Lesson 7: The Eternal Importance of Families

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 22–24


Objective

Each young man will understand that the family is the most important organization now and in eternity.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

    3. c.

      A slip of paper or card for each young man.

  2. 2.

    If the Family Home Evening Video Supplement (53276) is available in your area, show segment 1, “Fortifying Your Family.”

Note

Up to this point in the young men’s lives, they have probably had little experience with organizations other than their own families. But as they gain more independence and freedom, they will often be drawn away from their families to other interests and activities. Emphasize that although other activities are useful and important to a young man, the family plays the central role in both time and eternity. Be sensitive to the different family situations of the young men you teach.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Family Is the Most Important Organization Now and in Eternity

Chalkboard

Explain that the world is filled with clubs, unions, and organizations of many kinds.

  • What are some organizations and clubs in our community?

List the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. Be sure the word family is on the list.

Discussion

  • Which organization on this list is the most important? (Help them conclude that it is the family.)

  • Why is the family the most important organization you will ever belong to? (Because it is eternal; it is God-given. We can develop our best habits and traits in the home.)

Quotation and discussion

President Spencer W. Kimball said, “The family is the basic unit of the kingdom of God on earth” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, p. 67; or Ensign, May 1978, p. 45).

  • Why do you think Heavenly Father has put us in families?

  • How can families help build up the kingdom of God?

  • How have you been blessed in being part of a family?

Chalkboard activity

Write the following titles on the chalkboard:

Family

Church

School

Other places

Read the following list of behaviors, and have the young men tell where they first learned each behavior.

  • to eat

  • to walk

  • to speak

  • to play

  • to pray

  • to love

  • to be friendly

  • to have faith

  • to be forgiving

  • to be thoughtful

  • to be kind

  • to be loyal

  • to be honest

  • to be clean

  • to be courageous

  • to be courteous

  • to be reverent

  • to show respect

  • to be helpful

  • How have you learned these things in your home?

  • How can you help your home be a better place?

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men mark and read 1 John 3:1.

  • What does this scripture tell us about our relationship with our Heavenly Father? (We are his sons, and he loves us.)

Have the young men read and mark Hebrews 12:9 to further emphasize this relationship.

  • In what way are we all brothers?

  • Besides here on earth, where else will there be families? (In the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.)

  • Why do you think it is important that family relationships continue after we die?

You Can Make a Difference in Your Family

Chalkboard and discussion

  • What must we do to help our family become an eternal, celestial family?

Write Sealed and Worthy on the chalkboard.

Story and discussion

Tell the following story of how one young man felt about the blessing of having his family sealed for eternity.

President Phillip Sonntag told this story about the time he was serving as a mission president in New Zealand. A new missionary told him that his family had been taught the gospel by missionaries while living in Scotland. Everyone had joined the Church but his father. The family later moved to Australia, where the young man grew up and was called on a mission.

When the young man was set apart, the stake president promised him that if he were faithful and worked hard while on his mission, his family would be unified in the gospel and would eventually be sealed in the temple. The young elder said he wanted that more than anything in the world.

In interviews with President Sonntag, the elder always asked, “President, am I a good missionary?” Finally, with three months of his mission left, the elder asked a different question, “President, why hasn’t my dad joined the Church?” President Sonntag assured him that the Lord would keep his promises. The elder said, “Well, then, I’m going to be a better missionary.” With tears streaming down his face, he added, “I’m going to work every waking hour so I can complete my part of the agreement.”

This he did, and he was instrumental in baptizing several families. The time passed quickly. One week before he left, the elders soon to be released were brought to the mission home for a special fireside with the mission president.

After the meeting the elder was very nervous and asked for another interview. President Sonntag took him into the bedroom, and the elder asked, “President, can I call my dad?” President Sonntag said yes.

The elder called two hours later, and his mother answered. After the excited greetings, the elder asked, “Mom, how is Dad?” His mother replied that she could see no change. After a pause, the elder said, “Let me talk to Dad.”

When the father came to the phone, the elder said, “Dad, I’ve worked as hard as I can, and I’ve been successful, but my mission means nothing to me if my own family is not united in the Church. So I challenge you to be baptized next Saturday when I get off the plane.”

There was a long wait, then the words, “Saturday, Son?”

“Yes, Dad. Saturday.”

Another long wait, then, “All right, my son. All right.”

The phone was hardly back on the hook when there was a shout for joy that nearly took the mission home roof off.

When the elder arrived at the airport the following Saturday, there was no one to meet him. Finally, the bishop arrived and assured him that everything was fine. They drove to the stake center, and when the bishop pushed back the door to the font, standing in his white clothes, already in the water, was his father. The elder put on his own white clothes, and with tears in his eyes, he raised his arm to the square and baptized his father.

They got dressed, and the elder confirmed his dad. Standing close by, the stake president said, “Elder, would you come into my office so I can release you as a missionary?”

  • What did the missionary do that showed he really cared about his family and wanted them to become an eternal family? (He wanted his father to be baptized. He loved his family. He worked hard as a missionary. He challenged his father to be baptized.)

  • What can you do to help your family become an eternal family?

  • What can you do to bring a spirit of love into your home?

Conclusion

Challenge

Explain that just as the missionary cared enough to do something to unite his family, so each young man can make a contribution to his own family.

Have each young man decide on something he will do to show he appreciates his family and wants it to be united. The project could be one that involves the whole family or singles out one member. Give each young man a slip of paper or a card to write down his commitment. Ask him to bring it to priesthood meeting next week and to be prepared to tell what effect it had on him and his family.