Show the children a picture of a temple, and invite them to share what they know about temples. They could also talk about how they feel when they see a temple.
Ponder how you can use these verses to help the children understand how important the temple is to the Lord—and how important it should be to all of us.
Have a child read (D&C 88:119). Pass out the word strips
Re-read Doctrine and Covenants 88:119 aloud, and have the children display the phrases in order as the scripture is read
Why is it important that the Lord’s house be all these things? What are some things we could do to make our homes like this?
Have the child (or children) who selected each paper suggest one way children can help their homes have the quality described. (For example, “I can make my home a house of prayer by participating reverently in personal and family prayers” or “I can make my home a house of order by putting my clothes and toys in their proper places.”) Then let the other children make additional suggestions.
Scriptural and Historical Accounts
In December 1832 the Lord commanded the members of the Church to build a temple in Kirtland, Ohio. They were to “establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
The Saints were very poor and they knew the temple would cost a lot of money, so they did not start building it right away. Six months later they still had not started building the temple. In June 1833 the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith
that he was displeased with the Saints for not starting to build his house. The Lord said the Saints had committed “a very grievous sin” by not obeying this commandment (D&C 95:3). The Church members repented of their delay, and four days later men began hauling stone and digging trenches in preparation for building the temple.
Give each child a piece of paper and a crayon or pencil. Ask the children to each draw a picture of a temple, and give them a few minutes to do so. Let each child display his or her picture to the rest of the class.
It probably was not too hard for the children to draw a temple because they know what temples look like. They have seen temples or pictures of temples. However, when Joseph Smith was commanded to build a temple, he had never seen a temple or even a picture of one. The Lord revealed the plans for the Kirtland Temple to the Prophet Joseph in a vision.
Joseph Smith asked some of the other Church leaders how they thought the temple should be built. Some said it should be made of logs, while others said it should be of wooden boards. Joseph said, “Shall we, brethren, build a house for our God, of logs? No, I have a better plan than that. I have a plan of the house of the Lord, given by himself; and you will soon see by this, the difference between our calculations and his idea of things” (quoted in Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, p. 230). The plans for the Kirtland Temple were shown to the First Presidency of the Church—Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams—in a vision. Frederick G. Williams reported that the Lord told Joseph to gather with his counselors, and the Lord would show them how to build the temple (see D&C 95:14).
Picture 5-25, Kirtland Temple
Why was the Lord displeased with the Saints in June 1833?
Why did the Saints wait to start building the temple?
Have you ever delayed doing something you knew you should do because you were afraid or did not know how you would accomplish it? Let the children tell about any such experiences they want to share.
What did the Lord promise the Saints if they kept his commandments? (D&C 95:11.)
What did he say would happen if they did not keep his commandments? (D&C 95:12.)
What does the Lord promise us if we keep his commandments? What happens if we do not keep his commandments?
The three men knelt to pray, and they saw a vision of the temple. First they saw the outside, and then the building seemed to pass over them and they saw the inside. Frederick G. Williams said that when the Kirtland Temple was completed it looked exactly as it had in the vision. During the building of the temple someone tried to get Joseph Smith to change some of the design, but Joseph insisted that the temple be built just as it appeared in the vision.
The Kirtland Temple was not exactly like today’s temples, where families are sealed for time and all eternity and work is performed for the dead. It was more like a special meetinghouse where the Saints held their Church meetings. The Lord told the Saints exactly how big to build the temple (D&C 95:15). It was 110 feet from the ground to the dome. The temple was built of stone, and the outside walls were covered with plaster. Inside, the main floor had three ascending rows of three pulpits each at both the east and west sides. The rows at one end of the floor were the Melchizedek Priesthood pulpits, and the rows at the other end were the Aaronic Priesthood pulpits. The seats in the room were reversible so that the audience could face either direction.
What were some of the purposes of the Kirtland Temple? What are some of the purposes of temples today?
(Have each child choose an object. As you mention each item while relating the historical account, have the child display on the chalkboard. After you have finished the historical account, discuss how each of the items represents something the Saints sacrificed to help build the temple.)
