“… inasmuch as parents have children in Zion… that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.”
Doctrine & Covenants 68:25
The first Sunday of each month is what members of the Church call “Fast Sunday”. It is a day that we all fast (abstain from eating or drinking for twenty-four hours) and during our worship services, rather than have sermons or talks, we have the opportunity to share our testimonies with each other, when moved upon by the Spirit. We then donate the money that we would have used to feed our family to the Church to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless.
In September, Fast Sunday was the first Sunday we had in our new ward. We had been attending a Portuguese ward, but in September we started attending our neighborhood, English speaking ward.
We were sitting with our friend who is living with us and her two boys who are eight and seven. They wanted to bear their testimonies, so Russ (my husband) went up with them. Then our four-year-old wanted to bear his testimony. Usually a four year old needs a little help with his testimony, but V? Nope. He went right on up there, didn’t even want my help, and proceeded to say things like “I know Jesus loves me and love all the people.” (all the people = everyone… our son says the funniest things) – I had him tell me what he was going to say before he went up there, just to make sure he wasn’t going to be a goof ball at the pulpit. I completely underestimated him.
Don’t think my kid just spontaneously bears his testimony. We had practiced bearing our testimonies at family home evening one week. That particular family home evening we “practiced” going to Church. We set up the chairs in the living room, made a pulpit out of one of our bar stools and some cardboard, put the hymn numbers up on the wall, had our scriptures and crayons and we even made a pretend sacrament table out of the piano bench. We sang the songs in order, had opening prayers, had announcements, had “ward business” and then had a testimony meeting. We didn’t actually bless and pass the sacrament – instead when it got to the sacrament portion of the meeting we simply talked about the importance of the priesthood and the sacrament ordinance, what it means, what we should be thinking about, and we practiced being reverent. The kids did surprisingly well, and it was all in all a great family home evening that I think we will duplicate many times over the course of our children’s growing-up years.
We talk about the gospel doctrines daily in our home. They are a part of our every day conversation. This openness about the gospel is what helps our children learn about the doctrines of the gospel, and since we simply let it be part of our lives instead of something we “teach” our children about formally, I think that our children are developing a love for the scriptures and for the gospel.
Our four year old has his own testimony and isn’t afraid to share it. What an example to me!
How do you teach your children the gospel? How do you teach your children to share their testimonies? Do you encourage your children to talk about the gospel? Do they encourage you? Is gospel conversation an every day part of your home?