The Lord taught Israel how to be holy. He emphasized that the priests were to perform their duties worthily. He also gave Israel instructions concerning certain feasts, rituals, and laws.
Note: Consider inviting the class to sing “More Holiness Give Me” (Hymns, no. 131) as part of the devotional or to conclude this first section of the lesson.
Before class, write the following question on the board: When have you had the chance to make a difference in another person’s life?
To begin, you might show an object or a picture that reminds you of a time when you were able to serve someone else. Share your experience and how it felt to be able to help someone in a meaningful way. Invite a couple of students to share about a time when they have had a chance to make a difference in another person’s life.
What are some blessings we receive when we serve others in a meaningful way?
Explain that being the Lord’s covenant people includes the opportunity and responsibility to serve others and bring them closer to the Savior. In the book of Leviticus, we learn that the Lord explained to Israel how they were to live so they would be able to make a difference in the world.
Invite a student to read Leviticus 19:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord wanted the children of Israel to live. Ask students to report what they find. You might want to suggest that they mark the phrase “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.”
Write the word holy on the board.
What does it mean to be holy?
Write on the board the following statement by Sister Elaine S. Dalton of the Young Women general presidency. (This statement is found in “Now Is the Time to Arise and Shine!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 124).
Invite students to consider, as they study Leviticus 19–20, how they can become more holy and thus able to make a difference in the world. Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we , then we can be holy like the Lord is holy.
Write the following scripture references on the board. Invite students to read two or three of the references and look for ways to become more holy. You may want to suggest that they mark what they find. As they find ways to complete the statement on the board, ask them to write their answers under the blank in the statement on the board.
When students finish listing the commandments on the board, ask:
Since the Israelites would soon be surrounded by the wicked practices of the world (the Canaanites), which of these commandments do you think would have set Israel apart the most from other nations? Why?
Explain that Leviticus 20:1–6 records the Lord’s warning to parents in Israel to protect their families from superstitions, evils, and irreverence. Invite a student to read Leviticus 20:7–8, 26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s summary of what we can do to be holy.
What can we do to be holy? (After students respond, fill in the blank on the board to emphasize the following truth: If we obey the Lord’s commandments, then we can be holy like the Lord is holy.)
Which of the commandments listed on the board have you heard taught recently? How are these commandments helpful in keeping Latter-day Saints holy and separate from the world?
The follow-up questions listed below are designed to help students think more deeply about some of the commandments they discovered in Leviticus 19. Answering these questions will give students an opportunity to understand these commandments and how obeying them can make a difference in others’ lives. Because there are more questions below than you will likely have time to use in class, prayerfully select only a few questions to use in your discussion. You might also consider asking students which of these commandments they would like to discuss further.
Leviticus 19:3. It pleases the Lord when we respect (“fear”) our parents. How does honoring our parents separate us from the world and make us more holy? Who do you know who stands out because they honor their parents?
Leviticus 19:11–13. In what ways does a person who chooses not to steal, lie, swear, or gossip stand out among youth today? (You may want to read with students pages 20–21 in For the Strength of Youth and ask them to look for ways they can be more holy in their language.) How can obedience to these commandments help you be better able to serve others?
Leviticus 19:18. Consider whether or not you are holding a grudge against someone. How might holding grudges affect our ability to be influenced by the Holy Ghost? Why is it important to love our neighbors as ourselves before we can serve them in meaningful ways?
Leviticus 19:28; 21:5. Why is it important not to follow worldly trends related to tattoos? How can respecting our bodies make us holy? (You may want to read pages 6–7 in For the Strength of Youth with the class, and ask students to look for reasons the prophets have given for asking Latter-day Saints to refrain from getting tattoos or body piercings.)
In what ways does our obedience to these commandments enable us to make more of a difference in the world? What experiences have you had or witnessed that help you know that those who are holy can make the most difference in the world?
Invite students to copy Sister Dalton’s statement from the board onto an index card or piece of paper and carry it with them through the day to remind them to be different from the world so they can better make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
Ask the following questions:
What should Aaronic Priesthood holders do with their hands before they administer the sacrament? (Wash their hands. If needed, you may want to read the following statement from the Church Handbook of Instructions: “Priesthood holders should wash their hands thoroughly with soap, a disposable towelette, or another cleanser before preparing, blessing, or passing the sacrament” [Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 20.4.1].)
Why should Aaronic Priesthood holders wash their hands? What could having clean hands before administering the sacrament symbolize? (If students have been introduced to the scripture mastery passage Psalm 24:3–4, you could use it to help them answer this question.)
Explain that Leviticus 21–22 contains instructions from the Lord for the priests of ancient Israel. Invite a student to read Leviticus 21:6, 8 and Leviticus 22:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s requirement for the priesthood holders to be able to participate in priesthood ordinances.
According to these verses, what does the Lord require of priesthood holders before they can participate in priesthood ordinances? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: Priesthood holders must be worthy to officiate in priesthood ordinances.)
Why is it important for priesthood holders to be worthy to officiate in their duties?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what priesthood holders should do if they are not worthy to participate in priesthood ordinances:
“If someone officiating in this sacred ordinance [the sacrament] is unworthy to participate, and this is known to anyone present, their participation is a serious distraction to that person. Young men, if any of you is unworthy, talk to your bishop without delay. Obtain his direction on what you should do to qualify yourself to participate in your priesthood duties worthily and appropriately” (“The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 40).
Remind students that not only do priesthood holders need to be worthy to officiate in gospel ordinances, but Church members should also be worthy to participate in the ordinances.
Summarize Leviticus 23–25 by explaining that the Lord gave the children of Israel more instructions about how to be separate and holy. Israel was instructed to observe certain feasts, rituals, and laws that would remind them of their covenant with the Lord.
Explain to students that a common part of covenant making in ancient times was listing the consequences for obeying or disobeying the covenant. Divide students into pairs. Provide a copy of the following handout to each pair. Instruct them to divide the verses, read them, and list the blessings and consequences for the Israelites’ obedience and disobedience to the Lord’s commandments.
If the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s commandments, then …
If the Israelites disobeyed the Lord’s commandments, then …
After sufficient time, invite students to indicate which blessings on their papers were spiritual blessings and which were physical or temporal blessings.
Based on what you have learned about how the Lord blessed the Israelites for their obedience, how will the Lord bless us if we are obedient? (After students respond you may want to suggest that they write the following principle in their scriptures: If we obey the Lord, we will be blessed both temporally and spiritually.)
Which of the blessings listed would you be most interested in receiving in your life right now? Why?
Invite students to report some of the consequences the Israelites would experience if they disobeyed the Lord.
You may want to share some of the temporal or spiritual blessings you have received because of your obedience to the Lord.
Summarize Leviticus 27 by explaining that the Lord gave instructions about properties that are consecrated to Him. You may want to suggest that students mark Leviticus 27:30, 32, which contains the Lord’s instructions to Israel about tithing.
You may want to invite a few students to share what they have learned today.