Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fast & Testimony Meeting

Sunday found us in an traditional Mormon Fast & Testimony meeting. You know the kind. Adults taking about their last vacation, and primary children repeating the words whispered in their ear by Mom. Scattered throughout the meeting was the occasional testimony of the Savior or of the restored gospel and later a conversion story.

But today was a little different, for me at least. All three of my children, ages 12, 10 and 6, decided to get up and share their testimony. Now this was without prompting from me. The only one who had done this before was my 10 year old and I think he was bribed by his Sunday School teacher. But I don't believe in manipulating my kids to share their testimony.

The youngest wanted help from Mom. They walked up together and she stood by while he said "I know the church is true and I love my family. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. .....(Mom, what do I say next?) In Jesus' name, Amen."

About 10 minutes later, my 12 year old daughter got up. Standing there in her pink sweater and her hair pulled back in a pony tail, my sweet demure little girl said "My brothers and I fight a lot, sometimes they annoy me so much I just want to rip their heads off. But during the holidays I get a little more tolerant and I feel like I love them so much I want to squeeze them until they burst! And I know it is Jesus who helps me feel this way."

The 10 year old son wanted to get up and share his testimony so he asked his Mom for some time to think about what to say. "You only have five more minutes until the meeting is over" she told him "just say what is in your heart." So up to the stand he went. He started "My sister and I do fight a lot, but less at Christmas because we are usually visiting someone or they are visiting us so there are usually more adults than children or its even, so its easier to handle. Maybe I should go outside and play so I don't annoy her when I play my Gameboy when she is doing her homework." After which he started to leave but after being halfway down the steps realized he didn't properly end his testimony. So he ran back and said "Amen" and then sat down.

I think I know what to do for tomorrow's Family Home Evening.


BruceC said...

FYI. Family Home Evening ended up being a gingerbread house making party at a friends house while Dad slept off a cold. Maybe it is better to let them be who they are, in this case.

Steve C. said...

Interesting post, Bruce C. I strongly believe that children should develope their own testimonies. Parents should help, teach and encourage testimony development, but not force.

Bruce Crow said...

The very next Sunday, we got more comments about this: two over the pulpit. The first was from the youth speaker. He said like my kids, he and his sister get nicer to each other during the holidays. The other was from the High council speaker. He said that Family Home Evening was the appropriate setting for little children to share their testimonies. Fast & Testimony meeting was for youth and adults.