Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 5 Lesson 44 The Salt Lake Temple is Constructed and Dedicated



1/Christmas decor around the room or on a table

2/Article of Faith 13 on the board:
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

3/Salt Lake Temple from the library (maybe surrounded by white Christmas lights brought in from home?) or have a free illustration like this printed out:


(refer to the temple picture)
What helps this building stay upright and strong?

Deep in the ground underneath the temple is a strong foundation of stone blocks.
They’re over 8 feet deep!
They’re there so the walls have a firm surface to rest on.
It helps the temple to remain strong and not crack or fall.

You know the song about the Wise Man and the Foolish Man?
  • What was the bad foundation made out of? (sand)
  • What was the strong foundation made out of? (rock)

So just like the Salt Lake Temple and the Wise Man, we also need to be built on a sure foundation.
Who is that sure foundation for us? (Jesus Christ)

Today we’re going to learn about the building of the Salt Lake Temple!

there are many old photos of the Salt Lake Temple construction online that can be downloaded and shown

In 1853, five and a half years after everyone started to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley,
Brigham Young and other leaders held a ceremony to begin construction of the Salt Lake Temple!

Two months later, they held another ceremony to lay the cornerstones of the temple.
Brigham Young told everyone that he saw a vision of the temple every time he looked at the place where it would be built!

What does this remind you of?
Joseph Smith had the same thing happen with the Kirtland Temple!

Brigham Young drew what it should look like for an architect named Truman O. Angell.
It was very detailed!
He wanted to see it last through the Millennium so it needed to be strong!

They began laying the foundation for the temple using a lot of large sandstone blocks.
The foundation was over 8 feet deep!
They worked on it for 5 years.
Then they had to stop building it for awhile because the US Government thought the Church wasn’t following US laws. Brigham Young had them stop work on the temple while it got figured out.

They found out that some parts of the foundation, the stuff they used to stick the big blocks together, had started to crack and weren’t stable anymore!
So they removed that stuff in between and replaced the sandstone with granite!
They were cut really well to fit together so they didn’t need anything extra to stick them together.
Finally they finished the foundation after 14 years!
Then they got to work on the walls.

Do you remember that they had to cut stone from a quarry for the other temples?
They had to do the same for this temple!
The quarry was 20 miles away!
Each big stone block weighed many tons (1 ton = 1,000 lbs) and had to be brought over by wagons and ox teams.
It would take four days for just one block to make it from the quarry to the temple!
Many times the wagons would break down or the blocks would fall off and crack or break!

In 1869, a railroad came to Utah and helped a lot! A track was built between the quarry and the temple site. Steam engine trains were able to bring many blocks to the temple site in one day.

This helped a lot!

Then once the blocks were at the temple site, they were shaped by stonecutters.
Some were carved with symbols such as the sun, moon, and stars.
That would take days or weeks to finish!

Finally 39 years after it was begun, the capstone (round ball on the top of the highest spire) was set in place!
More than 50,000 people watched the capstone go in place!
Wilford Woodruff was the prophet at the time, the fourth president.
Later that day, Angel Moroni was placed on the capstone.
That Angel Moroni is 12.5 feet tall!
And the first to go on a temple!

The next year, the inside was finished by carpenters, plasterers, painters, and other craftsmen.
The ceilings and woodwork were decorated with many carvings.
There were beautiful murals painted on the walls.

In April 1893, the temple was dedicated!
It was a cold and stormy day with heavy wind, rain, and snow...but inside the temple it was peaceful and calm!
President Woodruff knelt and gave a prayer.
Then they gave the Hosanna Shout and sang The Spirit of God.
Many saw angels!

The people felt the presence of God and have great reverence for the temple and its ordinances.

When we see a temple today, it reminds us that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and want us to live with them again.


So we need to do things that build a strong and firm foundation in our life so that we can enter the temple.

Here are the important building blocks for our foundation (list from the manual):
(have building blocks with paper taped on named as per the list below and stack them in a grid of some sort as you talk about each one...)

  • Believe in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
  • Follow the prophet and other Church leaders.
  • Live the law of chastity.
  • Be honest.
  • Treat family members with respect and love.
  • Attend sacrament meeting and other Church meetings.
  • Pay a full tithe.
  • Obey the Word of Wisdom.
  • Repent of past sins


Take the board to Candyland (or another game!) and adapt it for a game to get from the start (which you could label as home/earth/life on earth/etc.) to the end, which should have a Salt Lake City Temple (or your local temple) taped on.
Add and change things on the board according to what you want to emphasize about the temple.
Squares they land on could indicate a temple song to sing from the Songbook, a choice to make, temptations they may be faced with, cool facts about the Salt Lake Temple or your local temple, etc.

