Welcome to the Talk Of The Week Club. I began this club as a way to share my love of learning and growing in the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My hope and desire is for you to learn and grow in your faith and love of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each Thursday a new talk will be posted, come back, open your heart and mind, allow yourself to receive and I promise you will be spiritually fed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Week 23: Following Your Guide

I heard this talk many months ago and remember how I loved her stories. As I reviewed it again this week I was reminded of a few things that I had forgotten and needed to remember. First, I was reminded about just how far I've come and how far my loved ones have come. Second, I was reminded that I am a child of God and how important that is for me to teach to my children and all others whom I come in contact with. Thirdly, that Heavenly Father and the Savior know me and know exactly what I need when I need it. I am so grateful for that knowledge and the opportunities I've had this week to see the Lord's loving hand in my life. When we prayerfully open our hearts and eyes to see the one true guide of our lives and follow Him, He will remind us just how far we've come and we will be given the strength that we need to complete our journey.

Follow Your Guide
Speaker: Diane Done-Adair

Families Under Fire 2003

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Week 22: Nurturing Marriage

After witnessing a record number of marriages fail in the last month or so my spirit yearned to know what I could do to fortify and strengthen my own marriage. Elder Nelson's council is part of what I needed to hear. Whether or not we are married we can all strive to perfect the ability to "appreciate, communicate, and contemplate" so that our relationships with those we love are edified and uplifted. Have a blessed week! ~Sarah

MP3 Link:

