Latter-day Saints around the world held their breath as President Nelson announced a change in the Church meeting schedule in the October 2018 general conference. The new schedule will put a special focus on gospel learning in the home, supported by the Church.
The new home-centered, Church-supported plan will consist of two hours at church, and the rest of the Sabbath day will be spent with family and friends teaching each other, ultimately bringing ourselves and each other closer to Christ.
The initial reaction to President Nelson’s announcement was, for the most part, excitement. But as Latter-day Saints started to think about what this new plan actually meant beyond the shorter block schedule, the weight of the responsibility started to set in. Teaching your children and sphere of influence to be spiritually self-sufficient while trying to progress spiritually yourself can feel like a lot of pressure.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed during this transition. There will definitely be a learning curve, but the Church will provide new resources and we’ll all learn together as we listen to the counsel of Church leaders and receive personal inspiration from God. However, preparing now for the change at the beginning of the year will make the transition a little easier and make your home a place where the Spirit of the Lord can reside and teach.
1. Start reading the New Testament.
Youth and adult Sunday School and Primary classes will start studying the New Testament in January. The discussions from these church lessons will likely carry into your family conversations in the home, and being prepared to discuss the topics in the New Testament will help you and your family have more meaningful conversations and deeper study on the topics.
As you study your scriptures, take a few minutes every day to start reading in the New Testament. This will prepare you for your gospel study in January and throughout 2019, and understanding the stories will help you better teach your children or ward members.
2. Be mindful of the media consumed in your household.
Technology is a part of life and it can truly be used to spread goodness. However, the negative content or results from consuming TV, social media, and the internet can impact your family and the spirit of your home. Pay attention to what you and your kids are watching and listening to. It’s not hard to discern which types of media drive the Spirit away, so don’t let them have a place in your home.
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The new home-centered curriculum will be most effective when the Spirit is present. As you invite the Spirit, your home will become a safe place where your family can learn and grow in the gospel together.
3. Hang gospel art and quotes on your walls.
Hanging gospel art in your home is an amazing way to invite the Spirit. Try also hanging quotes on your fridge, doors, or mirrors to remind your family about what you discuss each week as a family. Keeping the gospel in sight and mind at all times will help you and your family remember Christ in your everyday lives.
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President Nelson encouraged hanging photos of your family and the temple in your home. "I invite the members of the church to place on the walls of their homes pictures of their family, pictures of their grandparents, pictures as a couple, pictures of their children, and pictures of the temple," he said. "These all symbolize God's eternal plan. It's all about the family." (For beautiful images of temples around the world, check out this beautiful art.)
4. Start having gospel discussions in your home now.
If you’re not already, start making gospel conversation a regular occurrence in your home. If you have kids, ask them what they learned in Primary or at school and be willing and ready to ask questions, share your insights, and bear your testimony when the time is right. If you don’t have kids but have a spouse, read general conference talks together and discuss the parts that stood out to you. If you live alone, listen to gospel podcasts, read or listen to talks, and spend more time with your Heavenly Father in prayer.
The home-centered curriculum was created to bring the gospel into Latter-day Saint homes and to bring us all closer to Christ. Talking about and worshipping Him often in your home will invite His Spirit and make your home a heavenly refuge.
5. Keep a Book of Mormon in the rooms where you spend the most time.
Studying the Book of Mormon is one of the most important things you can do to keep the Spirit in your home. Keep one in your living room and in your bedroom, and when you sit down to watch TV or scroll through social media, read a few chapters instead. When your kids see you reading and enjoying the Book of Mormon, they’ll grow to love it, too.
A fun way to involve your entire family in your scripture reading efforts is to keep a Book of Mormon journal in a shared space. Put it where everyone can see it and keep some pencils nearby. Encourage your family members to read a few verses throughout the day and write in the margins the things they feel or the insights they have. Read with the younger kids and encourage them to draw pictures.
The next time you gather for family prayer and scripture study, let everyone talk about what they wrote and how the verses impacted them. This will be an amazing opportunity to spark gospel conversation and learn from each other.
6. Be loving and accepting toward others.
Home-centered church is going to be a huge adjustment for everyone. As you and your ward members navigate the change and try new teaching methods with each other and with your families, be loving and patient.
Every family does things differently. One family might do their home-study in their sweats and another might stay in their church clothes all day long. Refrain from judging how other families spend their Sabbath day and remember that everyone is learning and doing the best they can.
In addition, be mindful of families in your ward that might include single members, divorced members, blended families, and others who can adapt this new curriculum to their unique family. Invite some of these families to dinner, start gospel study groups, or create uplifting text chains to inspire each other and learn together.
7. Show more love in your home.
Showing love and kindness to members of your family will bring you closer to each other. When you have that bond with all members of your family, it becomes easier to discuss spiritual topics and learn the gospel in your home. Love them, serve them, and remember that they, too, are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father.
The type of home mentioned in the hymn, “Home Can Be a Heaven on Earth” can be achieved when you show love to your family members. Remember the lyrics:
“Home can be a heav’n on earth
When we are filled with love,
Bringing happiness and joy,
Rich blessings from above --
Warmth and kindness, charity,
Safety and security --
Making home a part of heaven,
Where we want to be.”
The Book of Mormon, Journal Edition, provides the space you need to write down the thoughts and inspiration you receive as you read and study the scriptures. With extended margins for notes and reflection, this new format will allow you to write your thoughts directly in your scriptures and easily find them again in times of need. Suited for every stage of life, this book will help increase your connection to your most treasured verses and make your personal scripture study even more meaningful.
At the age of 20, Yonsung Kim had a dream that God asked him, "What are you doing with the gifts I've given you?" From then on he felt compelled to paint images of Christ that share some of the light and hope that Jesus offers.