Monday, April 7, 2014

Raising Children of Zion in a Babylon World....

I recently gave this talk at the Winter Homeschool Conference in Utah. My good friend Tammy hosts this event, along with many others. Here website is

I worked so hard on this and it was such a great class, but I was unable to finish it, I ran out of time!!
Along with that, there is so much information given, and discussed in the class- I just thought I should post it here!

I give this talk not just for you , but for me! It was nice to take the time to put some of my thoughts together, and study this subject. It gave me time to notice my faults, and decide to start making them right.

True and good principles are worth our effort, we must, revisit them, often. As I know Satan has a plan, and it’s not the same one I want for my family or my life. I know he’s cunning, and sly- he can slowly sneak things into my life to tempt me, and if I am not always on guard, always aware, those things WILL enter into my life and my family, and before I know it I’ve been tempted......we’ve been tempted.

As it says in Alma 28:13

And thus we see how great the inequality of man is because of sin and transgression, and the power of the devil, which comes by the cunning plans which he hath devised to ensnare the hearts of men.

As it says in Moroni Chapter 7, the Devil is an Enemy to God. I will now recite some of that chapter now, but I strongly suggest you read that chapter as a whole. It's AMAZING! Again this is Moroni chapter 7

I am starting on verse 12

Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.

Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. 1

Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

WOW we are not alone on this quest of good and evil, we have been given the Spirit of Christ that we may know good from evil! We are given the self agency to judge because as he says it's PLAIN! The way to judge is as plain as the daylight is from the dark night. I know it's that plain, it's just not always that simple to not participate in the evils around me! We are bombarded by evil, it's everywhere. Now ask yourselves how far do you push the devil away? If he is our enemy, do you watch for his cunning ways in all things, in all places, and shun the very appearance of evil? As we are told in 1st Thessalonians chapter 5.

I believe the first step is to set a firm foundation. A foundation that can withstand the storms of life. I love the visual of a tree, with deep roots, it’s foundation to hold it through the strongest, most terrible storms of life. The trunk is our family unit, our mission as a family. Those goals and desires we have as a family unit. It holds up the tree, It’s stable and strong. The branches are each member in your family. They each have their own way to go, their own desires and missions in life, but if the roots are strong, and the family unit is firm, then the branches will stay connected to each other, through the strengths we teach our children, through the interests and missions we as a family hold dear to each other.

Yes our foundation should begin when we are a young family, a sapling. Just as there are changes in our lives, things we did not foresee, there are seasons in the life of a tree, and if the foundation is strong, if our family unit is strong, we will survive our storms in life.

We must first train up our children in the way they should go,

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

We must help our children, and guide them. It's a rare child, who is not selfish. Have you ever watched a group of young children? Everything is MINE! Little children do not know yet what is good for them, what is right. We must be a constant and consistent guide for them. Children also need love, they need to know they are loved. They need to hear it, but not just hear it they must know it! If you have a constant sternness then it shuts their hearts, and they don't feel or know how to express that love they have. We must guard our children's love and affections.

As it says in Proverbs 15:1, a soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger.

There is a great difference in having children who respect you and having children who fear you. Trust me I know, at one time we were short, and our children were scared of us. Fear makes a unemotional feeling in a home. As it says in Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” I find it interesting that it says that anger will make children feel discouraged. It makes me picture a child with their head down and feeling self doubt, and discouragement.....hurt.

One of my favorite scriptures to guide me, is James 1:19 be swift to hear, slow to wrath, slow to anger.

The foundation is easiest to set in younger children. However it’s also doable with older children. And reevaluating our goals and missions is essential in retaining the path we want. To keep our children looking for Zion and leaving the world behind. How can we nourish our roots and set up that foundation our family needs?

We must create a home environment that nurtures Christ's spirit.

We must teach and set RELIGIOUS HABITS IN OUR YOUTH! When I say religious habits, think of making religion so common, so normal to them... as brushing their teeth, eating and playing that if would feel wrong to not be religious!

We have a good friend who teaches his children to “Have their cupboards full!” To know the scriptures, memorize them and be ready at any time to repeat them. If you have your cupboards full through scripture study, scripture memorization then you are always ready to share your “religious food” with those who are in need! The better you understand and know God's word, you understand and realized the evils around you.

