In part of the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed for the well-being of others. After the temple was dedicated, prophets from past dispensations conferred priesthood keys on the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, including the sealing keys.
Invite students to think about someone they know who is struggling or suffering in some way. After they have had time to think, ask the following question:
In what ways can you help relieve someone’s suffering?
After students have shared a few ideas, remind them that the Saints in Missouri had suffered greatly because of the violence of the mobs in Jackson County. Their fellow Saints remembered them at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Invite a student to read aloud the portion of the dedicatory prayer recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 109:47–49. Ask the class to follow along, looking for one thing we can do to help others during times of difficulty.
At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, what did the Prophet do for the Saints in Missouri?
Invite a student to act as a scribe. Ask the class to suggest a principle we can learn from the Prophet’s prayer in these verses. As students respond, the scribe might write the following principle: Our prayers can bring help and strength to those who are in need.
When have you felt or seen the power of prayer help someone in need? (You may want to point out that such prayers are sometimes answered through inspiration we or others receive about what can be done to help others. You may also want to share how you have seen this principle fulfilled in your life.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:50 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for other people the Prophet prayed for.
Who else did the Prophet pray for?
Why do you think we should pray for our enemies?
What can we learn from Doctrine and Covenants 109:50 about how our prayers can influence others? (After students respond, ask the scribe to write the following principle on the board: Our prayers can help influence people to repent. Then invite the scribe to be seated.)
Ask students to ponder the following question:
What if the people we pray for choose not to repent?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:51–53 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for phrases that acknowledge the Lord’s will and the agency of others. Invite students to report what they find. (Before the student reads these verses, you may want to explain that when the scriptures include statements about the Lord making bare His arm, they refer to Him showing His power.)
Invite a student to reread Doctrine and Covenants 109:53 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Heavenly Father will do for those who repent. (You may need to explain that God’s wrath is often expressed in the punishment or suffering we experience because of our sins, according to His justice. The phrase “when thou lookest upon the face of thine Anointed” refers to Heavenly Father’s willingness to grant mercy because of the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.)
Why will Heavenly Father turn away His wrath from those who repent? (Students may use different words, but help them identify the following principle: Because of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, Heavenly Father’s wrath will be turned away from those who repent.)
To help students visualize the description in verse 53, invite them to do the following:
Imagine a former member of an anti-Mormon mob standing before God to be judged. Now imagine that years before this person died, he truly repented and asked to be forgiven and redeemed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ has suffered for this person’s sins, Heavenly Father will turn away the punishment and offer mercy to the repentant sinner.
What attitude is necessary for people to sincerely pray that their enemies might have Heavenly Father’s wrath turned away from them?
Encourage students to develop this attitude toward those who have offended them or have caused them to suffer. Ask students to imagine such people standing repentant in front of Heavenly Father. Invite students to pray, as Joseph Smith did, for people who offend them or sin against them.
Remind students that at the end of the week of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, Jesus Christ appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the temple. Invite students to look in the section introduction of Doctrine and Covenants 110 and find the date of this vision. After they find it, explain that the weekend of April 3, 1836, was the Passover for Jews around the world. For centuries, Jewish families have left an empty chair at their Passover feasts based on a prophecy by Malachi in the Old Testament, anticipating the coming of Elijah to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:13–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled in the Kirtland Temple. Ask students to report what they found.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that Elijah conferred upon Joseph Smith “the sealing power of the priesthood, by which all things are bound in heaven as well as on earth. It gave the authority to Joseph Smith to perform in the temple of God all the ordinances essential to salvation for both the living and the dead” (Doctrines of Salvation, ed. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:118).
What are we offering to our dead ancestors when we help with ordinances in the temple in their behalf? (Consider writing the following principle on the board: We offer salvation to our ancestors when we do family history and temple work for them.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. You may want to provide students with a copy of the statement. Ask them to listen for a blessing that can come to those who assist in family history and temple work.
“Any work you do in the temple is time well spent, but receiving ordinances vicariously for one of your own ancestors will make the time in the temple more sacred, and even greater blessings will be received. …
“Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life” (“The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 93–94).
What blessings come to those who do family history and temple work?
When have you or someone you know experienced one of these blessings?
Invite students to consider what they can do to improve their efforts in family history and temple work.
To help students prepare for their study during the coming week, you may want to invite them to consider the following: How did The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receive its name? When was the law of tithing introduced? Explain that in the next unit they will learn answers to these questions and about how we can call upon God for help to stay true to our faith and covenants.