Through a child's eye: Children's art helps reflect 1993 Primary theme

"In the Temple," "Family at the Temple," "Going to See the Temple" - these are just three of the titles of children's artwork displayed in a recent international children's art exhibit on families at the Museum of Church History and Art. (See Church News, March 27.) Of the 284 drawings, paintings and collages displayed in the exhibit, "Through a Child's Eye: All Families of the Earth Be Blessed," several depicted families and temples.

This is appropriate, as the 1993 Primary theme has been on teaching children the purpose and importance of temples. As the year draws to a close, many success stories relating to this year's theme are being told by members and leaders.One such story is that of Rob Jackson, his wife, Sherri, and their three children. On Nov. 5, they were sealed as a family in the Salt Lake Temple.

Brother Jackson, of the Walnut Hills Ward, Kearns Utah West Stake, said he will never forget that day. And what made the day even more special is that for nearly a year, the Jackson children, Mandie, now 12; Mathew, 9; and Mitchell, 3; have been learning about temples in Primary.

"They knew more about temples than I did," Brother Jackson said. "Just seeing their excitement helped my wife and me a lot."

Sister Jackson added: "Before the Primary year on temples, a lot of children didn't understand what went on in temples. I think the Primary theme on temples helped my children understand more of what temples are for. Learning more about temples helped them get more excited. And after Rob decided he was going to take us to the temple, the children became really excited to become a forever family."

The Primary general presidency said they have received reports of many such success stories. In expressing her appreciation for those serving in Primary who have helped children learn the importance of temples, Michaelene P. Grassli, Primary general president, said: "We extend to you our gratitude for the beautiful experiences and feelings you have given children about the temple this year. We know, from the things you have shared with us, that many lives have been blessed with eternal possibilities because of the efforts you have so carefully made to increase understanding and awareness of the importance of being worthy to receive temple ordinances."

In a Sept. 11 Church News article about the 1993 Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation, "I Love to See the Temple," Pres. Grassli was quoted as saying: "I don't know that we've ever had more excitement and interest generated than we have this year. Usually, we start hearing reports halfway through the year. In January and February of this year, we started hearing reports about the success that children, families and leaders have experienced."

In speaking of some of these reports, Pres. Grassli referred to the many visits Primary children made to temple grounds this year, as arranged by their local Primary leaders. She quoted from a letter written by one young girl who visited the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple:

" `Dear temple people, thank you for letting me come to the temple and explore. I love the flowers. They were very pretty. The whole temple itself was beautiful. It's exactly how the Lord's house should be.' "

Pres. Grassli also spoke of a grandmother who received a telephone call from two of her grandchildren. " `Grandma, we want you to take us to the temple,' " Pres. Grassli quoted. "The grandmother, knowing that the parents had not been married in the temple, was concerned and started to explain that parents, not grandparents take you to the temple.

" No, Grandma,' " the children interrupted, "You don't understand. Our family is going to be sealed, and we want you to come!' "

Pres. Grassli added, "What a tender way for that family to announce that the parents had been preparing, and now the family was going to be sealed together for eternity."

She explained that "An unusual activity day was held in one ward when Primary leaders took their children to a temple parking lot where the children put notes on the windshields of the cars. The notes thanked temple patrons for doing temple work for the dead."

In speaking of the lessons, successes and changes of heart, Pres. Grassli said, these benefits "are happening in wards and stakes, and I suspect they will continue for years to come. Primary leaders are truly making our little Primary-slice of a child's life a significant and worthwhile slice, with eternal consequences."

These successes have occurred in many ways as Primary leaders have strived to help children gain appreciation for and understand temples. Following are two vignettes of what children did in Primary activities to learn about temples; a third vignette depicts what children can learn concerning what part temples play in individual lives:


To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Salt Lake Temple, which took 40 years to complete, Primary children of the Afton 3rd Ward, Afton Wyoming Stake, wanted to learn to appreciate the time, effort and sacrifice that go into building a temple.

They did so by building a replica of the Idaho Falls Temple - made of sugar cubes. The children began building the replica the first Sunday in January. Each Sunday, everyone attending Primary glued a sugar cube on the replica. On Sept. 19, during the Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation, the children glued a replica of the Angel Moroni on top of their sugar-cube temple - the 40th week after they began the project.

The finished replica is made of 3,200 sugar cubes, weighs more than 40 pounds and stands 18 inches tall. On Sept. 25, the children presented the temple replica to the Idaho Falls Temple Visitors Center. Preston B. Brimhall, president of the Idaho Falls Temple, accepted the replica. The sugar-cube temple is on display at the visitors center.


"Temples Throughout the World" was the theme of the Fruit Heights 2nd Ward, Fruit Heights Utah Stake, Primary weekday activity June 15.

According to the ward Primary presidency, each Primary child, with the help of family members, made a temple out of such materials as clay, cardboard or cake. On the day of the activity, the children placed their temple replicas on a recreational lawn adjacent to the ward meetinghouse. The lawn depicted the world, and flags designated temple sites.

In speaking of his temple replica, one young boy, Ben Banford, a Blazer, said: "We looked all over the house for boxes and blocks, but I decided to try making a cake to represent the Ogden Temple."

Alexandria Stucki, a Sunbeam, said of her temple, "This is the Denver Temple. My mom and dad were married in the Denver Temple."

The children spent the remainder of the activity playing games. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Salt Lake Temple, the children ate cupcakes decorated with candy replicas of temples.

The following Sunday after the activity, the children displayed their temples in the foyer of the meetinghouse.


In April of this year, when Elder Don Toomey, then serving at the Hawaii Temple Visitors Center, first noticed the boy, he knew something was wrong. The boy, about 7 years old, was standing near his bike in the visitors center parking lot. And he was crying.

As Elder Toomey approached, he could hear the boy sobbing, his shoulders bent forward, his head down. The full-time missionary, serving with his wife, Lorraine, asked the young Hawaiian boy what was wrong.

"I can't find my cousin," answered the boy. "We rode our bikes down to swim. I went out in the water for awhile, and when I came back my cousin wasn't there. His bike was laying in the water. I looked all over for him. Then I rode around and couldn't find him."

The boy had told his parents, and they were out searching for the missing cousin. The Hawaii Temple is only a few blocks from the ocean. Not knowing what to do while his family searched for his cousin, the boy had ridden his bike to the temple grounds.

Elder Toomey escorted the boy into a quiet room in the visitors center. There, they knelt in prayer. During the prayer, Elder Toomey felt that the missing boy was safe. The missionary reassured his young friend, and told him to go find his cousin.

"It was about two hours later when the boy came back," Elder Toomey said. "He didn't need to say anything. The happy smile on his face told the story."

The boy's cousin had just wandered off and was found safe.

"After the boy did all he could to find his cousin," Elder Toomey noted, "He came to the temple for help." - Elder Stewart Kirkpatrick, public affairs missionary, Hawaii public affairs council

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