I did a Sharing Time a couple of years ago about the temple. I gathered images of nine different temples and connected them with personal stories: these were temples where I had been endowed, or performed baptisms for the first time, or where I was sealed. As usual, the personal stories connected well with the Primary children!
It was meaningful to me to gather my temple worship into a kind of timeline, and these places of worship became a family history capsule. I wanted to share it here, partially to record the stories. I think it would make a great sharing time or family home evening to put together your own “Temple Timeline.” A beautiful way to capture the steps on your covenant path. Even if, somehow, the same temple has been your home temple for all of the ordinances and endowments for you and your family (is this even possible?) it would be lovely to collect these same stories with historic photos of that temple over the years.
Bern, Switzerland Temple
The first temple in my story is the Swiss Temple! This is where my parents were sealed. My mother was living in Germany with her family, who were fulfilling a building mission with the church. My father was serving in the military in Germany during the Vietnam war. He was stationed at a detox/rehab unit for addicted GI’s. They met and married in the Swiss temple, arriving back in America only after giving birth to my older brother Jeremy! Welcome home!
The Swiss temple was the first temple built outside of America, and was the 9th operating temple. It was built with audio-visual capabilities designed to serve multiple languages, a huge innovation for temple worship.
Frankfurt, Germany Temple
My Opi, Henry A Haurand, helped build the Frankfurt and Stockholm temples as part of his work in the church building department. Later he and my Omi served as temple president and matron of this temple. They carefully oversaw the building of the temple as well as the temple president’s quarters (you can see them in this photo: the cream colored timber-framed home in between the spire and the temple itself is where the temple president and some temple workers live) with careful consideration for the needs of the temple president and his wife. Then they were able to take advantage of these careful plans themselves! What a sweet blessing.
The white building on the right with the black roof is a dormitory for temple attendees who often travel great distances and speak many different languages to attend the Frankfurt temple.
I visited the Frankfurt temple on a month-long backpacking trip across Europe with my friend Beckie. After spending several days on trains and in youth hostels, coming to the temple to rest, perform baptisms, and eat sauerbraten in the temple cafeteria was a sweet relief.
The 41st operating temple, the Frankfurt temple in many ways represented a full-circle restoration and healing for the European saints who had suffered through World War II.
Provo, Utah Temple
The next temple that deeply affected my life was the Provo temple! My family moved to Provo, Utah for high school (go Bulldogs!) and we lived just above the temple. As a teenager I used to run from my house, circle the temple with it’s grueling uphill grade, and make it back up the hill. I don’t think I ever made it without walking some part of the way. I used to drive by this temple every day on my way to school and attended a handful of early morning testimony meetings on the upper temple grounds with our Seminary classes. This is also the temple I visited for the first time for baptisms and for my endowment. It has always felt like home to me.
The 15th operating temple of the church, the Provo temple is well known for it’s high volume and efficiency. Located just east of the main Provo MTC, missionaries and BYU students alike keep the temple humming day and night. After Randy and I were married, in fact, we attended this temple every other week! Even though there are sessions every 20 minutes, it was not unusual to wait for an hour or more in a completely filled chapel to have a turn to participate in a session. I compare every other temple to Provo in terms of efficiency and performance.
San Diego, California Temple
On December 28, 1995 Randy and I were married in the San Diego temple! It was a 72 degree day: absolutely perfect in every way. Randy and I drove together to the temple in our Toyota Camry: I remember that Randy forgot his tuxedo shoes. I also remember that this is the most nervous I have ever seen Randy! Just before the ceremony, my Opi met with us. It was a quick meeting: short and to the point as German’s are wont to do. This was not long after my parents’ divorce and so my family was still figuring out how to negotiate all the complications of a divorce. The Davis family was extraordinarily gracious and helpful and with their help Randy and I were able to savor our marriage and sealing.
This is also the first temple we attended with our son, Josh, who received his endowments here in 2017.
