In his first public address as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson addressed us from the Salt Lake Temple annex, with all the Apostles accompanying him. This location was significant—a symbol to “begin with the end in mind,”1 a focus on the covenant path and God’s work to exalt families.
“Now, to each member of the Church,” he said, “keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere.”2
He went on to say, “The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary.”3
Through temples, the entire human family can be united. Both young and old, both the living and the dead. The power of the temple can bless all.
Helping our children prepare for the temple can be a natural and normal part of our lives. As the temple and its blessings are important to us, our actions and our words will teach our children to love the temple as well. When children understand the importance of making covenants with God, their desire to prepare for those covenants is likely to increase.
Below are some simple ideas to help our children learn to love the temple as they prepare to make and keep covenants there.
Display a picture of the temple in your home.
Talk together about the temple.
Where possible, visit the temple grounds, touch the temple, or view temple photos online.
Draw or build a model of your temple with readily available materials such as stones and mud, clay, play dough, or blocks. Later, do it again for a different temple.
Engage in family activities provided on FamilySearch.org/discovery.
Act out meaningful family stories or make traditional family recipes. Explain the importance of knowing about our ancestors.
As a family, regularly read and discuss together the temple recommend interview questions. Encourage your children to be worthy of a recommend regardless of when they will be able to attend.
Teach about the power, protection, and importance of keeping covenants and promises.4
Share personal temple experiences or stories from family members, including extended family.
As your child turns 10 or 11, create a simple calendar to count down the days, weeks, or months until they can enter the temple.
Discuss together the scripture story of the Savior in the temple at age 12 (see Luke 2:42–51).
Create a plan to prepare for your child’s first visit to the temple. Where possible, make it a family event. To help your child feel more comfortable, include talking about the practical aspects of temple baptisms and confirmations, such as what to wear to and in the temple, where they will enter the baptistry, who will help them, how baptisms and confirmations are performed, and the order of what will happen inside.
Learn to do family history work and prepare family names to take to the temple.
Many prophets and apostles have spoken of the importance of temple and family history work and of the blessings it can bring as we participate in this work, including strengthening our children and families. For instance, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of increased understanding of the Savior and His Atonement, influence of the Holy Ghost for us to feel strength and direction, faith, joy, family blessings, love and appreciation, power to discern, and protection from the adversary.5 We can help our children receive these blessings as we invite them to participate in temple and family history work with us.
Temple and family history work are part of the same work of salvation and exaltation. And family history work can play a major role in temple preparation.
President Nelson said: “The house of the Lord is a house of learning. There the Lord teaches in His own way. There each ordinance teaches about the Savior. There we learn how to part the veil and communicate more clearly with heaven. … How eager each of us should be to seek refuge there.”6
For all ages, making the temple and family history a normal and natural part of our lives will bring blessings. Talk about the temple as you travel together. Incorporate it into Come, Follow Me study and other gospel discussions with your family. Teach your children that they can become more like the Savior as they prepare for and enter His temple. Each of these things will help your children learn to love and prepare to enter the house of the Lord.
Sister Joy D. Jones, former Primary General President, said: “I pray every day that our youth and their families will feel the Savior’s love and recognize and follow His Spirit. I know He will lead them to His holy temple and to the blessings of eternity to be found in receiving ordinances and making covenants with our Father in Heaven.”7
It is never too early to teach children about the temple.
As we take time to share our experiences with our children, talk about the power and protection that come from keeping covenants, teach them the importance of the temple, testify of how we feel inside its walls, and share stories of our ancestors, we can foster in them a love for the temple in their earliest years. As you teach your children to love and prepare for the temple, you will be giving them one of the greatest gifts you can—a knowledge that families are forever and a desire to make and keep covenants that will unite their family for eternity.