Lesson 18: A Heritage of Righteous Traditions

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 65–68


Each young woman will seek to establish a heritage of righteous traditions.


Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Distinguishing between Righteous and Worldly Traditions

Teacher presentation

Ask the young women to think of one thing they enjoyed repeatedly as young children in their families, perhaps something they still enjoy. The list may include such things as family outings, books read aloud, birthdays and holidays, handmade gifts received and cherished, or special attention from Mother or Father. Point out that those things we do repeatedly are known as family traditions. Those things we do repeatedly that bring us closer to God and closer as a family are called righteous traditions.

Point out that there are worldly traditions that can lead us astray, but traditions that are in accordance with the gospel of Christ can have a great influence in leading family members to truth and righteousness. Point out that almost all people have both good and bad traditions. An important part of growing up is learning to tell the difference between them and deciding which traditions we want to carry on and what new ones we want to start.

Righteous Traditions Are Established by Developing Good Habits and Achieving Worthwhile Goals

Teacher presentation

Point out that good habits or family traditions can become the basis for righteous traditions in the families we will have in the future. We should set worthwhile goals, develop good habits, and be alert to situations that may be used to establish righteous traditions.

Chalkboard discussion

  • What personal habits do you practice, or could you begin practicing, that could become righteous traditions for you and your future family?

List the young women’s responses on the chalkboard. Then discuss the ways each suggested habit can become a righteous tradition now and in their future families, for example:

  1. 1.

    A young woman who has daily personal prayer will naturally make family prayer a part of her family’s daily schedule.

  2. 2.

    A young woman who faithfully attends church meetings will want to take all of her family members to church with her.

  3. 3.

    A young woman who keeps a journal will be reminded of meaningful experiences or events that could develop into family traditions.

  4. 4.

    A young woman who reads the scriptures each day will likely continue this practice after she marries and encourage her family members to do the same.

  5. 5.

    A young woman who willingly participates in gospel study on Sunday and in family home evening will want to establish these righteous traditions in her own home.

Teacher presentation

Emphasize that even now the young women can set goals in their daily lives that will carry over into adult life and become family traditions.

Story and discussion

Tell the following story about how President Spencer W. Kimball established a righteous tradition when he was young:

When President Spencer W. Kimball was fifteen years old, he heard a speaker at stake conference ask how many people had read the Bible from cover to cover. Only five or six hands went up, so the speaker urged the people to go home and begin. “The meeting over, Spencer walked the block home, took down the family Bible, climbed the stairs to his attic room, lit the coal-oil lamp with a match, and began at Genesis. Night after night, by the flickering light of a kerosene lamp in the unfinished attic where he slept, … he plowed through the pages. At some points Spencer had only half an idea what he was reading, but he had made up his mind. It did not matter if long stretches were boring; he plodded on. He was sure it was a worthwhile project. At least he would have some idea what the Bible contained. He kept at it for about a year until he could shut the book with great pride, finished. The experience built his confidence. He had learned he could count on his own resolution” (Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1977], p. 56).

  • How did President Kimball establish a righteous tradition in his life? How might this have affected his children and grandchildren?

Have the young women suggest more habits and goals from which righteous traditions could grow, or have class members tell the stories listed below and describe how these ideas could be used to begin righteous traditions.


  1. 1.

    Marta is a young mother who decided as a teenage girl that she wanted her children to know the blessing of giving to others. Each Christmas she and her family find a family who is in need. Together they decide what gifts to give and present them with concern and love.

  2. 2.

    Jenny’s father established a tradition of taking a basket of fruit, a box of baked goods, or a meal at least once a year to each widow living in the ward. Now, as an adult, Jenny recalls that tradition fondly and says, “My father has passed away, but the widows in the ward still have a special place in my heart. My own family continues my father’s tradition, not only at Christmas, but periodically throughout the year.”

  3. 3.

    The Martin family chooses a scripture as their family motto each year. This year they chose Doctrine and Covenants 90:24. Whenever family members need a spiritual lift, the scripture encourages them.

  4. 4.

    People of any age can make a list of goals for the new year. One family does this each New Year’s Day. The father writes down the goals each family member has named and reads the goals each one made the previous year. Then they evaluate whether the goals have been reached.

  5. 5.

    Sister Camilla Kimball told the following story: “On Christmas Eve we have a special family gathering. It is my pleasure to read the Christmas story as found in Luke, and then the children and grandchildren dramatize the story. The children love to act the parts. Last Christmas President Kimball dressed in a costume we had brought from Palestine, representing Joseph, while I dressed in the typical native dress of a Jewish woman, which we had also brought from Jerusalem, and represented Mary. I am sure our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will long remember the story which they then acted out of the first Christmas Eve” (in Conference Report, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden Area Conference 1974, p. 58).

Teacher presentation

Explain that traditions can be started by choice or by chance. But our habits and goals very often give them their start.

Righteous Traditions Are Treasures That Influence Us and Our Posterity

Teacher presentation

Point out that family traditions help us feel that we belong to our families. They are things to anticipate and depend upon. Traditions can build happy memories and influence not only us but our posterity as well. We may want to preserve and pass on some of the traditions we remember. We can give our own children experiences that they will remember with the same joy we feel about the traditions in our heritage.

Throughout the history of the Book of Mormon, prophets admonished the people to believe in the righteous traditions that had been taught by their parents. The teachings of King Benjamin became part of the righteous traditions of his people.

Scripture discussion

Have the young women read Mosiah 26:1–4. Discuss what happened to the rising generation who did not understand or believe the traditions of their fathers. Reread verse 4, and discuss how the behavior of the unbelieving people affected the generations that followed.


Explain that maintaining righteous family traditions requires desire and effort. Read the following warning by a former General President of the Relief Society: “Family patterns and traditions are sacred. However, regardless of how well-established and beloved they may be, they are not indestructible. Often selfishness, an unkind word, an altered circumstance can cause them to collapse, never to be rebuilt or reclaimed. So we aim not only to build, but to preserve” (Belle S. Spafford, Women in Today’s World [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1971], p. 232).

  • What are some traditions in your family that you would like to maintain through the coming years?

  • Why are these traditions important to you?



Read the following: “The challenge to each one of us, a challenge we came to the earth to experience, is to choose between good and evil. Many traditions in our society lead us to sin, while others lead us to righteous conduct. If we place ourselves on the side of righteous traditions and if we allow them to have an influence in our lives, we can be strengthened in our testimonies and in our receptivity to the Spirit. If, however, we give ourselves over to the wicked influence of evil traditions, we make it more difficult for the Spirit to find a place in our hearts” (James T. Duke, “The Traditions of Their Fathers,” Ensign, Nov. 1972, p. 41).

Lesson Application

Suggest that the young women set a goal or develop a habit that can become a tradition in their own future families.