I was growing up, the Prophet told the members to plant a garden. So,
my parents being all for following the Prophet, promptly set to
deciding which patch of our completely neglected back yard would be
the victim of this project.
spot was chosen. Several Family Home Evenings were dedicated to
digging up wet earth (where I grew up it rains 100 days a year).
Seeds that likely cost more than the worth of the veggies they ever
produced were planted.
did not want to be at the breakfast table before Dad left for work
during summer break, because you would inevitably be designated The
One In Charge of Watering The Garden for the day.
battle against the morning glory invasion was never-ending. The ears
of corn were the length of a finger — at harvest. The green
beans were pretty good. I think the tomatoes were cute — like
little toy tomatoes.
was an obedience garden. The Prophet said to do it, so we did. It
really never added significantly to our table, but it provided
opportunities to work together as a family, and taught us lessons
about being responsible for living things.
my first child was about 18 months old, my husband and I decided it
was time to start family prayers and scriptures and Family Home
know there are on-top-of-it people who get in those good habits as a
couple. Largely due to opposing work schedules, we just hadn’t.
But, now that our daughter was old enough to start speaking and
going to nursery, we thought it was time to make it a priority.
what to do with a family so young? We figured at this point family
scripture time would basically be an obedience garden.
thought maybe we should start out with a brief nightly reading of the
illustrated scripture stories the Church publishes. Maybe the
pictures would help our child stay somewhat attentive.
was talking about this to a friend of mine, who incidentally had no
children of her own. Regardless, she has a lot of wisdom and I
respect her opinion. She felt very strongly that children should be
exposed to the real, actual scriptures right away.
was dubious about this plan, but decided to take her advice. My
husband would read one verse, I would read one verse, then we would
have our young daughter repeat after us at a whopping rate of about
five words per minute.
think if we weren’t so excited about being relatively new
parents it would have been pretty torturous. But, we were so happy to
be introducing our daughter to the most significant book in our lives
— The Book of Mormon.
we started 1 Nephi 1:1 that night, we had no idea that by the time
our family finished reading through the entire book for the first
time, we would have three children and our first daughter would be
reading her verses without any help.
is now nine years old and we are nearing the end of our second time
through The Book of Mormon as a family. Her younger sister now reads
her verses largely unaided. I have high hopes that it will take less
and less time to cycle through this sacred book of scripture as we
eventually have a family full of readers.
we finished Moroni that first time, I felt so grateful. I felt
grateful to my friend who had advised me to just dive into the real
scriptures with my children right away. I felt grateful to have
measured my daughter’s development from toddlerhood to
childhood in Book of Mormon verses.
when I see that my children can not only read the words, but are
starting to grasp the teachings of The Book of Mormon as we read
together, I see that this obedience garden is bearing fruit much more
valuable than I ever thought it would.
planted this garden with three verses a day, and now enjoy a
delicious harvest of the Spirit of God in our home.
puts me in mind of one of my favorite Book of Mormon verses, Alma
37:6, “…but behold I say unto you, that by small and
simple things are great things brought to pass.” Even in
Emily S. Jorgensen is an independent music teacher in the Provo/Orem, Utah, area. She is an
active adjudicator and lecturer across the Wasatch front. She has held several positions in the
Utah Music Teachers Association. She has three children and is expecting her fourth soon.
Emily grew up in Tacoma, Washington, earning her International Baccalaureate diploma in high
school. She was awarded a Trustees Scholarship at BYU, and was graduated from BYU with a
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Masters of Arts in Elementary Music Education.
She taught group piano classes at BYU, and has operated a private studio for 16 years, where she
has taught private and group music lessons for ages 2 through adult.
Emily currently serves as Primary president in her LDS ward, and is still married to her high school