Help family members appreciate the blessings of having the priesthood in the home.
Our Heavenly Father has great power, which is called the priesthood. By this power the heavens and the earth were created. Through this power, delegated to men, all the children of Heavenly Father can be blessed (see Abraham 2:1).
Every priesthood holder has the right and privilege to use this priesthood to lead and bless his family. Your children should grow up knowing the blessings of the priesthood.
If you do not have the priesthood in your home, you may receive the blessings of the priesthood through relatives, home teachers, and your bishop or branch president. Our loving Heavenly Father gave the priesthood to his children so that he could guide and bless us.
Bring a poster board or a large piece of paper and some markers or crayons.
“Come, Sing to the Lord” (Hymns, no. 10).
“I Thank Thee, Dear Father” (Children’s Songbook, p. 7).
Turn to Facsimile No. 1 in the book of Abraham.
What do you see? (Abraham is lying down on an altar. A wicked priest with a knife is trying to kill Abraham.)
Why did this wicked priest want to kill Abraham? (Because Abraham worshiped Heavenly Father and would not bow down to worship false gods made of stone or wood.)
Read Abraham 1:1–19 with your family; or, if your children are young, tell the story in your own words:
Abraham was a good man who tried to serve Heavenly Father all his life. He wanted one great blessing that he did not have. He wanted to have the priesthood because he knew it would help him to be a better servant of the Lord and would help him bless his family.
Abraham’s father could not give him the priesthood as righteous fathers do because he had forgotten Heavenly Father and turned to worshiping idols. Abraham’s father even let wicked men take Abraham and tie him to an altar like the one in the picture. There they were going to kill him. But Abraham cried out to Heavenly Father, who heard Abraham and saved his life.
Heavenly Father told Abraham to leave his father’s house and go away into another country. He promised Abraham the great blessing that Abraham most wanted, the priesthood of God. He also promised Abraham that through this priesthood all the families of the earth would be blessed. (See Abraham 2:6–13.)
Explain to your family that this priesthood or power of God that Abraham was given is the same priesthood that the fathers or sons in your family have. One of the reasons the Lord has given men the priesthood is so that they can bless their families. Every member of your family who is a member of the Church has had some blessings from the priesthood.
Let each person tell about a blessing he has received through the power of the priesthood. For example—
Talk about the blessings the children received as babies. Tell about the event, who attended the meeting, who assisted the father or gave the blessing, how the baby was dressed, and how the name was chosen. Any details you can remember will be fascinating to the child about whom you are talking as well as to other family members. Be sure to include an expression of how you felt on these occasions.
A family member who has been baptized and confirmed could tell about that experience and how he felt.
A family member could tell about receiving an anointing and blessing when he was ill.
Someone in your family could share his feelings about receiving a father’s blessing.
Share your feelings about going to the temple to be sealed if you have had a temple marriage, being careful not to discuss what goes on in the temple. You could tell how you are looking forward to this great blessing if you have not yet been through the temple.
You may want to tell the following story:
Tommy was getting ready to go to school for the first time. He had been excited about beginning school, but now that the first day had finally come, he was frightened.
Tommy was quiet all morning. His mother had made his favorite breakfast, but Tommy did not smile when he saw it. He picked up the spoon and tried to eat, but could not.
His mother asked, “Do you feel sick, Tommy?”
Tommy answered, “I think so. At least I don’t feel like going to school.”
Tommy’s mother felt his head to see if he had a fever. She looked in his throat, but it was not red. She said, “I can’t see anything wrong, Tommy. Show me where it is that you don’t feel well.”
Tommy said, “I just feel funny inside.”
Tommy’s father looked at him and said, “I think I know what might be wrong with you, Tommy. This is your first day of school. Maybe you feel funny inside because you will be away from home all day and you don’t know what to expect. Are you a little frightened? I know that feeling, too, Tommy. I had the same feeling when I started my new job last week.
“I can do something to help you if you would like. I can give you a special blessing before you go to school today. This blessing can help take away that frightened, funny feeling you have inside.”
“I’d like that, dad,” said Tommy.
Tommy’s father placed his hands on Tommy’s head and gave him a special blessing.
That afternoon Tommy came bounding in the door calling, “Mom, mom, I’m home.”
“How did you like school, Tommy?” asked his mother.
“Well, it was better than I thought it would be. My teacher is nice,” said Tommy.
“Dad said you would feel better after he gave you a special blessing, didn’t he? I’m glad your father knew just what to do to help you.”
