the children understand the importance of a temple for all of Heavenly Father’s children. When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years, they were commanded to build a portable temple. You may want to preview and use part of segment #11 of Old Testament Video Presentations (item #53224), “Ancient Temples,” an 8 1/2-minute visual tour of Moses’ Tabernacle.
Sing verse #5 of “Follow the Prophet” (pp. 110–11). The temple was a place of instruction and a visual reminder that Heavenly Father would bless His people if they were obedient. Sing “Keep the Commandments” (pp. 146–47).
Write the following scripture references, without the explanations, on slips of paper and place them in a container: • Ex. 13:17–21 / The children of Israel are led into the wilderness by a pillar of a cloud • Ex. 14:9, 15–22, 26–28 / Moses parts the Red Sea • Ex. 16:2–3, 11–31 / The children of Israel gather manna • Ex. 17:8–12 / Amalek is defeated while Moses’ hands are up • Exodus 25:heading, 8; Exodus 26:heading; Exodus 27:heading / The children of Israel build the tabernacle • Num. 11:4–9, 31–33 / The children of Israel complain about the manna and want meat • Num. 21:4–9 / The children of Israel who look at a pole are saved from fiery serpents • Num. 27:12–13, 18–23 / Moses passes his leadership on to Joshua.
Have each class choose a slip of paper. With their teacher’s help, have the class find and read the scripture referred to and decide how to pantomime the event while the teacher reads the scripture out loud. For example, some class members can line up in two rows with their arms extended to be the Red Sea. When the child portraying Moses gestures for it to part, those children lift their arms to allow the class members portraying the children of Israel to pass through. If you have more classes than scriptures, add other scriptures; if there are fewer classes, they may choose two slips of paper, or you may eliminate one. The teacher may skip unnecessary words or phrases, or those too difficult to understand without further explanation. Sing “Israelite children sang as they walked” to the tune of “Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked” (p. 214) between each pantomime.
2. Help the children understand the importance the temple played during Jesus Christ’s time on earth by singing a story (see TNGC, pp. 174–75) about the relationship between Him and the temple. Read the following scriptures before singing each of the songs: 1) Luke 2:25–29 / Baby Jesus is presented at the temple in obedience to the law / “Once within a Lowly Stable” (p. 41); 2) Luke 2:42–47 / Boy Jesus is found teaching at the temple / “Jesus Once Was a Little Child” (p. 55); 3) Matt. 4:5–7 / Jesus Christ overcomes temptation at a pinnacle of the temple / “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” (p. 57); 4) John 2:13–16 / Jesus Christ casts out the moneychangers who are disrespectful of the temple / “I Will Try to Be Reverent” (p. 28); 5) John 10:22–27, 11 / At the temple, Jesus Christ teaches that He is the Good Shepherd / “Little Lambs So White and Fair” (p. 58); 6) Mark 15:37–38 / Jesus dies, and the veil of the temple is rent (torn) / “He Died That We Might Live Again” (p. 65).
Display a picture of Jesus Christ at the temple, such as the Boy Jesus at the Temple, GAK 205. Encourage the children to share with their families the importance the temple played in Jesus Christ’s life—and the importance it can play in their own lives.
3. Invite four adults to represent workmen who worked on Moses’ Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, the Kirtland Temple, and a modern-day temple. Explain that Heavenly Father commanded His children to build the best temple they could, using the best materials they could for their time. Ask each builder to briefly give information about his assigned temple. (See “Tabernacle” and “Temple of Solomon” in the Bible Dictionary, Primary 5 manual, and the News of the Church section of various issues of the Ensign for information.)
Provide materials for making dioramas (see TNGC, p. 165) of the temples. Allow each child to choose which temple he wishes to “build” by drawing a temple to place in his diorama. Let the children display their own dioramas and go see the ones made by the others. Have them take the temple pictures or dioramas home to share with their families.
4. Song presentation: To help familiarize the melody of “The Spirit of God” (Hymns, no. 2), have the pianist play it softly in the background while you briefly tell about the dedication of the Kirtland Temple (see Primary 5 manual, Lesson 26). Express gratitude for temple blessings, and establish a feeling of reverence for the hymn.
In random order, post wordstrips of phrases from the first verse of the hymn, written with just the first letter of each word. For example, the first phrase would be T S O G. Sing the song for the children. Continue singing and have children volunteer to put the phrases in the correct order. You may have to sing it several times. When they are in order, have the children sing with you, using the strips as clues to the words. Depending on the size of your Primary, give one or more of the wordstrips to each class, then have the Primary sing the hymn again and have the children with the corresponding phrases stand.
Invite a child or adult who has attended a temple dedication to share the feelings he/she had during the dedication and as they sang this song there.
5. Teach the children that a temple is the house of God. It blesses the lives of people wherever it is built. Discuss temples in the Book of Mormon by having classes choose one of the following scripture references from a container (do not include what the scripture is about or the date): • 2 Ne. 5:16 (Nephi builds a temple, 588–570 B.C.) • Jacob 1:17 (Jacob teaches at the temple, 544–421 B.C.) • Mosiah 2:1 (King Benjamin teaches at the temple, about 124 B.C.) • Mosiah 7:17 (King Limhi gathers his people at the temple, about 121 B.C.) • Alma 16:13 (Alma and Amulek teach at the temples, about 78 B.C.) • Hel. 3:3, 9 (building of temples, 46 B.C.) • 3 Ne. 11:1–10 (Jesus Christ appears at the temple in the land of Bountiful, A.D. 34).
Sing songs such as “Nephi’s Courage” (pp. 120–21), “Teach Me to Walk in the Light” (p. 177), “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (pp. 172–73), “Book of Mormon Stories” (pp. 118–19), and “Easter Hosanna” (pp. 68–69).
Testify of the blessings that have come to Church members because of the temples that are built today.
6. Additional Friend resources: temple drawings from “Scripture-Story Grab Bag” series (Mar. 2001, pp. 24–25; Feb. 2000, pp. 24–25; Feb. 1999, pp. 24–25; Feb. 1998, pp. 24–25); “Moses Teaches His People” (May 1998, pp. 42–43); “The Lord Commands His People to Build Temples” (Feb. 1993, pp. 12–13, 26); “Exodus Game” (Nov. 1990, pp. 24–25, 27). See also: “Temples and Work Therein” (Ensign, Nov. 1990, pp. 59–61).