A new RELIGIOUS HABIT we have recently started each morning, is that as my children start to rise in the mornings, and gather for our family devotional I ask if they made their beds and said their personal morning prayers? The first thing we should do is begin our day in prayer with our Father. I am trying to create a religious habit while my children are home, to call on the Lord, first thing in the morning. This not only starts your day off right, but creates a habit, that can last a lifetime, and in any circumstance. I know when I forget to start my day right, it never is a good day! Those are the days I want to stop and start over! Which you can do, you can realize you forgot to start your day off right, stop it and kneel in prayer. As the great Abraham Lincoln said,” I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day. “

Another RELIGIOUS HABIT we have had in our family is to have daily family devotionals, both morning and night. We gather every morning and Sing a Hymn, Read a chapter in the Scriptures and say a family prayer. We rotate who says the prayer, oldest to youngest and just work through our weeks in that routine. There’s no fancy curriculum, it’s guided by the spirit. When we began this we chose a book, it’s been years ago that we started, but it seems our family chose to begin with the Book of Mormon. We simple open it and read at least 1 chapter a morning, and then if there’s any discussion or ideas that come to mind we talk about it. One year we began at the beginning of the Hymn book and sang every song page by page. If it was a song we were not familiar with we looked it up on LDS. Org and sang along with the choir or instrumental orchestra. Our entire family is included in the devotional. Once my children have the ability to read, they receive a set of scripture. I usually just find a decent set at the DI, and they are taught to follow along. We usually have either my husband or myself read the majority of the verses, and then have each child read aloud a few verses for the older children, and verse for the younger. This is not only a great way to get in read aloud practice, reading comprehension, and read along practice, but it is also a great incentive for my younger children and struggling readers. Once my younger children start learning to read they want to get a set of scripture so they can read to the family too. I have also found it has helped my children to be familiar with the way the scriptures are written. This not only helps their comprehension of the scriptures, but also helps them to be able to read them to be better readers. We have been able to continue this through trying circumstances.          

My husband worked away from the home for about 8 years, this is actually during the time that we started doing this. We would either use Skype or just the phone for my husband to be part of it. Now my Husband and oldest son are working out of town again, and we have started using our phone and then after prayers my husband calls my phone using face time. Technology is amazing, as long as we use it in amazing, uplifting ways.... ways that are for our good, and to keep our families pointing toward Zion!

Another RELIGIOUS HABIT I am working on instilling in our family is to take this another step further. To USE the information we are studying, to make it THEIR OWN. To have a journaling, pondering time. Letting them draw a picture, write a poem, copy a scripture, jot down some personal notes about what we read as a family. This is also something each of my children are required to do personally every day.

RELIGIOUS HABITS are everywhere, I am sure many of you already have some in your homes, like personal scripture study We all have a Personal Study time, something I’ve named SEARCH*PONDER*PRAY. Each of my children are to read at least one chapter a day personally in the scriptures. Then they are to spend the rest of their personal devotional time searching and pondering about anything in that they feel inspired to do. It can be to continue their chapter reading, choose a topic or subject to read about, or just flip open their scriptures a begin reading. They are to also journal something, anything each day. This is personal and anything they feel is important to write down. We usually do this as a family, which makes for a quieter home during this time to bring in the Spirit. It’s amazing, if you make something like this a habit, then even your younger children will be able to be quiet during this time.

My ideal routine for all of this, is that I get up in the morning, before my younger children rise. I have my personal study time. My older children set an alarm and wake up, also getting the younger children up. They join me in the family room, to begin our day in family devotional. It is at this point that I ask if they said their morning prayers and made their beds. Once everyone is up and ready to begin we start our morning family devotional, ending with a prayer. Then we begin our breakfast prep, and morning tidy up, we get dressed and prepare for school time. We begin our school time together, this is our quiet personal study time. I try to do something with my younger children during this time, sometime we watch the Scripture Stories which are available on The ones that they simplify the stories in the scriptures and then have the words on the screen to read along. Sometimes I read a scripture story or beginning bible type book to them, sometime we watch a living scripture movie, or listen to some hymns. Then I have them “journal”. They each have a simple, cheap spiral notebook to “journal” in this is usually just a quiet color time. The only rule I have is that there is no talking during this time. Usually I play background music, classical or instrumental hymns. If the younger children are watching something during this time, its turned down low enough that the background music is not disturbed! I tell my older children as we are getting ready to finish this quiet time. This reminder does not mean they have to stop, simply that I will be moving on. Now that being said, I do have 4 little boys, 5 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old and baby, so we try our hardest to keep the noise level down.

