Editor’s note: In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, families typically have a family night every Monday night, which we call Family Home Evening — a sort of staple of Mormon family life. Thanks to Jessica for sharing a glimpse of a recent Family Home Evening at their house. (Read more about Mormon Family Home Evening.)
Flag FHE [FHE=Family Home Evening]
~by Jessica Poe
When we sat down on the living room floor and shouted, “Welcome to Family Home Evening!” at the top of our lungs, it felt like every other FHE. My three wee ones (ages 5, 3 and 1 year old) ate their refreshment first and then plopped on the floor, staring up at Dad, wondering what family activity was on the agenda. Little did they know, this was one of those few shining FHEs that would make an impact.
Dad began by giving a brief summarization of the Book of Mormon chapter we had been reading during family scripture study: Alma 46. He asked me to read a few of the verses, while he acted them out. In basketball shorts and white T-shirt, he stood tall, as much like a casually-dressed Captain Moroni as possible.
In this chapter, Captain Moroni is feeling frustrated because so many of the Nephites are being distracted and led away by the flattering words of wicked Amalickiah. Filled with righteous indignation and desperation to get the Nephites’ attention, and to remind them of who they are and what they’re doing, Captain Moroni rent his coat.
Enter a mental image of my husband trying to rip his white T-shirt. It took a few good pulls, but he got it – and he let out an upset yell to conjure up the mood. The out-of-the-ordinary move captured the attention of my little girls. Their mouths dropped, their eyes widened and they didn’t move a muscle. (The baby cried.)
Next, Captain Moroni took a piece of rent cloth and wrote upon it, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children” (Alma 46:12).
We decided to write and draw pictures of things that will help our family remember who we are and why we are really here. Our stick figure family was drawn first, then a smiley Jesus with one of his sheep, our home, a heart to represent love and service, a peace symbol to inspire less fighting, and a United States flag for freedom.
To communicate his message, Captain Moroni hoisted his flag, which he called the Title of Liberty, on a pole and waved it for all to see. My girls found one of those toy horse heads on a stick, and it served as our pole. Instead of heading to our private backyard, we went out front, to the side of our house which faces a busy street in our small town. Each family member waved it and ran up and down the lawn, alongside the sidewalk, enthusiastically shouting “Repent!” or “Remember!”
I loved seeing the scriptures come to life for them! They connected with the story and really understood it. For the next few days, every time we saw a relative, they’d say, “My dad tore his shirt at Family Home Evening!” – which was usually followed by raised eyebrows and great questions from the relative, and then a Gospel-centered conversation.
Not every FHE at our house is memorable or successful. Many are spur-of-the-moment games, some are chores labeled as games, and others only feature the refreshment. But we’re trying to be consistent in having Family Home Evenings; and we’re trying to consistently have the Spirit in our home.
Like Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the Seventy, said in his April 2011 General Conference, “A Christ-Centered Home”
“We learned that our children might not remember everything about the family home evening lesson later in the week, but they woul remember that we held it … Brothers and sisters, there is great power and protection for us and our youth in establishing celestial traditions in the home.”
Celestial traditions – I’ve never labeled our Family Home Evening as that; but I think I will try to now. That’s what it is and that’s what we’re striving for. I’m thankful this particular FHE felt a little celestial, and it gives me inspiration to keep on trying.