Elder Russell M. Nelson Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully.
My beloved brethren and sisters, thank you for your love of the Lord and His gospel. Wherever you live, your righteous lives provide good examples in these days of decaying morals and disintegrating marriages. As we Brethren travel about the world, sometimes we see worrisome scenes. On a recent flight, I sat behind a husband and wife. She obviously loved her husband. As she stroked the back of his neck I could see her wedding ring. She would nestle close to him and rest her head upon his shoulder, seeking his companionship. In contrast, he seemed totally oblivious to her presence. He was focused solely upon an electronic game player. During the entire flight, his attention was riveted upon that device. Not once did he look at her, speak to her, or acknowledge her yearning for affection. His inattention made me feel like shouting: "Open your eyes, man! Can't you see? Pay attention! Your wife loves you! She needs you!" I don't know more about them. I haven't seen them since. Perhaps I was alarmed unduly. And very possibly, if this man knew of my concern for them, he might feel sorry for me in not knowing how to use such an exciting toy. But these things I do know: I know "that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."1 I know that the earth was created and that the Lord's Church was restored so that families could be sealed and exalted as eternal entities.2 And I know that one of Satan's cunning methods of undermining the work of the Lord is to attack the sacred institutions of marriage and the family. Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully. I realize that many mature members of the Church are not married. Through no failing of their own, they deal with the trials of life alone. Be we all reminded that in the Lord's own way and time, no blessings will be withheld from His faithful Saints.3 For those who are now or will be married, I suggest two steps you can take to have a more joyful marriage. I. Doctrinal Foundation The first step is to comprehend the doctrinal foundation for marriage. The Lord declared that marriage is the legal wedding of one man and one woman: "Marriage is ordained of God unto man. "Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation."4 Worldly trends to define marriage in some other way would sadly serve to destroy the institution of marriage. Such schemes are contrary to the plan of God. It was He who said: "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh."5 Scripture further reaffirms that "the man [is not] without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord."6 Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation. Marriage has been divinely designated as an eternal and everlasting covenant.7 Marriage is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. That union is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.8 "Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other."9 Children born of that marital union are "an heritage of the Lord."10 Marriage is but the beginning bud of family life; parenthood is its flower. And that bouquet becomes even more beautiful when graced with grandchildren. Families may become as eternal as the kingdom of God itself.11 Marriage is both a commandment and an exalting principle of the gospel.12 Because it is ordained of God, the intimate physical expressions of married love are sacred. Yet all too commonly, these divine gifts are desecrated. If a couple allows lewd language or pornography to corrupt their intimacy, they offend their Creator while they degrade and diminish their own divine gifts. True happiness is predicated upon personal purity.13 Scripture commands: "Be ye clean."14 Marriage should ever be a covenant to lift husbands and wives to exaltation in celestial glory. Marriage was intended by the Lord to endure beyond physical death. His plan offers eternal perpetuation of the family in the kingdom of God. His plan provides temples and opportunities to officiate therein for the living and the dead. A marriage sealed there launches a husband and wife into that grand order of unity so necessary to the perfection of God's work.15 Doctrines related to marriage include individual agency and accountability. All of us are accountable for our choices. Couples blessed with children are accountable to God for the care they give to their children. As I meet with priesthood leaders, I often ask about the priorities of their various responsibilities. Usually they mention their important Church duties to which they have been called. Too few remember their responsibilities at home. Yet priesthood offices, keys, callings, and quorums are meant to exalt families.16 Priesthood authority has been restored so that families can be sealed eternally. So brethren, your foremost priesthood duty is to nurture your marriage—to care for, respect, honor, and love your wife. Be a blessing to her and your children. II. Strengthening Marriage With these doctrinal underpinnings in mind, let us consider the second step—specific actions that would strengthen a marriage. I will offer sample suggestions and invite each couple privately to ponder them and adapt them as needed to their own particular circumstances. My suggestions use three action verbs: to appreciate, to communicate, and to contemplate. To appreciate—to say "I love you" and "thank you"—is not difficult. But these expressions of love and appreciation do more than acknowledge a kind thought or deed. They are signs of sweet civility. As grateful partners look for the good in each other and sincerely pay compliments to one another, wives and husbands will strive to become the persons described in those compliments. Suggestion number two—to communicate well with your spouse—is also important. Good communication includes taking time to plan together. Couples need private time to observe, to talk, and really listen to each other. They need to cooperate—helping each other as equal partners. They need to nurture their spiritual as well as physical intimacy. They should strive to elevate and motivate each other. Marital unity is sustained when goals are mutually understood. Good communication is also enhanced by prayer. To pray with specific mention of a spouse's good deed (or need) nurtures a marriage. My third suggestion is to contemplate. This word has deep meaning. It comes from Latin roots: con, meaning "with," and templum, meaning "a space or place to meditate." It is the root from which the word temple comes. If couples contemplate often—with each other in the temple—sacred covenants will be better remembered and kept. Frequent participation in temple service and regular family scripture study nourish a marriage and strengthen faith within a family. Contemplation allows one to anticipate and to resonate (or be in tune) with each other and with the Lord. Contemplation will nurture both a marriage and God's kingdom. The Master said, "Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."17 I invite each marital partner to consider these suggestions and then determine specific goals to nurture your own relationship. Begin with sincere desire. Identify those actions needed to bless your spiritual unity and purpose. Above all, do not be selfish! Generate a spirit of selflessness and generosity. Celebrate and commemorate each day together as a treasured gift from heaven. President Harold B. Lee said "that the most important of the Lord's work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes."18 And President David O. McKay declared, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home."19 When you as husband and wife recognize the divine design in your union—when you feel deeply that God has brought you to each other—your vision will be expanded and your understanding enhanced. Such feelings are expressed in words of a song that has long been a favorite of mine: Because you come to me with naught save love,And hold my hand and lift mine eyes above,A wider world of hope and joy I see,Because you come to me. Because you speak to me in accents sweet,I find the roses waking round my feet,And I am led through tears and joy to thee,Because you speak to me. Because God made thee mine, I'll cherish theeThrough light and darkness, through all time to be,And pray His love may make our love divine,Because God made thee mine.20 That each marriage may be so nurtured is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. NOTES 1. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102, paragraph 1.2. Whenever scriptures warn that the "earth would be utterly wasted," the warning is connected to the need for priesthood authority to seal families together in holy temples (see D&C 2:3; 138:48; Joseph Smith—History 1:39).3. See Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (1954–56), 2:76.4. D&C 49:15–16.5. Matthew 19:5; see also Mark 10:7–8.6. 1 Corinthians 11:11.7. See D&C 132:19.8. See Matthew 19:6.9. "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," paragraph 6.10. Psalm 127:3.11. See D&C 132:19–20.12. See Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, 10th ed. (1953), 232–33.13. See Alma 41:10.14. D&C 38:42; see also Isaiah 52:11; 3 Nephi 20:41; D&C 133:5.15. See D&C 128:15–18.16. See D&C 23:3.17. Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 6:38 (see Matthew 6:33, footnote a).18. Stand Ye in Holy Places (1974), 255.19. Quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization (1924), 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116.20. "Because," words by Edward Teschemacher (1902).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome Sarah!