San Diego was the 45th operating temple and the 3rd temple in California (after Los Angeles and Oakland). The temple is well known for it’s unique, symbolic architecture (princess castle!) and location. It is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in the world.
Denver, Colorado Temple
After graduating from BYU, Randy and I moved to Castle Rock, Colorado! The Denver temple was only 30 minutes from our home. It is a smaller temple. This was the first temple where I attended with Primary children (to tour the grounds together). As a young couple with two children, it was a time of our lives where we learned to build the temple into our lives as we grew and stretched into the roles and expectations of parenthood and adulthood. We spent time here serving was ward missionaries, so I also have meaningful memories of attending with members who were experiencing the temple for the first time.
Denver was the 40th operating temple.
Salt Lake City, Utah Temple
In 2003 we followed a job back to Salt Lake and moved into Emigration Canyon. This meant that we were in the Salt Lake City, Utah temple district. I grew to love the live sessions at the temple, which, in my opinion, allow for a depth of personal interpretation and more clear understanding. I also grew to love the convoluted dressing and waiting rooms! It’s quite a maze in the temple basement.
Salt Lake is the fourth operating temple, after St. George, Logan, and Manti temples. It is often used to represent temple worship throughout the church. The temple was dedicated on April 6, 1893—three years before Utah became a state in 1896.
Draper, Utah Temple
In 2007 our family moved to Sandy, Utah where we enjoyed the Jordan River temple. Several years later the Draper, Utah temple was announced and our stake was the in the Draper temple district. It was not the first temple dedication I had attended, but it was the first dedication where we were asked to be involved! I was asked to narrate a tour bus ride up to the temple for a few days. I was serving in Primary and we were able to take our Primary children to attend a tour before it was dedicated. This was the first temple I toured with my children! Josh loved the painted ordinance rooms. This is also the first temple where I became well acquainted with the baptistry: I served in YW and we took the youth once a month to early morning baptism sessions. The baptistry is extremely well-designed for the process and is a huge blessing to those of us worshipping in those rooms.
Draper was the 129th operating temple and the 12th built in Utah, obviously happening during the middle of a great building boom of temples across the church. The sego lily is a theme for the temple, carried as a motif from carpets to windows.
Oakland, California Temple
Twist! In 2012 our family moved to Half Moon Bay, California! Suddenly we lived an hour and half away from the closest temple, a beautiful compound on the top of the hill, across the city, and over a bridge from our home. It served as a refuge for us as a couple as we struggled through big changes in our life and family far from any home we had known. We also loved the familiar tone and established feeling of the grounds: for some reason the Bay Area does not excel at landscaping! But the temple grounds, of course, are lovely: flowers in season, well groomed grass, and beautiful trees. In fact, many families bring their daughters in their Quinceanera dresses and limousines to the temple grounds for professional photographs! There is a sign in the grass near the front of the temple announcing “No photos!”
The 13th operating temple, Oakland was second in California, after Los Angeles. Although it’s not designed with a clear style, it undoubtedly displays unique Art Deco influences.
Los Angeles, California Temple
Somehow our current temple is always my favorite. I love the expansive, solid nature of the LA temple in Santa Monica. It’s architecture expresses the optimism of a westward expanding Mormonism in the mid-20th century: the ordinance rooms are huge, the locker rooms are huge, the lawns are sprawling. We are here to stay. I recently discovered from my grandmother that my dad and his family travelled here for the temple dedication! He would have been four years old. My grandmother remembers the long drive. As only the 10th operating temple, the occasion would have been monumental.
Interestingly, the LA temple is where Randy first attended as the San Diego temple was not yet open. He received his endowment just before his mission to Guayaquil Ecuador in 1992. His parent were also married here, just a year after opening. It all comes full circle, yes?
LA is the 10th operating temple, the first one in California. World War II delayed the construction of the temple for many years.
Kurt Francom has spent years researching and interviewing Mormons about their experiences leading at church and then packaging it all into easy-to-digest podcasts and classes over at Leading LDS.com. It’s a unique resource for members seeking to serve more effectively.
