Building a Christ-Centered Home

Free Study Guide!

Thank you for your interest in our study guide for A Christ-Centered Home! This free resource will be released on April 30, 2022. Please check back soon!

About Jennifer, author of the study guide

When I became a wife and mother, I knew it was my most important role. I knew that I needed to teach my children the gospel and help them to have testimonies. I knew I wanted them to know what I know – that Jesus is the Christ, that the scriptures are true, that Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ and the priesthood in our day, and that making and keeping sacred covenants is vital. 

I knew all of these things, but what I didn’t yet comprehend was that the gospel contained the answers to all of my questions. When I sought to understand how to raise my children, I often turned to parenting books and advice first, then tried to make what I had learned there fit with the word of God. I often sought guidance from people with a Christian worldview, but in reality, I was segmenting myself.

I read my scriptures daily, but I still primarily thought of the gospel as my overall ‘general’ worldview and a source of comfort, not as the solution to all of my problems. Sure, I knew that I could pray and seek for answers to my questions, but I still tended to go to places other than the scriptures first, and then try to make the scriptures fit what I had learned. The Lord has said that all things are spiritual to Him (D&C 29:34), but I didn’t realize that I was often seeking worldly advice for my perceived temporal problems. 

As time pressed on, my own mother started teaching me things that she was learning from the Stoddards and implementing with my younger siblings still at home. She shared about changing the music they were listening to, seeking to only listen to what invited the spirit and feeling that they hoped to have. She shared about making those shifts in order to combat feelings of despair and depression and anxiety. She shared about movies and books that could do more than entertain, they could inspire. 

Through new books and movies, I became acquainted with Christian heroes throughout history who have both lived and died for their faith in Christ, and I was increasingly inspired to be more like them. My perspective on my life’s purpose shifted. I slowly began to understand that while fun is always available, there is a higher inheritance than fun, if we seek after it. 

When I found myself seeking to better understand my own faith and some doctrines that seemed difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to accept, my mother encouraged me to study the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. As I did, I learned about his love for the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I learned about how he used them to find solutions to challenges both great and small. I resolved to go and study the Bible more deeply, especially the Old Testament, which I had consistently neglected when compared to my study of the other standard works. I walked away with a greater comprehension of God’s character and a greater witness of how gospel principles can be applied to every situation. Beyond that, I walked away with a witness like Nephi of old. I knew that I could inquire of God and that He would make things known unto me (1 Nephi 15:8-11). The scriptures continued to open to my mind, and I found myself feasting upon the words of Christ more and more. 

As I increased my application of the gospel, I increasingly saw that there were gospel solutions to my struggles. I didn’t have to remain stuck and broken. God was both able and willing to mend what was broken. I began to see the greater purpose of my trials. 

Over time, my hunger for worldly solutions slowly dissipated. I thought – “God’s word had an answer for that other situation, surely it will have an answer for this new one as well”. Time and time again, the Lord proved that He would answer my questions. My faith and trust in Him increased.

I slowly found myself moving away from asking if something was “good enough” and instead began asking myself, “Will this be in heaven?” When the answer to that was “probably not”, I found myself desiring it less and less. And where a worldly appetite still held sway, I prayed and waited upon the Lord, and with time, my desires and appetites continued to shift. My witness became increasingly sure that the more willing we are to live like God, the more willing He is to pour out His Spirit and assist us. It didn’t mean life was easy, but I was better equipped to face challenges as they came. 

The intent of this guide is to encourage families and especially parents in their quest to build strong families founded upon our Master, even Jesus Christ. 

My mom and I wanted to take the stories that were presented in A Christ-Centered Home and distill from those experiences the gospel principles contained in them. In short, we hoped to create something actionable for families. Through this, we hope to help increase your confidence in your ability to not just know but to truly apply gospel principles as found in the scriptures and restored in our day through the Prophet Joseph Smith, in order to tackle the challenges that surely come here in mortality. 

If you read A Christ-Centered Home and were inspired by the stories of how the Stoddard family sought to apply the principles of the gospel to every situation they came across, then we hope this can be a helpful resource. We want to share the hope that comes from knowing that correct principles, when applied, change lives and families. These things don’t happen by chance. There is a pattern revealed through the scriptures, and we can obtain the blessings.

We hope this humble guide can be a springboard for meaningful family discussions, a source of inspiration, and will serve as a testimony that the gospel can be applied to every situation and challenge. Jesus Christ truly is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. 

Are you feeling the need for change? Perhaps you have found your way here out of desperation – a child who is doubting their faith despite doing everything you know to do. Are you facing a heartbreak that seems insurmountable? 

Or perhaps you have a lingering feeling that there just has to be more, or something better. Perhaps you find yourself disillusioned in the midst of the struggles of life, wondering if it’s even worth it. 

I testify that as we seek after a “better country”, one that is heavenly, God will answer us and we will be able to increasingly claim Him as “ our God”. (Hebrews 11:16)

This isn’t a program. There isn’t a set of steps or an order you must follow. Your reasons for being here may be completely different than someone else. But the beautiful thing about true principles is that, when applied, they cannot help but work. They are individual in their application, but universal in their efficacy. 

By the same token, anything that doesn’t lead us to God’s word and His way, is destined to fail. It may not be easy, but it is simple. 

As shared in A Christ-Centered Home

“One day, Dad was praying for help. How could he best assist in bringing clarity and hope amidst all the confusion in the world? The words came to his mind, “I am the way!” So simple! Jesus Christ is literally the answer and His way is not complicated. But then Dad pondered why everyone has a different interpretation of the Lord’s doctrine, lifestyle, and will! How can we know the true Son of God? The answer came: “I have sent My servant Joseph Smith.” Suddenly, Dad felt the power of the Restoration message in a new way. “How could our family help?” he asked. Again, a gentle response was given: “Feed My sheep.” The answers are not in programs, fads, influencers, or the latest bestselling books. The answers are in the revelations of God, in scripture, and through Joseph Smith—including all faithful and inspired men and women who have echoed his message since.”

Born to Make a Difference, pg. 55

I echo the sentiments shared in A Christ-Centered Home. I testify that as I have centered my life on the words of Our Savior Jesus Christ, sought to know the mind of God in all things, and striven to humbly follow them, I have found answers and solutions to even my most difficult situations. What I have learned has healed and blessed my own life, my marriage, my family, and any other area of my life that I have implemented God’s word and counsel. I have been blessed in the areas where I have been willing to let go of my own false traditions and worldly ways. I have found hope and peace and the ability to endure the trials of life. I have discovered that my life has meaning and purpose, and that I fit into the fabric of my family that came before and will come after me. 

It is my hope and prayer that you will seek and obtain this same witness. 

Jennifer Hernández

Book Description

Behind the founding of the Joseph Smith Foundation is an untold, inspirational story of a software engineer father who felt called to uphold the Prophet Joseph Smith & the Restoration with only his homeschool family as his production team! Now his children tell candid stories of what it was like growing up with the Joseph Smith Foundation—from video editing, research, and book writing to the many miracles along the way. This heartfelt narrative also embraces the challenges facing many families today. Hannah, Leah, and Isaiah also share their individual conversions to the Gospel, along with their witness that the Gospel of Jesus Christ holds answers for the world today! From a family team—a dad with his kids—came the Joseph Smith Foundation and many other projects that point church members to gospel principles, blessing the lives of thousands in the Church today. This book is an inspiring guide for families to discover their own mission and inspire their youth to change the world—a testimony that the God of Israel will prevail!

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