Sharing these experiences should remind each family member what a great blessing the priesthood can be. The Lord has given us the priesthood because we are his children and he loves us. It is our Heavenly Father’s way of blessing his children, and he wants us to receive every blessing we are worthy to have.
Let the children make a poster that says, “The Priesthood Blesses Our Family.” Let each family member sign or print his name around the edges of the poster. Then write by each name the priesthood blessings that person has received.
Put up the poster somewhere so that your family will see it each day at dinner time. Discuss the different blessings during dinner each day.
Tell the picture story “Abraham Received the Priesthood” that accompanies the lesson.
Explain how your family has been blessed by the priesthood. Tell the children about the day they were blessed and given a name by a priesthood holder as suggested in the regular lesson. With younger children, this part of the lesson could be expanded so that you take time telling each child about his birth and your special love for him. Describe other priesthood blessings you may have had, such as a father’s blessing or a blessing during illness. Help the children realize that having the priesthood to bless them is like having Heavenly Father close by us all the time.
Tell the story “Tommy’s First Day at School,” and discuss it.
Let the children help you make and decorate a poster that says, “The Priesthood Blesses Our Family.” Put up this poster in your home where it can be seen at dinner time. Each night during the week, tell a bedtime story that illustrates some priesthood blessings.
[Abraham] was a good man who tried to serve Heavenly Father all his life. He wanted one great blessing that he did not have. [Abraham] wanted to have the priesthood. He knew it would help him to [bee] a better person and would help him bless his [families]. [Abraham’s father] could not give him the priesthood as righteous fathers had done. [Abraham’s father] had forgotten Heavenly Father and had turned to worshiping idols. Heavenly Father told [Abraham] to leave his father’s [house] and go away into another country. He promised [Abraham] the great blessing that [Abraham] most wanted, the priesthood of God. He also promised [Abraham] that through this priesthood all the [families] of the [earth] would [bee] blessed.
Turn to Facsimile No. 1 in the book of Abraham, and discuss what you see. Then read the explanation printed below it.
How did Abraham get into this perilous situation?
Read Abraham 1:5–7.
How was he rescued?
Read Abraham 1:15–18.
Abraham sought to have the priesthood but could not be ordained by his own father. Why?
When the Lord promised to give Abraham the priesthood, he declared that through this priesthood all the families of the earth would be blessed. Read Abraham 2:11.
Discuss some of the ways that the families of the earth have been blessed by the priesthood. Everyone in the Church has received blessings through the priesthood at some time in his life.
Can you trace the priesthood lineage in your family?
Who ordained the priesthood holders in your family?
Who ordained the men that ordained your family members?
Can you trace the priesthood lineage of the person who baptized you or set you apart to a position in the Church?
Ask each person to recall and share his feelings about at least one blessing he has received through the priesthood, such as the blessing of babies, baptism, confirmation, father’s blessing, blessing during illness, temple endowments, and temple marriage.
Conclude by having the oldest priesthood bearer in the family express his feelings concerning the use of his priesthood to bless those he loves. Introduce this by telling the following story:
Mike had graduated from school nearly a year ago, and he would soon be nineteen. All through the past year he had tried to decide whether to go on a mission.
Quite a few of his friends had already gone on their missions, and this is what bothered Mike most. It seemed to him that some of them had gone for the wrong reason—not because they were committed to serve the Lord, but to please their parents or girl friends. Mike wanted to be sure that if he went, he would go for the right reasons.
One Sunday evening after an inspiring sacrament meeting, Mike asked his father if they could talk privately because he had a problem on his mind that he would like to discuss.
His father said, “Why not right now?” The two of them went into Mike’s room and shut the door.
Mike and his father talked for quite a while about all the things that had been bothering Mike. Then his father asked, “Mike, would you like a special blessing to help you?”
“Yes, I would,” Mike answered.
Later that night as Mike said his prayers before going to bed, he told the Lord again that he wanted to be sure that he was really committed to serve so that he could feel good about going on a mission. He expressed his love for the Lord and thanked him for his good family and all the other blessings he had received throughout his life. Suddenly he had a warm, good feeling come over him. He knew in his heart how much his Heavenly Father loved him. As he arose from his knees, the words kept going through his head over and over again, “I want to serve the Lord. I want to serve the Lord.” Mike knew what to do.
Discuss any future events in your family where a priesthood blessing might be appropriate, such as leaving home for college, mission, work, or marriage; the birth of children; or special assignments or responsibilities. Counsel each family member to remember to call on the priesthood bearers in the home for blessings on these special occasions. Sharing the spiritual experiences of giving and receiving blessings through the priesthood will strengthen and unite your family.
