Lesson 16 Teacher Material: The Kirtland Temple and Priesthood Keys

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“Lesson 16 Teacher Material: The Kirtland Temple and Priesthood Keys,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)

“Lesson 16 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material

Lesson 16 Teacher Material

The Kirtland Temple and Priesthood Keys

The Lord commanded the Saints to build a temple in Kirtland, Ohio, and promised that He would endow them with “power from on high” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:8). This lesson will help students consider how they might more fully obey the Lord’s commands related to the temple. It will also help them explain the significance of the priesthood keys restored in the Kirtland Temple.

Suggestions for Teaching

The Lord helped the Saints fulfill His command to build the Kirtland Temple.

Invite students to think about something the Lord, through His servants, has asked Church members to do that seems difficult or overwhelming. Ask a few students to share an example with the class.

Display an image of the Kirtland Temple. Remind students that in December 1832 the Lord commanded the Saints to build “a house of God” in Kirtland (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119).


Explain that more than five months after the Lord’s commandment, Church leaders and members still had not begun constructing the temple. Read Doctrine and Covenants 95:1–3 as a class, looking for what the Lord said about the Saints’ delay in building the temple.

  • Why do you think not building the temple might be considered a “grievous sin”? (verse 3; see also verse 6).

  • In what ways do you think the Lord’s chastening of the Saints for not building the temple was a sign of His love for them? (see verse 1).

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 95:8, looking for one reason that the Lord wanted a temple built in Kirtland.

Explain that endow means to provide someone with a gift. The endowment spoken of in Doctrine and Covenants 95 included gifts of spiritual knowledge and power. The temple endowment ceremony as practiced today was not revealed until 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 95:11–12 aloud.

  • What principle can we learn from the Lord’s promise to the Saints in verse 11? (Using students’ words, write a principle on the board similar to the following: As we strive to keep the Lord’s commandments, He will give us power to accomplish His will.)

  • Why might this promise from the Lord have been a comfort to the Saints in Kirtland? (See Eliza R. Snow’s statement in section 1 of the preparation material.) How might this principle be of comfort to you in your life today?

  • What were some of the sacrifices the Saints made in order to obey the Lord’s commandment to build the Kirtland Temple? (If needed, encourage students to review section 1 of the preparation material.)

  • How did the Lord give power and help to the Saints to build the Kirtland Temple?

Invite students to review the statement by President Thomas S. Monson in section 1 of the preparation material and to think about the following: How do Saints today assist in the building of temples? What kind of sacrifices am I making related to temple worship?

  • Why do you think sacrifice is often connected to the blessings of the temple?


Give students time to think. When students are given time to reflect on experiences with living the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost can help bring memories into their minds. Occasionally combining this approach with inviting students to record their thoughts before sharing them can lead to more meaningful responses and a greater willingness to share.

Provide time for students to think (and maybe write) about (1) the sacrifices they have made related to the temple, (2) the blessings they have already received from the temple, and (3) what they can do to more diligently keep the Lord’s commandments related to the temple.

The Lord accepted the Kirtland Temple, and priesthood keys were committed to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

Note: Students will study Doctrine and Covenants 109, the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple, in lesson 20.

Explain that through the Saints’ sacrifices and the Lord’s help, the Kirtland Temple was completed and then dedicated on March 27, 1836. The Lord’s endowment of power came as a result of the Saints’ obedience in building the temple.

  • What are some of the spiritual manifestations the Saints experienced during the Kirtland Temple dedication? (Encourage students to recall what they learned in section 2 of the preparation material.)

Explain that a week later, the Savior and other heavenly messengers appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the temple. Invite a student to read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 110 aloud.

Display the following image:

The Lord Appears in the Kirtland Temple

Read Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–10 with the class, looking for descriptions of the Savior and for His message to Joseph and Oliver. Invite students to share what stood out to them. As students share, allow time for them to discuss questions like the following:

  • What can we learn about the Lord from His appearance and teachings in His newly built house?

  • What do the Lord’s words and promises in verses 7–8 teach about the sacredness of His temples?

  • What affect would the temple in Kirtland have on the rest of the world? (see verses 9–10).

Invite students to share what they know about the other angelic messengers that appeared in the Kirtland Temple. You might display the following truth: The Lord sent heavenly messengers to the Kirtland Temple to commit priesthood keys essential for the work of salvation.

Ask students to also explain the keys that these messengers committed to Joseph and Oliver. Refer students to section 2 of the preparation material if needed. As students share, consider displaying the names Moses, Elias, and Elijah with the associated keys.

  • In what ways are we blessed today because of the priesthood keys committed in the Kirtland Temple?

Display the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, and invite a student to read it aloud:

Smith, Joseph Fielding (1876-1972)

The Kirtland Temple holds a peculiar place in the annals of temple building. It is not like other temples. It was built primarily for the restoration of keys of authority. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie [1955], 2:242)

Consider sharing an example about a specific way the keys committed in the Kirtland Temple have blessed your life. Testify that the priesthood keys committed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery are held and used today by each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles under the direction of the President of the Church.

For Next Time

Explain that in preparation for the next class, students will have the opportunity to study one of the darkest periods in the Church’s history, when the Saints experienced trials, persecution, and betrayal. Invite students to study the preparation material and come to class ready to share principles that can help them face opposition and hardship with faith in God.