An LDS visitors' center is a great place to take a gander if you’re looking for a quick summary of the Church through pictures, statues, displays, and digital media. Without hanging an obvious sign on the door accompanied by a hefty stack of pass-along cards, you can turn your home into kind of personalized “visitors' center” that will give visitors to your home a sense of your beliefs and maybe even spark some questions!
Here are a few easy ways to get started:
Whether pictures, knick-knacks, or wall hangings, art makes the home! Just like a visitors' center, a large part of the way your home feels is a result of the décor hanging on the walls or placed on the shelves. Whether your personality is vinyl quotes from the prophets on the wall or magnetized pictures of temples on the refrigerator, find ways to incorporate church art and design into your home. Sometimes it can be as simple as replacing a movie poster with a picture of the family, filling an empty space next to the front door with a picture of your favorite temple, or placing a statue of Christ as the center of a shelf’s layout. When you choose home décor that reflects your family’s values as well as your personal taste in color and style, visitors can identify what is important to you and feel a unique, peaceful spirit.
2. Electronic Media
Music and short films abound in visitors' centers, providing content that is spiritually uplifting and informative. While you don’t have to play your favorite Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD on repeat every day, the kind of music, movies, and video games you allow in your home will affect the atmosphere. This is a great subject to discuss with your kids. Decide as a family what standards your family needs to keep the spirit in your home. You may consider thinking about how you would feel if a non-member friend or a family member were to see a particular title in your collections, then get rid of anything that doesn’t meet your family’s standard.
Literature, online or offline, is an important reflection of your thoughts and beliefs. Again, no need to limit your bookshelves to copies of prophet biographies and Old Testament study guides, but a well-placed (and used!) Book of Mormon or Ensign can generate some great questions from your friends and visitors. It may even help remind you to read and study for yourself! Deseret Book has some great décor, music, and books if you need some help getting started.
Have you ever walked into a visitors' center and felt tension? Hopefully your answer is no. Visitors' centers are places of peace where missionaries, members, and non-members can respectfully discuss and learn about the Church. Angry or excessively loud words are not characteristic of a visitors' center and should be avoided when possible in your home as well. Encourage your children to use kind words and not shout when they are angry. Then try to follow these rules yourself. But don’t despair if you have a bad day and lose your temper—words of forgiveness and apology can heal a shattered feeling of peace.
*Side note: A special set of words can be spoken to dedicate your home as a sacred place. For guidelines on how to dedicate your home with proper authority, see Church Handbook 2.
None of us are Molly Mormon or Peter Priesthood, nor do we need to be, but by striving to keep our homes as tidy as possible, we remove confusion and clutter to allow the Spirit to enter. This is a great way to involve your kids, giving them chores to help with and training them to tidy up after themselves. Visitors will able to more easily notice the spiritual components of your home when it is reasonably tidy.
Incorporating these simple ideas into your home can bring a spirit and peace that reflect what you believe, and that may even rub off on Mormon and non-member visitors alike. This list, however, is not comprehensive—we would love to hear some of the simple things you do to make your home reflect your values in the comments below!