A few years ago, when our oldest child approached the age of baptism, I thought about the preparation she had had and felt dissatisfied. We had used the family home evening lessons on preparing for baptism; we knew that her teachers in Primary and Sunday School had taught excellent lessons on the subject; and my husband and I had referred to her baptism frequently. But still I felt dissatisfied.
As I wondered what else she needed, it occurred to me that an adult receives thorough grounding from the missionaries through the investigator discussions. My husband and I had been stake missionaries and still had the flannelboard presentations—and Trelesa loved flannelboard stories. We decided to try it and I rewrote the discussions, using her own vocabulary to accompany the pictures and wordstrips used in the presentations for adults.
It worked beautifully. She wanted to understand the fundamental principles of the gospel, and she was not too young. We had to explain the meaning of some big words to her, but its fringe benefits became obvious when she came home bubbling from sacrament meeting because she had understood what the speaker meant when he talked about “preexistence.”
After the first lesson, she wanted to put the objects on the flannelboard and explain what she had just learned, so we became the students after each lesson. It was a great way to check her understanding. An added benefit was asking her the kinds of questions an investigator would ask and listening to her answers. (Sometimes she would whisper to me, “What’s the answer?” and then transmit the information authoritatively to her father.)
I was pleased at how many opportunities there were in the lessons to share important values, like love of the scriptures, taking care of our bodies, the peace in understanding the eternal gospel plan, and the love of our Heavenly Father.
It was a warm experience and one that has worked equally well for our other children as they’ve begun preparing for baptism. It’s increased our enthusiasm for finding ways of sharing other gospel teachings together. And most important, we feel that our daughter understood and loved the gospel enough that her baptism was a free choice to ally herself with the Savior’s Church. That’s a great reward for parents.
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