Since I tend to organize my lessons with the youth around reading and discussing the scriptures as much as possible this turns out to be a very difficult lesson to approach. We have one scriptural notation: D&C 107:22-24, which outlines the quorum of the First Presidency and quorum of the 12 and that they have equal authority. Not much to work with even with only 40 minutes.
I think the lesson will be developed around these three ideas:
- What was involved in the succession crisis
- The Nauvoo Temple experience.
- The ongoing persecution, driving out into the snow AGAIN, and the need to gather and get ready for the trek west.
What was involved in the succession crisis
The main contenders were Sidney Rigdon (guardian), Emma who felt the 12 had no authority in the Stake of Nauvoo, the Quorum of the 12, the Council of 50, and then the long stretches like Strang, and Lyman Wight, Cutler. I think we will do a few what if questions and see where they take us, for example “What if Sidney Rigdon had become guardian what would have happened.
The Nauvoo Temple experience
This is perhaps the strangest element of the whole episode and no one calls attention to it. Here their prophet has been killed, they are directly threatened by mob violence on all sides, and what do they do? Well, of course, the only logical thing to do they finish building the temple! It seems like an insane waste of resources at a point in time when they were planning how to move tens of thousands of people west the next year. What were they thinking? How did the Quorum of the 12 manage to get them working on it? What was the reward, the goal, the purpose of building something that would be abandoned within months of completion?
It think this may well be the core of the lesson but how to make it engaging will be the issue. In those few months that the Nauvoo temple was open something like 5000 people completed their own endowments. The temple ran 24 hours per day near the end of the time and people still didn’t want to stop going and start the trek even though the mob violence was now more than just a threat.
So I am going to have build up some resources. This testimony of the importance of the temple ordinances is outstanding. It deserves to be known and celebrated.