Late in December Kurt interviewed me about my years as a Primary leader–my first podcast! You can listen here or search LeadingLDS in your podcast app. Want to know what my voice sounds like? Want to know more about me and how my faith in the LDS church developed? Have a listen. It gets a little more personal than I expected, but I’m happy to share it with you.
As a side note, Kurt is looking to include more auxiliary leaders (women!) so if you know a great Primary, YW or Relief Society president, please get in touch with Kurt and REPRESENT our auxiliaries. If you want your voice to be heard, you have to speak 🙂 Get out there, friends.
I put this together several years ago when the Home Teaching message was about President Monson. President Monson set apart my Opi to be a temple president. He performed that ordinance with much of our extended family present and clearly took great joy and delight in the moment. My husband and I also ran into him many years later at a dinner at Grand America. He passed by my husband, who is 6’4″ and shook our hands, telling him “I wouldn’t want to guard you on the basketball court.” His bodyguards, at least two of them, laughed and hustled him onward.
He was a true servant of the Lord and I will miss him.
I love this quote of his that I read this morning on Facebook: “Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life.”
Thomas Spencer Monson
I am thrilled with the newly announced Temple and Priesthood Preparation meeting, which takes the place of the Priesthood Preview. After discussions with our ward council today, we are making plans to hold ours in early February. The imagery I’m working on is pulled from the title of Quentin L. Cook’s talk referenced in the handbook. Below you’ll find this same image on a half page, designed to be formatted into a printed program that you could fold in half and hand out at your event.
I wanted to put together a couple of different color variations together. Here’s one in full color. You’ll need to design and print your own interior program. Just FYI, the fonts I used were Pacifico (the swirly “Roots and Branches” font) and Avenir.
And here’s one in blue and white.
I also put together quarter page invitations in all three colors, meant to be printed front to back. There are six pages: two are in the black and white, two are full color, and two are blue and white. Just print what you need. I left the date, time and location for you to fill in with a pen! I like the low tech customization: I think it’s kind of personal and also super flexible.
The doctrine outlined in the talks and references recommended for this meeting is quite dense. The best way to prepare for this meeting is to read all of the talks and scripture references! I especially love Dallin H. Oaks talk from 2014, The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood.
I’m interested both in simplifying the recommended resources and making them practical. We plan to invite the bishopric, YM and YW presidents, all 11-year-olds turning 12 in 2018, all the current Beehives, all the current Deacons, and members of the Primary presidency.
For the program:
Opening Song and Pianist: (we always have the youth choose the music, play the piano, and act as chorister)
Opening Prayer: Beehive class member
Thoughts from the Primary: Roots and Branches, Primary Presidency. (This is the most untested and undefined part of the evening. I’m sharing notes about what I think I’ll say, but, like all of us, this is new to me! I’ll adjust this after we hold our first evening if it turns out differently.)
Personal story of my grandparents: my Opi was a convert to the gospel. I will likely share a photo as well.
We are blessed in the church of Jesus Christ to understand the importance of roots: roots that deeply connect us to Christ through the power of the priesthood. For some of us, these roots are intertwined with the faith of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, who also find steadiness and strength in the gospel. These roots connect us to each other and to our faith.
But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more than that. Our roots connect us to the ancient prophets, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Our spiritual roots connect us to the house of Israel, Noah, Enoch, and our first parents Adam and Eve. We are all blessed with roots that connect us to the pioneers who sacrificed everything to establish the kingdom of God: their own Zion in the mountains. We are connected to these prophets and saints through the holy priesthood of God.
Having this kind of root system means that our branches can reach the greatest heights!
With these kinds of roots, we have what we need to make sealing covenants in the temple of God. Our branches can reach as far as they need to go to connect our past with our future. It sounds like a really big deal because IT IS.
You started making covenants with Heavenly Father when you turned 8. Turning 12 in our church means you’re ready to do more! You’re ready to serve more: serving our ancestors by doing baptisms at the temple. In this way, you’re taking care of the roots.
