“The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith,” the Prophet declared in October 2018.
For those who would “diligently work to remodel your home into a center of gospel learning,” he promised four distinct blessings:
- “Over time your Sabbath days will truly be a delight.”
- “Your children will be excited to learn and to live the Savior’s teachings.”
- “The influence of the adversary in your life and in your home will decrease.”
- “Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.”
The Sunday School general presidency has witnessed these blessings come to Latter-day Saints who have put President Nelson’s promise to the test over the last three years.
“I think the study of the scriptures with ‘Come, Follow Me’ is in the process of changing the Church,” Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace observed. “It’s changing our hearts, home by home, family by family. …
“We’ve always believed in reading the scriptures, but I believe that with ‘Come, Follow Me’ we’re doing a much better job of reading and studying and pondering the scriptures than we ever have before. And the Prophet’s blessings are coming to fruition.”
Study of the Old Testament starting in January kicks off year four of “Come, Follow Me” for individuals and families and complete the rotation of the standard works. In 2019, Church members studied the New Testament, followed by the Book of Mormon in 2020 and last year’s study of the Doctrine and Covenants.
How has “Come, Follow Me” and home-centered gospel learning blessed the worldwide Church, particularly during a time defined by the COVID-19 pandemic and other hardships?
When Brother Milton Camargo, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, meets with stake and ward leaders, he often asks this question: “What has the Holy Ghost taught you this week during your scripture study with ‘Come, Follow Me’?”
A response from a sister in Colorado was particularly memorable to Brother Camargo.
“During these months of family scripture study using ‘Come, Follow Me,’ my family moved from concern to power, from challenges and trials to deliverance, from the influence of the adversary to the influence of God and the Savior,” she said.
She quoted the Savior’s words in Matthew 18:19-20: “… if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
“That for me,” Brother Camargo said of this sister’s response, “was a clear picture of the blessing of ‘Come, Follow Me’ in the lives of the families of the Church. They move from one stage to a higher, more inspired level. They move from, as she mentioned, from challenges to deliverance, and from the influence of the adversary to the influence of God.”
In many of President Nelson’s general conference talks, he has emphasized that spiritual survival will not be possible without the constant influence of the Holy Ghost, Brother Camargo noted.
“We can have the influence of the Holy Ghost daily in our lives if we’re willing to listen, if we’re willing to make time for the Lord. … We can and should receive more personal revelation as we study, ponder, listen and write down impressions,” he said.
More gospel discussions
As Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, has met with members across the globe, he has heard one piece of feedback perhaps more than any other: Parents are having more gospel-oriented conversations with their children.
“And not just at home,” Brother Newman said. “They’ll be driving to the bus or they’ll be driving home from school or they’ll be going to the store, and whether the parent or the child initiates it, these conversations are happening.”
With seminary curriculum aligned with “Come, Follow Me,” these conversations are also happening with youth, he noted. “So this home-centered, Church-supported piece, which seminary is, is just revolutionizing the way the gospel is discussed in the family setting.”
Thanks to technology and the Gospel Library app, the scriptures and “Come, Follow Me” can be accessed by anyone — anytime, anywhere. Cross references and related content are easy to navigate. Users can add personal notes and create study plans.
“Never before have the scriptures, the word of God, been more accessible by more people than at any time in the history of this world,” Brother Newman said.
‘Conversion is our goal’
In 2020, as a pandemic spread illness and death, stifled economies, closed churches and schools, and brought people to their knees, Latter-day Saints were studying the Book of Mormon at home.
“My feeling was that for those who were diligent in their scripture study, there was no spiritual famine in the land,” President Pace said. “We may not have been meeting as a congregation together, but the influence of the Holy Ghost blessed us and rested upon us individually and as families. And that blessing continues to move forward.”
Read more: The power of the Book of Mormon in the pandemic — How Saints are ‘spiritually thriving’ amid challenges
No matter the course of study, he reminded, “we still have the invitation of the prophets to be reading the Book of Mormon every day.”
At the front of each “Come, Follow Me” manual in the introductory materials is a section titled “Conversion Is Our Goal.” The invitation is to seek the companionship of the Spirit in all efforts to live, learn and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“The great teacher is the Holy Ghost,” President Pace said. “As we listen to His promptings, He converts us and He doesn’t just convert us once — He converts us over and over and over again. And as we are having those revelatory experiences with the Holy Ghost, week after week after week after week, we’re not letting go of the iron rod.
“We’re not being overcome with the temptations of the world. Our faith is not being undermined. Our faith is growing and our devotion to the Savior continues to increase.”