I also have some time set aside during our school time for a devotional. This is usually more structured, and pertains to lessons I want to instill in my children. These are usually geared toward character or behavioral lessons. I also choose a hymn to sing for the entire week, as this makes the hymns more familiar to my children.

We also as a family choose to end the day, with the Lord. We do something very similar to our family morning devotional. We usually sing a song, read a chapter in the Scriptures, and then we each take a turn saying our evening prayers. We start with our youngest children up to the oldest, Dad. I feel this is important, as it is first reminding our children, to say an evening prayer, setting that religious habit. It is also good to hear each other pray every evening. We are currently reading through the History of the Church In the evenings, so it’s a read aloud time. We started this almost 3 years ago and we are in volume 6. It’s taken awhile, but it’s neat to read it together,

and sometime see a WOW moment, when we are maybe watching a Church History movie, or reading about something that is related, and having someone realize, HEY WE READ ABOUT THAT!!!

Some may say this is too much religion, I tend to disagree…. Can you have too much religious study? Can you be too religious? When I am talking about those roots, that foundation… how can we build it, nourish it, if it’s not a major part of our day, our entire day? As it states in Alma chapter 34

In verse 21 is says, to Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day and evening. !!!!

I believe having a home and family that honors Christ, is essential, is number one. We must create homes with an atmosphere of learning, and growth, but even more importantly it must be of a good spirit. Can the good spirit, God's Spirit dwell in unholy places? That does include our homes, and for our children it is essential that our homes atmosphere is one that invites God's Spirit . The atmosphere where our children are raised, affects their lives in so many ways. It is the parents responsibility to raise up righteous children. As Brigham Young states , We are the guardians of our children; their training and education are committed to our care, and if we do not ourselves pursue a course which will save them from the influence of evil, when we are weighed in teh balance we shall be found wanting (LBY, xxiv)

Parents are guardians of God’s children and are to train, educate, and care for them. We have often been told that we are too strict as parents. We disagree, we simply feel the responsibility to train these precious spirits we have been entrusted with to follow God. We will be held responsible for the proper care and guidance of our children. We only expect our children to try to live up to the standards we set, that God set, and we too are trying to live up to. We are constantly reaching higher as a family and expect our children to Let their light so shine! This is a large part of the Gilbert Family Training!

Mathew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The following is from the times and seasons, said of the Prophet Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith.

“She was the mother of eleven children, seven of whom were boys. She raised them in the fear and love of God, and never was there a more obedient family. She warned parents that they were accountable for their children's conduct; advised them to give them books and work to keep them from idleness, and never to do in secret, what they would not do in the presence of millions.”
and again from Brigham Young,

Parents, seek to honor your children; bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Teach them truth and not error, teach them to love and serve God [see Deuteronomy 6:5]; teach them to believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Saviour of the world (DNSW, 8 Aug. 1877, 1).
The mothers are the moving instruments in the hands of Providence to guide the destinies of nations. Let the mothers of any nation teach their children not to make war, the children would grow up and never enter into it. Let the mothers teach their children, “War, war upon your enemies, yes, war to the

hilt!” and they will be filled with this spirit. Consequently, you see at once what I wish to impress upon your minds is, that the mothers are the machinery that gives zest to the whole man, and guide the lives of men upon the earth (DBY, 199–200).
The Father is the head of the home, however typically it is the mother who does most of the teaching and training. Hopefully the parents agree in the desires and goals for their family. It was the Mothers who had taught the Strippling Warriors to trust in God. I know without a doubt their fathers believed that too, but the lessons were taught in the homes daily, by their mothers. The mothers guide the homes, under the directions and guidance of the Father
We can guide, direct, and prune a tender sprout, and it inclines to our direction, if it is wisely and skilfully applied. So, if we surround a child with healthy and salutary influences, give him suitable instructions and store his mind with truthful traditions, maybe that will direct his feet in the way of life (DBY, 209).
from Brigham Young.

So how do I lead my children to honor Christ? Honestly we don’t have some magic potion, some complicated way to learn. It’s very simple, to honor Him in all we do, in all we say.

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Just as Lehi's vision said, hold tight to the iron rod, the words of God. Inorder for us, and our children to do this, they must KNOW the words themselves. They must have those religious habits to instil their own conversion. They can not honor Christ, follow Christ on their parents, leaders, bishops or even the leaders of the churches testimony, it must be yours it must theirs!

