Lesson 32: Learning the Gospel in Our Homes

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 245–53


The purpose of this lesson is to help us make our home a center for gospel learning.

Parents Must Teach Their Children

Enos, the son of a prophet, often heard his father, Jacob, talk of eternal truths. One day Enos went into the forest to hunt. While there, he said:

“The words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life … sunk deep into my heart.

“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker” (Enos 1:3–4). After praying all day, he heard a voice telling him that his sins were forgiven. The experience was so important to Enos that he taught the gospel and rejoiced in it all the rest of his life.

Enos had been taught the gospel in his home. The Old Testament teaches, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). As faithful parents, we are responsible to help our children learn gospel principles and practice them in their lives.

Our Home—A Center for Learning

The Lord planned for us to be always learning and progressing. He placed great responsibility on parents to teach their children. For this reason we must make our homes places to learn the gospel.

Children learn about this life in the home, at school, and from their playmates. But usually they do not learn eternal truths from school or friends. The Lord has placed on parents the responsibility to teach their children eternal truths. We fulfill His commandments when we do this.

To bring up our children in light and truth, we should study the gospel in our homes with our children, even when they are young. King Benjamin told parents:

“Ye will not suffer your children … that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil. …

“But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (Mosiah 4:14–15).

Planning for Family Gospel Study

To make our home a place for gospel learning, we must have a plan. Each family should find the way that works best for its members.

  • Display a poster of the following list or refer to the information on the chalkboard.

    1. 1.

      Create an atmosphere for learning.

    2. 2.

      Pray with the family.

    3. 3.

      Take advantage of “teaching moments.”

    4. 4.

      Study the scriptures and other gospel materials regularly.

    5. 5.

      Hold family home evening regularly.

    6. 6.

      Bear testimony to our children.

Create an Atmosphere for Learning

Our children should feel free to talk with us at home. Many homes are filled with tension, which discourages children from asking questions and expressing their feelings. President David O. McKay counseled: “Parents must … show a willingness to answer questions. A child that is asking questions is contributing happiness to your life” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 480). We must encourage children to ask questions, especially about the gospel. We may not always know the answers, but together we can learn.

  • How can we encourage gospel discussions in our homes?

Pray with the Family

  • Display visual 32-a, “A family praying together.”

When we pray with our families, we can teach them. We can communicate our hopes, worries, and ideals. As we pray for family members and others, we can teach love and concern for their needs. As we thank Heavenly Father for our blessings, children can learn to appreciate their own blessings. As we communicate with our Heavenly Father, we teach about our relationship with Him and the love we feel for Him.

Take Advantage of “Teaching Moments”

We can teach the gospel in many situations. At mealtimes parents can show how daily events relate to gospel principles. Bedtime stories for children can come from the Book of Mormon, the Bible, or our own spiritual experiences. We can share stories from our daily scripture reading. As everyday situations arise, we can teach our children to understand gospel principles.

  • What are other times to teach gospel principles?

Study the Scriptures and Other Gospel Materials Regularly

  • Display visual 32-b, “A mother reading the scriptures to her children.”

Women have been told to study the scriptures: “We would like all Latter-day Saint sisters to read all of the Standard Works [the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price], to ponder in their hearts the eternal truths that are found in them” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Drink from the Fountain,” Ensign, Apr. 1975, 70). As we set the proper example, it will be easier to teach our children to read the scriptures.

There are many ways to study the scriptures. We can study individually and as a family.

  • Display a poster of the following list of suggestions or refer to the information on the chalkboard. Then have class members suggest other ways to study the scriptures individually.

    1. 1.

      Read the scriptures from beginning to end. Try reading one or more chapters a day or reading for 15 minutes a day.

    2. 2.

      Study the scriptures by topic (such as “prayer” or “obedience”). Search for all the references about that topic.

    3. 3.

      Search the scriptures to find the answer to a problem.

    4. 4.