*using painters tape or washi tape will not damage your game board


Your choices now will help determine who you are in the future.

Having good goals for your future helps you become the person Heavenly Father wants you to be!
Free printout of the Salt Lake Temple onto cardstock or photo paper for them to keep (there are many sites with free printouts or cute image with words like “I Love to See the Temple” etc.)
You could give it in a little bag with 13 M&Ms or something to remind them of the 13th Article of Faith.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 5 Lesson 43 Handcart Companies Come to the Salt Lake Valley


image from


Write on the board:


Prepare to watch this:

Hand out paper to each student with these questions:

1. What can she do with her hands?

2. What job/career does she do?

3. What sport does she like?

4. Does she say it was a challenge at first or easy?

5. I like to run because I feel ______.

6. What does she and her friend use while running together?

7. Instead of “Why me?” she now says: _______ ______.

8. Faith is something that no one can touch or see, it’s _____.

9. Her sight limitation draws her ______ to God.

Read over the questions together, then watch the video.
Point out sections that have the answers and pause the video if needed, or watch twice to help them answer the questions.

Discuss Margarita and her courage and determination.
What does it mean to have courage?
Why would someone say Margarita shows courage?
What does it mean to be determined?
Why would someone say Margarita is determined?

Update the board to say:
VALIANT = Showing great courage and determination


As we’ve been talking about, the Saints came to the Salt Lake Valley in covered wagons pulled by oxen.
The wagons and supplies were bought with money loaned by the Church.
After arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, those people worked hard to pay back to the Church.
That money was then loaned to other Saints come across the plains.

This was a good idea, right?
But some people couldn’t pay back the money, either some or all.
But a lot of people wanted to still come to the Salt Lake Valley.
So the Church had to find a less expensive way to bring them over.

President Brigham Young wrote in 1855: have a child read this out loud
“We cannot afford to purchase wagons and teams as in times past, I am consequently thrown back upon my old plan -- to make hand-carts, and let the emigration foot it.
They can come just as quick, if not quicker, and much cheaper.”

What did a hand cart look like?
Show them this painting:

They’re like small uncovered wagons, and were pushed or pulled by people instead of oxen.
Each group of pioneers, called a company, had a cow or two for every 10 people.
They also have a few wagons and ox teams to carry people who couldn’t walk.

There were some good things about handcarts!
They could walk over parts of the trail that wagons couldn’t get over.
They were smaller and lighter than wagons, so the pioneers could travel faster.
They also didn’t have to take care of the animals needed for wagons.

But they also didn’t have a lot of room for food or supplies, and they didn’t protect from the storms like the covered wagons did.

The first handcart company left in June 1856.
They faced many trials!

One day a 6 year old named Arthur felt sick and sat down to rest.
The other members of his handcart company didn’t notice and moved on.
They realized later that he was missing, and began looking for him.
But after two days, they had to move on.
Arthur’s dad stayed behind to look.
Arthur’s mom left a bright red shawl to wrap his son in if he was found dead.
If he was found alive, he was to wave it as a signal.

They watched and prayed for Arthur, and on the third day his mom looked back and guess what she saw?
Her husband waving the red shawl!
He had been found and they caught up to them on the trail.

The first three handcart companies had problems but they crossed safely.
The next two had a lot of difficulties.
Members of the Willie and Martin handcart companies had arrived from England in the summer.
When they arrived in Iowa City, no handcarts were available!
They had to wait for some to be built.
They left in July 1856.
Their handcarts had been made from bad wood, so the carts broke down and caused delays.
Many of their cattle were stolen by unfriendly Native Americans.
So already they’re having struggles before they even got into winter!
And winter came earlier than usual!
They decided to get rid of extra clothing and bedding to make their carts lighter so they could travel faster.
So when the storms came, guess what? What would happen if you got rid of extra clothes and blankets when it got really cold?
They had only a little protection from the storms, and many died from the cold.

Brigham Young received word about the Willie and Martin handcart troubles, and organized some rescue parties.