But you’re also at the age when you’ll be getting the chance to serve more in our ward. You’ll have more assignments and responsibilities and you’re old enough that you can (and should) be looking for ways you can pitch in and help. Looking for ways to help is a big part of serving in the kingdom of God. The power of the priesthood will help you serve those around you, whether you’re officiating in priesthood ordinances or utilizing the power of the priesthood to fulfill your duties. When you’re serving those around you, that is part of taking care of the branches.
Past and present, present and future: it’s all connected through the power of the priesthood of God.
You’ll hear more about these responsibilities, covenants, and privileges from our YM and YW leaders tonight. I know you are ready for more and I know you can find it here in our church community.
In closing… (I always talk a little bit about how this graduating class is special–in what ways they are uniquely gifted and challenged. Usually I leave them with 1 or 2 pieces of counsel: things I think their class especially needs to hear or would benefit from. I love giving this message! So I will include some of these thoughts here: personal thoughts on what I love about the class (big personalities, bright and inquisitive, curious or obedient) and what I think about their potential.)
Priesthood Preparation: YM Presidency member over Deacon’s Quorum or YM President. (Generally, we anticipate that this message will include an overview of priesthood authority. My husband is actually the second counselor in the YM in our ward: he is over the deacons. So I asked him to write up what he think he would say! He’s brilliant. Here’s a link to his thoughts.)
Priesthood Duties: Deacons Quorum (This portion always includes a visit to the sacrament table in the chapel. The Deacons Quorum president explains the procedures and practices of sacrament preparation and passing. We will continue this pattern, as this information is valuable for both boys and girls.)
Temple Preparation: YW President or presidency member. (Generally, we anticipate that this message will include an overview of the covenant path, from baptism through endowments, through sealings.)
Temple Baptisms: Beehive Presidency (We’ll include temple baptism clothing and practical tips for how to prepare for a youth temple trip. The Beehive president will explain procedures and practices of baptisms by proxy at the temple.)
Thoughts from the Bishop:
Closing Prayer: Deacon Quorum member
Our ward chooses to hold a Baptism Preview. One of the ways we keep the focus on the ordinance of the baptism during this meeting is by separately discussing the programs and activities which also begin at age 8. After a mostly spiritually centered fireside, we close the meeting for refreshments and *at the back of the room* we have two tables set up: one for Activity Days and one for Cubs. Kids and parents can stop by these tables and pick up literature and talk to the leaders of those programs.
In the same way, the Temple and Priesthood Preview could quickly become procedural if we start discussing Personal Progress and Duty to God. Rather than focusing on the details of these programs, we’ll have three tables set up in the back of the room: one for Personal Progress, one for Duty to God, and one for Scouting. After our more spiritually oriented presentation, families can stop by these three tables and chat with leaders about how these goal-setting programs can help support Temple and Priesthood blessings.
We’ll also be giving out small gift bags with a couple of helpful church booklets:
At our Priesthood Preview we typically hand out Duty to God booklets, For the Strength of Youth pamphlets, and True to the Faith booklets. For our girls we’ll switch out the Duty to God for a Personal Progress booklet and keep the other two. Tying things back into our Roots and Branches imagery, here’s a full page that you could print and use as tags. I’ll use these tags, below, and tie them on to the little paper gift bags we send home with the kids at the event.
I created this visual myself: feel free to use, photocopy, and share.
I really love the work Rosalynde did here in thinking through how to present Temple and Priesthood Preparation to her Primary children. Very thoughtful and inclusive. Check it out if you’re looking for a different approach: I love hers as well.
This year we hosted a Career Night for our Cub Scouts and Activity Day children. We combine all the 8-12 year old children for this kind of activity about once or twice a year. This is something I plan way in advance with our Cub and AD leaders and it replaces a pack meeting or activity.
