Lesson 4: You Are Called to Build Zion

"Lesson 4: You Are Called to Build Zion," The Presidents of the Church: Teacher’s Manual, (1996)


Objective

To help class members gain a desire to be pure in heart.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Bring to class cleaning materials such as a scrub brush, small broom, duster, or cleanser.

  2. 2.

    Obtain and prepare to display the picture Jesus at the Door (62170; Gospel Art Picture Kit 237).

  3. 3.

    Read Alma 17–19.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone told the following story:

“A few years ago, a father shared the following story with me. His oldest son had been attending Brigham Young University for approximately a year after his mission. During that year he had become engaged and was preparing to be married. About a week before his marriage, he went to Salt Lake City to spend an evening with his family. The father said, ‘He seemed very serious. He had always been so buoyant and filled with excitement. He was an absolute joy to have around.’ After about half an hour, the son went to his father and asked, ‘Dad, can I speak to you in the study?’ Usually, the father took his son to the study. The son waited until the father was inside, and then he closed the door (something the father usually did). Then the son went over and sat in the big easy chair, and the father was left to sit on a hard-backed chair. The father said that it was truly a role-reversal, and he wondered what he had done wrong. He said, ‘I felt like I was under the grilling lamp.’ Then the son said, ‘Dad, you know I am getting married next week.’

“The father thought tenderly about his son’s wedding and responded, ‘Yes, I know that, Son.’

“Then the son said, ‘Dad, I thought you and Mom would like to know I am as clean and pure as the day you brought me into this life.’ Tears glistened in his eyes, then tears glistened in the father’s eyes. He went to his son, hugged him, and kissed him on the cheek. He couldn’t speak because his heart was full” (Purity of Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], pp. 42–43).

Keeping a Holy Temple

Activity and discussion

Show the cleaning materials to the class.

  • If a special guest were coming to your house, how would you use these materials? If it were to be the visit of a very special guest, would you clean any differently? (Allow varied answers.)

Read Helaman 4:24, emphasizing that the Spirit of the Lord does not dwell in unholy temples.

  • What is meant in the verse by “temples”? (Their souls—body and spirit.)

Ask the class to think of their own souls and how clean they are. Ask them to decide for themselves if they are as clean as they would clean their houses if the prophet or the Lord himself were coming to visit.

Picture and scriptures

Have a class member read Revelation 3:20 as you put up the picture of Christ knocking at the door. Ask the class to think about whether they are ready to invite the Lord into their hearts. Read Matthew 5:8.

The Lord Desires a Pure People

Picture and discussion

Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:21 and write Zion—The Pure in Heart on the chalkboard. Ask the class members what they know about Zion. Review the following to explain that the Lord has always wanted to establish Zion on the earth:

  1. 1.

    In the days of Enoch, long before the flood, there were people who became pure enough that the Lord took them all up into heaven (see Moses 7:18–21; Hebrews 11:5).

  2. 2.

    John the Baptist was sent to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).

  3. 3.

    After the Lord visited the people of America, they became a righteous and pure people for about two hundred years (see 4 Nephi 1:1–49).

  4. 4.

    In the last days, the Lord has told us to “seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion” (D&C 6:6).

    • Why do you think the Lord wants people to be pure in heart? (Answers may vary; stress that we must be pure in heart to return to his presence.)

Discussion

Tell the story of Ammon (Alma 17:19–19:36; see especially Alma 19:33).

Ammon went to the land of the Lamanites to preach the gospel. He was captured and taken to the Lamanite king, King Lamoni. Ammon told King Lamoni he wanted to be a servant and work for him. Ammon saved the king’s flocks from being stolen and saved the king’s servants from being killed. When King Lamoni heard about Ammon’s courage, he sent for him. Ammon taught King Lamoni the gospel. Through the power of the Spirit, the Lord changed King Lamoni’s heart.

How Do We Become Pure in Heart?

Scripture discussion

Read Alma 19:33.

  • What does it mean to be pure in heart today? (Accept varied answers.)

Chalkboard and scripture discussion

  • How can we become pure in heart? What are some choices we make that affect how pure our heart is? (Lead the class to mention each of the following and write them on the chalkboard. Use the scriptures cited to emphasize how the Lord has given us guidelines to follow.)

    Choose worthy friends (see D&C 38:42; Alma 5:57).

    Study the scriptures (see D&C 26:1; Mosiah 1:7; D&C 11:21–22).

    Pray (see D&C 31:12).

    Shun even the appearance of evil (see 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

    Choose good books, magazines, TV programs, music, movies (see D&C 88:118).

    Be clean in thought and actions (see D&C 121:45).

  • How can each of these help us become pure in heart? (Answers will vary.)

How Can We Each Build Zion?

Discussion and chalkboard

  • How can we build Zion? What things can we do? (Write the answers briefly on the chalkboard. They should include the following):

    How Can I Build Zion?

    Be pure in heart.

    Be an example.

    Go on a mission.

    Serve in the Church.

    Raise a righteous family.

    Have personal integrity.

    Pay tithes and offerings.

    Love family and others.

Testimony and Challenge

Challenge the class to think about the things they do every day and then to do those things in a way that will help them become pure in heart. Challenge them to pray and ask Heavenly Father for help to become pure in heart.

Bear your testimony about the importance and blessings of being pure in heart.