Until the time a child turns 8, teaching is usually focused on baptism: its importance, its symbolism, its purpose. But what happens between 8 and 12? Are the 12-year-olds of the church prepared to enter the temple and do baptisms for the dead? Do they understand the sacredness of the place and the reverent respect it deserves? By making the temple a familiar and well-loved part of your child’s growing years, and by preparing even more after baptism, your child can have a greater appreciation for and be better prepared to enter the sacred house of the Lord. This was inspired by a recent ldschurchnews article by the Primary general presidency.
Set an Example
When you set an example of temple attendance, your children will begin to recognize that the temple is important to you, and it will become more important to them. They will look forward to turning 12 and being able to worthily enter the House of the Lord and participate in covenants the way that you do. Letting your children seen you iron your temple clothes, setting aside a specific time for temple attendance, or making a special effort such as a temple fund jar for those who do not live near the temple, will have an impact on the way your child views the value of the temple.
Include the Temple in Everyday Family Life
In places where regular temple attendance is not a viable option, having pictures of the temple in your home can help keep it in the front of your children’s minds. My parents decided to give each of their children a nicely-framed temple picture for their birthdays one year. It was one of the only pictures I brought with me when I moved away from home, and it brought a peaceful, comforting spirit.
Visiting temple grounds for Family Home Evening or attending temple open houses when possible is another way to make the temple a part of your children’s lives. When this is not a viable option, take time to look at temple updates, or review temples that were announced in General Conference and why they are significant.
Involve children in Family History
Family History is an inherent part of temple work, and church leaders have recently been urging members to pursue genealogy with more vigor than ever before. Encouraging children and pre-teens to do family history work with the goal of taking those names to the temple will make not only temple attendance but also family history work more memorable. If you need some help getting started yourself, there are plenty of resources on websites like familysearch.org and rootstech.org. From there you can start with this basic 5-step guide to preparing family names for the temple and get your children involved in the process with you.
Take Time to Teach
The temple is a sacred place and many of the ordinances that occur inside are not appropriate to discuss in a casual setting or with youth. However, making sure your children have a foundational knowledge about the purpose and significance of their own baptism will help them understand their purpose for doing baptisms for the dead.
FHE lessons are an appropriate place to talk about the meaning of different temple symbols such as the angel Moroni, the importance of temple attendance, and the purpose for baptisms for the dead. You could also use time on Sundays to watch and discuss church videos such as “The Mountain of the Lord,” or the Mormon Message “Why Mormons Build Temples,” in addition to reviewing articles about more logistical preparation found in church magazine articles.
These are just a few of many suggestions to incorporate the temple into your children’s lives and start getting them excited about worthily entering the Lord’s house. We recognize that every family is different and has different access to a temple, however, so we would love to hear your own tips and experiences in the comments below!