I only recently became sold on the importance of Family Home Evening. Orthodox husband has always been a stickler, and I can’t think of a single week in our entire 20 years of marriage when we haven’t had Family Home Evening. It’s been the scene of our funniest moments, such as this four years ago:
Finn: ….so Jesus was crucified on the cross like this (holding his arms out to the side while his head lolls).
Me: And then what happened Finn?
Finn: He saw some ladies crying.
Me: And then what did he do?
Finn: He said, “I’ve had enough of this, I think I’ll come down and have a cup of coffee.”
It’s also been the scene of some of our most meteoric battles that have caused me at times to doubt marriage, family and church. I will leave the gory details as there are too many expletives involved for a religious website. But I think I’m sold on Family Home Evening as a crucial BS thermometer. My lads are great. They are vivacious, outgoing, confident and generous – but in the chaos and silliness of lots of brothers they tend to get religious fundamentals a bit messed up.
Tonight’s Family Home Evening was a wonderful case in point.
Me: OK boys, when someone is bearing their testimony what is the first thing they usually say?
Finn: Good morning brothers and sisters?
Me: (Slight rolling of the eyes) That’s right, and then they say, “I’d like to bear my testimony that…….?
All: I know the church is true!!! (Very pleased with themselves)
Me: What does that mean?
Finn: It means…(pause)… they know the church is true?
Me: OK, what’s the church?
Xander: (Sings softly to himself mesmerized by his matchbox car.)
Roman: (Attempts roly-polies on the floor causing my visual field to be periodically confronted by his rear end)
Elric: (Bounces up and down on his chair grinning maniacally about some secret joke between he and himself )
Finn: (With leg at a jaunty angle to his face pointing upwards) It’s the building!
Me: So the building is true?
Some boys: (Giggling)
Roman: (Suddenly surfacing – face up) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
Me: Great – a church is lots of things; The buildings; The people; The bishop; What it teaches and so on. So what does it mean that its ‘true’?
Deacon: It means its right?
Me: The building is right? The people are right? The bishop is right?
Deacon: No, that’s not right! The gospel is true?
Me: Great! So what’s the gospel?
Deacon: It’s what the church asks us to do.
Me: No it isn’t. Its what Jesus taught the people when he was alive on earth. What did he teach the people?
All: (A stumped silence)…
Me: OK – did he teach the people that if they did something bad they could change and be better.
Xander: (Finally chiming in emphatically) No he didn’t!
Deacon: He didn’t teach me that – you taught me that mum.
Me: I taught it because that’s what Jesus taught me.
Finn: He taught us not to say the ‘F’ word when we are praying!
Husband: (Casts me a recriminating look suggesting that this comment has something to do with my poor word choices).
Me: (To get back at husband); Do you think that Jesus loves me even though I swear?
All boys: Yes!
Me: Do you think that Jesus thinks I could change and that he will help me to change if I wanted to?
All boys: Yes!
Me: That’s because what Jesus says is true! So what do you think we should say when we bear our testimonies: “I know the church is true? Or I know what Jesus taught is true?”
All boys: “I know what Jesus taught is true!”
And there it is! It sounds like a great story – and its all true, if not somewhat truncated. But, my husband is Brother Adherent. He can’t be faulted in terms of his loyalty to the church. Aside from a sports betting ring he ran at work some years back, he’s a model Mormon. And despite the fact that I jump up and down rowing my ecumenical, reform, ‘Where is Jesus in the City Creek Centre?’ waka, they still think he loves the Lord more than I do.
And why? ‘He probably loves Jesus more than you’, they explain, ‘Because he loves church more than you.’