Lesson 29: The Eternal Family

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 102–4


Objective

Each young man will recognize the need to help his family become an eternal family.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      A copy of the song “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301).

    3. c.

      A pencil and paper for each young man.

    4. d.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  2. 2.

    Cut out three large paper circles and write one of the following on each circle:

    three circles

Suggested Lesson Development

Life before Birth as a Family

Scripture and discussion

Put up the circle “Life before Birth as a Family” at the top left side of the chalkboard.

  • Where did we live before we were born?

To help the young men respond, have them read aloud and discuss the following scriptures: Acts 17:28–29, Hebrews 12:9, and Doctrine and Covenants 76:24. Suggest that each young man mark these scriptures. They may also want to cross-reference them.

  • Who is the father of our spirits? (We are sons and daughters of God, his spirit children. He is the father of our spirits.)

As the young men respond, write their answers on the chalkboard under the circle “Life before Birth as a Family.” Emphasize that God the Father is the father of our spirits and is our Father in Heaven. We lived with him before we were born and were taught by him before coming to earth.

Quotation and discussion

Have a young man read the following statement by Brigham Young explaining our relationship with our Father in Heaven:

“I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our Heavenly Father … , for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with him, when the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know.

“There is not a person here to-day but what is a son or a daughter of that Being” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], p. 50).

  • Besides your earthly parents, who are you a son of? (Heavenly Father.)

Emphasize the importance of always remembering that they are sons of God.

  • What do you think it was like to live with Heavenly Father?

Quotation

Read the following statement by President Harold B. Lee explaining who we are:

“You are all the sons and daughters of God. Your spirits were created and lived as organized intelligences before the world was. You have been blessed to have a physical body because of your obedience to certain commandments in that premortal state. You are now born into a family to which you have come, into the nations through which you have come. …

“I would charge you to say again and again to yourselves, as the Primary organization has taught the children to sing ‘I am a [son or daughter] of God’ and by so doing, begin today to live closer to those ideals which will make your life happier and more fruitful because of an awakened realization of who you are” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, pp. 7, 10; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, pp. 5–6).

Activity

Give each young man a small piece of paper and a pencil. Have them write the following: “I must never forget that I am a son of God.” Suggest that they use it as a bookmark when they read the scriptures.

Discussion

  • We can grow to be like our earthly parents, but what does it mean to be like our heavenly parents? (To live the way our heavenly parents want us to and do what they would do.)

  • Why is it important to know that you are a son of God? (Realizing it can give you the strength you need to follow God and become like him.)

  • How can this knowledge help us in our families? (It should help us remember that our brothers and sisters are children of God. It can help us treat each family member better as we work to help our family return to our Heavenly Father.)

Earth Life as a Family

Discussion

At the top center of the chalkboard put up the circle “Earth Life as a Family.”

  • Why did we leave our Heavenly Father to come to earth? (So we could gain a body, learn new things, develop faith in Jesus Christ, and through our faith become worthy of returning to live with Heavenly Father.)

Have a young man recite the words to the song “I Am a Child of God.” If no one can repeat the words from memory, have a young man read them.

  • Why do you think Heavenly Father organized us in families? (To help us learn and grow.)

Quotation and discussion

Have a young man read the following quotation:

“I have but one thought in my heart for the young [people] of the Church, and that is that they be happy. I know of no other place than home where true happiness can be found in this life. It is possible to make home a bit of heaven; indeed, I picture heaven to be a continuation of the ideal home” (David O. McKay, “Temple Marriage,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1948, p. 618).

  • What can you do to make your home more ideal? (Live the gospel, help family members live it, be kind to brothers and sisters, obey parents.)

Discussion

  • What must you do on earth to become part of an eternal family?

List their answers on the chalkboard under the circle “Earth Life as a Family.” The young men’s answers should include:

  1. 1.

    Believe that we can be an eternal family.

  2. 2.

    Have faith in Jesus Christ.

  3. 3.

    Repent of all wrongdoings.

  4. 4.

    Be baptized in the true Church.

  5. 5.

    Receive the Holy Ghost.

  6. 6.

    Receive and honor the priesthood.

  7. 7.

    Be sealed in the temple with our family.

  8. 8.

    Obey the Lord’s commandments.

Adviser presentation

Explain that as we live with our families here on earth, each of us should strive daily to obey and follow Christ. We should help other family members. Earth life is a very short time compared to eternity, but what we do during this short time largely determines what we will be doing throughout eternity.

Life in the Celestial Kingdom as a Family

Scripture and discussion

At the top right side of the chalkboard put up the circle entitled “Life in the Celestial Kingdom as a Family.”

  • What do you think the celestial kingdom will be like?

Explain that Joseph Smith asked this also, and the Lord gave him a vision. Have the young men find Joseph Smith’s vision of the celestial kingdom in Doctrine and Covenants 137:4–5, and mark this scripture. Have one of the young men read verse 4.

  • Where is the most beautiful place you have ever been?

Emphasize that the celestial kingdom will be more glorious and beautiful than any place on earth.

Have another young man read verse 5.

  • Whom did Joseph Smith see? (He saw his brother Alvin and his parents.)

Help the young men understand how happy Joseph must have been to see that his parents and his brother would be together in the celestial kingdom. He knew that if they lived worthily, they could be a family forever in the celestial kingdom.

Explain that each young man can have the opportunity to live in a family in the celestial kingdom with our Father in Heaven.

Conclusion

Testimony

Bear your testimony that Heavenly Father lives and loves each young man and that each of them is a literal son of Heavenly Father. Explain that as we have faith in Jesus Christ and follow him, he will help us return to Heavenly Father with our families. Testify that we can live as exalted families in Heavenly Father’s presence in the world to come.

Challenge

Remind the young men of their papers on which they have written, “I must never forget that I am a son of God.”

Challenge each young man to always remember he is a son of God and to work during the coming week on overcoming some specific problem that will help him and his family become closer to Heavenly Father.