Because the members of the Church were so poor
, they had to sacrifice much to build the Kirtland Temple. Almost all the men who could work and who were not away on missions helped build the temple. Joseph Smith was foreman in the quarry where the stone for the walls was cut. On Saturdays the men who had horses and wagons hauled stone
from the quarry to the temple site so the stonemasons would have enough stone to work with during the week.
Emma Smith supervised the women of Kirtland in sewing clothing
for the temple workmen. The women also made carpets and curtains of white canvas
. The curtains were hung from the ceiling of the temple and could be used to divide the large rooms on the first and second floors into smaller rooms. Curtains were also hung above the pulpits to provide privacy when needed.
Many people worked on the temple every day
. Because they were giving all their available money to build the temple, sometimes the workers did not have very much food or nice clothing to wear. Daniel Tyler recalled:
“How often have I seen those humble, faithful servants of the Lord, after toiling all day in the quarry, or on the building, when the walls were in [the] course of erection, weary and faint, yet with cheerful countenances, retiring to their homes with a few pounds of corn
meal that had been donated. And, in the case of those who lacked a cow to give a little milk, the corn meal was sometimes, for days together, all that they and their families had to subsist upon. When a little flour, butter or meat came in, they were luxuries. Sometimes a little … molasses … would be donated, but oftener the hands had to seek a job elsewhere to get a gallon or so, and then return to the labor on the temple” (quoted in Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland: Eyewitness Accounts, p. 161).
Church leaders and members prayed for help to finish the temple. One way the Lord answered their prayers was by sending some wealthy members to Kirtland. These members had enough money to pay back the money Church members owed to the bank, so the bank did not take ownership of the temple.
Church members had to protect the temple from mobs trying to destroy it. Some men got very little sleep because they worked on building the temple during the day and then sat up guarding the temple with their guns at night. The mobs also threatened the lives of the Prophet and other Church leaders. Oliver Huntington, Joseph Smith’s bodyguard, told about one incident:
“At a time when Joseph Smith was guarded day and night by his brethren from mob violence … he was in a log house at night. Several brethren were with him and were making arrangements as to who should stand guard that night.
“Joseph was listening to the prayer of a little boy in the room adjoining. The boy prayed for the Prophet, that he might be secure and safe from his enemies, the mob, that night.
“When the boy had done praying, Joseph turned to his brethren and told them all to go to bed and all sleep and rest themselves that night, for God had heard and would answer that boy’s prayer. They all went to bed and slept safely until morning undisturbed” (quoted in Anderson, p. 165).
The members of the Church collected broken dishes
and glass to be put in the plaster so that the temple would be more beautiful. When the temple was finished, the plaster on the outside of the temple sparkled when the sun shone upon it.
The Lord commanded the Saints to build the Kirtland Temple because he needed a place where he and other heavenly messengers could come to restore essential keys of the priesthood. The Saints also needed a place where they could meet together and learn from their leaders. Building the Kirtland Temple was a great task, but the members worked hard and had faith that the Lord would help them do what he had asked them to do. By March 1836 the temple was ready to be dedicated.
Display the pictures again, discuss how each of the items represents something the Saints sacrificed to help build the temple.
on the chalkboard again.
What sacrifices did the Saints in Kirtland make to build the temple?
What sacrifices have you seen members of the Church today make to attend the temple?
What sacrifices have you made for the Church?
What sacrifices might you be asked to make in the future to help build the kingdom of God?
Help the children understand that Zion is not just a place; it is also “the pure in heart” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:21).
Invite the children to read Doctrine and Covenants 97:21, and ask them what the word “pure” means. To illustrate, show them a glass of clean water, and discuss why it is important to have clean water. Add something to the water that makes it impure (such as dirt or pepper). Invite the children to read Doctrine and Covenants 97:21 again and put their finger on the word “pure.”
What does it mean for our hearts to be pure?
Help the children understand that being pure in heart doesn’t mean we never make mistakes.
What can we do to become more pure in heart?
How does the Savior help us?
Invite the children to use this week’s activity page to share with their families what they learned today about the temple.