23 And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
1- I love to read the holy scriptures,
And, ev’ry time I do,
I feel the Spirit start to grow within my heart—
A testimony that they’re true.
Search, ponder, and pray
Are the things that I must do.
The Spirit will guide, and, deep inside,
I’ll know the scriptures are true.
2. So, prayerfully I’ll read the scriptures
Each day my whole life through.
I’ll come to understand.
I’ll heed the Lord’s command
And live as he would have me do.
1. To Nephi, seer of olden time,
A vision came from God,
Wherein the holy word sublime
Was shown an iron rod.
Hold to the rod, the iron rod;
’Tis strong, and bright, and true
The iron rod is the word of God;
’Twill safely guide us through.
2. While on our journey here below,
Beneath temptation’s pow’r,
Through mists of darkness we must go,
In peril ev’ry hour.
3. And when temptation’s pow’r is nigh,
Our pathway clouded o’er,
Upon the rod we can rely,
And heaven’s aid implore.
4. And, hand o’er hand, the rod along,
Through each succeeding day,
With earnest prayer and hopeful song,
We’ll still pursue our way.
5. Afar we see the golden rest
To which the rod will guide,
Where, with the angels bright and blest,
Forever we’ll abide.
*For Younger Children* Read this story and discuss the questions at the end. You may also want to use clipart to help tell the story.
Seth was confused when Mom and Dad announced that they were going to read the Book of Mormon as a family. He was only four, and his brother Caleb was two. They were too little to read. So how could they read as a family?
After Seth and Caleb climbed into bed that night in early autumn, Mom and Dad sat by the bedroom door with their scriptures open.
“This is just how my mom read the Book of Mormon to me when I was little,” Mom said. “There are no pictures for you to look at in this book. But you can imagine the pictures in your minds.”
Seth’s parents took turns reading. Sometimes they stopped to explain things. They read from the Book of Mormon every night. Some nights, Seth fell asleep before they finished reading. Caleb almost always did.
“That’s OK,” Dad said. “Just listen as long as you can, and enjoy the peaceful feeling.”
Seth did feel peaceful listening to the Book of Mormon, most nights. Other times, he didn’t feel like listening. Sometimes he interrupted with stories about preschool, or ideas he had for Halloween or Christmas or his birthday in February.
“Seth,” Dad said, “you can ask questions, but they have to be about the Book of Mormon.”
Seth wanted to talk. He didn’t want Mom and Dad to do all the talking. So he started to listen and tried to think of questions to ask. He started to imagine the pictures in his mind—Nephi building a boat, Lehi blessing his sons. Soon, he realized there really were things he wanted to know.
“Who is Satan?” he asked one night.
Mom and Dad closed their scriptures and explained how Satan was a son of Heavenly Father who would not obey. He was so angry at Heavenly Father he couldn’t live with Him anymore. Then he was so mad that he wanted everybody else to feel miserable like him.
“Satan wants us to make bad choices so that we’ll feel bad inside,” Dad explained. “Sometimes he will try to tempt you to do bad things. But you can tell him no. You can choose the right.” Seth felt strong, knowing that he could tell Satan no and follow Jesus instead.
A few months later, on a rainy winter night, Seth listened to the story of the Lamanites being taught by the great missionary, Ammon. The Lamanites buried their weapons and promised Heavenly Father that they wouldn’t fight anymore. Seth thought about how he sometimes argued with Caleb, who was already asleep in his bed. Suddenly, he had an idea.
“Dad,” he asked, “how can I make a promise to Heavenly Father?”
Dad stopped reading and looked up at Seth. “You can pray to Him and tell Him you want to do better,” he replied. “You can make a promise to Him anytime. And when you are eight, you’ll make a really big promise. That’s when you’ll be baptized, and promise to try to do what’s right for the rest of your life.”
“But I can still promise now?”
“Sure you can.”
One night, after Seth’s fifth birthday, Dad started reading the story of 2,000 young men, the stripling warriors, who decided to fight to defend their parents, the people of Ammon. As Mom began to read, her voice got quiet. When Seth looked over at her, she was crying.
“Why are you crying, Mom?” he asked.
“I started reading about these boys and how good they are, and how Heavenly Father took care of them. And I looked at you listening to the Book of Mormon, and I thought about how much you want to be good and make promises to Heavenly Father.”
