Truth from Elijah

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An often overlooked song about the temple is Truth from Elijah.  If you are looking for a change instead of teaching I Love to See the Temple, teach this underrated primary song instead!!  It’s beautiful!

Camille's Primary Ideas: Truth from Elijah singing time ideas

Song History

Vanja Watkins is the author and composer of this song.  She has a talent for creating music that coincides with the flow and message of her songs.  And Truth from Elijah is no different.

In Stories of The Children’s Songbook written by Patricia Graham (more details on that book HERE), it says:

Vanja skillfully wrote a melody that “turns” along with the words.  The key also turns from minor to major as a positive conclusion.

The emphasis on “turning” was very intentional.  When you teach Truth from Elijah, try to emphasize this very important point!

Attention Getter

Introduce the song by showing a picture of Elijah and describing who Elijah the prophet was.  Use the Gospel Art Book image #20 picture of Elijah and the Priests of Baal HERE:

Camille's Primary Ideas: Truth from Elijah Singing Time Ideas

In conjunction with the Gospel Art Book Image #95 of Elijah Appearing in the Kirtland Temple HERE.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Truth from Elijah Singing Time Ideas

Tell the primary that Elijah played an important role in the restoration of the gospel.  Elder Bednar’s talk HERE contains a wonderful summary on Elijah:

Elijah was an Old Testament prophet through whom mighty miracles were performed. He sealed the heavens, and no rain fell in ancient Israel for 3½ years. He multiplied a widow’s meal and oil. He raised a young boy from the dead, and he called down fire from heaven in a challenge to the prophets of Baal. (See 1 Kings 17–18.) At the conclusion of Elijah’s mortal ministry, he “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11) and was translated.

“We learn from latter-day revelation that Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood and was the last prophet to do so before the time of Jesus Christ” (Bible Dictionary, “Elijah”)…

Elijah appeared with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration (see Matthew 17:3) and conferred this authority upon Peter, James, and John. Elijah appeared again with Moses and others on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple and conferred the same keys upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

Scripture records that Elijah the prophet stood before Joseph and Oliver and said:

“Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—

“To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—

“Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors” (D&C 110:14–16).

Another summary is HERE from the February 1983 Friend magazine.

The promise the Lord made through his prophets was that a time would come when everyone, living or dead, would have the opportunity for baptism and temple blessings.

About 900 years before Christ, Elijah had the keys, or authority, to use priesthood sealing powers on earth and in heaven. In the latter days his mission was to bring that authority back to earth so that genealogy and temple work could be done.

Because the people were wicked, Elijah sealed the heavens so that it wouldn’t rain. Ravens brought food to Elijah during the famine.

A widow shared her last flour and oil with Elijah and was promised her supply would last. The widow’s son became sick and died. God answered Elijah’s prayers, and the boy lived again.

Elijah called down fire from heaven in a contest with the wicked priests of Baal, hoping the people would then believe in the true God.

Elijah divided the waters of the Jordan River by hitting the water with his mantle, or cloak.

Elijah did not die, but was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire.

About 400 B.C. the prophet Malachi prophesied that Elijah would return the power and keys for sealing to the earth.

On September 21, 1823, Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith. After telling Joseph about the golden plates, Moroni quoted Malachi and foretold Elijah’s coming.

On April 3, 1836, Elijah came to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple in Ohio. Because the prophecy of Malachi was fulfilled, families can now be sealed for eternity, and genealogy and temple work is done for the dead.

Activity

For the activity, I LOVE the “dance” that Jessa shared HERE.  It portrays all the turning that the composer put so much work into emphasizing!  It couldn’t be more perfect!

Notes

I have simple notes on the dance if it helps:

Begin by moving the chairs completely out of the way.  Have your primary sit in a big circle.* 

  • The hearts of the children have turned to their fathers: have children walk in a large circle, clockwise
  • Have turned, have turned have turned: children individually turn in circles
  • Because of the truth they have learned from Elijah: have children walk in large circle, counter clockwise
  • Have learned, have learned have learned: children individually turn in circles
  • And we as the children: kneel down
  • Can seek out our loved ones: sit on knees
  • Preserving their names: sit crossed legged
  • And their memories: slap thighs 3 times to the beat
  • We can strive to be worthy: sit on knees
  • To kneel in the temple: kneel up
  • And bind them: step up with one foot
  • To us: step up with other foot
  • For eternity: stand tall while arms create large circles upwards and outwards
  • The hearts of the children have turned to their fathers: have children walk in large circle, clockwise
  • Have turned, have turned: children individually turn in circles
  • Have turned: stomp feet to the beat

*If your primary is large, try these variations:

  • Have one class at a time try the dance at the front of the room
  • Walk in place instead of walking in a circle
  • Sit and stand while waving arms upward instead of walking in a circle

Repeat the dance several times.  Time permitting, ask these directive listening questions in between dancing:

  • How many times is the word “turned” sung? [8]
  • What prophet have we learned truths from? [Elijah]
  • Just like the children, who can we seek out? [our loved ones]
  • What can we preserve? [their names and their memory]

Bear testimony that the hearts of the children have turned to their fathers.  We can preserve the names and memories of our loved ones by striving to be worthy to go to the temple and having our loved ones sealed to us for eternity.

Sea Shanty Arrangement

I want to conclude with this YouTube video because it’s just cool, check out this Truth from Elijah (sea shanty) version:

Get it To-Go

A downloadable PDF of this blog post lesson plan is available in my Singing Time To-Go!  All you have to do is print!  Find it with July 2022’s singing time material.  Check out more details HERE.

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