Gospel Principles 40: Temple Work and Family History
My apologies! I was supposed to have this lesson (here it is on LDS.org as a reference) up a couple weeks ago and have kind of thrown things together, so please feel free to share your ideas in the comments. I’ve put questions I’d ask the class in italics; the rest of my thoughts are in regular font.
I had a hard time writing this lesson, so the lesson I would give (as seen below) is pretty unstructured. If you’d like a really thoughtful and well done lesson, you must check out mraynes’ lesson from 2009 here.
At any rate, this is a lesson that requires a lot of sensitivity—the majority of your class members are not going to have sealings to every member of their family. Some family members may not be members of the Church, some may have left, some may not be able to take on these ordinances. I would rely heavily on prayer and the guidance of the Spirit as you proceed and be prepared to gently moderate or mediate insensitive comments made by members of the class.
Start with a story about why you love (or why you have a hard time) with the temple.
For example, if I was teaching the lesson, I would share this:
I have always loved to go to the grounds of whatever temple I live near. I love the Arizona temple with Christmas lights, I love the Boston temple in fall and seeing the colors of the hills. Mostly, I just love going to a temple and looking at the lovely building and the well-maintained gardens. Sometimes, I feel like I experience as much peace and insight walking the grounds of the temple as I do if I go in and do a session.
What do you love about the temple?
What is hard for you about the temple?
I would let the class talk about this for a while…share the stories of what they love about the temple, brainstorm about things that are difficult. I think this can be done without discussion sacred aspects of temple worship and could be a time for the Spirit to guide the discussion.
I’ve never been in a temple class like this, and I can’t help but wonder what an unstructured lesson about the temple would be like.
Again, I’m going for unstructured here:
Because we believe that families can be together forever through the sealing powers of the temple, we believe it’s important to know and find our ancestors.
What do you love about Family History?
What is hard about Family History?
I feel like too much of a heathen to speak about doing Family History for temple ordinances, so I might invite the FH specialist to speak for a few minutes. Or, I would just share my own experiences with something like this…
I’m not so good at temple work for my ancestors, but I’m taking baby steps in the past couple years. One thing that has helped me is to do my Family History in the form of gathering stories. This has helped me see my ancestors as living, breathing, people who dealt with the same issues I do (and worse!).
Close with a testimony of the temple.
Note: This lesson was originally written for the Relief Society audience in 2010-2011, when the Gospel Principles manual was temporarily used as curriculum for Relief Society, Elders Quorum and High Priest classes. The lesson may require adaptation for Gospel Principles classes, which are mixed gender and primarily serve new members and investigators of the church.