“And you got sad?”
“No, I got happy! I think you are like the boys in this story. You are determined to do what is right! You will have hard battles in your life. Remember how Satan wants you to feel bad?” she asked. Seth did remember. “But you will fight against him, and Heavenly Father will take care of you, just like He took care of the boys in this story.”
They read about Jesus visiting the Nephites. Seth was very quiet as Dad read about Christ taking each little child in His arms and blessing him or her. Seth had a picture in his room of Jesus surrounded by little children. He could imagine himself right there, hugging Jesus and feeling His hands on his head blessing him, just like Dad blessed him when he was sick with the flu.
Seth was so quiet that Mom thought he was asleep. “Seth, are you awake?” she whispered.
“Yes. Keep reading,” Seth replied.
Near the end of the summer, Seth’s family had a special family home evening to read the last chapter of the Book of Mormon.
“I first read the Book of Mormon when I was getting ready to go on a mission,” Dad said. “The Holy Ghost told me it was true. But you boys are learning about the Book of Mormon while you are young. You can learn that it is true right now.”
Mom said that since they had been reading as a family, she felt happier in their home. “I’ve noticed Seth and Caleb are more obedient. And I don’t feel like yelling or scolding. I think the Book of Mormon has helped our family.”
Seth remembered the stories he had heard and the pictures he had imagined. He remembered the peace he felt as he went to sleep every night listening to Mom and Dad read. He remembered being able to imagine himself with Jesus. “I feel good about the Book of Mormon,” he said.
(Ana Nelson Shaw, “Seth’s Family Scripture Study”, Friend, Sept 2005)
*Discuss these questions as a family*
1- When did Seth’s parents read the Book of Mormon (What time of day)?
2- What did Seth do while his parents read?
3- What parts did Seth talk about?
4- Why was his mom crying?
5- How did Seth feel when he listened to his parent read the Book of Mormon?
6- How do you feel about the Book of Mormon?
*For Teenagers or Adults* Share the following story or make a cake similar to the one in the story. Discuss why scripture study is important. (Marie Elwood-Hendricks, “The Worst Cake Ever”, New Era, May 2011)
It was family home evening, and Dad was teaching the lesson. I slouched into a comfortable chair and glanced around the room at my sisters and brothers. We were there, prepared to listen—halfway—before rushing back to the really important things in our lives.
Suddenly Dad disappeared into the kitchen. I raised my eyebrows at Anna, my sister. She shrugged, silently communicating, “How do I know what he’s doing?”
He came bouncing out of the kitchen with an apron on, a large mixing bowl and an old cookbook in his hands. “Today for our lesson, we are going to make a cake. Then, for a treat, we will eat it.”
That sounded good to me. I could always handle a few extra snacks between meals.
“But,” Dad said, “we’re not going to use this cookbook.”
“Why not?” asked my sister Katie.
“Well, this book was written a long time ago,” he said as he checked the copyright date in the front. “1979. I’m sure they knew how to make a 1979 cake, but I really doubt the authors know anything about making a cake right now, in this century. The pressures that we’re under, the technology, it’s all really different.”
“But cake making doesn’t really change,” protested Anna.
“No book,” said Dad. He threw the cookbook squarely onto the kitchen table. “This is our cake, and we’re going to make it our way. We don’t need anyone to tell us how to make it. Let’s go around and each person can pick an ingredient to put in the cake.”
He started with me. “Um, OK, flour?”
“Two cups?” I hazarded a guess. “Really, Dad, I think it would be better if …”
He held up his hand to silence my protest as Mom rushed to get the flour and add it to the mixing bowl.
Joe was next. “Butter? One stick?”
We went around the circle. We added salt, sugar, milk, and eggs. I breathed a sigh of relief when Katie added baking powder. She bakes more than I do, and I had known it needed some kind of leaven, but I was unsure what.
It was Anna’s turn. “Cocoa powder,” she declared. I smiled. Chocolate cake is my favorite. This cake was turning out to be OK after all.
When we were all finished, it looked like cake batter and smelled good, too.
“Let’s grease and flour the pan,” suggested Katie.
“One moment,” said Dad. “I just thought of something that would be really good to add.” He handed the bowl to Mom and came back with some … was that Worcestershire sauce?
