August 8, 2013 by FHElessons
A little while after we were first married, my hubby was asked to speak at my younger sister’s baptism. I believe he gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, and in his talk he referenced the Liahona, which is sometimes referred to as a compass. He compared the Liahona (and thus, the compass) to the Holy Ghost, discussing how both will point us the right direction. Just as the Liahona only worked when Lehi’s family was righteous and receptive to the Spirit, so can we only hear the Holy Ghost when we are trying to live righteously. My husband gave my sister a compass as a gift to remind her of the gift of the Holy Ghost which she received that day, to remind her to keep her life in tune with the Spirit so that she could receive direction as to the right way to go.
Thus was born our tradition of giving a compass as a baptism gift. We have given compasses to my 2 youngest sisters, to our own 4 children, and to 13 of our nieces and nephews (the ones who have been baptized so far). The compass works especially well for boys because they also begin Cub Scouts at age 8, and a compass is always useful in scouting.
My husband has been asked to speak at numerous baptisms since that first one. Over the years he has refined his talk to include a full Treasure Hunt analogy. I thought I would share it with you in case you would like to use some of the same concepts with your own children. If you have a treasure chest, you can use it as a visual aid along with a lock & key, compass, and treasure map as shown below.
Life Is a Treasure Hunt Baptismal Talk
What an exciting day it is for you who are about to get baptized. I was asked to speak to you on baptism today. As I thought about how to teach you about the importance of baptism and what it means in your life, the idea of a treasure hunt kept popping into my head. So today I am going to liken our journey through life to a treasure hunt.
In the Preexistence we lived with our Heavenly Father. We had spirit bodies and He had a perfect body of flesh and bones. We all desired to become like Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father wanted that also, so He devised a plan that would enable us to learn the things we needed to learn so that we could become like Him and receive a celestial body.
Plan of Salvation:
The plan He came up with is called the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness. In this plan we are all given the opportunity to come to Earth and attempt to find that treasure that is eternal life or living with our Heavenly Father forever. The treasure hunt would not be easy. We had forgotten: (1) Who we really were —Children of God; (2) Why we were here —to get a body and be tested; and (3) Where we are going —hopefully back to the presence of Heavenly Father. To overcome these challenges God gave us certain gifts and hid upon the Earth maps, tools, and guides to help us return to Him.
The Light of Christ:
Each of us is born with the Light of Christ within us. Some call it a conscience. Our conscience is like a sense of direction. It points us in the right direction that we should travel. This is very important for us because it helps us find the necessary tools to find the treasure. Our conscience leads us to them if we but listen. It is also the part of you that recognized the truth when it was spoken to you or when you read the Book of Mormon. It is why you are here today, because you know that being baptized is the right thing to do. One of Heavenly Father’s guides, the Holy Spirit has spoken to your spirit and confirmed that this is true.
Baptism Is the Key that Opens the Treasure Chest:
The treasure chest that holds eternal life is locked. The key that opens that chest is baptism. Many receive that key when they are eight and are baptized into the church. Others come later in life and find this key. The ordinance symbolizes the death of the natural man and his burial in the water, and the resurrection of the disciple of Christ as he rises from the water.
The Words of Christ Are the Map
Having been baptized we have the key to open the treasure chest but how do we find that chest? The map or directions to the treasure are the very words of Christ. He has shown us the way. Has He not said, “Come follow me”? Has He not given us the scriptures and prophets both past and present that we might know where to go and what we must do to find the treasure? For those not in tune with the Spirit, these directions may be confusing. For those who have only the Bible, the true path is difficult to discern from the missteps and false trails laid down by men. But with the aid of the Book of Mormon and its second witness, the trail can be discerned by the honest in heart when they rely on the Spirit.
(To make the above visual aid, I took a picture of the scriptures and then printed it on a brown paper lunch sack. To print on the sack, I cut it open and then cut it to the size of a piece of paper and fed it through my printer. After printing, I crumpled it up and also tore the edges to make it look old. You could also burn the edges if desired. Write “Here Be Treasure!” or something similar on the back with a marker. Here is a second one that I did using a picture of all the scriptures, a prophet, and some conference editions of the Ensign):
The Gift of the Holy Ghost Is the Compass by Which We Navigate the Treasure Map
Not only do we have a sense of direction, the key and the map, but after baptism we also receive a compass that always points back to God so we need never make a misstep or lose the path. That compass is the gift of the Holy Ghost that you will receive after baptism. Though it always points to God, we must have the faith to follow its directions or else we will become lost.
Faith unto Repentance and Baptism + keeping the Commandment + Enduring to the End = Eternal Life
When we take all that God has given us to find the treasure and distill it into a single thought, we get the following sentence: We must have faith unto repentance, baptism, keep the commandments, and endure to the end. Sounds simple, right? But there are going to be times in our lives when we lose the path; we commit sin and our key rusts; and our compass does not seem to work. We know we are in danger of not finding the chest and that a rusty key will not open it. Are we then all doomed to failure? No.
Christ Is the Great Talisman that Will Help Us Conquer All Through the Atonement
As our key rusts, and it will with sin, it is important that we do not overlook the greatest gift that God has given us, even the gift of the Atonement through the Lord Jesus Christ. We clean that key through repentance and partaking worthily of the sacrament each week.
Prayer Is a Heavenly Life Line to Keep Us Tethered to God
Your search for treasure in this life is like any other dangerous task—it requires the proper safety equipment. On our treasure hunt it is important that we securely tether ourselves to God through constant prayer. If we become lost, or think that our compass is not working, it is essential that we pray to God to find out how to get back on track. It is through prayer that we access the repentance process and can rectify our wrong turns.
Conclusion / Testimony
Brothers and sisters, I know that God is happy with your choice today. You have found the key and the compass and you are now ready to begin in earnest your search for eternal life. Remember that the map is contained in the words of Christ. That He has placed guides upon the earth in the form of family members and church leaders to help us stay on the path. Remember to pray always and partake of the Atonement, and you will find what you seek and live with God forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
A while ago, I was at the craft store and found some antique-looking keys on clearance. I realized that these would be the perfect visual aid to go along with the baptism lesson, so I bought a bunch of them. Our traditional gift for a person getting baptized now includes one of these awesome keys! Here is what it looks like all wrapped up:
In case you would like to make a similar gift, I have included a FREE PRINTABLE for you! Click HERE to download a map with a couple of paragraphs describing the gift and the symbolism. Follow these instructions:
- 1. Print page 2 (the plain map) on one side of the paper.
- 2. Flip the paper over and print page 1 (the map and the words) on the other side.
- 3. Crumple the paper up and smooth out again to make it look used.
- 4. Burn the edges of the paper to make it look old.
- 5. Use the paper to wrap your compass with the words on the inside.
- 6. Tie your key on top.