Elder Quentin L. Cook talked about the joy of doing family history work and preparing for the temple in his April 2016 General Conference talk, “See Yourself in the Temple.” I’ve created a family home evening lesson plan that you can use with your family to discuss this important topic.
“The combination of increased numbers of temples and advanced technology to fulfill our sacred family history responsibilities for our ancestors makes this the most blessed time in all history.” – Elder Cook
Elder Cook challenged us to “honor the Savior and make any necessary changes to see ourselves in His sacred temples. In doing so, we can accomplish His holy purposes and prepare ourselves and our families for all the blessings the Lord and His Church can bestow in this life and eternity.”
Elder Cook starts off his talk by telling how many temples there were when President Monson was called as an apostle. Kids will have fun finding out how many temples there were when they were born. Use the chart within the lesson plan to figure it out! The PDF below has everything you need to do this family home evening lesson. You can read some of the lesson excerpts below!
Click here to download the lesson plan document with all the activities and printables included. The coloring pages in the document are from the LDS.org family history coloring pages for children.
Lesson for Younger Children:
Elder Cook said, “When President Monson was called as an Apostle in 1963, there were 12 operating temples in the world. With the dedication of the Provo City Center Temple, there are now 150.”
How many temples were there when you were born? Use the chart to find your birth year and see how many temples there were. If many temples were dedicated that year, use the temple dedication dates to find out how many temples there were on your exact birthday.
Now Heavenly Father has blessed us with even more temples than when you were born!
What are temples for? (Helping families be together forever.)
Have you seen the baptismal font inside the temple baptistry? Show the picture of the baptistry from the Gospel Art Book (GAB 121)
This is not where you get baptized at age 8 – that takes place in a stake center or church building with a baptismal font. If someone is not baptized when they are 8, and they die without ever getting baptized, they can still live with Heavenly Father again if someone does their baptism by proxy in the temple, in this baptismal font.
Do you know how old you have to be to be baptized for someone else in the temple?
You can do baptisms for the dead when you are 12 years old. This is a very special service that you can do for people who have died because they can’t do it for themselves. Many people in the spirit world are waiting for us to help them. Heavenly Father loves all his children, even those who are not baptized. In the spirit world, missionaries teach people who have died. Then they can choose to accept or reject the baptism that is done for them in the temple.
Share an experience about the first time you went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Tell if you had to travel far away or if you lived close to a temple. Consider telling about a grandparent or ancestor who had to travel far to visit a temple. … (Read and print the rest of the lesson plan here)
Lesson – Older Children
Elder Cook said, “When President Monson was called as an Apostle in 1963, there were 12 operating temples in the world. With the dedication of the Provo City Center Temple, there are now 150, and there will be 177 when all announced temples are dedicated. This is cause for us to humbly rejoice.”
How many temples were there when you were born? Use the chart above to find your birth year and see how many temples there were.
How many temples were there when Mom and Dad or Grandpa and Grandma were born?
Share a story about going to the temple for the first time, or another special temple experience. Possibly share about grandparents’ or ancestors’ experiences going to the temple. Did they have to travel far?
Choose an ancestor who was a convert and find out how many temples there were when they joined the church and how many when they died.
Why do you think there are so many temples now?
Elder Cook said, “The Lord has prospered our people and provided the resources and prophetic guidance so we can be valiant in attending to our temple responsibilities for both the living and the dead. The combination of increased numbers of temples and advanced technology to fulfill our sacred family history responsibilities for our ancestors makes this the most blessed time in all history.
What prophetic guidance has the Lord given us about temple and family history work?
-It’s our greatest responsibility. “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.” – Joseph Smith
-Family History and Temple work are part of the work of salvation. “Preaching the gospel and seeking after our dead are complementary parts of one great work—a labor of love intended to change, turn, and purify the hearts of honest seekers of truth. … This is one great work of salvation.” – David A. Bednar (Missionary, Family History, and Temple Work)
-Doing temple work for our own ancestors brings blessings. “If the youth in each ward will not only go to the temple and do baptisms for their dead but also work with their families and other ward members to provide the family names for the ordinance work they perform, both they and the Church will be greatly blessed.” – Quentin L. Cook (Roots and Branches)
What resources has the Lord provided for us to do temple and family history work?
-Temples closer to us
-Highways, roads, cars, and other transportation to get to the temple
-Computers and internet
-Microfilm scanning technology to put family history records online
-Volunteer indexers who help make the family history records searchable online
-The church’s family history website, FamilySearch.org, where you can request family names for temple work
–Free subscriptions for members of the church to “partner” websites – Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, FindMyPast.com, American Ancestors.com where you can find more historical records and information about your ancestors
Elder Cook told this story: “Several years ago in a temple in Central America, the wife of one of our now-emeritus General Authorities… (Read and print the rest of the lesson plan here)
Choose one of these ideas:
– Make “See Yourself in the Temple” mirrors: draw a temple outline on a hand mirror with a dry erase marker and let each child look in the mirror to see themselves in the temple. You can order vinyl stickers for creating your own “See Yourself in the Temple” here
We sell vinyl wall words for your home or any other type of decoration. Choose from our list of sayings, colors, fonts, or design your own just how you want it.
– “I see myself in the temple” craft – glue a picture of yourself onto construction paper. Cut, paste, then fold the temple printable so that it opens to show your picture inside.
For more inspirational family history and temple ideas from April’s General Conference, read my post here: 12 Things I Learned about Family History and Temple Work from General Conference.
These LDS bloggers have shared their favorite talk as well. Join us in making the messages of general conference part of your life!
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