Objective: To help family members understand that keeping the commandments consistently will enable them to stay on the right course to the temple and Eternal Life.
Basic Doctrines: Atonement of Jesus Christ, Ordinances and Covenants, Commandments
- Get white paper for paper airplanes for each family member.
- Make a paper airplane.
- Get pens or markers.
- Get several For the Strength of Youth pamphlets.
- Picture of a temple
I Love to See the Temple
Tell the following story in your own words. If you have small children, you may want to make a paper airplane to use as a visual. Before telling the story, tell your family to listen for what caused the airplane to crash (if you tell them before, they’ll listen for it, if you tell them after, they have to re-play the story in their head to find the answer).
In 1979 a large passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. Unknown to the pilots, however, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees. This error placed the aircraft 28 miles (45 km) to the east of where the pilots assumed they were. As they approached Antarctica, the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. Although both were experienced pilots, neither had made this particular flight before, and they had no way of knowing that the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet (3,700 m).
As the pilots flew onward, the white of the snow and ice covering the volcano blended with the white of the clouds above, making it appear as though they were flying over flat ground. By the time the instruments sounded the warning that the ground was rising fast toward them, it was too late. The airplane crashed into the side of the volcano, killing everyone on board.
It was a terrible tragedy brought on by a minor error—a matter of only a few degrees. (April 2008, A Matter of a Few Degrees, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
Discuss the following questions:
- What caused the plane to crash?
- How are people sometimes like the plane from this story?
- If we are like the airplane, who do we want as our pilot and why?
Show the paper airplane you made. Tell your family our earthly life is like we’re each on board our own spiritual plane. When we allow the Savior to be our Pilot, He will fly us to the Celestial Kingdom.
Ask: How do you think we allow the Savior to be our pilot? (By keeping the commandments and doing what He asks us to do).
Ask: What are the commandments? (Have your family search Exodus 20, and the For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet to answer. Don’t read anything – encourage your family members to sift through the words and find the actual commandments. As they list them, write them down on a piece of paper – you will use this list later.)
Explain that our planes fly a straight course to the Celestial Kingdom when we keep the commandments, but each time we forget to keep them – forget to pray, read our scriptures, don’t go to church – we veer off course just a LITTLE bit. When we choose not to keep the commandments, it is like we have taken away the controls from the Savior and are flying the plane ourselves – and we don’t know how to fly!
Show your family how the paper airplane will fly right past the Celestial Kingdom if it is off just a little (don’t throw the paper airplane, it will go too far off course, just show in slow motion).
President Uchtdorf said: “…even small errors over time can make a dramatic difference in our lives.” (April 2008, A Matter of a Few Degrees, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
Tell your family that the Savior atoned for each mistake we ever have or ever will make and when we repent and begin to keep the commandments again, the Savior takes back the controls of our personal planes and flies us straight. We will make small mistakes but can fix them asap and get back on course!
President Uchtdorf also said: “These commandments and covenants of God are like navigational instructions from celestial heights and will lead us safely to our eternal destination. Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways to get back in the light of gospel truth.” (April 2008, A Matter of a Few Degrees, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
Hold up the picture of the temple. Explain that everyone who is worthy to enter the temple is worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom. Show your temple recommend and tell your family that it is like a boarding pass for the flight the Savior flies to the Celestial kingdom!
Set the temple picture on a chair and do the following activity:
Have your family members make their own paper airplane.
- Have each family members browse the list you made earlier and choose one commandment they think the world needs the most and have them write it on their paper airplanes.
- Next, fly the airplanes to the temple. Have a line they have to stand behind!
- If family members hit the temple with their plane, great! Have those members cheer the others on.
- If family members miss the temple, have them go back and find another commandment to write on their plane and try again. Repeat step until every plane makes it to the temple!
Peanuts. Pretzels. Small plastic cups with their choice of soda…