Families Experiencing a “Fundamental Shift” in Studying the New Gospel Resources

father reading to sons

Huddled together on the bottom bunk bed, covered with sheets to block out all the light, Ether and Enoch Daire giggled with glee when their dad, Brent Daire, suddenly flooded their dark makeshift fort with light by turning on a handheld lamp. “We asked them where the darkness had gone,” Brent recounted.

“They replied, ‘It’s gone!’”

After turning the light on and off a few times, Brent and his wife, Maika, explained to their young sons that darkness cannot exist in the light. “We gave them a turn on the torch [flashlight] each. We then spoke about the scripture we had read previously in the Gospel of John: Jesus Christ being the ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ being some of the bad or sad things,” Brent explained.

When he asked his sons who is a light that can help them when they feel sad or bad, Enoch, age 2, proudly exclaimed, “Jesus!”

Ether, age 4, excitedly added, “Heavenly Father will send Jesus to help me!”

After a few more laughs and a closing prayer, the little Tasmanian family, members of the Devonport Australia Stake, spilled out of their makeshift fort to continue on with their evening activities. The lesson, which lasted only a few minutes, is just one example of the creative ways the Daire family—and thousands of other Latter-day Saint families—have begun implementing the new Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families curriculum in their home.

Making the Sabbath More Holy

Before the implementation of the new Sunday Church meeting schedule and the new home-centered curriculum, Sundays were an exhausting day for the Daire family. Driving to and from church took 45 minutes each way. With their callings and responsibilities at church and the three-hour meeting schedule, they were typically away from home at least six hours each Sunday. Now, Brent explained. “We have more time in the morning together to prepare and get ready. When we get to church, our load feels as if it’s been halved. When we get home … we have a family time.”

For Judy and Glen Gilbertson, members of the Adelaide Australia Marion Stake, and their daughters (ages 14 and 7), they have increased their focus on keeping the Sabbath day holy. Judy stated, “We have become more prepared and more focused on learning together. We now prepare for the Sabbath on a Saturday night by getting everything prepared for Sunday like our clothing, shoes, Come, Follow Me journal, pens, pencils, etc., our scriptures, and so forth … so in the morning we just need to have our breakfast and then start on our Sunday spiritual journey.”

In some wards, attendance and participation at Sunday meetings have also noticeably increased. Mattson Newell (the Sunday School president in the Orem Utah Vineyard Stake) explained, “We have never seen so many people come prepared having read the material before. It is amazing! You see so many more people participating and discussing. In the Primary classes … children are sharing more comments and many are starting with, ‘My family talked about this,’ or ‘My family did that.’ It’s wonderful!”

father talking to sons

Mattson said he has also noticed that his children are retaining more of what they learn: “They are hearing it at home, from their parents and each other, and then they are hearing it from their teachers and peers at church. Their retention is increasing because of this repetition and focus, and they are becoming better versed in the gospel and, more importantly, it is strengthening their testimony.”

A Fundamental Shift

When the new curriculum was announced and detailed by President Russell M. Nelson in his closing address during the October 2018 general conference, he said, “The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith.”

meme on families

Brent Daire explained how the home-centered curriculum has been empowering to his family: “It fundamentally shifts the gospel experience back onto us and gives us the tools and the time to do what the Lord would have us do. It even facilitates time and gives a reason for us as a couple to sit down and seek revelation together. … Every time we do that, our revelatory capacity and experiences increase, our testimonies become stronger, our marriage becomes stronger. … Home truly becomes heaven on earth.”

Easily Adapted for Children

For Jessica and Joel Beevers (of the Nottingham England Stake) and their three children—Katie, 4; Timothy, 3; and Nathaniel, 1—all participate in gospel study and family time centered around the new curriculum. Jessica admitted, “I wondered how we would put Come, Follow Me into practice for our children at the ages they are, because the focus has seemed to be on getting doctrinal discussions, and I just didn’t know how we would manage that. However, I’ve found that most of the chapters outlined have had a story that worked well to talk about with young children.”

family home evening

She explained how having the children act out the various scriptures has prompted them to point out elements of the stories that they as parents haven’t really noticed or thought about. The children also recall the stories really well, and they enjoy telling the stories back to their parents throughout the week.

The curriculum puts the focus onto the scriptures and the doctrine and gives each person a chance to engage with them on a personal level. As Jessica concluded, “Sometimes our teachers can be our children.”