The most simple way that I’ve found to do this is to liken our lives and our choices by the thought, WOULD I STILL BE DOING THIS IF JESUS WAS WITH ME? Would I dress in this manner, if he was here? Would I be watching this movie, along with our Savior? Would I be listening to this music, with His ears in my presence? Would I be acting this way, reading this book, having this discussion, and the list goes on and on….. in the presence of my Lord? This is something I try to teach to my whole family, my young children right up to my teenagers…. and yes it’s something I ask myself too!

How can we conqueror Satan? How can we fight this battle? I think it's stated clearly in D&C 10:5,

 5 Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.

I know that when something is in my family, and pushing against our core values, that it bugs me, It's a continual question that keeps coming to my mind and I just feel it's not right. If I stop for a moment and pray about it, I am given the answer. I am also given the strength to come off conquer!!!!

Now I will try to hit on a few areas in my daily life, for you to think about and consider.

The Public Library, it can be an awesome tool, and yet it can be a dreadful evil! For a time we were living in a transitional stage, we had moved and were living in a small home with most of our books packed away. It was at this time I was reminded of why I am so adamant to have a home library. Now I appreciate the public library, as a tool.

However I don’t like certain thing about it, as many public things, I cannot control a public library. Yes I can control what we read there, but sometimes it’s difficult to explain to your children why something is not appropriate, simply because it twaddle, or junk! I also cannot screen everything we checkout, meaning my children can be exposed to things I feel are of a Babylon world, not of Zion. Again the question comes to mind, would you read that to our Savior? Would you recommend it to him to read? Would you be comfortable in this situation if your Heavenly Father was there sitting beside you? Then is it of the world of Babylon or a world of Zion?

This very question can be asked in so many aspects of our lives. Another large area to consider this is media, and especially entertainment. Would you recommend a video to Christ, telling him that it’s such a great movie!! Well you just have to forward through this one part? NO of course you wouldn’t, so why would you allow yourself or your children to be exposed to it? I have often thought it was counterproductive to watch something, and have to remember that there’s this one spot, that you have to forward, so you don’t have to see it but yet you have to remember it, so you can forget it?!?!?

Just as it says in the scriptures, we are to all be like little children. One example is in Mathew 18:4 Whosever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It is taught that Jesus loved the little children, their innocents. How innocent are we? How far have you pushed babylon away?

One very important aspect of teaching our children is by example. It is said that children learn best through example, and I WHOLE HEARTEDLY AGREE! We as parents must be aware of the example we are setting for our children. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been upset with one of my children for an action, or an attitude – only to realize latter that I taught them that very thing through my example! We must always be on guard, and aware of our examples. If we are short, and ill-tempered with our children, then they will be short and ill-tempered with those around them. But how can we teach our children through our examples, if we are all humans. We make mistakes, we fall short? We as parents must follow our example, our Heavenly Father. We must lay aside our pride, and ask our children for their forgiveness. We must humbly express our deepest apologies for our actions. As that is what we would want our own children to do. We cannot expect our children to behave any different than the example we set for them, as we are all trying to follow Christ’s example he set for us.                       

President Brigham Young instructed parents by saying, “If each and every one of us who are parents will reflect upon the responsibilities devolving upon us, we shall come to the conclusion that we should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do. We should set them an example that we wish them o imitate.” (Journal of Discourses, 14:192) So not only do we teach our children bad habits, we also teach them good! If we want our children to lead, to be of Zion... then WE MUST BE OF ZION. We must teach them through those Religious Habits that I mentioned earlier. If we want our children to have a testimony, then they must hear and know ours. If we want our children to have a personal relationship with our Savior, then they must know we do. If we want our children to have this great faith, then they must know of our faith. We must teach our children to Love the Lord, to shun the very appearance of evil, and desire Zion. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

To PROVE ALL THINGS, how do we Prove? In order to Prove something we must first investigate it, to examine it. To not allow ANYTHING into your life, without a thorough examination. To HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD. To Hold fast, to hold tight. ABSTAIN FROM ALL APPEARANCE OF EVIL. To abstain from not just evil, but the APPEARANCE of evil. We must evaluate all aspects of our life, our home, our family and if it has even an appearance of evil, we must ABSTAIN FROM IT. Let's think for just a moment of something evil, something horrible, something you do not want around your family. (ask for some ideas ie abuse of drugs, alcohol, pornography) When you see these things influencing your family, your children what do you do? You get that influence far from your family. Why? Simple they are evil, and not what we want influencing our families. Now think of something “kind of evil”, “slightly evil, but well it has this little good in it” Do you do as the scripture states? Do you Abstain from ALL APPEARANCE of evil? Or do you offer certain things a pass?

