When I was growing up, memorizing the Articles of Faith (AOF) was a requirement to graduate Primary (3-11yr group) and move up into Young Women’s (12-18 yr old girl group). I’m not sure what would have happened if we didn’t memorize them- probably nothing- but I dutifully memorized all 13 and felt proud of myself for doing so.
One day I was at Deseret Book Store and I saw a pack of Article of Faith Flash Cards. Since they were relatively inexpensive, I picked them up, brought them home, laminated them, and put them on a book ring. They got passed around my kids for a few days and then we forgot about them.
Several months later I came across them again and decided that it was the perfect time to start memorizing them with my kids. That was actually the beginning of our family devotionals- which is a tradition I hope to keep up over the years because it has been wonderful! Every evening before bed I’d pull out the cards and encourage my girls to say a few cards with me. Sometimes we practiced the ones we’d previously memorized and we would move onto the next one when I was confident my two oldest could say them independently (although I still allowed my 4 year old to look at the pictures on the cards).
It took us many months to memorize all thirteen but I am so glad I did that. With each one I got a chance to discuss a tenant of our beliefs with my children. I got a chance to reaffirm in my own mind the things I believe. It sparked some very interesting conversations as well. I loved hearing the inflections my kids put on the sentences, the words they emphasized. It changed how I looked at each one.
Memorizing the AOF became something they actually wanted to do every night. We all bonded significantly, it helped ease our transition into bed, it helped my kids to feel confident in their budding language and verbal skills. It was so fun to watch.
In short, I’m very glad we took the opportunity to memorize the AOF together as a family. I’m looking forward to a year or two down the road when my next two are old enough to start memorizing them and we can do it all over again. And memorizing the AOF has pushed me to look for other things to memorize with my kids. We are currently working on memorizing the Proclamation on The Living Christ and I’m looking to the future imagining us memorizing individual verses from the scriptures.
Why am I having my kids memorize them? Well, my thought is that if I fill their heads with the words of Christ and the Gospel then I’m leaving little room for the temptations and bad thoughts that are sure to plague their minds. When they come upon questions, temptations, or trials I’m giving them thoughts they can turn to to combat all those issues. I’m giving them tools to answer their own questions, tools to keep the Spirit of God around them at all times, and even tools to become missionaries for Christ to friends and acquaintances who would benefit from knowing even a small portion of the Gospel. I want to give my children a solid foundation upon which to build their lives.
I encourage all families to start memorizing the AOF or to at least review them frequently as a family. The nuggets of wisdom that will come through this simple action will impress you. And who knows? You might just get the memorizing bug like I did and move onto more and greater things!