By Kerry Smith
Years ago when my oldest son was a preschooler, he was our family’s best “temple spotter.” Wherever we went, he loved to excitedly point out, “Temple!” We lived in Idaho at the time and made frequent visits to Utah, along the Wasatch Front. So he had many opportunities to find these beautiful, sacred buildings.
Fast forward to now and his younger brother often shares his excitement for temples as we travel and stop to visit various temple grounds.
Perhaps your children are often just as excited and “love to see the temple,” as the favorite Primary song goes.
Many church members live near temples, and an ever-increasing number will soon have that blessing. Whether you live near a House of the Lord or not, it’s important to teach about these sacred buildings and their unique purpose with your children. Here I share a few references you might consider for your next Family Home Evening or home gospel study lesson.
Teach about the Tabernacle
This year as we study the Old Testament, there are several opportunities to discuss the Tabernacle, which the Children of Israel centered their communities around. The sacred structure was so vital to their focus that it traveled with them as they often moved.
Your family can better picture the Tabernacle through this video. Watch it together and talk about how this structure was used before permanent temples were in place. Scriptures from Exodus 25-30 offer helpful insight.
Introduce King Solomon’s Temple
Once the people no longer moved so much, a king named Solomon built a temple on permanent ground. It was built of the best materials: gold, silver, and other metals. Skilled carpenters carefully crafted many details into furniture and the building itself. Click here to see an image of this temple you can share with your children.
Keeping information simple for children to understand will also help to hold their attention. This article is helpful if you retell some of the highlights in an interesting way for younger children to understand. This video also offers a great visual to understand what you’ve read.
The Bible teaches about more ancient temples. They were destroyed as wicked rulers and people fought to gain power and freedoms. Elder James E. Talmage (1862-1933) wrote an excellent history of temples if you’re interested in learning more
Spotlight the Kirtland Temple: First Temple of the Restoration
Fast forward to modern days, and the Lord once again asked that a temple be built on the earth. In December 1832, the prophet Joseph Smith sought revelation regarding temple construction. He knew about the Tabernacle and previous temples used anciently but wasn’t sure how this new building should be constructed with the materials and resources available to the poor Latter-day Saints in Ohio.
The Lord listened and told them exactly how it should be done. This Primary lesson provides helpful information for all ages to understand how this temple came to be.
Show How Modern-Day Temples Dot the Earth
Today we live in exciting times! We have hundreds of temples on the earth now. Through donations from church members, we are able to construct and maintain these beautiful buildings that are admired and visited in many lands across the globe.
Watch this short video to see just how wonderful it is to have so many temples everywhere!
As of April 2022, President Russell M. Nelson announced 17 new temples, bringing the total of temples constructed, under construction or remodel, and announced to 282 temples worldwide!
Feel the Joy As a Family
There are so many ways to share the peace and joy we experience inside the temple with our children and family members. Knowledge of temple history is certainly helpful to understanding how God has placed them upon the earth and why He continues to “dot the earth” with them.
“Each temple is symbolic of our faith in God and an evidence of our faith in life after death,” says President Nelson. “The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church.”
Prepare for the blessings of the temple with your family as you learn and grow together.
Kerry Griffin Smith enjoys uplifting those around her. She is a former writer and editor for Church Magazines. You can find her sharing impactful, clean books at mrsladywordsmith.com.