I have been asking for help with the Talk of the Week and my good friend of almost 10 years, Sarah, gladfully accepted. She will be contributing to the Talk of the Week every third week of the month. I would still love a few more contributors if you are interested please let me know by email. I am so excited for you to get to know Sarah and her sweet spirit. Here is a little bit about her:

I am a mother, wife, daughter, friend, mentor and business owner. I grew up in a small town in central NJ and then in 1992 I moved to ID to attend college. I met and fell in love with the man of my dreams and we were married in the SLC, Temple on General Conference weekend.
In 1996, I graduated from USU with a Bachelor’s of Science and a few weeks later became a mother. It’s been nearly 15 years since I was married and I now have 3 strong-willed and valiant children. I can honestly say that the last 6 years I have been on the steepest learning curve of my whole life. I have been blessed both temporally and spiritually in ways I never dreamed. This year I am working on lifting others, listening intently and trusting God in all areas of my life.
Since I was a little girl I have listened to conference talks and the scriptures. My mom would play them on a small tape recorder while she hand-washed dishes, made dinner, or even while we were driving in the car. When I started my own family we started listening to the CDs of the scriptures as well as General Conference. Now we simply put them on our IPOD. Whatever the medium of listening, I have been strengthened throughout my life to hear the voice of the God. I know he loves each of us. We are his children and because we are His he blesses us each day and encourages us to lift, heal, edify, strengthen, love, learn and more.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Week 21: Patriarchal Blessings

For this week I found this talk to be very intereting and informative. I hope you will enjoy it.

MP3 link

Patriarchal Blessings
by Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve

James E. Faust, “Patriarchal Blessings,” New Era, Nov. 1982, 4
A patriarchal blessing is a very unique and remarkable privilege that can come to the faithful members of the Church having sufficient maturity to understand the nature and the importance of such blessings. These privileged blessings are a powerful witness of the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ in bringing exaltation to each of us.
Like many blessings, they should be requested by the person or by the parent of the one desiring the blessing. The responsibility for a patriarchal blessing rests primarily upon the individual and the immediate family.
Our testimonies can be strengthened and fortified and our lives given greater purpose every time we read and reread our patriarchal blessings. By their very nature, all blessings are qualified and conditional, regardless of whether the blessing specifically spells out the qualification or not. Each blessing is given upon the condition of the faithfulness of the recipient of the blessing.
We now have stakes of Zion in a great many countries of the world, and most stakes have at least one patriarch. This growth greatly extends the privilege of receiving patriarchal blessings to many people in many lands.

The Patriarchs
I wish to pay tribute to the faithful men holding the great calling and ordination of patriarch. They are often among the most humble and faithful of our brethren. These chosen men live lives that entitle them to the inspiration of heaven. Patriarchs are privileged to impart blessings directly rather than just solicit blessings in behalf of the individual, for the patriarchs are entitled to speak authoritatively for the Lord. The office of patriarch is one of the great priesthood offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The patriarchal office is one of blessing, not of administration or of counseling. It is a sacred, spiritual calling that usually will last for the remainder of the patriarch’s life. Our patriarchs give total devotion to their callings and do all they can to live in faith and worthiness so that each blessing is inspired.

The Blessing
When moved upon by the Holy Spirit, the patriarch makes an inspired declaration of the lineage of the recipient together with such blessings, spiritual gifts, promises, advice, admonition, and warnings as the patriarch feels inspired to give. It is in essence a prophetic utterance.
Patriarchal blessings should be read humbly and prayerfully and frequently. A patriarchal blessing is very personal but might be shared with close family members. A patriarchal blessing is a sacred guideline of counsel, promises, and information from the Lord. However, a person should not expect that the blessing will detail all that will happen to him or her or be an answer to all questions. The omission from the blessing of a great event in life such as a mission or marriage does not necessarily mean it will not happen. My own blessing is short and is limited to perhaps three quarters of one page on one side, yet it has been completely adequate and perfect for me.
President Heber J. Grant tells of the length of a patriarchal blessing he received: “That patriarch put his hands upon my head and bestowed upon me a little blessing that would perhaps be about one third of a typewritten page. That blessing foretold my life to the present moment.” (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bookcraft, 1965–76, 5:152.)

