Here, two Mormon moms, one younger and still raising kids, and one older looking back, talk about establishing spiritually enriching habits in the home.
Take scripture reading for example. Many Mormon families make scripture reading, particularly from the Book of Mormon, a daily part of their lives. We believe the words of our former Mormon president, Gordon B. Hinckley when referring to reading the Book of Mormon said,
“There will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”
And yet we continued reading that night.
Because of the reminder hanging on the side of my fridge, “When it is a nightmare to do it.”
Why do I do it, even though more often than not a nightmare to do it? Because we have been asked, we have been encouraged, and we have been counseled. There are rarely quiet, reverent moments of reflection while our family is reading from the pages of the Book of Mormon together. And yet we persevere.
Futhermore, we have been instructed as Mormons to pray frequently as a family. There is a standard picture often used in Mormon children’s meetings of a family reverently kneeling in a circle. All the people in the photo, including the children have their arms folded, their heads bowed and eyes closed. It is anything but reminiscent of family prayer at our house.
Take last night for example. One child was being restrained from kicking another in the head. One child was sprawled out on the carpet refusing to kneel, and the child saying the prayer was mumbling into the carpet.
And yet we do our best to have family prayer each night before bed.
Because we have been encouraged by our Mormon leaders, and from the Book of Mormon itself, which writings Mormons believe to be the word of God.
Even when it is a nightmare to do it.Many Mormons set aside one night a week devoted to family time together, also referred to as “family home evening.” Monday nights are very often reserved in Mormon homes for that very thing. The First Presidency of the LDS Church in 1976 said:
“Regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellowmen, and trust in our Father in heaven. It is our promise that great blessings will come to all who conscientiously plan and hold weekly family home evenings.”
Though there are frequently tender, enjoyable, bonding times spent together as a family during family home evenings, there are also a fair share of arguments about who didn’t get to hold the visual aid, whose turn got skipped, and ultimately someone usually starts crying. Yet despite these setbacks, Mormon families worldwide can be found gathered together as a family on Monday evenings.
Fitting in daily scripture reading, family prayers and a night devoted to family time is not easy amid homework, music-lessons, little-league games and household chores. Yet thousands, of Mormon families continue to make these things priorities in their homes. Simply put, we have faith that the promises given to us by our Mormon leaders are true. We may see some of the fruits of our labors now, but ultimately, we have faith that one day we will see even more.
We believe scripture reading, family prayers and family home evenings to be part of “the most important work” President Lee was referring to.
Even when it’s a nightmare to do it.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon woman who has been married for forty-four very eventful years, with six children and nearly thirteen grandchildren. I was raised by worldly and very intellectual parents (not Mormons) who focused on science, education, and culture. My two siblings and I are very close in age. Living far away from extended family, I had virtually no experience with babies, toddlers or young kids before I started having my own. Needless to say, the Family Home Evening (once a week), family prayer (twice a day), and scripture reading (once a day) routine was new to me and quite a challenge. With an artistic temperament, I was no great organizer. Things important to running a household would drop out of my mind frequently, and a few times I even forgot my kids at school.
Unsurprisingly, we were never perfect at any of the above, but we tried. As I read Tiffany’s account of her boisterous children interrupting her efforts to follow the counsel of the Mormon Prophet, I had to laugh. It brought back memories that are now precious. She never did mention the spontaneous farting contests, the bathroom jokes just as we were kneeling down to prayer. In the scriptures there is counsel against “light-mindedness” and “loud laughter” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:121). Good thing the Lord has a sense of humor.
We pressed on through the years against all odds. Now we are old enough to see the fruits of our commitment. Every one of our six children has his or her own personal witness that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Spiritual experience is central to the development of this kind of witness, and we supported our kids’ independence and freedom to choose as we taught them sound principles. The kids developed compassion and a desire to serve along with developing their talents and getting educated. They have served missions for our church but have also served in the US Peace Corps, in the military, and in their own communities. Along the way, they’ve lived their lives with integrity and honor, doing their best to keep themselves “unspotted from the world,” endeavoring to be chaste and to avoid alcohol and tobacco and drugs, to be honest in school and at work — to take the high road. Yes, I’m a proud mom (and grandmother), but I actually do miss the nightmare attempts at Family Home Evening, family prayer, and scripture reading.
Tiffany Sowby is a mother of five and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon” woman). She tries to find humor, joy, and contentment in the little things life has to offer.
Gale Boyd is Managing Editor for More Good Foundation and a Relief Society President for a small congregation of Mormons in Asia.