Reviewed by Shirley S. Ricks
This resource for family home evening fun consists of twenty Book of Mormon lessons which contain scriptures, stories, games, and activities, interspersed with ten relationship activities (designed to bring family members closer together and develop appreciation and unity) and ten family night activities combining fun and principles. According to the introduction, the lessons and activities meet four important criteria:
1. They are fast and easy to prepare. Most of the materials needed are contained in the book.
2. They use variety to teach the gospel in a fun and exciting way.
3. They bring the family closer together and help family members appreciate each other.
4. They appeal to a wide range of ages. Young children, teenagers, and adults all enjoy and learn as they willingly participate in the lessons, games, and activities. (p. vii)
At the end of the volume there are twenty-two pages of further resources, questions, and game ideas to enrich the lessons.
The Book of Mormon lessons cover favorite stories such as Nephi's obtaining the plates, the tree of life vision, the prayer of Enos, King Benjamin's speech, the conversion of Alma the Younger, Ammon's missionary labors, the stripling warriors, and Samuel the Lamanite. Character cards are used throughout the lessons to introduce important figures, and one lesson deals with the books in the Book of Mormon.
Quality is evident in the production of this book. The typesetting is well done, the illustrations add rather than detract, and the paper is heavy enough to provide some durability. The major complaint I had with the volume was the difficulty in extracting the pages at the perforations without tearing into the pages. Perhaps this defect could be corrected in later editions.
As a user of the book, I would have appreciated some more extensive suggestions in the introduction for prolonging the life of the book and making the materials more usable over a period of time. Several of the lessons suggest preparation by cutting out pieces and saving them in envelopes. I would recommend laminating the game pieces for future use. Prior to laminating the appropriate pages and cutting them with a paper cutter, I would also label envelopes (preferably on the back flap) in which to place and store the game pieces. I, for one, would rather tackle the laminating, cutting, and labeling all at one time to reduce preparation time later. In addition, I would recom-mend photocopying some pages in order to maintain the originals.
In my opinion, the following pages should be laminated before the pieces are used (some individuals may be more ambitious than I and choose to color those with pictures first):
Treasure Hunt Clues, p. 7
Happiness Game, p. 9
Numbered Squares, pp. 11, 13
Message Code, p. 17
Eighteen Letters, pp. 25, 27
Beat the Devil Cards, pp. 33, 35
Character Cards, pp. 37, 39
Objects from Lehi's Vision, p. 45
Books of the Book of Mormon, pp. 49, 51
Prayer Game Squares, pp. 67, 69
Service Game, p. 77
Tic Tac Toe Markers, pp. 91, 93
Word Squares (stop, look, listen), p. 101
Concentration Cards (for shoot-out), pp. 123, 125
Statement Sheet 1, p. 147
Statement Sheet 2, p. 149
Family Bingo Cards, pp. 163, 165, 167, 169
Concentration Game Squares (Jesus Visits America), pp. 197, 199
In order to preserve the masters, I would recommend copying the following pages in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the group:
Category List, p. 23
Hidden Word Mazes, p. 55
Secret Message Squares, p. 57
Family Unity Score Sheet, p. 61
Top Dog Certificate, p. 73
Twenty Statements, p. 81
Latter-day Prophets, p. 87 (or 89)
Tic Tac Toe Game, p. 95
Statement and Scripture, p. 99
Hidden Word Game, p. 105
Baptism Contract, p. 107
Price Is Right Lesson, p. 111
Morse Code Activity, p. 113 (or 115)
Alma the Younger Story, p. 119
Secret Question Game Sheet, p. 131
Statements about Story of Ammon, p. 133
Scripture Blanks Game Sheet, p. 137
or alternate activity for younger children, p. 139
Activity Sheet (Lamoni and Ammon), p. 143
Secret Code Activity Sheets, p. 157
Family Bingo Statements, p. 161
Secret Message Squares, p. 179
Story Title Strips, p. 183
Hidden Message Square, p. 187 (or 189)
Answers to Concentration Game, p. 195
Prayer Sentences, p. 203
Word Search Squares (Brother of Jared), p. 207
Olympics Unscramble and Lists, p. 215
Olympics Matching, p. 217
Olympics Word Search, p. 219
Olympics Crossword, p. 221 (or 223)
Admittedly, the laminating and photocopying would increase the cost of using the volume, but it would be a worthwhile investment should the user desire to use the game pieces numerous times.
I found only a few minor errors in the book. Lesson 6 suggests cutting out blank cards provided at the end of the lesson as part of the advance preparation, but there are no blank cards. Item 3 in the advance preparation section for Lesson 35 mentions six strips that show answers, but there are only four. One of my pages for the Happiness Game was smudged in the printing, but other copies of the book seemed to be free of that defect.
My younger children, ages 5-9, thoroughly enjoyed looking through the book and were interested enough to play some of the games on their own. I agree with the authors that the lessons are adaptable for all ages, and I could also envision using them in other groups, such as in Church classes or sharing time in Primary. I congratulate the authors for preparing a useful, quality resource.