For the event, we invited four members of our ward to talk about how developing talents through school or other work is meaningful. We had a Disney artist, a firefighter, a marketing manager, and a TV production assistant (we are adjacent to Los Angeles, ha ha). I prepped our visitors with four questions:
1) Name and what you do (include dad/mom/family here as well)
2) What was your very first job? or What was your favorite job?
3) What kind of preparations did you do for your job (or whatever kind of work/life you’re doing)
4) What other talents and skills have you developed that make you more useful in the kingdom of God?
Even though the kids are only 8-11 years old, I really wanted to drive home two ideas. 1) Education and preparation is important. 2) The more you can do, the more helpful you can be. Plan to develop a variety of skills that you can use at work, home, and church.
I began the night with the idea that our life is a long journey and you’re going to have to cover long distances. If you have a pair of sneakers, you’re going to be better prepared to walk a long way. If you are even better prepared and you have a bike, you’re going to go a lot farther a lot faster. If you’ve really put in the time, saved the money, and are willing to do the work you can get a CAR. This will take you much farther and it will even allow you to take others along with you. When you are well prepared with schooling and hard work, you will be well prepared to go as far as you need to go and take friends and family with you!
We set up the room so that each child was sitting at table with a chair (seminary meets in our room during the week, so we have these cool thin tables available). We gave each kid the worksheet above to doodle on and fill out during the interview, along with some colored pencils. It’s large: 11×17 because I wanted something a little different and memorable for the kids to work on.
I put together a flyer to advertise our event that I’m sharing here just in case you want to use it. The PDF below has a blank blue box (no pizza icon, either). You’ll have to add your own text in PDF or some other kind of image editing software.
I also enlarged and reprinted all of the icons you see above for our event and taped them up to a rolling whiteboards that we have in our building. You can see them above, behind our panel. They served as backdrop for our speakers. There are 20 of them and they are available below. I didn’t create these icons: the original artist is www.freepik.com and I got them at www.ﬂaticon.com.
If you’re interested in something a bit more sophisticated, check out this Career Interest Survey
. It’s better suited for ages 12 and up, in my opinion. Check it out, though, if you’re looking for something a bit more complex.
We have a fun tradition with the Primary with whom we share a Primary Room: they meet right after us on Sundays in the same room. On program day, we leave treats for each other! A small candy treat or poster wishing the other ward Good Luck or Congratulations! It’s fun. This year my counselor left Starburst for the kids: a little pair of Starburst for each child. We attached this fun Starburst tag. I thought it would be easy to share in case you want to use them for another event: Primary class, school class, young men or young women.
They are about 3 inches by 1.5 inches.
For the life of me, I do not understand why the Primary Sharing Time program booklet is limited in quantities. As far as I can ascertain, each ward gets 3. Which seems like enough unless you’d like each member of the Primary presidency (3) to get one, plus your secretary (1), plus your music leaders (we have 4–2 pianists and 2 choristers). At a minimum I’d like 8.
Not to mention what happens if someone moves or gets released and you need an additional copy.
Every. Year. I beg my little sister to please buy a couple extra copies if she sees any at Deseret Book. I live in California and there is no Deseret Book or Seagull or anything within 2 hours. So, so aggravating.
The problem with printing the full color PDF that is provided online is that (OBVIOUSLY) it is in FULL COLOR. The text is in orange! And green on green! It doesn’t print well or photocopy well in black and white. It costs $8 to print in full color!!!!
I could go on, but lets focus on solutions instead.
Here’s the solution. The complete booklet with all text in easy-to-print black and white and grayscale photos. The PDF is below.
A second solution! The complete booklet formatted into a half page booklet. The page numbers are organized so you could photocopy the pages front to back, stack the pages together and fold it in half to have a complete booklet with half as many pages. There may be some issues with this depending on how your printer handles 2-sided printing, but it works with my set up here.
I gushed about Our Heavenly Family, Our Earthly Families around this time last year. It’s such a visually beautiful book and deftly handles many sensitive doctrinal issues. I love it. This summer I was thrilled to have the chance to interview this powerhouse team about their motivations and intentions behind one of my favorite Mormon books!