      Make a list of scriptures that inspire you.

    5. 5.

      Cross-reference scriptures in a regular study plan.

  • Display a poster of the following list or refer to the information on the chalkboard. Then have class members suggest other ways to study the scriptures as a family.

    1. 1.

      Set aside 15 minutes each morning before family members leave for work or school.

    2. 2.

      Hold a short study session in the evening before the children go to bed.

    3. 3.

      Prepare and tell stories from the scriptures to younger children.

    4. 4.

      Select special scripture verses, and write them on cards. Post the cards on a bulletin board or wall where everyone can see them. Then encourage family members to memorize the verses.

    5. 5.

      Choose a scripture to teach a principle. Then decide how to experience the principle taught. Examples: read Matthew 25:31–40, and then help a needy family; or read James 1:27 or Galatians 6:2, and then help someone who has lost a loved one.

    6. 6.

      If available, read talks from the last general conference. Apply the suggestions given.

    7. 7.

      Play scriptures from audiocassettes if possible.

Whatever plan we follow, we should always begin our scripture study with prayer. We should ask Heavenly Father for guidance and understanding. We should think about what we have read, applying gospel principles in our lives.

Bishop H. Burke Peterson said: “There shouldn’t be—there mustn’t be—one family in this Church that doesn’t take the time to read from the scriptures every day. Every family can do it in their own way” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 79; or Ensign, May 1975, 53–54).

  • Why is it important to study the scriptures as a family? Ask sisters to explain how they have been able to have successful scripture study.

  • Display visual 32-c, “Gospel and other good books can be made available to family members.”

Other materials can also help us learn about gospel principles. A bookshelf at home could hold a library of gospel materials. Books, pictures, audiocassettes and an audiocassette player, and other materials could be kept there for the whole family. The standard works and Gospel Principles should be the basic books or tapes in our library. If possible, we should buy each child a copy of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. We should then plan a specific time with them for studying these books. We cannot expect our children to study unless we work with them and set the example.

Hold Family Home Evening Regularly

Family home evening is one of the best times to teach our children. (Each Monday evening is set aside for this.) Families should use the family home evening manual if it is available. If no manual is available, we should study the scriptures and Gospel Principles, listen to gospel recordings, or share our feelings about the Church. Creating a pleasant, happy atmosphere will help the children enjoy the evening. Then they will want to be more involved. Family home evening should not be filled with preaching that the children cannot understand. It should be fun for everyone.

Bear Testimony to Our Children

During mealtime, scripture study, family home evening, or gospel discussions, we should bear our testimonies to our children. As they hear us and see with their own eyes that we live the gospel, their own testimonies of the gospel can increase.

  • Read Deuteronomy 11:19. Have class members share experiences they have had teaching the gospel to their children.

Conclusion

As we study the gospel, our families will be blessed. Our testimonies and our homes will grow strong. We will find answers to our problems. We will be happier and have greater peace because we are trying to live closer to Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.

The mother of a family that held early morning scripture study told about their blessings:

“There are many benefits from this early morning program: getting a better understanding of the scriptures and their meaning in our lives, starting the day in a more organized manner … , enjoying a family breakfast together.

“I’m sure our children go off to school with a happier, more secure feeling about themselves, our family, and their world” (Geri Brinley, “Getting a Head Start on the Day,” Ensign, Apr. 1977, 8).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie told of other blessings that come from such study: “We want to have peace and joy and happiness in this life and be inheritors of eternal life in the world to come. These are the two greatest blessings that it is possible for people to inherit. We can gain them by reading and learning the words of eternal life, here and now, and by keeping the commandments” (“Drink from the Fountain,” Ensign, Apr. 1975, 70).

Challenge

Plan to study the gospel at home, both individually and with your family. Look every day for chances to explain gospel principles to your children.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Prepare the posters suggested in the lesson or write the information on the chalkboard.

  2. 2.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.