—President Spencer W. Kimball
Reverence is a feeling of love and respect for all that is sacred. We show this feeling in our words and actions. When we are reverent, we draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus.
IDEAS FOR LESSONS
Lesson 1: What Is Reverence?
Be sure family members understand that many people had been killed and that those remaining were frightened. They knew that the terrible storms and darkness were signs of Jesus’ death. Help your family imagine how the Nephites felt as they gathered around the temple and Jesus appeared to them. Read 3 Nephi 11:16–17. Let them discuss why they think the people fell to the earth. Point out the awe and reverence they must have felt.
Discuss with your family the meaning of reverence. Help them realize that it is more than being quiet. It is a feeling of love and respect for Heavenly Father, Jesus, and their creations, as well as for sacred places. It grows as we learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus and their love for us.
Read President Kimball’s definition of reverence: “We must remember that reverence is not a somber, temporary behavior that we adopt on Sunday. True reverence involves happiness, as well as love, respect, gratitude, and godly fear. It is a virtue that should be part of our way of life. In fact, Latter-day Saints should be the most reverent people in all the earth.” (We Should Be a Reverent People, [pamphlet, 1976], p. 4.)
Help family members to remember times when they have felt reverent. Remind them of situations such as thinking about Jesus during the sacrament, watching a beautiful sunset, walking through a quiet garden, seeing our prophet or listening to his voice, holding a tiny baby, listening to peaceful music, praying sincerely to Heavenly Father.
Be sure they understand that the feelings they have in such situations are part of being reverent. When we are quiet and respectful because we feel love for Heavenly Father and Jesus, we are being reverent.
Challenge family members to be especially reverent next Sunday in their Church meetings. Discuss this challenge before you go to Church, and also spend a few minutes when you return home to discuss how being reverent made you feel.
Lesson 2: Why Our Family Wants to Be Reverent
Discuss with your family why they want to be reverent, using the first part of Doctrine and Covenants 88:63: “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.”
Have your family list the blessings that come to them when they are reverent in Church, for example—
We can communicate with Heavenly Father.
We can learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus.
We can renew our covenants during the sacrament.
We can feel the Spirit of the Lord.
Help them to realize that these blessings are denied to them when they are irreverent.
Lesson 3: Creating Reverent Situations
You might hold an early morning devotional in a secluded place such as the mountains, seashore, or nearby park. After watching the sunrise, sing a hymn, read the scriptures, and have family prayer. Express your feelings of love for Heavenly Father and Jesus and all their creations. You could plan a similar experience after watching the sun go down on a summer evening and watching the stars fill the sky.
Lesson 4: Showing Reverence in Sacred Places
Discuss with your family the difference between Church buildings (temples and meetinghouses) and other buildings (office buildings, stores, schools). Church buildings are dedicated with special prayers and are often called Heavenly Father’s house or the house of the Lord.
Have the family list the sacred events that take place in meetinghouses and temples. Help them understand why we conduct ourselves differently in these places. Remind them that they are guests of Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Show how Jesus felt about being reverent in sacred places by reading or telling the story in John 2:13–16.
Print or write the following sentences or ideas of your own on small strips of paper and place them in a paper bag:
Running in the halls.
Thinking about Jesus during the sacrament.
Closing my eyes during the prayers.
Tearing or writing on pages of the hymnbook.
Whispering during the sacrament.
Listening to and trying to understand the speakers in meetings.
Wrestling or playing games with someone anywhere in the meetinghouse (except during organized games in the cultural hall).
Wiping my feet before entering the meetinghouse.
Teasing my little brother or sister during sacrament meeting.
Dropping paper towels on the floor of the rest room.
Have family members take turns selecting a paper and determining if the action is reverent or irreverent. Tell the family that you would like them to discard all irreverent actions. Put the papers with irreverent actions on them in a separate bag and discard.
Discuss the reverent actions and how they can help you express love for Heavenly Father and Jesus. Have each family member decide on a reverent action he would like to improve on. Have him write it on a slip of paper and commit to making it a serious goal.
Before leaving for Church meetings on Sunday, have family members read their commitment slips to remind them of what they are going to do. After the meeting, have them share how their actions helped them to feel more reverent.
If there is a temple nearby, plan to visit the grounds and visitors’ center. If you are a recommend holder, stop and think each time you enter the temple, “This is the Lord’s house.”
Especially for Young Children
Help your children understand that we show our love for Heavenly Father and Jesus by using our hands, arms, feet, eyes, lips, and heads in a reverent way when we are in sacred places and when we pray. It is easier to think loving, reverent thoughts when we are quiet. Draw from the children how each part of our body can help us to be reverent.
Hands and arms-–Fold during prayer, keep quiet in our laps, raise to take part.
Feet and legs-–Walk quietly, remain still.
Ears-–Listen to what is said, listen to the sacred music.
Heads-–Bow when prayers are being said and think about Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Eyes-–Watch the teacher, bishop, or anyone who is speaking.
Lips-–Speak quietly, smile, sing songs, pray, remain closed when someone else is praying.
Psalm 111:9 (Holy and reverent is his name.)
Doctrine and Covenants 76:92–93 (All things bow in reverence before God.)
Doctrine and Covenants 133:38–39 (Worship him who made heaven and earth.)
See also “Reverence” in the Topical Guide.
Songs and Hymns
“Reverently, Quietly,” Children’s Songbook, p.
“The Chapel Doors,” Children’s Songbook, p.
“O My Father,” Hymns,
“Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow,” Hymns,
“Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer,” Hymns,
“Reverence for God and Creation,” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).