Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Home Evening – Gaining a Strong Testimony

April 2010 General Conference Talk: Sister Mary N. Cook

Objective: Help each family member identify an area in which he/she can gain a strong testimony

Lesson: We had our children retell the story about Alma the Younger – assessing understanding by asking these types of questions:

1. Who was Alma the Younger?
2. Who was his father?
3. Who were Alma the Younger’s friends?
4. Who was the sons of Mosiah’s father?
5. What were they doing that was so bad?
6. What do you think were some of the things Alma the Elder and King Mosiah did for their sons?
7. Who appeared to these boys and what happened to Alma the Younger?

After this we talked about what would happen to us if we saw and angel. Would we tell others? Would that be our basis of our testimony?  Would seeing an angel keep us faithful to the end?  Would it be enough?

Then, we talked about HOW Alma’s knowing that the gospel was true – that Jesus was the Christ. We read from Alma 5:45-46.

 And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.

And moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the Spirit of God.
Then we asked questions like these:
1. What did Alma say was the reason he knew for himself?
2. Why didn't Alma say anything about seeing an angel?
3. What is the importance of knowing by the Holy Ghost?
Now, (drum roll), here is how we incorporated General Conference . . .We asked our reading children to get out their scripture journals and gave our non-reading children a paper and crayons. We had them listen to a 55 second sound bite from Sis. Cook’ talk. We asked them to listen to it the first time through. Then, we asked them to write down something the Spirit wanted them to do that would help them gain a strong testimony.

Here is what we used from her talk:

Of the importance of gaining a strong testimony, President Thomas S. Monson promised the young women, “Your testimony, when constantly nourished, will keep you safe”

Your testimony is strengthened “gradually through your experiences. No one receives a complete testimony all at once”. You’ll recall that in order to climb the steepest part of the mountain, we approached it one step at a time. To gain a testimony, you must nourish it step by step. “[Your testimony] will increase as you make decisions to keep the commandments. As you lift and strengthen others, you will see your testimony continue to develop.” As you establish personal habits of prayer, scripture study, obedience to the commandments, and service to others, “you will be blessed with moments of inspiration that will [strengthen] your testimony."

At first, our children wanted to write down Sis. Cook’s words verbatim, but we impressed upon them that they needed to listen to what the Spirit wanted them to do.

We ended up listening to the sound bite five times, which enabled our children to think about what they needed to do individually. We didn’t have them share their thoughts tonight. Maybe we’ll address it in the weeks to come.

It was also good for me to reevaluate what I can do to gain a stronger testimony!

Let me know how you apply General Conference talks in your Family Home Evening or any other ideas we could use for Monday Nights to come!!!!

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