The Fulfillment
Elder John A. Widtsoe had the following to say: “It should always be kept in mind that the realization of the promises made may come in this life or the future life. Men have stumbled at times because promised blessings have not occurred in this life. They have failed to remember that, in the gospel, life with all its activities continues forever and that the labors of earth may be continued in heaven. Besides, the giver of the blessings, the Lord, reserves the right to have them become active in our lives as suits his divine purposes. We and our blessings are in the hands of the Lord, but there is a general testimony that when the gospel law has been obeyed, the promised blessings have been realized.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, Bookcraft, 1960, p. 75.)
This was well illustrated in my father’s patriarchal blessing. He was told in his blessing that he would be blessed with “many beautiful daughters.” He and my mother became the parents of five sons. There were no daughters born to them, but of course they treated the wives of their sons as daughters. Recently when we had a family reunion, I saw my father’s granddaughters moving about tending to the food and ministering to the young children and the elderly, and the realization came to me that father’s blessing had been literally fulfilled; he has, indeed, many beautiful daughters. The patriarch who gave my father his blessing had spiritual vision to see beyond my father’s mortal life. There was a disappearance of the dividing line between time and eternity.
The patriarch has no blessing of his own to give; the blessing is the Lord’s to give. God knows our spirits; he knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows our capabilities and our potential. Our patriarchal blessings indicate what the Lord expects of us and what our potential is. Our blessings can encourage us when we are discouraged, strengthen us when we are fearful, comfort us when we sorrow, give us courage when we are filled with anxiety, lift us up when we are weak in spirit.

Father’s Blessings
Elder John A. Widtsoe stated: “Every father, having children born to him under the covenant, is to them a patriarch, and he has the right to bless his posterity in the authority of the priesthood which he holds” (Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 72).
The First Presidency has issued the following policy statement:
“ ‘Certainly we should give new and additional emphasis to the role of the father in giving blessings to children in the family. We think we should generally leave to the ordained patriarchs in the stakes the responsibility of declaring lineage in connection with an official patriarchal blessing, but still we could leave unlocked the door so that any father who felt inspired to pronounce the lineage in connection with a father’s blessing he was giving to his children should not be prevented from doing so.
“ ‘We should urge and encourage fathers to give a father’s blessing to their children on such occasions as their going into the military, or away from home to school or on missions and on other appropriate occasions.’
“A father’s blessing may be recorded [and preserved] in family records, but [in contrast to a blessing given by one of the ordained patriarchs] it is not to be preserved in the archives of the Church.” (General Handbook of Instructions, 21, p. 50.)

Adoption into the House of Israel
There are many coming into the Church in this day and time who are not of the blood lineage of a specific tribe of Jacob. No one need assume that he or she will be denied any blessing by reason of not being of the blood lineage of Israel.
Paul makes repeated references to adoption into the house of Israel through faith: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9.) And again: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises” (Rom. 9:4).
King Benjamin refers to the faithful as “the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters,” thus being able to be “spiritually begotten … through faith,” and thus coming into the family of Christ through a spiritual birth (Mosiah 5:7).
It really makes no difference if the blessings of the house of Israel come through lineage or through the spirit of adoption. Elder John A. Widtsoe stated, “Whether this lineage is of blood or of adoption does not matter” (Evidences and Reconciliations, pp. 72–77).
In Abraham we are told, “And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father” (Abr. 2:10).
Joseph Smith taught that when “the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; … while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 149–150.)
Think of all we may lose if we do not stay in the course the Lord wants us to be in and to which the Lord may have called us before the foundations of the world! As the Lord told Saul, you are chosen vessels unto him, to bear his name “before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Seek to live worthy of the blessings pronounced upon you by the patriarchs and by your own fathers.
I received my own patriarchal blessing when I was but a boy of 12. From that short blessing I learned something about my responsibilities and my labors in establishing the kingdom.
I pray that we will live worthily and seek the blessings that are promised us by the Lord through our family patriarchs and through our ordained patriarchs, and that we will strive to help conditions and circumstances so that these great promises can be realized.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Week 20: Back to Gospel Basics

As we learned last week sometimes when we are experiences critical moments we just need to go back to the basics and makes sure they are reestablished or improved. One more gospel basic that is crucial in our times of need is humble study of the scriptures. If I were to think of all the times when I was rescued by the Lord and how it was done most of my experiences have come through prayers and the scriptures. I love my scriptures! I am filled with so much gratitude that thousands of years ago the prophets where inspired to write the words that little ol' me would read in 2008. I believe the same is true with everyone on this planet. Heavenly Father knows each of us. He knew what we needed to survive the critical moments in our lives. He had caused to be written the very words that we needed to hear from Him to help us through every single problem we have no matter how small or how large. Prayerful study of the scriptures by ourselves and with our families should be the foundation of our day so we may be strengthened to meet the challenges that arise.