Amidst howls of protest, Dad added two large tablespoonfuls of the black sauce to our batter. We all looked on in shock and dismay.
Dad smiled benignly. “Were you going to grease and flour that pan?” he asked Katie.
“I guess so,” she replied uncertainly.
Dad looked at our crestfallen faces. He said, “I know most successful cakes don’t have Worcestershire sauce in them. In fact, if we looked in the instructions, there might be some kind of warnings against adding things like Worcestershire sauce. But,” he said with a sneer, “that cookbook is old-fashioned and ancient. We don’t need anyone telling us what to do. It’s our cake. We can do what we want with it. Also, I hear that everyone who is anyone is putting Worcestershire sauce into their cakes these days.”
Dad popped the cake into the oven and removed his apron. In stunned silence, we returned to our seats. Dad sat down, too. When he began to speak, the sneer was gone. He held up a set of scriptures, and his tone was reverent.
“When you pictured the cake we were going to make, you probably pictured something wonderful, maybe a chocolate cake with white frosting. You did not picture something disgusting.
“Right now I want you to picture the life you have ahead of you. Picture the ingredients you know you need to return to your Father in Heaven. Picture serving a mission. Picture marriage in the temple. Picture the career of your choice. Picture yourself making good choices and being a force for good in the world. These are the positive ingredients you put into life.
“But there are certain things that do not belong in a successful life, just as Worcestershire sauce never belongs in a cake, like drug use, sexual immorality, or dishonesty. No matter how Satan tries to disguise them, they are guaranteed roads to failure.
“Of course, our cake would have turned out better if we had read and followed the instructions.”
He held up his scriptures. “Your life will turn out better if you follow the teachings in here. It’s true that the scriptures were written a long time ago. It’s true that some of the values may seem old-fashioned to some of your friends. But, like Anna said, cake making doesn’t really change much over time, and neither do the rules for living a happy and successful life. Also, we have living prophets and apostles. They are the experts, just like the authors of the cookbook are experts. We all would do well to follow their teachings.
“If you keep sight of your eternal goals, you won’t let people talk you into putting destructive ingredients into your life. But if you just drift along, adding whatever yucky things are ‘in’ at the moment, you won’t make the cake—or the life—that you picture for yourself.”
We were quiet for a moment. Then Mom said, “Of course, we do have repentance.”
“That’s true,” said Dad. “Unlike cakes, lives get second chances.” The timer buzzed. Reluctantly, Katie went to the kitchen and removed the cake from the oven. It smelled terrible. Were they really going to make us eat that?
“Let’s go have a treat,” said Mom. As we got up to leave, my brother Joe put his hand on my dad’s shoulder.
“Good lesson, Dad,” he said.
We were pleasantly surprised to find another cake, white with chocolate frosting, that Mom had made using the cookbook. We all had a small bite of the nasty cake, however, just to see what it tasted like. It was as disgusting as it smelled.
For the price of a few wasted ingredients, Dad made a huge impact. For years now, I have remembered his lesson, and I have always been blessed when I have tried to avoid the undesirable ingredients of life.
Cake making doesn’t really change much over time, and neither do the rules for living a happy and successful life.
Spring Puzzle Cake or Grilled Pound Cake with Berries & Ice Cream
Spring Puzzle Cake
Ready-to-bake sugar cookie dough
10- by 14-inch jelly roll pan
1- Press ready-to-bake sugar cookie dough (found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket) into a 10- by 14-inch jelly roll pan.
2-Roll it out to a 1/4-inch thickness. (If your rolling pin is too long to use in the pan, roll out the dough on a large piece of aluminum foil first, then place it in the pan.)
3- Use a knife to cut the dough into about 15 randomly shaped pieces, then bake it according to the package directions. When it’s done, recut the lines if necessary.
4- Allow the cookie to cool, then pipe on frosting flowers, leaves, and vines..
Grilled Pound Cake with Berries & Ice Cream
Ice cream of your choice
Berries of your choice
1- Heat slices of pound cake on the hot (clean) grill grates for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until you have visible grill marks.
2- Top each slice with ice cream and 1/2 cup of fresh berries.
(Recipes taken from Familyfun.go.com)
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.