A man named Ephraim K Hanks had just returned to Salt Lake City from a fishing trip.
He’d spend the night before at a friend’s house.
Before he fell asleep, he heard a voice call his name.
The voice said, “The hand-cart people are in trouble and you are wanted; will you go and help them?”
Brother Hanks answered the voice, “Yes, I will go if I am called.”
This conversation was repeated three times.

When Brigham Young was calling volunteers to go and help, some said it would take them a few days to be ready.
But Ephraim said “I am ready now!”
Why do you think he was already ready? The Spirit had prepared him
He was one of the first to reach the handcart companies.
On his way, he ran into a really bad storm, the worst he’d ever experienced!
The snow got so deep he couldn’t move his wagon through it!
He left it behind and took two horses.
One to ride on, and one to take supplies.
At night, he thought about how nice it would be to have buffalo meat.
He prayed and asked Heavenly Father to send him a buffalo.
After his prayer, he looked up and saw a buffalo close to his camp.
He killed it in one shot, and another the next morning.
He loaded the meat onto the horses and continued east to help the handcart companies.

He reached the Martin handcart company and they were so happy to see him and the meat he brought.
One of the man had prophesied earlier that when their supplies ran out, they would feast on buffalo.
Ephraim Hanks helped fulfill that prophecy!

How can we follow the example of Ephraim Hanks when we’re asked to do something difficult?

When they arrived at the Sweetwater River, they were very weak.
They didn’t see how they could cross the river, which was deep, wide, and cold.
All they could do was pray.
Then three 18-year-olds from one of the helper groups came to their rescue.
Their names were George, David, and C. Allen.
They jumped into the icy river and began carrying people across.
They made many trips and carried almost everyone over.
The cold water caused health problems for those boys, and years later all three died as a result.
President Young cried when he found out and said they would surely be in the Celestial Kingdom because of their great selfless acts.

Many in the WIllie and Martin companies died because of the cold, and others got frozen feet and frozen legs.

Mary Goble was in the Martin company.
Once when her group had gone many days with only melted snow to drink, Mary’s sick mother begged Mary to get her a drink from a freshwater spring a few miles away.
Another woman went with Mary.
On their way to the spring, they found an old man in the snow.
He was nearly frozen and they knew he would die soon if they didn’t get help for him!
They decided Mary would go on to get the water, and the other woman would go to the camp to get help.
So Mary was alone getting water and began to worry about running into unfriendly Native Americans.
She became lost and wandered around in snow up to her knees for many hours!
It was almost midnight when she was found.
They brought her back to camp and tried to warm up her frozen legs and feet.
This was very painful! Her legs and feet recovered but her toes did not!

Her mother died the day after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.
The next day Brigham Young and a doctor visited Mary.
When the Prophet came in, he saw the frozen feet and Mary’s dead mother, and he cried.

The doctor had to amputate Mary’s toes, but her feet weren’t doing well.
The Prophet promised her feet would heal!
A doctor didn’t believe it, but Mary believed and indeed her feet healed!
The doctor said it was a miracle.


Idea adapted from here:

Have turkeys taped to the wall.
Have them toss a soft ball or beanbag to hit one of them.
On the back of the feathers, have written prompts like telling something they’re grateful for, singing a particular Thanksgiving-related or gratitude-related or Pioneer-related hymn or song as a class, acting as something silly like gobbling like a turkey, scripture about gratitude, something they've learned from the pioneers, a favorite pioneer story, mooing like a cow, neighing like a horse.

As each one is hit, take it down to read what it says and do the action.

You could also have the message be somewhere on the turkey so you can leave them on the wall while playing.

Song ideas:

The Handcart Song

As Zion’s Youth in Latter Days

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

A Song of Thanks

For Health and Strength


One fun thing to do as a class would be to have a mini feast.
Bring in a fancy tablecloth, battery-operated candle, fancy small plates and silverware, and some sort of food like microwavable mashed potatoes, rolls, or just pie that won’t be messy, etc.

You could go around the table and say what you’re thankful for.

If they don’t know the story behind the pilgrims, you could share a brief version and discuss similarities to the early pioneers of our church. A lot of similarities!


Good list of ideas here from Chicken Scratch N Sniff:


What amazing sacrifices the pioneers made! We can be thankful for their attitude and perseverance, their valiant struggles, and their example of faith!

Could send them home with:
  • Small slips of paper and Thanksgiving stickers to write thankful notes and give to their family paper could be leaf shapes