My 5TH Sunday lesson on FHE http://lds.org/family/home-evening?lang=eng On the church website it says: Change your status on facebook to
“We’re having family home evening.”
It also says: Consistency Is the Key
Before giving you this packet – knowing very well what happens to handouts you bring home from Church – and where they end up.. I want to give you a challenge. Turn the packet into this (Show the booklet made up with all inserts, etc.) in the next few days…. I wish I would have had the money to buy binders, sheet protectors and put it all together for you.. because it is useless the way it is - -but extremely handy and wonderful when put together! (Faith in God, Duty to God, Personal Progress, For The Strength
of Youth, True to the Faith, The Living Christ, Family Proclamation, etc.) This is great FHE material for all of us – any of us…
Marlow and Delores – whose kids are grown and gone, Brady and Tera –whose kids aren’t teenagers yet, and Georgia who is on her own. Why? Because what’s good for our youth is good for us.. it’s the gospel and it’s good for us all. We all need FHE. And by that I mean family scriptures and family prayer as well. Reading the 4th paragraph down of the letter (3rd page of packet) it says.. We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction and wholesome family activities… HOWEVER WORTHY AND APPROPRIATE OTHER DEMANDS OR ACTIVITIES MAY BE, THEY MUST NOT BE PERMITTED TO DISPLACE THE DIVINELY-APPOINTED DUTIES THAT ONLY PARENTS AND FAMILIES CAN ADEQUATELY PERFORM. I feel that one of the most important pieces of revelation or counsel we have ever been given through our living prophets is something that came about in 2002 – and has not only strengthened families, but has directly affected the amazing growth of the church throughout the world. It is something referred to as raising the bar for missionaries. By that is meant increasing the spiritual maturity of our youth before entering the house of the Lord – or the missionfield. President Hinckley emphasized it this way “this work is rigorous. It demands strength and vitality. It demands mental sharpness and capacity, it demands faith, desire and consecration. It demands clean hands and pure hearts.” Elder Ballard said - we don’t expect them to be perfect, but they need to be anxious, willing and committed to serve so that they can reach new levels of spirituality as gospel teachers. They need to KNOW the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and teach it with power (here’s the awesome part!) IN THEIR OWN WORDS under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. Elder Bednar has talked alot about this Raising the bar… and what struck me was when he said – it is true that the bar has been raised for our missionaries.. but you must know that this means the bar has been raised for parents and leaders as well. I remember Elder Eyring talking about it as well and he said - What used to be enough is no longer enough. We live in a day and age of evil such that with all that our youth combats day by day, they must come home and receive strengthening and teaching and spiritual fortitude equal or greater to the evil coming at them constantly everywhere else. It may have been enough in years past to have a casual family gettogether once a week, but that is no longer enough. We need to have spiritually action packed FHEs - -with scriptures, and atonement and restoration being at the very center – core of it all - - and maybe more than once a week in order to be enough. Elder Ballard talked about being at the Provo MTC with the missionaries a few years back and asking them what would have helped them most to prepare for their mission. Above all else they said they wish they had: • Learned the doctrine better through focused scripture study. • Learned how to study and to pray sincerely. • Been more disciplined and worked harder. • Understood better what is expected. • Had more teaching opportunities. • And had more searching interviews by bishops and parents. When our youth understand the significance of the Restoration of the gospel and know for themselves that God is our Heavenly Father and He loves all of His children, that Jesus is the Christ, and that together They personally visited Joseph Smith to open this, the final dispensation of time, they will want to help carry this message to the world. When our youth see the Book of Mormon as tangible evidence that the message of the Restoration is true, they will be filled with a desire to do their part in teaching these truths to our Heavenly Father’s children. It is a very natural consequence - -once they truly know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon they will want to tell people and share it with others. Once they have felt the joy of the gospel – the blessings and power of the atonement, they will want to share it with others. It's very natural – and they will help many progress spiritually. With that said – I want you to know that Medardo and I have sent three of our 8 kids out into the world… have seen them go to the temple, into marriage – and Dallin on a mission. Already we know how tough it is to
