From “Silver Question” to Golden Contacts

In Schweinfurt, Germany, where my husband was stationed with the United States Army, there were two military posts. To get between posts, soldiers often walked to the front gate and hitched a ride. Sometimes as we offered soldiers a lift, we’d start chatting. I would ask what unit they served in, where they were from, and how long they’d been stationed there. Then I would casually ask what came to be known as our silver question: “Are you LDS?”

Often the soldier would ask, “What is that?” and we’d have an opportunity to ask the “golden questions”: “What do you know about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” and “Would you like to know more?”

At other times there would be a quiet pause; then a soldier might look over at me with an open mouth and say, “Yes, how did you know?” In those cases, I would check the soldier’s name tag and ask him if he wanted a ride to church on Sunday and to be assigned home teachers. Many soldiers found their way into active participation in our branch with our silver question.

One young Latter-day Saint began coming to church about two months after our first contact. He later told me that his affirmative answer kept coming back to him and he couldn’t forget the feelings it awoke within his heart. He soon found himself passing the sacrament and teaching a class. Before we left Germany, he had met Jackie, another single Latter-day Saint soldier, and married her in the temple.

We have found that the simple question “Are you LDS?” can open many doors to finding members in the military and helping them become active in the Church.

Damaris Fish, Auburn Seventh Ward, Auburn Washington Stake

[illustration] Illustration by Joe Flores

Ideas for Relief Society Music Training

The Relief Society five-minute music period is an ideal time to acquaint sisters with some of the basics of music. An understanding of these fundamentals can help the sisters more effectively use sacred music, particularly the hymns, in their worship.

Relief Society music directors might consider doing the following activities during the music period:

  • Explain the elements of a music staff.

  • Give a short course in music directing.

  • Demonstrate how to follow the music director.

  • Explain the purpose of the sections in the back of the hymnbook: Using the Hymnbook Authors and Composers Titles, Tunes, and Meters Tune Names Meters Scriptures Topics First Lines and Titles

  • Explain note values.

  • Discuss time signatures.

  • Demonstrate different music rhythms.

  • Explain the dynamics of a particular hymn.

  • Discuss the meanings of the mood and tempo markings noted at the top left of the hymns. Sing a hymn accordingly.

  • Sing the words of one hymn to the tune of another. The “Meters” section, pages 405–9 of the hymnbook, will show you which hymns are interchangeable.

  • Read the scriptures listed at the bottom right corner of the hymns.

Jolene Stephens Picker, Murray 32nd Ward, Murray Utah Parkway Stake

Four Tips for Family Home Evening

“Do we have to have family home evening again?” Have your children ever asked this? By the time I had my own family, I had gained an appreciation for this inspired program and wanted it to be successful. Here are some ideas we have used to enhance our family home evening experiences.

Remember the purpose of family home evening. President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, once said the purpose of family night is “to draw families together in love, to open the doors of communication between parents and children, to make them happy they live together and belong to one another—eternally” (Lucile C. Tate, Boyd K. Packer, A Watchman on the Tower [1995], 166).

Make it fun. Our children love to play games, so we created our own versions of popular television game shows. For instance, it’s easy to jot down four subject categories and make up increasingly difficult questions for each category. I have used topics such as prophets from the Book of Mormon, Jesus’ baptism, or scripture stories we have read. Much to my children’s delight, I have also included categories with questions about them.

Look for ideas everywhere. Church magazines and the Family Home Evening Resource Book (item no. 31106; U.S. $5) are excellent sources for family home evening ideas. Many New Era, Ensign, and Liahona articles can provide a base for family home evening discussions. For young children, the Friend has stories and activities coinciding with each month’s Primary theme and family home evening activities and lesson ideas.

What about those Mondays when you don’t have specific plans? Be consistent and hold family home evening anyway. Use the time to brainstorm new ideas together. Some of these planning sessions turned up ideas for memorizing the Articles of Faith, sharing favorite Bible and Book of Mormon stories, and reading aloud journal entries. Also, as I observed my children throughout the week, I discovered needed lesson topics such as respecting others’ property, telling the truth, and being a good friend.

Dare to be different. Nobody said family home evening must be held in a circle on the living room floor every week. Why not add some exciting locations and activities? Our family has loved huddling around a backyard campfire, anonymously delivering treats, and inviting others to share our evening.

The point of family home evening is to draw families together in love. I knew our family nights were succeeding when one of my sons asked on a Thursday afternoon, “When is family home evening? Can we have another tonight?”

Lori Mortensen, Cameron Park Ward, El Dorado California Stake

[illustration] Illustration by Beth Whittaker