Friday, June 27, 2014

FFF #24--Family Scripture Study

Well, we are all returned from our trip to drive the boys out to school.  It was an amazing and fun trip!!  It was too short!  I wish it had been longer and that we had had more time to visit more of our friends in Provo.  We didn't get to see most of them.  I will tell you about the trip, but not today.
Because we have stayed in people's homes recently, I had the opportunity to watch other families participate in their family scripture study.  It looks different than mine, which is fine!  I just thought it was interesting to note how each family does it.  Maybe it will give you courage, if you are not already doing so, to participate in a way that works for your family.  If you are already having family scripture study, how does it work for your family?  I do not believe there is a right or a wrong way to do it.  The important thing is that you are doing it!  We didn't do it in the family I grew up in.  Since I have been married to Drew, we have done it almost every night.  We started on our wedding night, seriously!

Our family scripture study has evolved over the life of our family.  While it was just Drew and I, we read a chapter or so every night, and discussed the doctrines we were learning.  When Slim was a baby, we just kept doing that.  As the children got old enough that we thought they were listening and interested, we read directly out of the scriptures for a few verses and then told the story so they became familiar with the stories in the scriptures.  Slim used to tell the story of Nephi and the Brass plates to our families at three years old.  They would laugh hysterically as he told them 'Laban said: I will kill you and it will hurt!'  As the oldest children got old enough to discuss the doctrine, we started reading a few verses or a chapter and discussed what some of the words and ideas meant and how they apply to our lives today.  Then when the Duty to God program for the young men required the young men to read the Book of Mormon completely once by the time they were a teacher and then again as a Priest, we just had the boy who was needing to complete that assignment be the reader for the family and we had discussions, as well.  Currently, we have kind of continued that trend.  Shorty (11) is our current reader, with all of his siblings before him having been the reader at one time or another, until they have completed reading the Book of Mormon once out loud.  If you are doing the math, that means we have read the Book of Mormon at least 6 times as a family.  In reality, I think we have probably done it about 15 times which isn't so bad for 25 years.  (I haven't really counted.....)

We read our scriptures at night, before we say our family prayers.  When everyone was little and home every night before 8, we all participated at the same time.  Now we read at 8 with anyone who is here and needs to go to bed.  Then we read again with the others when they get home.  This last Wednesday night, I had just finished reading with the littlest guys and put them into bed, when the older ones showed up and we did the entire process all over again.

At our house, we all just gather together and one person reads while the rest of us listen.

Another family we stayed with has two children (11 and 9 ish).  They read scriptures in the morning.  They pull up the scriptures on the computer, which is hooked up to their television.  They each read three or four verses, discuss their meanings and then say the prayer for the day.

The other family we stayed with reads in the evening.  Each person brings their scriptures to their parents bedroom because their father is handicapped and that is where he is.  They each read a page in the Book of Mormon (5 pages) and then the youngest ones read a page in the Pearl of Great Price (2 pages).  Then they pray as a family and spend an extra two minutes or so after the prayer still quiet and on their knees as they listen for the Spirit to answer their prayers.

I know other families do a little kind of a devotional with a thought and a song.
The thing that I think is amazing is that the Church doesn't say "Here is how family scripture study should look" and then lay it out for us.  All they say is: "You should be having family scripture study," and then it is left up to each family to decide what that looks like and how it should function.  As our family has changed, so has the way our family scripture study looks.

I've shared this story before, but I'll share it again:

Elder Nelson came to one of our stake conferences years ago.  He was discussing the importance of family home evening and family scripture study and its significance in the lives of his children and grandchildren.  He actually told us from the pulpit, "I won't tell you our family scripture study and family home evenings were always a howling success.  Sometimes there was more howling than success."  He then went on to say that his children were more successful in their attempts to hold family scripture study and family home evening than he and his wife had been and he hoped that his grandchildren would do an even better job.
This is what it would look like if we did it in the morning.

And to be honest, I am pretty sure our children do not always or even usually remember what we discussed in family scripture study.  But they know we have it.  They know it is important.  Through our obedience they learn that as a family, we value the information in the scriptures and we think it is important enough to follow the counsel of the prophets in holding family scripture study.

What does it look like at your house?

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