This is one of my favorite quotes from the talk this week:

"Let us not treat lightly [His word]. ... [It is] one of the most valuable gifts He has given us. ...Recommit... immerse yourselves in them daily. ... Read them in your families and teach your children to love and treasure them..." (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, p. 82.)

Back to Gospel Basics
Elder L. Tom Perry Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

L. Tom Perry, “Back to Gospel Basics,” Ensign, May 1993, 90

President Hinckley and President Monson, Tabernacle Choir, thank you for that inspiring session this morning. I only hope that the spirit of that session will hover over us as we conclude this afternoon.
In the Doctrine and Covenants we read: “That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.” (D&C 105:10.)
How grateful we are for the scriptures, which contain the Lord’s instructions to His children. They help us to better understand the course He has designed as a sure guide to lead us through this period of our mortal probation.
Until recently, part of my assignment has included the country of Peru, an area of the world that is experiencing great turmoil. Inflation and internal strife have been robbing from the Peruvian people almost any hope of stability in their lives.
It has been difficult for my Brethren and me to visit Peru regularly because of the dangers of traveling there. It has been necessary for the Peruvian members to assume much more responsibility for priesthood and auxiliary leadership and for full-time missionary service.
The Area Presidency recognized the need to fortify the members of the Church in this country, and after much prayer and fasting, decided to emphasize just two basic teachings of the gospel. They prepared a letter to be delivered to each family unit in Peru. The theme was “Being Converted to the Lord,” in which they stressed family prayer and family scripture study.
The Area Presidency taught these principles first to the stake presidencies. They, in turn, instructed their high councils, and from there the teaching was done to bishops. The bishops then instructed their ward members, and a follow-up letter was delivered by the home teachers to each family unit. The fathers were encouraged specifically to lead their families in daily prayer and scripture study.
The blessings that have come to the Peruvian Saints from practicing these two basic gospel principles, daily prayer and scripture study, have been most remarkable. It soon became evident that faith and testimony were increasing among members of the Church there. There has been a significant increase in sacrament meeting attendance, which has resulted in a greater sense of community and increased interest among the Saints in loving and caring for each other. Though travel to the temple has become increasingly difficult and dangerous, surprisingly, temple attendance is up significantly.
The number of full-time missionaries immediately began to increase. Now the five missions in Peru fill their missionary needs with native Peruvians. The full-time missionaries are arriving in the field better prepared to serve, which of course has resulted in increased convert baptisms.
A renewed emphasis on two basic gospel practices—daily prayer and scripture study—created a dramatic change and offered increased spirituality and works among the Saints there.
The success of the Peruvian Saints should teach all of us the importance of adhering to the basics of a gospel-centered life. Let us consider again the blessings promised us if we faithfully practice daily family prayer and daily family scripture study.
The scriptures are filled with admonitions to stay close to the Lord and call upon His holy name in prayer. In the latter days of Alma’s ministry, he instructed his sons on how they should live. After Alma’s remarkable conversion, he spent his life proclaiming the gospel and perfecting the Saints. Before he died, he wanted to instill in his sons a desire to be obedient to God’s will. To Helaman he said:
“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 37:35–37.)
Prayer is the primary means of communication between God and man. Prayer is an important part of practically every religion, whether it be Christian or otherwise. The Prophet Joseph Smith, speaking on the subject of prayer, stated:
“We would say to the brethren, seek [till you] know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields. Follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess; ask the blessing of God upon … your labors, and everything … you engage in.” (History of the Church, 5:31.)
When we pray to the Lord, we should remember who we are addressing and be prepared to give Him our undivided attention as we humbly supplicate before Him. President John Taylor counseled us this way:
“Do you have prayers in your family? … And when you do, do you go through the operation like the [grinding] of a piece of machinery, or do you bow in meekness and with … sincere desire to seek the blessing of God upon you and your household? That is the way … we ought to do, and cultivate a spirit of devotion and trust in God, dedicating ourselves to him, and seeking his blessings.” (Journal of Discourses, 21:118.)
As parents, it is clearly our duty to teach our children to pray, and regular family prayers establish patterns that literally bless future generations. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks admonished us to do in his great talk in the morning session, it is well to use the sacred pronouns of the scriptures, Thee, Thou, Thy, and Thine, when addressing deity in prayer, instead of the more common pronouns you, your, and yours. By doing so, we show greater respect to our Heavenly Father.