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. (1st John 2:14)

I know that most of us would say but I don't love the world, but can you honestly say that? Think of something simple that is of the world, maybe Hollywood, music and movies media. That's a major part of our lives it is a major part of the world, Babylon that we live in. I've heard it over and over again from many homeschool friends, but we don't have television. Well do you have or watch movies? How picky are you when it comes to movies? One of the best times in our families life, was when we stopped watching television, disconnected our cable TV, and threw out ALL our movies, except the Living Scriptures and a VERY select few older movies, and some of our Little House on the Prairie Series, and our Moody Science Collection. That was all we had, and it felt good. Since then we have added to our collection, but we do it slowly and cautiously. I have even thrown out some of our little house on the prairie series, after sitting down to an episode that I didn't like. I like this idea that I've heard before, if in doubt, throw it out!!! When we did that, we threw out boxes and boxes of video games, gaming systems, and movies. I can honestly say there was not one item we threw out that we regretted! 8

We were bruttle with the content, the hidden messages and even just the attitude of a character. I have had a few other friends tell me the same thing when they chose to clean out their media cabinet.... it brought such a more peaceful and wonderful spirit to their homes. Having those things around makes it too easy to find an excuse to use them.

*Internet waste of time vs useful tool. We are in an age of technology, yes the internet is a help, but it has so many evils. I don't even need to go into great detail about that, I think we all realize the evils on the internet. However another aspect of the internet to consider is our time on it and if it's a benefit to our family or a hindrance? There are so many different ways we can loose track of our time, our precious time on the internet. It's easy to get involved, and not realize the time we have spent. Teens and parents on social networks, trying to not live in their own lives. It's a reality of our world today. There have been so many stories of affairs coming from people meeting online. However what about simply trying to ignore our family life, our current problems or simply being bored with the everyday, and looking for an out. Trust me I have fallen into these temptations too. We must be guarded and aware of not just what is on the internet, but also how much time we spend on it, and the purpose for it.

*Church or Homeschool activities are not always safe. Sometimes we fall into the trap that it's labeled as a church or homeschool activity, so therefore it's good, and we need not worry. However I disagree, each and every activity we participate in must be evaluated individually. We must guard our activities and be willing to follow the impressions we have. And yes we must follow our own impressions for our own family, and not give in to anything over “peer pressure”. Just because someone we know and trust feels something is apporpriate for their family, doesn't mean it's appropriate for yours. It's great that they enjoy something but it doesn't mean you are wrong!!!

We are to be a peculiar people, how peculiar are you? Do you fit in, or do you stand out? Sometimes when we stand for what's right it feels like we stand alone!

We must teach our children to fear the Lord. We can do all these things and set an example for them, but if they don't learn to Love and fear God, then it will never be their decision. We need to teach them, and pray for them. We can help them to grow in the Love of their Lord, but it ultimately is their decision. They can not be forced, and we as parents must keep up the fight, the good fight. Never letting down always fighting for what is right..... be strong in the good fight.

Just a few days ago, I had one of these very battles with one of my children, This child knows what is right, but until this child can gain their own testimony, I must help with their battles and fights!*** It's hard, it's trying, I don't know how often I say I am tired of fighting, I am tired of the battle, but if I don't fight, if I don't battle, Satan will win! We are battling from all directions! However if we are guided by our Heavenly Father, he will give us the strength we need to continue our battles, it's difficult to feel like we fight and battle and it never ends, But we must push back twice as hard every time we feel the devil pushing at us

The scriptures say in D&C 97:21

That Zion is the PURE IN HEART

How can our hearts be pure, if we are constantly allowing evil into our lives? 9

And until we are separate from the world, from babylon, and have a true Zion, we will have to contintue this battle.

Might I end with this very enlightening article from the history of the church page 274. It's speaking of the church newsletter, however I feel it applies to the word of God, and our lives today just as well.

That it comes to repeat the great caution of Paul: Beware lest any spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men and the rudiments of the world; that it comes to prepare the way of the Lord, that when He comes He may have a holy people ready to receive Him; That it comes to show that no man can be too good to be saved, but that many may be too bad: That it comes to declare that goodness consists in doing good not merely in preaching it; That it comes to show that all men's religion is vain without charity; That it comes to open the way for Zion to rise and put on her beautiful garments and become the glory of the earth.   

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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6