Each young man will understand the purpose of temples and why he must keep himself worthy to enter the temple.
Scriptures for each young man.
Picture 14, Kirtland Temple (62431); picture 12, Salt Lake Temple (62433); a picture of the temple serving your area; picture 2, Baptismal font in a temple (62031); picture 15, Ordinance room in a temple; picture 16, Celestial room in a temple; picture 17, a couple married in a temple.
Write each of the six quotations about the temple at the beginning of the lesson on separate pieces of paper.
Invite the bishop to attend quorum meeting with the young men. If the bishop cannot attend, he might ask a counselor to take his place. Have the bishop or counselor review the lesson so he will be prepared to answer questions the young men may ask about the purpose of the temple and about ways they can best prepare themselves for entering it. You may take two weeks to present this lesson. If you wish to take two weeks, invite the bishop or counselor to attend the second week.
If it is available, consider showing “In His Holy House,” on the videocassette Come unto Me (53146).
Suggested Lesson Development
Give the previously prepared quotations about the temple to six of the young men. Explain that after a temple has been built and before it is dedicated, the building is open to the public so that people can walk through and look at it. The following quotations come from some young Latter-day Saints who toured a temple before it was dedicated and expressed their feelings about the visit. Ask each of the young men who was given a quotation to read the statement to the rest of the young men.
“I had such a wonderful feeling while inside the temple, I didn’t want to leave.”
“After coming 600 miles to see the house of the Lord, then having the experience, I realized it was worth traveling around the world for.”
“The whole temple seemed to be a part of heaven.”
“I felt the most peaceful feeling I’ve ever had.”
“The spirit there was unbelievable.”
“I know that I want very much to be married in the temple.”
(The above quotations were taken from “Inside a House of the Lord,” New Era, Apr. 1972, p. 25.)
If any of the young men have toured a temple before it was dedicated, invite them to share how they felt on that occasion.
The Purpose of Temples
Chalkboard and discussion
Near the top of the chalkboard write The temple is …
Inform the young men that they will learn five things about the temple during the first portion of the lesson.
At the conclusion of the first part of the lesson, the chalkboard should be similar to the following:
The temple is …
The house of the Lord.
A place where we receive the endowment and make covenants.
A place where eternal marriages are performed.
A place where we perform ordinances for the dead.
A place of revelation.
Display the picture of the Kirtland Temple and explain that when Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple, he prayed that the presence of the Lord might be felt continually in the temple and that all who entered might feel the power of God.
Scripture and discussion
Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 109:12–13, which is a portion of the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer. Have the young men listen for another name that the temple is called in this prayer.
What is another name for the temple? (The house of the Lord.)
On the chalkboard, write a. The house of the Lord. Point out that the temple is the Lord’s house because his holy presence is continually there.
Display the picture of the Salt Lake Temple or a picture of the temple serving your area. Explain that the gathering place for an earthly family is usually the home. We are our Heavenly Father’s children, and the temple is his house. Thus, the temple is a place where we, as worthy members of his family, can go to feel his Spirit and learn of him.
Display the pictures of the interior of a temple. Note that these pictures remind us of another purpose of the temple.
What does the word endowment mean?
Allow the young men to respond, and then explain that an endowment is a gift of great and lasting value. Elder Bruce R. McConkie writes that “certain special, spiritual blessings given worthy and faithful saints in the temples are called endowments” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 226).
Chalkboard and discussion
On the chalkboard, add b. A place where we receive the endowment and make covenants. Point out that when we receive this endowment we also make covenants, or promises, to the Lord.
Explain that the following list gives some of the covenants that are so important to the Lord’s beautiful plan of life, which we are taught in his holy temples:
Love and obey the Lord.
Be willing to sacrifice and share our time, talents, and material blessings to build up the kingdom of God on the earth.
Continue to be morally clean.
Follow and support those who are called to lead us in the Church, including fathers, bishops, stake presidents, and others.
Explain that there is one other covenant that we each make with the Lord that crowns all the others and that can be received only in the temple. This covenant is eternal marriage.
Picture and chalkboard
Show the picture of a couple married in a temple. Add to the chalkboard list, c. A place where eternal marriages are performed.
Read President Spencer W. Kimball’s explanation of ordinances:
“The most important … of all the ordinances are the sealing ones, and all the others lead up to them. We are blessed, we are baptized, we are confirmed, we are ordained, we are endowed, and we are finally sealed, without which no soul can ever be exalted. … Every boy and girl … should know that the ordinance of sealing is an absolute” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 502).
Explain that temple marriage sets us on a path to enjoy all the blessings the Lord can offer to us in this life as well as in the hereafter. Our homes will be happier here when we honor the covenants we make to each other and to the Lord. As we return to the temple often, we will be reminded of our commitments and covenants, and our marriages will become stronger.
Share the following story about one marriage that was strengthened by being sealed in the temple.
“Although I was baptized in 1949, my wife did not feel ready until four patient years later. When the Swiss Temple was dedicated in 1955, we had a family of seven, and the trip seemed more than our family budget could take. Maud and I knelt and asked the Lord to open the way for us, and about a month later, my employer called me in to say how pleased he was with my work and to give me a substantial salary increase. That summer we went to the house of the Lord for the first time.
“I shall never forget the joy and happiness and determination to live the gospel that filled my soul after that first visit to the temple. I gained knowledge and insights relating to my eternal destination that I had never dreamed of before. The highlight was when our family was sealed together for time and all eternity.
