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.
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.