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Why are ordinances important in my life?

An ordinance is a sacred, formal act that has spiritual meaning. Ordinances are performed by the authority of the priesthood and under the direction of those who hold priesthood keys. Ordinances help us remember who we are and remind us of our relationship with God. They help us come unto Christ and receive eternal life.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What do you feel inspired to share with the young women to help them understand the importance of ordinances?

Matthew 3:13–17 (Baptism of Jesus Christ)

Acts 19:1–6 (Paul rebaptizes individuals who had not been baptized correctly)

3 Nephi 11:21–26 (Jesus Christ gives authority to baptize and instructs about the proper procedure)

Moroni 8:10–12 (Mormon teaches about baptism)

D&C 84:19–21 (The power of godliness is manifest in the ordinances of the priesthood)

Articles of Faith 1:3–5 (Ordinances are essential for salvation)

David A. Bednar, “Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 59–62

Gary E. Stevenson, “Your Four Minutes,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 84–86

Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings,” Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 20.1

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

Video: “Faith in the Power of the Priesthood”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Write the word ordinance on the board, and ask the young women to suggest definitions of this word (if they need help, refer them to the paragraph at the beginning of this outline). How would the young women respond to someone who says that ordinances are not necessary? (If the young women need ideas, they could refer to the section titled “The Holy Ghost and Priesthood Ordinances” in Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins.”)
  • Ask the young women to list as many ordinances of the gospel as they can think of. Help them identify which ordinances on the list are essential for exaltation (if they need help, they can read “Ordinances” in True to the Faith). Why did Heavenly Father give us these ordinances?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women understand why ordinances are important. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • In Elder David A. Bednar’s talk “Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins,” the section “Obtaining and Retaining a Remission of Sins through Ordinances” describes the blessings of the ordinances of baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament. To help the young women learn about how these ordinances can help us, invite each young woman to pick one ordinance and list everything she learns about it from this section. Then invite the young women to teach the rest of the class what they learned in a creative way—perhaps by using pictures or playing a game.
  • Invite a guest speaker or a young woman who has accomplished something significant to share what the requirements of the accomplishment were and how she fulfilled them (perhaps she received a Personal Progress award, earned an academic achievement, or successfully auditioned for a part in a play). Then invite the young women to read the paragraph beginning with “In the same way” from Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s talk “Your Four Minutes.” How are ordinances like the requirements the guest speaker shared? You could also read the rest of Elder Stevenson’s talk, looking for what else he teaches about ordinances.
  • Review as a class the list of four requirements for performing ordinances in section 20.1 of Handbook 2. Invite the young women to read 3 Nephi 11:21–26 and identify how these requirements are met in the Savior’s description of baptism. Ask them to think of an ordinance they have witnessed recently and describe how it met these four requirements. What happens if an ordinance is performed without meeting these requirements? Ask the young women why it is important for them to know about these requirements.
  • Invite the young women to imagine that they are teaching someone of another faith about baptism, and he or she says, “I was already baptized in my church.” How would the young women help this person understand, in a sensitive way, why he or she would need to be baptized again? What scriptures or experiences would they share? You may refer them to the list of requirements in section 20.1 of Handbook 2; Matthew 3:13–17; Acts 19:1–6; 3 Nephi 11:21–26; or Moroni 8:10–12. If possible, invite the full-time missionaries to attend the class and share how they explain to their investigators the importance of ordinances (obtain permission from the bishop first).
  • Share with the class the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball: “Ordinances serve as reminders. That is the real purpose of the sacrament, to keep us from forgetting, to help us remember” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 112). Ask the young women to list the ordinances of the gospel (such as those on pages 109–10 of True to the Faith) and discuss what each of these ordinance helps us remember.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the importance of ordinances? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could: