Sunday, June 8, 2014


Family Home Evening Lesson #3 based on the LDS Church's Addiction Recovery Program

Purpose: Help family members understand that full repentance helps us overcome our weaknesses and develop charity, the pure love of Christ. 
Provide each family member with a pencil and a small notebook they can use as a journal.

"I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors" (Alma 34:31–32).

Song: “Come Unto Jesus” (Hymn #117)
In his 1998 April conference talk, Elder Robert D. Hales recounted the story of a 1968 marathon runner named John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania.  “A little over an hour after [the winner] had crossed the finish line (in an international competition), John Stephen Akhwari … approached the stadium, the last man to complete the journey. [Though suffering from fatigue, leg cramps, dehydration, and disorientation,] a voice called from within to go on, and so he went on. Afterwards, it was written, ‘Today we have seen a young African runner who symbolizes the finest in human spirit, a performance that gives meaning to the word courage.’ For some, the only reward is a personal one. [There are no medals, only] the knowledge that they finished what they set out to do” (The Last African Runner, Olympiad Series, written, directed, and produced by Bud Greenspan, Cappy Productions, 1976, videocassette). When asked why he would complete a race he could never win, Akhwari replied, ‘My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; my country sent me to finish the race.’ . . . Our mission in life is much the same. We were not sent by Father in Heaven just to be born. We were sent to endure and return to Him with honor.”
Discussion Questions:
  • In the past two lessons, we’ve worked to repent from our weaknesses by recognizing, confessing, and abstaining from them, but though we may now feel more comfortable with ourselves, there is still more we must do in our quest to become one with God. Stopping now would be like an athlete participating in a marathon but quitting the moment the finish line came into view. Because full repentance is vital to this process, what other step must we now take? (Make restitution.) What does it mean to make restitution? 
"You must restore as far as possible all that which is stolen, damaged, or defiled. Willing restitution is concrete evidence to the Lord that you are committed to do all you can to repent” (Richard G. Scott, in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 102; or Ensign, May 1995, 76).
  • The Lord has perfect love for you and for the person from whom you seek forgiveness. How can your trust in the Lord’s perfect love strengthen your resolve to make restitution wherever possible?
Role Play or Discussion:
Ask volunteers to suggest situations for which they feel family members may need to make amends. Then ask them to act out or discuss how they can make full restitution in those situations. The following information from the Addiction Recovery Program manual will help you teach correct principals:

It is very important that you are not impulsive or careless as you attempt to make amends. It is equally important that you do not procrastinate making amends. Pray for the Lord’s guidance and consult with a trusted adviser for help to avoid these pitfalls.

If those you seek to make amends with give you the chance to apologize, be brief and specific about the situation you remember. Details are not necessary. The purpose is not to explain or describe your side of things. The purpose is to admit those wrongs you have committed, offer an apology, and make restitution wherever possible. Do not argue with people or criticize them, even if their response is not favorable or accepting. Approach each person in a spirit of humility, offering reconciliation, never justification.

In other cases, you may have no way of making amends directly. The person may be dead, or you may not be able to discover where he or she lives. In such cases, you can still make amends indirectly. You can write the person a letter expressing your regret and desire for reconciliation, even if the letter cannot be delivered. You can give a gift to the person’s favorite charity. You can find someone who reminds you of that person and do something to help him or her. Or you may be able to do something to help a member of the family anonymously.

(Reconciliation) must never lead to the further harm of others. Also, at times you may have caused harm that is beyond human ability to repair. Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke of this reality: “Sometimes . . . restitution is not possible in real terms, such as when one contributed to another’s loss of faith or virtue. Instead, a subsequent example of righteousness provides a compensatory form of restitution” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 41; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31). From the moment you decide to adopt these true principles as your new way of life, you begin to make amends.

You may still have one or two people you feel like you cannot face. Do not despair. . . We recommend you take your feelings to the Lord in honest prayer. If you still have great fear or anger toward an individual, you probably should postpone meeting with him or her. To overcome negative feelings, you could pray for charity and to see the person as the Lord sees him or her. You could look for positive reasons why restitution and reconciliation will help. If you do these things and are patient, the Lord can and will—in His own way and in His own time—give you the ability and the miraculous opportunities to be reconciled to everyone on your list.
Developing Charity

Mosiah 4:11-12, 26

11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the loveof God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the gloryof him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake ofretaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

Chalkboard discussion:
Now that we have made restitution and done all we can to put ourselves in harmony with the commandments of the Lord, we have at least partially entered into His rest; remaining there is now our greatest desire. What can we do to ensure we keep ourselves in harmony with God and continue on His path to further righteousness?

List family member’s ideas on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or a large piece of paper. Include the following ideas in your discussion. You may wish to refer to the following scriptures: D&C 88:63; 1 Thessalonians 5:17–19; 2 Nephi 32:3; Luke 22:32; D&C 64:33; D&C 31:11–13.
  • Regular self-evaluation (see Alma 5:14–30 and Mosiah 4:30).
  • When you make mistakes, repent quickly
  • Regular church and temple attendance
  • Keep the commandments
  • Work to keep the Holy Ghost with us through prayer and scripture study
  • Selfless service
  • Gratitude
“It is part of the gift of charity to be able to recognize the Lord’s hand and feel His love in all that surrounds us. At times it will not be easy to discover the Lord’s love for us in all that we experience, because He is a perfect, anonymous giver. You will search all your life to uncover His hand and the gifts He has bestowed upon you because of His intimate, modest, humble way of granting such wonderful gifts. . . Brothers and sisters, as an especial witness of Christ, I bear testimony to you again of the overwhelming love of God for each of us personally. Magnifying that gift from God will bring a new heart, a pure heart, and ever-increasing love and peace. As we increasingly think and act like Him, the attributes of the natural man will slip away to be replaced by the heart and the mind of Christ. We will become like Him and then truly receive Him” (
Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy).
Bear your testimony of how full repentance of sin and weakness will cause us to change our ways, correct our course in life, and draw closer to God.

“Converted means to turn from one belief or course of action to another. Conversion is a spiritual and moral change. Conversion implies not merely mental acceptance of Jesus and his teachings but also a motivating faith in him and his gospel--a faith which works a transformation, an actual change in one’s understanding of life’s meaning and in his allegiance to God in interest, in thought, and in conduct” (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Guatemala Area Conference 1977, 8).
Journal Entry:
Write your testimony of how your efforts to overcome your weaknesses have converted your heart more fully to God. Record any spiritual feelings and experiences you have had through this process. Express your gratitude for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in your writing.

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