Ask a class member to prepare to tell about the building of the Nauvoo Temple. Have him or her base the presentation on the first four paragraphs under “The Nauvoo Temple” on pages 58–60 in Our Heritage.
Ask two class members to prepare to briefly share experiences they have had performing baptisms for the dead. Ask them to tell how they feel knowing that through baptisms for the dead they can help others receive salvation. If they have performed baptisms for their deceased ancestors, ask them to talk about how these experiences have helped them turn their hearts to their ancestors.
Ask one or more converts to prepare to explain how they felt when they first learned that they could be baptized for their deceased family members.
If the following pictures are available, prepare to use them during the lesson: Nauvoo Temple (62432; Gospel Art Picture Kit 501) and Temple Baptismal Font (62031; Gospel Art Picture Kit 504).
Note to the teacher: Class members may have questions about how to find out about ancestors who have died before receiving the gospel. Suggest that they talk with the ward family history consultant and obtain a copy of A Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work (34697). They also may contact one of the Church’s Family History Centers. You might also mention that lesson 40 will focus on specific things that Church members can do to participate in temple and family history work.
Suggestions for Lesson Development
Read D&C 128:17 with class members. Emphasize that the Prophet Joseph Smith called the work of redeeming the dead the “most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel.” Encourage class members to do all they can to perform baptisms for the dead. As prompted by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.
Additional Teaching Ideas
You may want to use one or both of the following ideas to supplement the suggested lesson outline.
Use the following information to give historical background for D&C 127 and D&C 128:
In the summer of 1842 a group of men were seeking unjustly to imprison the Prophet Joseph Smith. Because of this persecution, the Prophet left Nauvoo. He said, “I have thought it expedient and wisdom in me to leave the place for a season, for my own safety and the safety of this people” (D&C 127:1). Despite such difficult circumstances, he wrote joyful words in letters to the Saints.
During this time of persecution, what was the subject that occupied the Prophet’s mind and pressed on his feelings the strongest? (See D&C 128:1.)
2. The importance of record keeping
Explain that through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord commanded the Saints to keep careful records of baptisms for the dead (D&C 127:5–9; 128:1–9). These records are now stored in computers.
Why are we to keep records of baptisms for the dead? (See D&C 128:6–8, 24. These records made on earth are also recorded in heaven, and the dead will be judged from these books. At the time of the Second Coming, we will present the records to the Lord as an offering to Him.)