It is so satisfying to know that God is mindful of us and ready to respond when we place our trust in Him. There is no place for fear among men and women who place their trust in the Almighty, who do not hesitate to humble themselves in seeking divine guidance through prayer. Though difficulties may arise and reverses may come, in our prayers we can find reassurance as the Lord speaks peace to our souls.
On several occasions President Benson has shared the poem “Prayer,” by Eliza M. Hickok, with members of the Church. It is a poem he learned while he was in the Aaronic Priesthood:
I know not by what methods rare But this I know, God answers prayer. I know that He has given His Word, Which tells me prayer is always heard, And will be answered, soon or late. And so I pray and calmly wait. I know not if the blessing sought Will come in just the way I thought; But leave my prayers with Him alone, Whose will is wiser than my own, Assured that He will grant my quest, Or send some answer far more blest. (Eliza M. Hickok, “Prayer,” The Best Loved Religious Poems, ed. James Gilchrist Lawson, New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1933, p. 160.)
Among the Peruvian Saints, who live in this nation racked with heartache and despair, there has emerged a stronger faith and devotion to our Father in Heaven because they heeded the counsel of His servants to hold daily family prayer.
A special maturing in the gospel has developed among the members of the Church in Peru because they added to their daily family prayers the practice of having daily family scripture study. When the revealed words of the prophets found their way into the hearts of the Saints, they brought about a mighty change in the way they lived and believed. Questions, personal problems, and important concerns were answered for them by the inspired counsel of the scriptures.
All the standard works of the Church instruct us to read and ponder their sayings. From the Old Testament we read, “Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read.” (Isa. 34:16.) From the New Testament, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39.) Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, observes, “My soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and … profit of my children.” (2 Ne. 4:15.) Counsel from the Pearl of Great Price promises, “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived.” (JS—M 1:37.) And finally, in the Doctrine and Covenants we read: “First seek to obtain my word. … Study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men.” (D&C 11:21–22.)
The scriptures are one of our greatest treasures. They contain God’s instructions to His people from the beginning of time. In a world so full of the doctrines of men, how grateful we are to have a sure anchor on which to build our faith! Of the Book of Mormon, Elder Marion G. Romney said:
“If our young folks are traditioned in the teachings of the Book of Mormon, they will not only be inspired with righteous courage to choose the right by example, … they will also be so schooled in the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ that they will know what is right.
“From almost every page of the book, there will come to them a moving testimony that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, our Redeemer and Savior. This witness alone will be a sustaining anchor in every storm.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1960, p. 112.)
In the Lord’s instructions to His children, we find sublime consistency. What the Lord has declared to be right will always be right. What He has declared to be true will always be true. What He has declared to be sinful will always be sinful. Rest assured that when the so-called “enlightened” doctrines of men contradict the holy scriptures, they will only bring heartache, disappointment, and destruction to the souls of mankind.
President Benson has counseled us concerning searching the scriptures:
“Let us not treat lightly [His word]. … [It is] one of the most valuable gifts He has given us. … Recommit … immerse yourselves in them daily. … Read them in your families and teach your children to love and treasure them. Then prayerfully and in counsel with others, seek every way possible to encourage the members of the Church to follow your example.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1986, p. 82.)
My sincere counsel to you today is to recommit yourselves to these two basic practices that have been the source of so many blessings for the Saints in Peru. Never let a day go by without holding family prayer and family scripture study. Put this, the Lord’s program, to the test; and see if it does not bless your home with greater peace, hope, love, and faith.
I promise you that daily family prayer and scripture study will build within the walls of your home a security and bonding that will enrich your lives and prepare your families to meet the challenges of today and the eternities to come.
God grant unto us the desire to seek Him reverently and humbly in prayer and the sincere desire to study His word, as contained in His holy scriptures.
God lives! Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, is my solemn witness to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.