Primary Manuals
Lesson 38: I Can Be Pure and Righteous
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“Lesson 38: I Can Be Pure and Righteous,” Primary 3 (1994), 185–90

“Lesson 38,” Primary 3, 185–90

Lesson 38

I Can Be Pure and Righteous


To help the children desire to be pure and righteous.


  1. Prayerfully study 3 Nephi 27:27; Mormon 1:1–4, 13–17; 2:1, 16–19; and Doctrine and Covenants 100:16.

  2. Prepare to help the children sing or say “Choose the Right Way” (Children’s Songbook, p. 160); the words are included at the back of this manual.

  3. Materials needed:

    1. A Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants for each child, if available.

    2. Salt and pepper shakers (filled), if available.

    3. The CTR shield and ring.

    4. Picture 3-34, Mormon Abridging the Plates (62520; Gospel Art Picture Kit 306).

  4. Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities that you will be using.

Suggested Lesson Development

Invite a child to give the opening prayer.

Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.

Mormon Was Pure and Righteous

Attention activity

Display the salt and pepper shakers you have brought. Pour some salt into your hand, and show it to the class. Explain that in your hand you hold pure salt. It is pure because there is nothing in it besides good, clean salt.

Shake some pepper into the salt in your hand. Explain that the salt is no longer pure because it is no longer free of things other than salt. When people allow wrong or unkind thoughts in their minds or do wrong or unkind things, they are no longer pure. They are like a mixture of salt and pepper. Emphasize that pure people try at all times to think good thoughts and do righteous acts.

Scripture story

Explain that you will tell about someone from the Book of Mormon who was pure and righteous. Tell the following story in your own words:

As a young boy, Mormon was recognized as an outstanding person. When Mormon was only ten years old, he was told that when he grew to be a man he would be in charge of the plates of Nephi. The history of the Nephites was recorded on these plates. He was told to watch his people and, at age twenty-four, to write their history. Help the children realize what an important responsibility this was.

  • What qualities do you think Mormon, at age ten, possessed that caused him to be chosen as the next record keeper? What kind of a child was Mormon? (Let the children discuss the answers. To help them, read Mormon 1:1–2. Help the children understand that Mormon was a good student, for he “began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of [his] people”; he was “a sober child,” which means he was serious and trustworthy; and he was “quick to observe,” which means that he noticed and learned about many things. Explain that Mormon loved Heavenly Father and obeyed the commandments, which kept him pure and righteous. Heavenly Father knew he could trust Mormon with the sacred writings on the plates of Nephi.)

Explain that when Mormon was fifteen years old, he had a wonderful experience. He was visited by the Lord Jesus Christ (see Mormon 1:15).

  • If you had been Mormon, how do you think you would have felt in the presence of Jesus Christ?

  • In what ways was Mormon pure and righteous? (You might want to list their answers on the chalkboard.)

Explain that most of the people in Mormon’s day were very wicked (see Mormon 1:13–14). Mormon wanted the people to repent and be baptized so that they could be righteous and happy (see Mormon 3:2). He told the people to repent, but they did not listen.

  • How do you think Mormon felt being one of only a few people who were trying to be righteous?

Show picture 3-34, Mormon Abridging the Plates.

Explain that Mormon wrote the history of his people on metal plates, as he had been commanded to do. He also organized the histories that other people had written.

  • Where do we find the history that Mormon wrote?

Display a copy of the Book of Mormon and show the children the name Mormon in the title. Explain that the book is named for Mormon because he organized and cared for the records and because he was a righteous person.

We Can Be Pure in Thoughts, Words, and Actions

Scripture discussion

  • How can we be pure?

To answer this question, read to the children this statement by Jesus Christ as recorded in 3 Nephi 27:27: “What manner of [people] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”

  • What kind of people should we be?

Explain to the children that everything that Jesus Christ thought, said, and did was good. In order to be like him, we should try to think, say, and do the same kinds of things that we imagine Jesus would think, say, and do. Whenever we are tempted to do something wrong, we should ask ourselves, “What would Jesus want me to do?” This can help us remain pure and righteous.

CTR shield and ring

Show the children the CTR shield and ring. Remind them that the shield and ring can help them remember to do what Jesus wants. As they keep themselves free from wrong thoughts and actions by always choosing the right, they will keep themselves pure and righteous.


Help the children sing or say the words to “Choose the Right Way.”


Tell the following story about a girl who did what was right, even though it was difficult:

Debbie’s favorite uncle was very upset with Debbie and her family when they joined the Church. He refused to visit them for nearly a year. When he finally came, he invited Debbie to join his family for a backpacking trip into the mountains. Debbie was excited.

On the second day of the hike, Debbie dropped her canteen and broke it. The sun was shining brightly, and Debbie gradually fell back behind the others. Her mouth felt dry; she wanted a drink of water.

Higher up on the mountain she could see that the others had stopped and were drinking from cans. She hurried so that she too could have a drink.

As she walked up to the group, one of them called out, “Have a drink, Debbie.”

Then she saw that that person held a can of beer in his hand. At first, all Debbie could think of was how thirsty she was. Debbie had been taught the gospel and had been baptized, and she knew she shouldn’t drink beer. Again she thought of how thirsty she was. Debbie wanted to do the right thing. She had tried so hard since she had been baptized and had prayed that she would be able to keep the commandments. Now she needed help to be strong.

“I don’t drink beer. Do you have something else, please?” Debbie said, looking right into the person’s eyes.

For a moment her Uncle John looked angry. Then he said, “Debbie is a Mormon. Let’s give her something else to drink.” He then continued, “I’m sorry, Debbie.” Debbie was grateful for keeping the commandments.


  • What did Debbie do to stay pure and righteous?

  • How do you think Debbie felt after she had chosen the right?

