“The Not Even Once Club” – Really?

The Not Even Once Club is the title of a new children’s book published and promoted by Deseret Books.  It is written by Wendy Nelson, wife of one of the 12 apostles of the LDS Church.  The cover sleeve states that she was a professor of marriage and family therapy for 25 years.  In addition, she has held a number of prominent positions in the LDS Church including chairing the BYU Women’s Conference.  In other words, she is a highly credentialed LDS author.

So what is this book about?  The cover sleeve says:  “The Not Even Once Club is an adorable and appealing way to engage children in a story that will help them choose for themselves to keep the commandments and to never break them.  Not even once.”  Really????  Yes, that is really what it is about.

One of the most tragic of its many fatal flaws is the failure of the LDS Church to understand the main reason why God gave us the commandments.  “By the law is the knowledge of sin”.  The commandments are God’s tool to show us our sins!  He knows that we need to see our sinfulness before we will see our need for a Savior.  A man doesn’t yell for help until he realizes he’s drowning.  Likewise people don’t yell for a Savior until they see they are drowning in sin.  The commandments show us how much we sin – they show us that we are drowning in sin.  The last thing the Lord intended when he gave the commandments was for people to create “Not Even Once Clubs”.

The Not Even Once Club is tragically true to its name in one way.  Not once is Jesus or God mentioned. That probably shouldn’t be surprising seeing that its whole premise is that children can keep the commandments perfectly.  It’s not surprising but it is sad.

I can see this book becoming very popular.  It is attractively done: very colorful and well-illustrated.  It is written by a prominent Mormon.  You can download free posters that reinforce its message.  I can envision those posters hanging in many a child’s room.  It wouldn’t surprise me to hear about “Not Even Once Clubs” springing up in LDS neighborhoods.

But just stop and think about the effect that all this can have on the 3 to 7 year old children that this book is intended for.  It could easily implant and reinforce the possibility of perfectionism and all its attendant pressures and problems.  Along with that it could produce a large self-righteous streak that will grow stronger and stronger as the children grow up.  Or else it could drive children to despair when they recognize that they sinned and broke the promise of the “Not Even Once Club”.

Already with small children, it is so much better to honestly talk about how they sin and their need for a Savior.  Already with small children, it is so much better to focus them on the fact that Jesus not even once sinned – and that he freely gives them his perfection.  Already with small children, it is vital to focus them on how Jesus has cleansed them from their sins rather than encouraging them to think that they can remain clean themselves. Jesus, and not themselves, is what children also need to focus on. It’s all about Jesus.



4 Responses to ““The Not Even Once Club” – Really?”

  1. September 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Great review on a children’s book that causes me concern. My prayers are for the children and the stress they will feel on trying to be a part of what they think is a Heavenly Father-pleasing club and knowing they will always fail and come up short.

  2. September 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Yes try and teach a child not covet his brother or sisters new toy, and how about loving the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and perfectly obeying your parents at all times with Joy even :) I was raised under this yoke of bondage, it brought guilt and shame into my life, thank you Lord for the Gospel that brings life and freedom and not heavy bondage to a legalistic system that ultimately results in hypocrisy, self righteousness and eternal death.

  3. 3 Adam
    September 26, 2013 at 5:19 am

    I think there is a difference between perfect and avoiding the burning flames of some Sins. I dont think the author of the books feels there is a way to completely avoid all sin, But more so that There are some sins that can take away the spirit and create a road that is hard to get back from And the avoidance of which can bring more happiness and progression than choosing to indulge. Your article uses the reference of drowning, I feel that the point in life is to learn when we are sinning against the lesser laws or when we are getting fatigued swimming in a calm lake and need the help just to swim, as opposed to seeing a heavy undertow, crashing waves or current and jumping in hoping to swim it out, thinking that the lifeguard will pull me out and I will be a better swimmer because of it. There are some things I have struggles with because of thinking it is ok people make mistakes I can repent that is life, But Alcoholism is not, never has been(even though it has been for many in my family) as I have never tasted it, I did not have to touch that fire to realize the pain of it. We can learn to be humbled by small mistakes and feel the redemption of the atonement in any level of our walk with the Lord we dont have to search out sin to learn because truth is there are harsh consequences to many of the society approved sins and The biggest problem is hopefully you realize you are drowning in enough time to call for help because many who indulge become entangled in the undertow and dont.

  4. 4 markcares
    September 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    One of the most sobering Scriptures is James 2:10: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” This shows me that any sin, even those that we might consider the breaking of a lesser law of God, makes us completely guilty before God and deserving of his consuming wrath. This is something we all need to hear. This is something that this book completely fails to do.

Comments are currently closed.

September 2013

Blog Stats

  • 184,317 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 997 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: