Saturday, September 2, 2017

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 5 Lesson 35 The Nauvoo Temple is Used for Sacred Ordinance



Display a picture of the original Nauvoo Illinois temple

Display these words on the board (writing directly or on papers)

WHO → D&C 124:25
WHAT → D&C 124:31
WHERE → D&C 124:43
WHEN → D&C 124 date in heading paragraph
WHY → D&C 124:40


Assign each of the “W”s on the board to a kid in the class.
Have them use scriptures to look up their reference and be prepared to share (don't share yet).
Perhaps hand out index cards or slips of paper that say "who" or "what" etc. and have them read their scripture and then write the answer on their card, but don't share it yet.

Show them a penny and ask them how much help that one penny would give towards building a temple. they'll likely say not much help!

Today we'll learn about the power of the penny and all about the Nauvoo Temple!

Illustrate as much as possible to hold their attention

So last week we learned about baptisms for the dead.
In 1838 Joseph had told the Saints about them, and in 1840 they started to do baptisms in the Mississippi River!
In 1841, Joseph received a revelation commanding the Saints to build a temple in Nauvoo! They had actually already been planning to!

A beautiful site was selected, on a hill overlooking the city.

The plans were revealed to Joseph Smith just like the plans for the Kirtland Temple were revealed. Who remembers how they were revealed? By vision

Joseph told the architect how the temple should look, based on the vision.

Just like the Kirtland Temple times, the members made many sacrifices to help build the Nauvoo Temple!
Tithing money was used to pay for the building materials.
Members paid what they could to buy supplies too.
Women of the Relief Society each contributed a penny a week to buy glass and nails, eventually collected 50,000 pennies! How much money is that? $500
How much do you think those pennies weighed? 343 lbs

More on the penny subscription if you want to elaborate on this:

One man gave Brigham Young $2,500 in gold! That was a really huge amount of money back then.
Men worked hard at the temple to build it or they worked hard at the quarry where stones were prepared for the outside walls.
You know how we pay tithing which is 10% of what we earn? Some of the men worked as tithing labor - every tenth day they worked on the temple. Remember, they also had to work their regular job for their family too.
Women sewed clothing and cooked meals for the men who were working to build the temple.

They all worked so hard to make it a really beautiful building.

The oxen that were carved for the baptismal font (remember we looked at pictures of those last week?) were patterned after the most beautiful live ox that they could find .
The most beautiful furniture that they could find is what they put inside the temple.

It was 165 ft tall to the very very top, which was 55 ft taller than the Kirtland Temple!
Outside they’d carved figures of the sun, moon, and stars.
What do you think those represent? Three degrees of glory

This site has photos of it close up - download the images so you can show them without the rest of the site

Over the doors they’d written in gold letters “The House of the Lord, built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Commenced April 6th, 1841. Holiness to the Lord.”

This site (mentioned below) has an image of The House of the Lord to show them at this point:

The Lord had told the Saints that he wanted baptisms for the dead to no longer be done anywhere else except the temple once it was built. So the rooms for baptisms were used as soon as they were done, even before the temple was totally done! Before the outside walls had even finished the first story window sills! Because remember the baptismal fonts are often underground.

So let’s go back to the 5 W’s on the board.
Let’s hear everyone’s scripture! Have everyone read theirs, and discuss briefly as you go.
WHO → D&C 124:25   “And again, verily I say unto you, let all my saints come from afar.”
WHAT → D&C 124:31   “ a house unto me…”
WHEN → D&C 124 revelation given January 19th, 1841
WHERE → D&C 124:43   “And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it.”
WHY → D&C 124:40   “And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people.”

Then let’s look at verse 55 and guess summarizes all!
And again, verily I say unto you (who), I command you again to build a house to my name (what), even in this place (where), that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life. (why)

And of course the “when” is right then!

Nauvoo continued to be a prosperous city.
But remember how in Missouri the people got a little worried that the Saints would start to take over? The same thing happened around Nauvoo. People worried that the Church would become more powerful than anyone else, so they started to persecute the Saints.

They hurried to finish the temple because they knew they might be chased away from Nauvoo soon.

Not only baptisms were performed there.
Another thing called an endowment is also done in the temple.
When you receive your endowment in the temple, you make special covenants with Heavenly Father and you can become even more like him.
Usually you have this ordinance done for yourself when you’re a new adult, like about to go on a mission or about to get married.
After your endowment, then you can become sealed in the temple!
Then you can also perform endowments and sealings for those who have died!

The Saints were so eager to receive these ordinances for themselves, especially before they had to leave due to persecution.

Sadly Joseph Smith was killed before the temple was finished!
Brigham Young was the prophet after him. He knew he needed to leave to go West before his enemies captured him, but he stayed 2 more weeks to help everyone receive their endowments.

After he left Nauvoo, no more ordinances were performed but the Saints there kept working to finish the building. They knew they would have to leave soon, but they wanted the temple to be a monument to their faith and hard work.

It was finally finished in April 1846, and dedicated in May.
Wilford Woodruff gave one last sermon inside, and then it was locked and a caretaker hired to watch over it.

In September 1846, a mob of 1,500 enemies took over the church and ruined it.
They gambled, drank alcohol, and smoked inside it.
They destroyed the beautiful inside and made fun of it.
Soon after they took over, lightning struck the steeple and broke the shaft that held the figure of an angel on top.
Later, enemies of the Church paid a man to set fire to it.
Everything burned except the outside stone walls.
Two years later a tornado blew down three of the stone walls and the fourth wall was later torn down.


Guess what, the Nauvoo Temple was rebuilt!
It was announced in 1999 by President Hinckley and finished in June of 2002!
You could show the clip of him announcing it in Conference, etc.

Show photos of it now:

They worked hard to build an exact replica of the original temple exactly where it had stood before.


Download this YouTube video - shows photos, interview with the architect, etc.

Pass out paper and coloring supplies.
Have your class draw pictures of the temple and either have them write a note too, or you could include your own note with their drawings about how thankful you are those early Saints had a place to perform sacred ordinances! And that the temple was rebuilt!

Make sure they know that people working in that mission will be reading it!

Address for letters:
Illinois Nauvoo Mission
P.O. Box 215
Nauvoo, IL 62354

You could also show videos of the young performing missionaries there!


Discuss all the work that went into the temple and your testimony of temple ordinances.
Discuss the sacrifices people made, including the penny idea!

Ideas (one, the other, or both together!):
  • One penny taped to a card with a quotation about doing your part to be worthy of temple blessings and helping to build up your “temple” at home (or the quotation below from Mercy Fielding Thompson, or something along those lines, perhaps a scripture).
  • Chocolate coins with the same sentiments as above.

In 1843, Mercy Fielding Thompson wanted to know how she could further help the work. She recorded:
At one time after seeking earnestly to know from the Lord if there was anything that I could do for the building up of the Kingdom of God, a most pleasant sensation came over me with the following words. Try to get the Sisters to subscribe one cent per week for the purpose of buying glass and nails for the Temple. I went immediately to Brother Joseph. . . . He told me to go ahead and the Lord would bless me.


  1. This is awesome! Thank you so much.

  2. This is so so amazing!!! Thank you so much for making teaching this lesson so much easier for me :)

  3. Thank you. Newly called Primary teacher here and this was helpful. I made a slidedeck of this in Apple Keynote and showed it in my class.

    It's a bit of a large file as I added a video of Brigham Young and the Endowment in Nauvoo.