Read the full interview over on AML.
This year our Primary had an ongoing program called the CTR Bear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done before, but it’s similar to lots of school classroom projects like Flat Stanley. A stuffed teddy bear with a CTR t-shirt goes home with one family per week. This project is best suited for Junior Primary, I think, but we sell it to the older children by reminding them of the importance of setting a good example by choosing the right. I also like that it’s best for our Junior kiddos: many extra activities (like Cubs and Activity Days) are for the Senior children and so it feels like a nice balance that this activity resonates especially well with the younger ones.
The family hosts the bear for a week and takes a few quick pics of the children “choosing the right” with the CTR bear. The picture above is my son Jonah. He was choosing the right by sharing the video game controller (our standards are high at the Davis house). We have a private Primary Facebook page where we share these photos with each other. It’s not the most critical part of the program, but it is really fun! I have the cutest collection of pictures of our Primary kids reading scriptures with the CTR Bear, at the LA temple, riding bikes, eating good food, helping clear the table with the CTR Bear and so on. Adorable.
After their week is up, the kids report on their experience during Primary opening exercises. If all the children in one family are in Junior, they just report in Junior. If there are kids in both Junior and Senior, we have a report in both opening exercises. It’s really fluid. No one writes down a talk about their CTR Bear experience–often the presidency member conducting prompts the child with questions. It’s very casual.
Our secretary set up this super cute bulletin board in our Primary room. All the bears start out with no shirt, just their family name on the bear. After they’ve had a turn with the CTR bear the kids put a t-shirt on their family bear. It helps us keep track of whose turn it is and it’s just so darn cute.
We included this letter in the Relief Society binders when we first started this program so that parents would know what was going on. Download the PDF below.
One useful tip: start the year with TWO CTR bears. It’s super helpful to keep the program rolling in case someone forgets to bring it back to church and it also allows time to wash the bear and bag!! I also spray the bears down with Lysol regularly. It occurs to me that if you didn’t want to have a stuffed bear for whatever reason you could do this exact program with a paper bear, too.
We have really enjoyed this CTR Bear program this year. Especially in Junior Primary the kids really look forward to their turn. It’s very low cost and there is no sugar or candy involved! Win-win-win. We love it.
I promised a friend I’d share a version of our 2017 Primary program, “Choose the Right,” by the end of July! Ha. The last day of the month still counts, as we all know from Home and Visiting Teaching.
Today I’m sharing a copy of our program, available in Word or as a PDF. It’s more specific to our ward than the generic one I usually share for a couple of reasons. 1) I incorporated classroom experiences into the program. You’ll see what I mean if you read the program: one child from each class is sharing a story about something they learned in their Primary classroom. I think it’s a great way to share what the children learned during the year and really highlight the work our wonderful teachers are doing in a more public setting. 2) We had an ongoing program called the CTR Bear. Perhaps I’ll share more about that later this week. It’s sort of a twist on Flat Stanley, where a stuffed teddy bear with a CTR t-shirt goes home with one family per week. The family takes a few quick pics of the children “choosing the right” with the CTR bear and shares the pics on our private Facebook page. The kids report on their experience during Primary opening exercises. We have a section where the kids report on their CTR Bear experience during the program. I doubt it will be applicable to you! You could switch these up for personalized lines from children about a time they chose the right. 3) We had a 10 Commandments Summer Challenge. So the kids are going to repeat the 10 Commandments as part of the program. I’m not sure if your primary did that? You could adjust a few of the lines and keep the same framework.
Please feel free to use, share, and copy.
I also put together an easy to photocopy program cover to be used on the day of the program. Fold them in half and place announcements and the bulletin info inside. These would be adorable colored in by the Primary kids. *Don’t use crayons if you’re going to run them through the copy machine AFTER they are colored in. The crayon will melt the copy machine.
There’s also a PDF of a quarter page invite/flyer. You’ll need Acrobat or a photo editor to adapt these for your ward.
Good luck friends!