Objective: To help each child realize that Heavenly Father loves each of us because we are his children.
Some resources that may be helpful for this lesson are:
New Era Article “You are a Child of God”
Mormon Messages Video Clip ”I Am a Child of God”
Quotes on the doctrine of Premortal Existence:
Boyd K. Packer (February 2006 Ensign “The Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ Teaches of Life Before Birth) “This doctrine of premortal life was known to ancient Christians. For nearly five hundred years the doctrine was taught, but it was then rejected as a heresy by a clergy that had slipped into the Dark Ages of apostasy. Once they rejected this doctrine, … they could never unravel the mystery of life. They became like a man trying to assemble a strand of pearls on a string that was too short. There is no way they can put them all together.”
Russell M. Nelson (March 2007 Ensign “Faith and Families”) “…pivotal to God’s plan is the family. In fact, a purpose of the plan is to exalt the family. The earth was created so that we as premortal spirit children of our Father in Heaven could come to the earth and obtain physical bodies. We are here to be tried and tested. We are here to “choose liberty and eternal life … or to choose captivity and death.” And best of all, we are allowed to fall in love, to be married, and to invite children into our families.”
June 2008 Ensign “The Gospel Teaches about our Premortal Existence”
The Family: A Proclamation to the World: “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
Some scripture references:
1) Ye are gods, children of the most high (Psalms 82:6).
2) We are the offspring of God (Acts 17:29)
3) We are in subjection to the Father of spirits (Hebrew 12:9)
4) I am a son of (child of) God (Moses 1:13)
Here are some points from the Sunbeam Lesson #3 (Heavenly Father Has a Plan for Us) that can be adapted for older children that might also be helpful:
We are spirit children of Heavenly Father
- Did you know that we are all spirit children of Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:9)? We all lived with him and our heavenly mother and all the rest of their children before we came to earth as babies. We were happy there with them.
- Our spirits are an invisible part of our bodies. Our spirits can live without a body just like they did before we were born, but our bodies cannot live without a spirit. A body without a spirit inside it is called “dead.” Your spirit will always live but not your earthly body.
- One of the reasons we came to earth was to be born into a body so our spirit could experience the joy of having a body. A body is wonderful! (See: Friend Magazine February 1999 “I Shouted for Joy”
Part of Heavenly Father’s plan for us to grow and to learn to be more like him was to come to earth to get a body. We get to learn to treat our ourselves and others the right way.
Sing (or share the words) “I Lived in Heaven” Children’s Songbook, 4
I lived in heaven a long time ago, it is true;
Lived there and loved there with people I know. So did you.
Then Heav’nly Father presented a beautiful plan,
All about earth and eternal salvation for man.
Father said he needed someone who had enough love
To give his life so we all could return there above.
There was another who sought for the honor divine.
Jesus said, “Father, send me, and the glory be thine.”
Jesus was chosen, and as the Messiah he came,
Conquering evil and death through his glorious name,
Giving us hope of a wonderful life yet to be—
Home in that heaven where Father is waiting for me.
Heavenly Father wants us to return to him someday.
But we weren’t meant to stay here on this earth forever. One day we will give up our bodies for a time when we die and our spirits will go back to Heavenly Father (Alma 40:11). But we will really want our bodies again because they are so nice. But Heavenly Father knew that while we were on earth we would make some wrong choices and that we would sin, which is a big part of our learning process. But the sin would create a big hole in the path back to God that we could not get across by ourselves . The only way we could cross over that big hole was for someone else to help us, but it had to be someone who had not sinned and someone who knew the right way.
Jesus Christ loves us so much that he volunteered to be that person who would help all of us get back to our heavenly parents . This is called the Atonement. It is the most wonderful gift of grace anyone has ever given us. We could not get across that hole by ourselves (Alma 22:14) and we could not resurrect our bodies because we don’t have that power. (Place Jesus’ picture across the hole in the stairs to show a complete path).
But how did Jesus fix that problem for us?
- He laid himself down and died for us and then he came back to life again. This is a big word called “resurrection.” Resurrection means everyone will have the chance to come back to life again and have their bodies, too. (John 3:16)
- Jesus Christ wants us to understand that if we want to be the most happy and to have the most joy after our life on earth is over then we need to repent of our mistakes (make the right choice the next time), follow his commandments , and live like he lived. Following the path that Jesus Christ created for us to get back to Heavenly Father is the only way (John 14:6).
Our Heavenly parents want us back with them just as all parents want all of their children home safely. A way has been provided for us to get there. All we need to do is follow Jesus Christ and do as he asks.