The teaching materials for this learning experience on “Marriage and Family” are divided into three parts. In part 2, students will study paragraphs 8.1 and 8.4 of this doctrinal topic in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. They will learn about the covenant of celestial marriage, and they will study the doctrinal mastery scripture passage found in Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4. Part 2 also includes a practice exercise that will help students apply what they learned.
Note: You could teach the segments and practice exercise of this lesson in a single class session or over the course of several class sessions. If you choose to teach the segments and practice exercise over the course of several class sessions, you may need to briefly review with students what they learned in previous segments before you teach a new segment.
Note: This segment discusses the importance of eternal marriage in God’s plan. Because some students come from families that have not yet experienced this ideal, share with the class the following statement from President Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995) before teaching this segment: “No blessing, including that of eternal marriage and an eternal family, will be denied to any worthy individual. While it may take somewhat longer—perhaps even beyond this mortal life—for some to achieve this blessing, it will not be denied” (“The Church Is for All People,” Ensign, June 1989, 76).
Bring a seed to class, or display a picture of a seed for the students to see. Tell the students what kind of seed it is.
What does this seed have the potential to become?
What must happen in order for the seed to fulfill its potential? (It must be planted and nourished with water and sunlight.)
Refer students to the second sentence of paragraph 8.1 in the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document. Invite a student to read this sentence aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what must take place in order for us to fulfill our eternal potential.
What must take place in order for us to fulfill our eternal potential? (Invite students to consider marking the key statement of doctrine in their copies of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: Only by entering into and faithfully keeping the covenant of celestial marriage can a man and a woman fulfill their divine, eternal potential.)
What do you think it means for us to enter into and faithfully keep the covenant of celestial marriage? (To be sealed to your spouse eternally in the temple, and to keep the covenants that were made with your spouse and Heavenly Father.)
Invite students to turn to Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4. Explain that this doctrinal mastery passage helps teach the key statement of doctrine that men and women must enter into and keep the covenant of celestial marriage in order to fulfill their divine, eternal potential. Invite students to consider marking this passage in their scriptures in a distinctive way so they will be able to locate it easily.
To help students understand the context of this passage, explain that Doctrine and Covenants 131 includes teachings the Prophet Joseph Smith gave on May 16, 1843, to a husband and wife who had been sealed for eternity. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Prophet Joseph Smith taught about eternal marriage and the celestial kingdom.
You may need to explain that the phrase “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage” (D&C 131:2) refers to the covenant of eternal marriage, which is now performed only in temples. This covenant is described as “new” because it was revealed once again through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the dispensation of the fulness of times. It is called “everlasting” because it will endure through eternity for those who enter into it and are faithful to its terms and conditions.
What do you think it means to obtain the highest degree of celestial glory? (Explain that this refers to exaltation, or becoming like our Heavenly Father.)
What do you think it means that those who are not exalted cannot have an increase? (Explain that this means that only those who inherit the highest degree of celestial glory can have eternal posterity.)
What are some things that might prevent people from choosing to get married in the temple?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995):
“In the temple we receive the highest ordinance available to men and women, the sealing of husbands and wives together for eternity. We hope our young people will settle for nothing less than a temple marriage.
“Just as baptism is a commandment of the Lord, so is temple marriage. … It is part of our destiny. We cannot fulfill our ultimate aims without it. Do not be satisfied with anything less” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter , 210).
What are some of the most important reasons why we should not be satisfied with anything less than a temple marriage?
What are some things you can do now to ensure that you settle for nothing less than a temple marriage in the future?
Testify of the importance of a temple marriage. Encourage students to commit now to be worthily sealed to their spouse in the temple.
Review with students the three principles from the “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge” section of the Doctrinal Mastery Core Document: act in faith, examine concepts and questions with an eternal perspective, and seek further understanding through divinely appointed sources.
Provide each member of the class with the accompanying handout. Invite a student to read aloud the scenario in the first two paragraphs of the handout.
After a student reads the scenario, divide the class into three groups. Invite each group to read together the statement by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, which follows the scenario in the accompanying handout. Ask the groups to look for how President Eyring’s statement illustrates the specific principle of acquiring spiritual knowledge that they are assigned below:
Group 1: Look for ways that President Eyring invited us to act in faith.
Group 2: Look for ways that President Eyring examined this issue with an eternal perspective.
Group 3: Look for divinely appointed sources that President Eyring used in his discussion of this concept.
Ask students to be prepared to share what they find and to think of how their findings might have helped bring peace to the young man in the scenario.
Note: You may want to adapt the following scenario according to your students’ experiences and needs. You may also want to substitute names that are more common where you live.
When students have finished studying, ask volunteers from each group to report on what their group discussed about their assigned principle for acquiring spiritual knowledge. After the activity you might also consider inviting students to discuss other ways that they might invite Robert to use any of the three steps for acquiring spiritual knowledge as he seeks to find answers to his question.
Note: The following review activities are not intended to be taught during the same class session as this lesson—“Marriage and Family, Part 2.” Please present these activities during seminary class sessions that take place after you have taught this lesson, but before you teach “Marriage and Family, Part 3.” These short reviews can be taught at the beginning or end of classes in which you teach a regular sequential scripture lesson from the Doctrine and Covenants. Be sure that each of these reviews takes no longer than five minutes, so as not to take away from the scripture block students will be studying in class.
Show a picture of a man and a woman in front of a temple, and ask:
What are some things we have learned in seminary about marriage?
Ask students to recall which doctrinal mastery scripture passage in the Doctrine and Covenants helps teach the following key statement of doctrine: Only by entering into and faithfully keeping the covenant of celestial marriage can a man and a woman fulfill their divine, eternal potential (D&C 131:1–4). Invite a student to read this passage aloud. Then invite students to suggest ways that they can remember this doctrinal mastery passage and what it teaches.
Write the following key statements of doctrine about marriage and family on the board:
When students have found both scripture passages, invite the class to read them aloud. Then give students the remainder of this review time to silently read and become more familiar with these passages.