1990
Chapter-a-Week Home Evening
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“Chapter-a-Week Home Evening,” Ensign, Feb. 1990, 72

Chapter-a-Week Home Evening

“Tell us what it will be like to be resurrected,” said Jeff. “Can we still eat?”

“Will I be resurrected with my freckles?” asked Sam.

And David, with just a bit of impatience, asked, “When will we be resurrected, Dad? Will it be when the Millennium starts, or do we have to die first?”

These questions came from our three oldest sons—all within a year or two of age ten—after we read Alma 40, in which Alma speaks to his wayward son Corianton about the resurrection. This discussion wasn’t unusual; we have similar ones at every family home evening.

About two years ago we decided to read one chapter from the Book of Mormon each week at family home evening. At first we listened to the chapter on tape, but we found that when our only participation was turning the recorder on and off, our attention frequently wandered. Then one of our children developed reading problems at school, so we started reading aloud, each taking a verse in turn. Suddenly, no one was complaining about scripture time, and all of us began to look for creative ways to analyze and understand the chapter we had read.

We have found that reading together once a week has numerous advantages for our family. First, because we are not rushed for time, we can discuss the chapter for as long as we or the children want. We review the events and explain the doctrines involved. Then we each ask questions that the rest of the family has to answer. Sometimes the questions are trivial, such as “In which river did the Nephites throw the bodies of the Lamanites in Alma 2?” Other questions are more significant. After Alma 8 we asked who the angel was who appeared to Alma outside the city of Ammonihah. (See Alma 8:15.) This prompted a discussion of angels and Saints beyond the veil.

Second, basing our family home evening lessons on the scriptures has provided us opportunities to apply specific counsel to our own circumstances. For example, when we talked about the Lord giving Nephi the power that whatever he asked for would happen (see Hel. 10), we all named what we would ask for if we could have anything, then compared that to what Nephi asked for. We discussed why Nephi, living in our time, likely wouldn’t have asked for a red sports car. Then we discussed what we would need to do so that the Lord could trust us as much as he did Nephi.

Third, the quality of our time together has improved. Because we use our eyes, ears, and hands continuously and we each participate frequently, it is easy for us to devote our full attention to the chapter. Distractions and disruptions are rare.

I had noticed the improvement in our family home evenings, but the full success of our Book of Mormon reading didn’t hit me until the night that the brownies sat on the table for forty-five minutes as we discussed a chapter. I knew then that we had found the right method for our family scripture study.—Julie Cannon Markham, Houston, Texas