This course of instruction is designed to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepare to receive temple recommends and attend the temple. Members who have previously attended the temple may also take the class to learn more about the temple.
Participants in this course should desire to go to the temple and be worthy of a temple recommend. If they have not yet received a recommend, they should be preparing to receive one.
If participants have not yet taken a Sunday School class that discusses the Gospel Principles manual, it is recommended, but not required, that they do so before taking this course. Before taking this course, they should have a reasonable understanding of basic gospel doctrines and principles and a willingness to obey the commandments of God, such as the law of chastity, keeping the Sabbath day holy, the Word of Wisdom, and the law of tithing. Worthiness and striving for personal righteousness are necessary for participation in temple ordinances.
Under the direction of the bishop or branch president, the ward or branch council may discuss ways to use the course as part of their efforts to strengthen families and help men prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Each participant should receive a personal invitation to attend the class from the bishop or branch president or another Melchizedek Priesthood leader in the ward or branch.
Time and Place
The classes for this course may vary in size, but they should usually be taught in small groups on the ward or branch level. Classes may be taught at the meetinghouse or in a home. The place, time, and frequency of the instruction should be convenient for the participants and the instructor.
The material is divided into seven lessons. However, instructors should spend as much time as the class members need on each lesson. This may require more than one time period for each lesson.
Each class member should have access to the scriptures in class. Each person should also have access to a copy of the booklet Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple (36793), which is the student supplement for this course. It is frequently referred to throughout the lessons, and class members should be asked to read it during the weeks the course is presented.
Individuals or married couples may be called to teach this course. Instructors should have strong testimonies of the gospel and be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit. They should be endowed members who have current temple recommends and who understand the importance and sacredness of what transpires in the temple.
When possible, the instructors should accompany the participants to the temple when the participants receive their temple ordinances.
Suggestions for the Instructor
Before Church members enter the temple, they should be spiritually ready. As part of this preparation, they should have sufficient understanding of the doctrines relating to the plan of salvation and temple work. You have the privilege of helping others in this preparation, leading to one of the most sacred experiences of their lives. Be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can present the lesson material in a way that is best for the participants. Remember the Lord’s counsel: “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14).
Read this manual from beginning to end before the first lesson so you will understand how the material fits together. Prepare each lesson well in advance so that you will understand the ideas and be able to present them well. As you teach the lessons, be sure that participants fully understand the ideas before moving on. Do not hurry through the lessons. Be patient and allow participants to think through the messages and respond to them.
Before each lesson and at any time during the lessons, provide opportunities for class members to ask questions and discuss ideas. Help them to apply the principles they learn in their lives. Answer questions by using the scriptures, the teachings of the latter-day prophets, and the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord.
Throughout this course, remember the sacred nature of temple ordinances. As explained in the following statement, some aspects of temple work are not to be discussed outside the temple:
“We do not discuss the temple ordinances outside the temples. It was never intended that knowledge of these temple ceremonies would be limited to a select few who would be obliged to ensure that others never learn of them. It is quite the opposite, in fact. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience. …
“The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared” (Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, 2).
Work to strengthen your own testimony of the temple, and testify to your class often about the truth of the principles you teach. Also provide opportunities for the class members to bear their testimonies as appropriate.
Always remember the vital importance of temple work. Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission into His presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 27; or Ensign, May 1987, 24).