Build a Twelve Stone Memorial for Memorial Day

Memorial Day Tradition

I’m not going to be eating any ribs this Memorial Day. And even frog eye salad will be off the list. My post-surgery diet restrictions mean that the one consistent Memorial Day tradition in our home—a great BBQ—won’t be a part of of my holiday this year. I will, however, start a new tradition. Maybe you’d like to start this tradition in your family, too.

Build a family or personal twelve stone memorial.

The children of Israel built a memorial of twelve stones after they crossed the overflowing Jordan River. Our Sunday School class this week covers the story of Joshua becoming the prophet who leads the children of Israel into the promised land. They crossed the river in faith, with the priests stepping into the rushing waters before the Lord dried them up. Then they built a memorial of twelve stones as a witness of God’s power and mercy in their lives and a reminder for future generations that His hand would be over them always.

Do you want a similar reminder? Use the Memorial Day holiday as a time to build you own family or personal memorial to remember divine help.


Building your own family or personal memorial is an activity you can do as an individual or a family. And it starts with idea gathering.

1. Start with a a piece of paper and pencil and this question: “What reminds you of God’s power in your life?”

2. Create a brainstormed list of as many tangible or intangible items, experiences, blessings, opportunities, tender mercies that you can from the past year. (Hint: Start with the tangible items and move to the intangible.)

3. To prompt your thinking: Look around your house at what you value, what you hang on the wall, what you use every day. Think of people, places, and things. Think of principles, ideas, and beliefs. Think of events, learning, and growth.

4. Now, go further back to think of parents and grandparents and deceased family members. What foundation of faith did they leave for you?

5. Finally, write down a few key important and significant witnesses of God’s influence and help from throughout your life. This can be a things like a marriage, a baptism, help through a trial, a specific time you received an answer to a prayer.

Now you have your ideas. You’ve recognized that God is in your life and now you can build a memorial that reminds you of His hand over you or your family.


Your memorial can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Here are some ideas you might try:

1. Narrow down your list to twelve specific items or categories of items that show how God has helped you.  Do not feel that if you leave something off the list, you do not consider it important. This is a sampling rather than a list of “bests.” (Hint: using categories allows you to combine like things together but it also makes it more less specific. You choose what’s more important. )

2. Write the 12 stones of your personal and family memorial that you would like to include. Together, these tangible and intangible items will create a memorial of faith.

3. Determine a way to visually display each of the twelve stones of your memorial, individually and collectively

Written Memorial Ideas: you can create a paper memorial to adhere to a wall or board, you can use small, labeled paper or cardboard boxes to stack on a table, you can gather small river stones to label with a permanent marker.

Symbolic Memorial Ideas: you can gather items that represent each of the twelve “stones” from your individual and family list into one place and create a visual display for the week surrounding the Memorial Day holiday.


A memorial allow us to remember. A twelve-stone memorial is a memorial of faith to remember God’s power and care of us individually and as a family. How can you do that?

1. Find a way to share not only your memorial but the things you listed that witness of God’s hand in your life.  If you did this individually, tell your family what you did and what your memorial of faith means to you.

2. Consider this question, “How can these memorials bless your family and other people?” Again, think beyond the physical memorial you just created to the experiences and witness of God they represent. How can those witnesses be shared with your children or grandchildren, siblings or parents and grandparents?

3. Find a way to recall your personal or family memorial and what it represents beyond the Memorial Day holiday. Take a photo of your memorial. Consider ways you and your family can recall the memorial in the future, especially during challenges or when faith is tested.

Ongoing Memorials of Faith

I built my first personal memorial as a reminder of how God sustained our family and twelve other families through financial crisis in the book Twelve Stones to Remember Him: Building Memorials of Faith from Financial Crisis. My faith and theirs grew in this time, despite the difficult circumstances we all faced. The book is a memorial in and of itself.

This year my personal memorial will be one of gratitude in any circumstance as I face a new health challenge. Only by going through the process of identifying and holding on to my own personal memorial have I been able to meet both of these challenges not only with faith but with courage and peace.

And that’s what memorials are designed to do. If you’re not going to visit one this Memorial Day, why not build one?




1 Comment

  1. Camille
    May 19, 2014

    Yes, this was a topic of several conversations I had yesterday and today with friends and family since we talked about the story in Gospel Doctrine yesterday. I’m passing on the word about your book!! Truly inspiring.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *