Secret Combinations

When I was in fifth grade, two of my cousins moved in with us. Our family with 3 kids soon became one of 5 kids and then my youngest brother was born half a year later, so 6. Each one of us, except my baby brother, were in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.

Being kids, some of us formed a club. I had a club with some friends at school (Sunflower Club!) and now I had one with a cousin and a brother. And clubs, being as they are, leave people out. My sister and my other cousin were not in this club.

I’m not sure how long our club lasted- a week? Two? But fairly quickly, my dad organized an FHE and used that time to have us read about the Gadianton Robbers and secret combinations and concluded that he would not allow secret combinations in his house. I felt so ashamed. Here I was doing the same thing the Gadianton Robbers of the Book of Mormon! They’re the BAD GUYS. I felt awful and cried and our club disbanded.

“SECRET” stamp,
Used in accordance to CC BY 2.0, no changes made


I have kids the ages we were when we had that club. As an adult, I try now to put myself in my parents’ shoes- if my kids formed a secret club and left out one of the siblings, how would I manage it? I look at my kids- and I really can’t imagine calling a special FHE to shame them into not having secret clubs. I’d probably just talk to them about how it makes the person left out feel. I wonder what the disconnect is between my parents and myself: is it generational? is it testimonial? is it that they were converts and I was raised in the Church?

It’s little things like this that makes growing up in the Church a little weird. Did your parents have FHEs solely to teach you lessons? Do you do the same for your kids?


TopHat is putting her roots down in the Bay Area with her husband and three children. She loves the earth, yarn, and bicycling.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Abby Hansen says:

    Not FHEs, but my mom would lecture me during family prayers. “Please bless Abby to stop being so grouchy about cleaning her room, and bless her to stop fighting with her sister.” Something like that. 🙂

    • DWK says:

      I had a bishop tell me that one of the great reasons to pray with your spouse is so you can say things to your spouse indirectly through prayer that you cannot say to them directly. Passive aggressive much?

  2. spunky says:

    My parents only did FHE to update the chores list and make a calendar– I hated it. Why pray just so we can app talk about who’s turn it is to clean toilets and who has piano lessons that week? So weird.

    So we don’t do that. We have had “special” Family Home Evenings– but — I dunno. We’re just different. For one, we were planning a trip to China, so the lesson was on Chinese culture and history for their age group. When they were little, we had one on how to work a phone to call us. We do the back-to-school blessings for FHE. And we did have one on resolving conflict, but didn’t use scriptures. We used child psychology references for that one. So we do tailor them, but I guess we’re not very religious. Hum. I just realized that.

  3. Marcy King Swan says:

    The thing with comparing your club to the Gadianton Robbers is that the GR were wicked. Your club was not wicked. I can certainly understand your parents wanting to teach about the importance of being inclusive but that doesn’t seem to be a good analogy.
    The family I grew up in had fhe, but we were 7 silly sisters and we just made fun of everything. We only remember laughing inappropriately all the time.
    I have had to have special family meetings with my adult children, minus their children, when we’ve had family misunderstandings (read that: long -term feuds, meltdowns, and bullying) but those meetings weren’t labeled as family home evenings.

  4. Ziff says:

    Yeah, wow, this seems a mite heavy-handed. A somewhat parallel thing I recall from my childhood is that my father used to berate my sisters and me when we fought because Mosiah 4:14 says (in part) “And ye will not suffer your children . . . that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil.” So not only were we naughty for fighting, he would tell us we were WICKED for SERVING THE DEVIL. It was way over the top, and needless to say, not very effective.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.