Tell the following experience that Elder Hugh B. Brown had before becoming an Apostle and member of the First Presidency:
“I was at one time an army officer. As such, I became accustomed to having men stand at attention and salute me and call me ‘sir,’ and frankly, I liked it.
“Often men came and asked for favors—perhaps a furlough or a leave or some thing that they thought I could grant—because they knew that I was an officer of the King [of England] and that I had the right to speak in his name. And so as they came I handed the ‘blessings’ down to them and I became more haughty and self-important with each event.
“One day a messenger came to my hotel just off Piccadilly Circus. He said, ‘You are wanted immediately in the hospital.’
“I thought, ‘Well, here is another boy that wants something. I will go down and see what is wanted.’
“I called a taxi and went to the hospital.
“When I arrived the doctors stood at attention and saluted, and that fed my ego. The nurses treated me with great respect and that pleased me even more.
“They directed me to a little room and as I pushed open the door, I saw an emaciated young man lying on a cot. I recognized him as a former Sunday School student of mine in Cardston, Canada.
“When he greeted me, he did not use my rank in his salutation, but simply said, ‘Brother Brown, I sent for you to ask if you would use your authority in my behalf.’ (I thought, ‘Well, this is what I expected. What does he want?’)
“‘Brother Brown,’ he said, ‘you know I have a widowed mother; I am her only son; the doctors say I cannot live; will you give me my life!’
“I thought, ‘My goodness, the King of England can’t give him his life. To what is he referring?’
“Then he startled me with a request: ‘Will you administer to me!’
“At that moment … my uniform, with the insignia on it, seemed to melt away, and I stood before that young man in a uniform with insignia indicating authority. I could not have worn that uniform, which was next to my skin, if I had not had some authority given to me. I stood there thinking of that authority, and I was humbled but inspired.
“I went over to his cot and knelt beside him. I put my hands on his head and said, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the holy priesthood, I bless you and promise you that you will get well and return to your mother.’ God honored that promise.
“I went into that hospital a proud British officer, and I came out a humble Mormon elder. Ever since then I have earnestly tried to remember that there is a power and authority given to man, not from the king or the president, but from the King of Kings, and if we live properly and do not forget that we have been so endowed, we may exercise that authority in behalf of those who need our ministration.” (Be What You Will to Be, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 14 Feb. 1967], pp. 8–9.)
Where did Moses receive his authority to call Aaron to do the Lord’s work?
The Lord followed this same procedure when he was himself on the earth. Have someone read John 15:16. Discuss how priesthood holders are organized into offices to do the work for which they are called (see chapter 14, “Priesthood Organization,” Gospel Principles , pp. 85–93.)
Adapt this lesson to the age levels of family members.
Prepare your family for special occasions when priesthood ordinances or blessings will be given, such as for baptisms, ordinations, or patriarchal blessings. Use the appropriate lesson from the section “Special Occasions,” lessons 27 through 37.
Use a magnifying lens to demonstrate the meaning of the word magnify.
What is magnified when men honor and use their priesthood? (Their lives and service.)
Have family members suggest ways that callings in the priesthood can be magnified. If there are Aaronic Priesthood holders in the home, ask them to think of their priesthood duties and how they can magnify their callings. Review Doctrine and Covenants 20:38–67.
Discuss how honoring his priesthood all the time will prepare a priesthood holder to bless his family when some emergency or special event takes place (see D&C 121:36).
Priesthood leaders have the responsibility to teach, advise, and counsel us as well as to preside over meetings and perform ordinances. We can turn to them for help when we have difficult problems.
Discuss with your family how home teachers, bishops or branch presidents, stake presidents, and General Authorities fulfill these functions.
You may wish to use wordstrips with the priesthood offices printed on them. As you discuss each office, attach the wordstrip to a poster or flannel board. Or you may wish to use a chalkboard. Have family members suggest ways they can honor the priesthood that the officer holds (such as seeking, listening to, and following their leaders’ counsel; reading conference addresses; or sustaining priesthood officers).
Recall examples of counsel and advice from priesthood leaders that have blessed you and your family.
These suggestions work best with teenagers and adults.
Have family members who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood describe one or two of their responsibilities for serving other people. Then have them describe how these scriptures apply to the way they carry out those responsibilities.
If there are no priesthood holders in your family, discuss how to apply these scriptures as leaders, teachers, or family members. Be careful not to allow any criticism of priesthood leaders.