  • How was Debbie a good example to her uncle?

Stories and discussion

Tell the class that you are going to relate three stories about children who wanted to be pure and righteous in their thoughts, words, and actions:

  1. When Ryan’s new neighbors moved in next door, he became friends with one of them, a boy his age named Tyler. They played together almost every day. One day they were outside playing ball with the other boys in the neighborhood. Tyler became angry because his team was losing the game and began saying bad words and swearing at the other team. The boys walked away because they were not having fun anymore and no longer wanted to play with Tyler. Ryan stayed to talk to Tyler. He explained to Tyler that their parents had taught them that it is wrong to talk that way to others. He said that they did not like to hear such words. Ryan then told Tyler that if he wanted to play without using bad words, he would ask the other boys to come back and play again.

    • How did Ryan show that he was pure and righteous? (He did not swear, and he tried to help another boy learn that it is not right to swear.)

    • Why is it wrong to swear? (Explain that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to speak kindly. They do not want us to use their names in an angry or unloving way, which is referred to as “taking their names in vain.” Those who swear are setting a bad example. Swear words may put unkind thoughts in our minds and bad feelings in our hearts.)

  2. One day when Corby was playing outside, he and several of his friends were called over to a corner of the playground by another boy. This boy had some cigarettes in his pocket. He wanted the boys to try smoking them. The boys all looked at each other, not knowing what to do. Finally Corby spoke up and said that he didn’t want to smoke and refused to do it. The other boys agreed that they did not want to do it either.

    • How did Corby show that he was pure and righteous? (He refused to smoke.)

    • How did this help the other boys?

    • What would you have done if you had been there?

  3. Gary was at his friend’s house looking at magazines. Gary’s friend found some bad pictures in a magazine and wanted Gary to look at them. Gary felt very uncomfortable when he realized what kind of pictures were in the magazine. He knew that Jesus Christ would not look at such pictures. Gary said that he didn’t want to, and he suggested that they go outside and play.

    • How was Gary righteous? (He refused to look at bad pictures.)

    Point out that some magazines, books, movies, and television shows are not righteous and can give us evil thoughts. Stress how important it is to keep our minds pure and filled with righteous thoughts like Gary did.


Explain that the movies and television programs we watch may influence the way we act. These programs can put ideas into our minds that would otherwise never be there. These ideas can be good or bad, depending on the program.

  • Have you ever pretended to be someone you saw in a movie or on television?

Explain that this is called imitating someone. It is often fun to imitate someone who you think is a hero in a movie.

  • Are there any movies and television shows that are not good for us to see? (Yes.)

  • Are there any good movies or television shows to see? (Yes.)

Have the children name some of their favorites. Then have them think of the television or movie hero they like best. Have them answer the following questions:

  • Does your hero always obey the law?

  • Does your hero ever swear?

  • Does your hero act righteously at all times?

  • Does your hero dress and act modestly?

Explain that if they had to answer no to any of these questions, perhaps they should find someone more righteous to choose as their hero.

Suggest to the children that they talk to their parents about what movies and television shows they choose to watch. Emphasize that if a program they are watching has bad things in it, they can change the channel, turn off the television, or leave the movie theater.

Remind the children that the Holy Ghost can help us know the difference between right and wrong. If we have a bad or uncomfortable feeling about something, the Holy Ghost is telling us it is wrong.


Teacher testimony

Bear your testimony of the importance of keeping our thoughts, words, and actions pure and righteous. You might share an experience of when you were able to stay pure and righteous despite temptation to do otherwise. Help the children understand that joy comes from being righteous, even when it is hard to do.

Invite the children to always think of what Jesus Christ would have them think, say, and do whenever they are having a hard time knowing how to choose the right.


Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:16 to the class. Explain that we are the people that Heavenly Father has raised up to be pure and righteous.

Invite a child to give the closing prayer.

Enrichment Activities

Choose from the following activities those that will work best for your children. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”

  1. Point out that Jesus Christ wants us to be like Mormon, even though the people around us might not be righteous. Using the thirteenth article of faith chart, help the class repeat in unison the first part of the article to the word men. Explain that being benevolent means being kind and that being honest, true, chaste, and virtuous means being pure and righteous.

    Encourage the children to remember this article of faith.

  2. Explain that it is easier to avoid seeing bad programs if the children and their parents plan ahead what programs would be good to watch.

    Suggest several different television programs or movies to the children and ask them whether watching each one would be choosing the right.

  3. Help the children sing or say the words and do the actions to “I Have Two Ears” (Children’s Songbook, p. 269).

    I have two ears to hear the truth, (point to ears)

    Two eyes to see the good. (point to eyes)

    I have two feet to carry me

    To places where they should. (walk in place)

    I’ll try to use them wisely

    In my work (pantomime sweeping or other work)

    and play. (pantomime tossing a ball or other play)

    I thank my Heav’nly Father (put hands together as if to pray)

    For making me this way.

    I have two lips to speak kind words, (point to lips)

    Two hands to work for me. (hold up hands)

    All these loving helpers

    Heav’nly Father gave to me. (point to self)

    I’ll try to use them wisely

    In my work (pantomime sweeping or other work)

    and play. (pantomime tossing a ball or other play)

    I thank my Heav’nly Father (put hands together as if to pray)

    For making me this way.

  4. Have the children sing or say the words to “Hum Your Favorite Hymn” (Children’s Songbook, p. 152).

    If on occasion you have found

    Your language is in question,

    Or ugly thoughts come to your mind,

    Then here’s a good suggestion.

    Just hum your favorite hymn,

    Sing out with vigor and vim,

    And you will find it clears your mind.

    Hum your favorite hymn.

    Discuss with the children how this song can help them keep their thoughts and speech pure.