So I’ve been thinking about Mormons a lot lately. PBS recently aired a four hour fun-filled documentary on the LDS (Latter-Day Saints) faith and I’ve had Mormons on the mind ever since. From its cloudy beginnings with Joseph Smith and his disappearing golden tablets to its current world-wide explosion and evangelization, the film digs deep into the 13 million (and growing) member church. I watched it twice and could probably benefit from another showing. There was a lot to take in as much of this relatively new faith is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. And while they’ve got Jesus and the gospel all wrong, how they practice what they incorrectly believe puts many of us evangelicals to shame. Especially when it comes to faith and family.
The film’s director, Helen Whitney dedicates an entire segment of the documentary to dissecting Mormon’s theology, beliefs, and teachings about family. To highlight and uncover how Mormon teaching plays out within the context of family, the film-makers took it to the house (literally) by putting a film crew inside the home of a typical Mormon family. And I’d like to share a quote from one of the very articulate Mormon teenage daughters that rocked me.
“…rain or shine, like it or not, we bunker down together Monday nights and sing a few songs, and sometimes, we’ll have some really profound lesson or really fun activity, and sometimes we’ll just do Family Home Evening because we know we’re supposed to do it. And either way, it’s really good for us to spend time together, which is a rarity in today’s world.
The church and my family are so intertwined, and I just can’t begin to imagine trying to bifurcate those. And when you come into a home that has priesthood leadership and that has people living together focused on the same eternal goals, it just creates a kind of aura of love and peace. It makes your home a holy place.”
Making Home a Holy Place
Since 1970, after the Mormon president designated Monday nights as Family Home Evening, practicing Mormons set aside the evening and devote it entirely to family worship, prayer, study and community. While this idea is not foreign to us evangelicals and we understand the importance of something like it, how many of us actually do it? When is the last time your family sat down together for the sole purpose of engaging and worshipping the living God through prayer, Bible study and singing? Here’s a brutally honest question, if you told your kids you were going to do this together as a family, would they look at you like you were crazy…because they’ve never experienced anything like it before?
If you’re wrestling with where to even start and what to talk about; two things. I suggest either using the Crash Lesson Outline we attach to the parent e-mail or notes you personally took during the main service message as a spring board for discussion. And make sure to pray with your kids. One of the most encouraging things you can do as a parent is pray for and over your child. Let them hear you plead to the Father on their behalf.
One last thing. While it’s never too late to start something like this, the later you start, the more awkward and strange it will feel. Trying to introduce time like this with teenagers who have never done it before will be a struggle at first. But don’t give up. Fight through it and like the Mormon girl said “rain or shine, like it or not” bunker down together.
Praying for you as you do