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What spiritual truths can I learn from the ordinances of the gospel?

Ordinances are sacred, formal acts performed under priesthood authority. Ordinances symbolize gospel truths and teach us about Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Ordinances also teach us about who we are and remind us of our duty to God. Learning about the symbolism in the ordinances helps us understand the gospel more completely and strengthens our faith in Jesus Christ.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What can the youth learn from the symbolism in the ordinances of the gospel?

Luke 22:19–20; 3 Nephi 18:1–11 (The sacrament represents the body and blood of the Savior)

Romans 6:3–6; D&C 76:51 (Baptism by immersion symbolizes the death and resurrection of Christ and our own spiritual rebirth)

D&C 84:19–22 (The power of godliness is manifest through the ordinances of the priesthood)

Boyd K. Packer, “The Holy Temple,” Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2010, 29–35

Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Ordinances and Covenants,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 20–26

Remembering the Savior and His Atonement,” True to the Faith (2004), 147–48

Ordinances,” True to the Faith (2004), 109–10

Comparisons and Object Lessons” in Teaching, No Greater Call, 163–64

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Invite any youth who has had an opportunity to explain a doctrinal truth to a friend to share the experience with the class.
  • Ask the youth if any of them or their family members have received an ordinance recently (such as baptism, ordination to the priesthood, or temple ordinances). Encourage them to share their experiences. What impressed them about the ordinance?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the youth find spiritual truths in the ordinances of the gospel. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Divide the class into two groups. Assign one group to study about what baptism symbolizes, and assign the other group to study about what the sacrament symbolizes, using the scriptures and other resources (such as those suggested in this outline). What do these ordinances teach them about the Atonement? Ask each group to teach what they learn to the rest of the class. They could use pictures 103–4 and 107–8 in the Gospel Art Book. Ask the youth how understanding the symbolism of these ordinances will affect their thoughts and feelings the next time they participate in the ordinances.
  • Invite the youth to read the section titled “A Way to Know God” from Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander’s talk “Ordinances and Covenants,” looking for answers to the question “What do the ordinances of the gospel teach us about God?” Ask them to share what they find. Encourage them to ask themselves this question the next time they witness or participate in an ordinance and write down their thoughts and impressions to share in a future class.
  • As a class, read “Comparisons and Object Lessons” in Teaching, No Greater Call, 163–64. Ask the youth to look for reasons the Lord teaches us through symbols. What are some of the eternal truths or principles that the Lord teaches us through the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament? Encourage the youth to look for answers to this question in the scriptures listed in this outline or in the entries on baptism and the sacrament in True to the Faith.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they understand how to find spiritual truths in the ordinances of the gospel? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

  • Suggest that youth attend an upcoming baptism and confirmation. How will the things they learned today affect the way they think about baptism? About partaking of the sacrament?
  • Share your testimony about the power of the ordinances of the gospel.