The door slammed behind Matthew as he ran in the house. He dropped his kindergarten papers on the kitchen table.
“I’m home,” he said to his mother, who was spreading peanut butter on bread. “I’m ready to work on my family home evening lesson.”
Mother laughed. “Just a minute, son,” she said. “You need to eat lunch first.”
“But tonight is family home evening, and I don’t have my lesson ready.”
“I’ll help you after lunch,” Mother said. “Now, run and wash your hands.”
In a minute Matthew was back. His hands were still wet. Mother was feeding baby Karin something orange and mushy. “What is Karin having for lunch?” he asked. “It looks awful.”
“It’s squash,” Mother said. “And she likes it. But don’t worry—I made a peanut butter sandwich and apple slices for you.”
Matthew hurried to eat his lunch, but when he finished, Mother was still trying to put squash into Karin’s mouth. It kept dribbling back out. “You’ll have to go and play while I feed Karin,” she said. “It takes longer for babies to eat than five-year-old boys.”
“I don’t want to play,” said Matthew. “I want to plan my family home evening lesson. It needs to be really special because it’s my first one. Kathryn said it wouldn’t be a very good lesson. She said I’m too little.”
“You are littler than your sister Kathryn,” Mother said, “but you’re bigger than Karin. You can do lots of things that she can’t do. Why don’t you think about what you’d like to teach our family tonight, and I’ll help you when I’m finished.”
Matthew went to his room. He sat on his bed and thought. He thought about some of the family home evening lessons his dad had given.
I like listening to the scriptures when Dad reads them, Matthew thought, but I don’t know how to find the right ones for him to read.
Matthew thought about teaching his family something he had learned in Primary. He remembered his teacher had told the class that President Benson had said that we should read the Book of Mormon. Matthew went over to his toy shelves. On the top shelf was his tape recorder, his Book of Mormon reader, and the cassette tapes to go along with it. He opened the reader to his favorite story and turned on the tape.
As he listened to the story, Matthew had an idea. He listened to the story three times. Then he went to his toy box. He counted out a pile of small blocks and put them into a bucket. After that, he went to the kitchen to get a flashlight. Mother was washing the lunch dishes. Karin was crawling around on the floor.
“I’m going to do the lesson all by myself,” Matthew told his mother. “I have it all planned.”
“Don’t you need any help?” Mother asked.
“Just a little help,” said Matthew. “I need that big brown blanket down from the cupboard. I’m going to build something in the living room.”
Mother went to the cupboard and took down the blanket. “What are you going to build?” she asked as she gave it to him.
“You’ll find out at family home evening,” he said mysteriously.
Matthew put four chairs in the living room. He spread the blanket over the tops of the chairs. Then he crawled inside under the blanket.
It’s pretty dark in here, he said to himself. I think it’s just right.
That night everyone was very curious to hear Matthew’s lesson.
“What’s this big tent for?” Kathryn asked. “I’ve never seen a family home evening lesson like this.”
“You’ll find out after we sing the opening song and have the prayer,” said Matthew. “Mom, can we sing ‘Book of Mormon Stories’ for the opening song? It will help my lesson.”
The family sang all eight verses of “Book of Mormon Stories.” Then Dad gave the opening prayer. After the family business, Dad turned the time over to Matthew.
“Tonight we are going to act out a story from the Book of Mormon,” said Matthew. “It’s the story of the Brother of Jared and the Jaredites.
“They were traveling to the promised land. They came to a big ocean. The Lord told the Brother of Jared to build eight boats. We’re going to pretend that this blanket on the chairs is one of the boats.”
“That’s what the tent is for,” said Kathryn. “It’s a boat!”
“The Brother of Jared obeyed God. He built the eight boats,” Matthew continued. “Kathryn, will you get inside the boat, and tell me what you see?”
Kathryn crawled inside the boat. Baby Karin did too. “It’s dark in here,” Kathryn said.
“Yes, the boats were too dark for the Jaredites to travel in,” said Matthew.
“I remember the story,” said Kathryn, poking her head out of the boat. “The Brother of Jared had to find a way to get light in the boats.”
“That’s right,” said Matthew. “Dad, will you hide behind the curtain? I want you to show what Jesus did. I’m going to pretend that I’m the Brother of Jared.”
When Dad was behind the curtain, Matthew took the flashlight from his bucket. He handed the flashlight to Mom. “Shine the light on the blocks after Dad touches them,” he whispered to her.
Matthew picked up the bucket of blocks. He climbed up on top of the couch. “This is the mountain that I’m climbing,” said the pretend Brother of Jared. “I’m taking these sixteen white stones up to the top of the mountain.”
Matthew knelt on the couch. He spread out the blocks. Then he pretended to pray: “Lord, we need something to make light in our ships. Please touch these stones with Thy finger and make them shine.”
Matthew’s dad put his finger out of the curtain and touched the blocks. Matthew’s mom shined the flashlight on them. Matthew fell down. He pretended to be afraid.
“Get up, why are you afraid?” said Dad, still playing the part of Jesus.
“I saw the finger of the Lord,” said Matthew.
“You have so much faith that I’m going to show all of myself to you,” said Dad. Then he walked out from behind the curtain.
“The Brother of Jared saw Jesus because he had so much faith,” said Matthew. “We should try to have faith like the Brother of Jared. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
“That was fun,” said Kathryn. “Can we do the story again, and this time I’ll be the Brother of Jared?”
“Sure we can,” said Dad.
“That was a wonderful lesson, Matthew,” said Mom. “We should act out more of the scripture stories. It will really help us remember them.”
“I already have my next lesson figured out,” said Matthew. “Our piano bench would make a great wall for Samuel the Lamanite!”