send them out into the world each sufficiently prepared with a deep and abiding testimony and love of the gospel that they need to be great leaders helping themselves and others progress spiritually. We haven't had all success. So I know how hard it is. I know how often we as parents feel inadequate and wonder HOW in the world it’s possible to make sure they truly KNOW for themselves and FEEL for themselves the power and love that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the gospel. I know that we as parents all ask ourselves - - HOW can we do this? HOW can we find the time to have FHE ? HOW can we motivate our children to #1 be with us as a family, and #2 invite the spirit to be with us as a family to talk about sacred things when they are so often consumed and suppressed and suffocated and stifled by texting and cyperspace interactions and friends influences and video games, etc. I know the HOW can be so hard. In all this I have said – and in all that I have prepared to send home with you today - - my purpose is in making the HOW a little easier for you. Just recently I was talking with my friend Claar about the challenge of making it all work for our families and not getting discouraged. She summed it all up with some simple but powerful wisdom that has impacted me a lot. She said AS THE WHY GETS STRONGER, THE HOW GETS EASIER. So my purpose in all this is to help strengthen the WHY of having great spiritually charged FHEs – knowing the HOW will get easier once the WHY is powerfully in your heart and mind. Not long ago I was so frustrated with how angry and unsettled and upset everyone seemed to always be at my house. The lack of positive and happy communication was overwhelming me. I thought, we just can’t do it, we can’t get along. But one early morning it dawned on me that the Lord has given us this surefire promise guaranteed program of sitting down and talking with each other as a family in a happy way called FHE. If we open our mouths and talk about Jesus Christ, it is a sure thing that the Spirit will come – and it doesn’t matter what else you talk about, once the spirit is there you will feel love and security and hope and peace. We need that in our families. And then the big tall order of filling the hearts of our children with testimony and faith - - and of having them love the Savior and turn to Him for help in their own struggles and be ready to go out into the world to teach that to others, suddenly seems possible. When you think of strong youth - - I’m sure you and all of us think of the 2000 stripling warriors. We all want our kids to be like them. What did they leave home with? Summed up it’s childlike faith.. with more detail from the scriptures we learn that they had been taught by their mothers that if they would not doubt, God would deliver them. (Alma56:47-48) . They did obey and observe to perform every command with exactness. (57:21). They were young and their minds were firm, and they did put their trust in God continually. (57:27) They did pour out their souls in prayer.. were visited by the Lord with assurances, peace, faith and hope. That’s exactly what I want for all of my kids. I was thinking about Enos and Alma the Younger… both of which had their moments of conversion. Both had the teachings of their parents come to mind at that critical moment when the spirit bore witness to them and empowered them. Here is what Enos said: “Behold I went to hunt beasts in the forests, and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.” Here is Alma’s experience: “and it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I did remember also to have heard my father prophesy the coming of one Jesus Christ, a son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.” And we all know that as soon as he thought of Jesus, his pains were gone and he was infused with the desire to be good and to do good. THAT IS WHY we need to be diligent in these things. We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, so that our children will know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins! Once you feel that, you will be empowered with the HOW to do it, I promise. And the Lord has given us so many inspired helps. These programs of the church are awesome… Here is For the Strength of Youth from years past… it is 16 pages. Here is the new one 42 pages. Why didn’t they just leave it with the first? Because we now live in a 42 page world. This old one talks about whether or not to wear curlers in your hair at certain occasions… this new one is UP TO DATE with what’s happening in the world NOW. The Church is AWESOME! If you want to know what the Lord and the leaders of our church want our kids to know – learn what is in these materials! There’s a booklet with great stuff written just for kids 8-11. There’s a book for young women - - 12-18, there are pages for boys 12-13, etc. etc. The Church is COMPLETELY uptodate on child development… we don’t need to consult the world to make sure it’s appropriate for the age of our children… IT IS!! Who knows better than the Lord? He has made it simple. If we just knew what was in them and how simply the Lord has made it clear what He wants our youth to be focused on, and learning -- we would realize that it’s easier than we make it – being parents and raising these stripling warriors. I promise as you better understand the WHY of doing these things, the HOW will get easier! We want kids who are on fire with the gospel - - who are sure for themselves that the Church is true, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Jesus lives and loves them and that through His atonement their lives can be made clean and whole. We want our kids to head out, with an assurance that on bad days they can pray and receive help from God. We want our kids to leave home KNOWING and FEELING these things for themselves. That’s the WHY. I found these LIVING CHRIST pages in all different languages – and it drove home this message to me more powerfully - and once again lit me up with the Why. We don’t know where our children will go in the world, on their missions, or to live their lives - - we don’t know what language they will be required to speak… but that’s the easy part. Learning a language comes as they work at it. It’s the simple part - -as long as they KNOW AND FEEL what this page says. That they know FIRST the Living Christ - -then I promise you they will find a way to say it and share it with others. The language will be the easy part because they will be so anxious to bear their witness of Him and of His atonement. I have seen it in Dallin – and it is a sweet thing - a payday as a parent. And we didn’t do a great job at FHE - -but he has figured out what drives him. It’s the truth of the restored gospel and he is on fire with it. That’s the WHY. And I bear my witness that it makes the HOW worth it, and easier knowing that.