Each young man will desire to prepare himself for exaltation.
Scriptures for each young man.
Pencils for marking scriptures.
Prepare two posters. On one poster write Immortality is the resurrection of the body of flesh and bones to unending life. A free gift to everyone on earth, immortality is a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the other poster write Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. It consists of the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Those who obtain It gain an inheritance in the highest of three heavens within the celestial kingdom. This inheritance is given only to those who meet certain conditions.
Before priesthood meeting prepare the chalkboard as follows:
Prepare handout copies of the quotations used in the lesson (optional).
The greatest of all the gifts we can receive is that of exaltation, or eternal life. The reality of exaltation far exceeds our understanding and imagination, but we do know the path: it is making and keeping certain covenants with the Lord.
The strength of your desire to obtain exaltation will be a key to inspiring the young men to seek the same goal. Let them sense your faith in the possibility of exaltation and your determination to achieve it.
Suggested Lesson Development
All People Born on Earth Receive Immortality; Only the Obedient Receive Exaltation
Poster and discussion
Explain that for centuries men and women have wondered about life beyond the grave. Some people do not believe in a life after death; others hope that there will be some kind of existence.
Display the poster that defines immortality. Ask the following questions (the answers are on the poster):
What do you have to do to receive immortality?
Who will receive immortality?
Who made this gift possible?
How was this gift made possible?
Explain that many people may be content to seek only immortality because they don’t know there is anything more. Display the poster defining exaltation. Both immortality and exaltation are gifts from our Father in Heaven.
How does exaltation differ from immortality?
What do you have to do to obtain exaltation?
Compare the requirements for immortality with the requirements for exaltation.
Scripture and discussion
Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 tells us the value of exaltation or eternal life, as it is sometimes called. Have a young man read the scripture aloud. Have the young men mark this verse.
What does this scripture say we must do to obtain exaltation?
At this point in the discussion emphasize, the part of the scripture that states, “Keep my commandments.”
Exaltation Requires Ordinances and Covenants
Explain that to understand how our Father in Heaven expects us to keep the commandments we need to know the meaning of two words: ordinance and covenant.
What is an ordinance? (An outward, physical action, such as baptism, symbolizing an inner belief or commitment.)
What is a covenant? (A mutual promise between God and man in which man promises to do certain things and God promises certain results.)
Quotations, chalkboard, and discussion
President Spencer W. Kimball explained one covenant we all made long ago. Have the young men listen for what they promised Heavenly Father and when they made this promise:
“We made vows, solemn vows, in the heavens before we came to this mortal life. …
“We have made covenants. We made them before we accepted our position here on the earth. …
“We committed ourselves to our Heavenly Father, that if He would send us to the earth and give us bodies and give to us the priceless opportunities that earth life afforded, we would keep our lives clean and would marry in the holy temple and would rear a family and teach them righteousness. This was a solemn oath, a solemn promise” (“‘Be Ye Therefore Perfect’” [devotional address, Salt Lake Institute of Religion, 10 Jan. 1975], p. 2).
When did you make the covenant spoken of by President Kimball?
What did you promise your Father in Heaven?
Write the answers on the chalkboard under the circle representing “Premortal life.” (See the sample chalkboard illustration at the end of this section.)
Elder Howard W. Hunter explained some of the things we need to be aware of and to accomplish so we can receive exaltation: “The pathway to exaltation is well defined. We are told to have faith—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and repent of those things which are not according to his teachings. After this change of mental attitude, and with firm resolution, we must declare ourselves by going into the waters of baptism, thereby making a covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 109).
According to Elder Hunter, what are some of the things we must do to gain exaltation?
List these on the chalkboard under the circle representing “Earth life.” (See the sample chalkboard illustration.)
When a young man is baptized he covenants to—
Bear others’ burdens,
Be a witness for God, and
Keep the commandments.
(See Mosiah 18:8–10.)
Explain that if we keep our covenants, Heavenly Father promises to give us his Spirit.
How do you renew your baptismal covenants? (By partaking worthily of the sacrament.)
What did Heavenly Father give you to help you keep your baptismal covenants? (The gift of the Holy Ghost.)
How will the Holy Ghost help you become exalted? (Prompt you to do good, teach you all truth, help you to know God and Jesus Christ, change your heart so that you no longer have a desire to do evil [see Mosiah 5:2].)
Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 76:56–57.
What else must a young man do in order to receive exaltation? (Receive and honor the Melchizedek Priesthood.)
Explain that another ordinance necessary to exaltation is the endowment received in the temple. Endowments are special spiritual blessings that help prepare a person to progress in the kingdom of God. As with baptism, we also make covenants when we receive our endowments.
Have the young men listen for the promises we make when we receive our endowments in the temple.
We promise the Lord to “observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth; … to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King, the Lord Jesus Christ” (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 84).
What are some things you will promise to do when you receive your endowment?
See the above quotation. Add these to the chalkboard.
What does it mean to devote both talent and material means to spreading the truth?
Scripture and discussion
Even if a young man receives all the ordinances and makes all the covenants, he is not guaranteed exaltation. To see what else a young man needs to do, reread Doctrine and Covenants 14:7. Have one of the young men read the scripture aloud.
What must you do after you have received the necessary ordinances, made the necessary covenants, and started to keep the commandments? (Endure to the end.)
Explain that there are many important commandments we need to keep as we endure to the end.
What are some of these commandments?
If space permits, you may list these on the chalkboard under the heading “Earth life.” Some possible responses include family history, tithing, Word of Wisdom, honesty.
The completed chalkboard should look something like this:
Exaltation Comes from Obedience to a Loving Heavenly Father
Scripture and discussion
Ask the young men to look at the partial list of requirements for exaltation.
Why is it worth it to you to do all of these things and endure to the end?
Some of the blessings of obedience are explained in Doctrine and Covenants 132:20–24. Have a young man read this scripture aloud.
What blessings await those who live worthy of exaltation? (Godhood, having all things subject to them, living with God, having eternal families.)
How have you been blessed by keeping the commandments?
Explain that just as Jesus Christ was promised all that the Father has, we can also receive all power and dominion, becoming creators of other spirits and worlds.
Scripture and discussion
Have a young man read 1 Corinthians 2:9.
What does this verse say about the things that are prepared for those who love the Lord and keep his commandments? (We cannot even imagine how glorious it will be.)
Testify that exaltation is a tremendous gift and blessing to those who are willing to receive it—greater than anyone can imagine.
Assure the young men that if they earnestly obey the commandments, keep their covenants, and love their fellowmen, they can achieve exaltation, the greatest gift of a loving Heavenly Father.
Challenge the young men to review this lesson in their minds as they partake of the sacrament the next time and then record their feelings in their personal journals.