Talk of the Month:
Serving Ice Cream in a Celestial Family

by R. Todd Hunt

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    I was recently asked to speak about what our family is doing to become a celestial family. My father suggested I speak on how to serve ice cream in a society made up of righteous families. Now maybe you are like me. I didn’t know there was any special way to serve ice cream in such a society until my dad explained it to me.

    He first told me to research the subject in the scriptures. But, after failing to find anything about ice cream in the Bible or Doctrine and Covenants, I gave up. I didn’t even look in the Book of Mormon. That was a big mistake, for that is where you find the best discourse on serving ice cream in a truly righteous family. Actually it doesn’t talk much about ice cream. It hits that very lightly. But it does teach you a lot about proper technique in serving ice cream.

    Maybe you could understand better if I told you how I used to serve ice cream and then explain the difference.

    Since I am a teenager, when dad or mom would ask me to serve everyone some ice cream, the first thing I would do was find me a cereal bowl and stack the ice cream to the teenager level, which is about two inches above the rim. Then I would dish up the ice cream for the rest of my family. However, my brother and sisters are smaller than I, so of course the small ice cream dishes are just about right for them. Rachelle, my 11-year-old sister, thinks she should get a cereal bowl too, which is ridiculous because she isn’t even a teenager yet.

    Well, my dad showed me in the Book of Mormon where it explains that my method wouldn’t have made the grade.

    In 4 Nephi it tells what it was like after the Savior visited the people in America following his resurrection. After his visit, the people really lived righteous lives. And the way they lived can help us understand how to develop celestial families. It even teaches us how to serve ice cream.

    The Book of Mormon, in 4 Nephi, [4 Ne. 1] says that the people had no jealousies, they were not envious, and they had no contentions or disputations among them. They had all things in common, and there were no rich or poor, and there was peace in the land. They went to sacrament and priesthood meetings to hear the word of the Lord, and they continued to fast and pray.

    But let’s get back to ice cream! My dad gently explained to me that when I have the standard teenager’s portion, it makes Rachelle and Kristi, my number two sister, jealous and envious. When they get like that, they start giving me all kinds of reasons why they should have as much as I do. Of course, I have to explain to them, loud enough for them to understand, that teenagers need more nourishment than “little girls.” Then they always have a response for that. And I have to reply—in a slightly louder tone, of course.

    Well, when I read 4 Nephi, I could see that we were having one of those “disputations” that Nephi was talking about; and the disputation had been caused by a “contention;” and the contention was caused by “envying.”

    So you can see that there is a certain way that you have to serve ice cream in a family desiring to be more righteous.

    Mom also pointed out something else. If everyone is allowed to have a fair share, according to their needs, then there are really no rich ice cream eaters and no poor ice cream eaters. Having no rich or poor means that everyone has as much as he needs, but he does not have so much more than someone else that they get envious and cause contentions which lead to disputations.

    When these disputations are avoided, there really is “peace in the land.” At least there is peace in the family room, and everyone is happier!

    When you think about it, this idea has some interesting applications when it comes to who is going to sit where in the car, or who is going to do what in family home evening, or which TV show to watch.

    My serving of ice cream has changed since I read 4 Nephi, and I have discovered that to live like they did after Christ’s visit, we have to concentrate on the little things we do day to day and the way we treat each other or think of each other. And you know, it helps me to think of my brother and sisters as much as myself. Mom says there is something about that in the scriptures, too. I suppose I should find that scripture as well.

    Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh

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    • R. Todd Hunt is a deacon in the Las Vegas 30th Ward, Las Vegas Paradise Stake. The foregoing is adapted from a talk he gave at a recent ward conference.