“I looked into my wife’s eyes across the altar and saw tears of happiness rolling down her cheeks. I had loved her before, but never so much as from that moment. She, a daughter of God, was the mother of my children! It seemed as if I had never understood that until then. Afterward our prayers were more meaningful, we loved the Lord more than ever, and we loved to serve him.
“We continue to return to the temple because we love the work and the spirit there. Every time we return we are reminded of the covenants we have made, and this is the strongest motivation for us to continue to live the gospel way of life” (Bo G. Wennerlund, “I Had Loved Her Before … ,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, p. 62).
Explain that besides the blessings we can receive in mortality, there are others that extend throughout eternity. By being sealed according to the Lord’s plan, we can attain the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. We can be exalted and receive a fulness of joy. We can have our children throughout eternity. We also have the promise of increasing our family by having spirit children.
Picture, scripture, and discussion
Point out the picture of a temple baptismal font. Explain that this picture represents another ordinance that takes place in the house of the Lord.
Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 127:5–6, and have the young men identify what this ordinance is.
Add d. A place where we perform ordinances for the dead to the list on the chalkboard.
Explain that many people have died without the opportunity to hear the gospel. They were not baptized by priesthood authority, they did not receive their temple endowments, and they were not sealed to their companions in the house of the Lord.
How has our Heavenly Father provided for those who died without receiving these important ordinances?
Allow the young men to respond and point out that worthy Church members are able to enter the temples and perform baptisms, endowments, and sealings in behalf of deceased persons.
As worthy members frequently return to the temples to perform the work for the dead, they can receive many special blessings. One of these blessings is the peace and reverence they can find inside the temple. Because the presence of the Lord can be continually felt in the temple, it is a place of revelation.
Chalkboard and quotation
Add e. A place of revelation to the list on the chalkboard.
As you read the following statement, have the young men listen for the special strength this person felt by attending the temple.
“Each time I go to the temple I receive additional strength to face everyday problems. In addition, the temple is where I experience the highest meaning of reverence, sacredness, obedience, order, respect for the line of authority, and brotherly love. …
“Being saviors on Mount Zion has a special meaning for me. Work for the dead in the temple is the purest form of love and sacrifice I can think of” (Christiane Lebon, “I Came to Understand … ,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, p. 67).
What are some of the special blessings we can receive from temple attendance? (Strength to face problems; feelings of reverence, order, love; increased knowledge and understanding of the gospel and the Lord.)
Why should you look forward to entering the temple to receive your own endowment and be married for eternity?
If you are teaching the lesson over two weeks, conclude the first week here. Then briefly review the purpose of temples at the beginning of the lesson the second week.
Preparing for the Temple
Explain that many times Church members must sacrifice much to go to the temple. As you relate the following story, have the young men listen for the sacrifices and preparations the Cummings family made in order to attend the temple.
“The mission president had challenged the Australian Saints to attend the New Zealand Temple dedication, just four months [away]. …
“The mission president’s challenge kept ringing in [the ears of Donald W. Cummings, the district president in Perth, Australia, four thousand miles from the temple site]. ‘If you have a righteous goal and pray about it, the Lord will help you achieve it.’ President Cummings reviewed his finances. He was struggling to purchase a home for his burgeoning family; he earned only a modest salary; he had no money in the bank; he drove an old car. The price of going to New Zealand was 600 pounds ($1,200 U.S. dollars). …
“Now President Cummings was 26 years old, a convert of 10 years and district president for eight months over an area that encompassed the entire state of Western Australia, nearly one million square miles.
“He began preparations for their temple trip. He borrowed money on his furniture, the last loan of that type granted by the company. He sold the car and started walking, riding buses, even hitchhiking. And, during the next 18 months, he never missed his visits to any branch. He recalls, ‘Yes, it was hard getting around, but my wife and I remember this as one of the happiest periods of our lives. We had discovered the joys of sacrifice for the Lord. We appreciated walking all the more. …’
“The 8,000 mile round trip started with a 2,000 mile, four and a half day train ride across the width of the Australian outback. In Sydney, the family delightedly met with the other Saints who had also arranged passage on a boat bound for Auckland.
“To their wrenching disappointment, the boat had just been damaged in hitting the wharf, but remarkably, they were able to charter an airplane without any excess cost. They all flew to the dedication and witnessed this sacred event as President David O. McKay presided and prayed. President Cummings spoke in the spacious auditorium of the new Church College adjacent to the temple. The family was blessed to attend the first day of endowments; they were also members of the first company to do work for the dead” (Richard J. Marshall, “Saga of Sacrifice,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, p. 66).
Why was this family willing to sacrifice so much to go to the temple?
Explain that just as this family made many sacrifices and preparations to attend the temple, so we must make special preparations to enter the house of the Lord. Our temple recommend is evidence of some of the preparations we must make. Temple attendance is reserved for members of the Church who have shown their willingness to live the principles of the gospel, including honesty, the Word of Wisdom, tithing, and the law of chastity. Emphasize that it takes time to prepare for this special and sacred experience; it requires faithfulness and repentance.
As time permits, have the bishop share his feelings about the importance of preparing for and attending the temple. He might also answer questions the young men may have about the temple.
If there was not adequate time for the bishop to fully develop the ideas in the conclusion, you may wish to invite him or another appropriate guest to develop and discuss these ideas at a youth fireside or a similar occasion.
You may show “In His Holy House,” on the videocassette Come unto Me, if it is available.