Every family has problems and challenges. But successful families try to work together toward solutions instead of resorting to criticism and contention. They pray for each other, discuss, and give encouragement. Ezra Taft Benson

Monday, February 9, 2009

Council for Marriages and Families

Ruth Ann, Anna's sister, sent us a letter last week. She enteres the MTC next Wednesday to serve in Chile. The letter included a talk by Elder C. Scott Grow titled, "Building an Eternal Marriage and Family by Following the Counsel of the Living Prophets." It was given as a devotional at BYUI, January 29, 2002. It was so good, I thought I would include a few highlights here, with a link to the full talk at the bottom. As young parents of six children, we are often asked why, either directly by very forward people, or indirectly by looks and actions. I remember back to council given by Elder Gene R. Cook on my mission in Spain, when someone asked him what we should say to those who attempt to use scientific studies to claim drinking wine is actually good for you. His response, testitify. Testifiy it is a commandment from God given through His holy prophets. Though we may not understand as mortals all of the reasons why, we can have faith in His promises as we follow the council we have been given. I again heard this same response given during a financial fireside when someone questioned the wisdom of paying off a mortgage early. A dear sister responded, "Because the prophet has asked us to, we will be blessed for doing it." Below is council given through a servent of the Lord regarding marriage and family life. It may not be easy, but we can have faith the Lord will bless us, and sustain us in our efforts to follow Him.


"Now, understanding the Lord's counsel and the blessings promised when we follow the teachings of the prophets, I want to address five specific teachings regarding MARRIAGE AND FAMILY that have been taught repeatedly by prophets of our day. Like most teachings from prophets, these teachings are not popular with the world.

The FIRST is the counsel that we should not postpone marriage; SECOND, that we should not postpone having children, nor should we limit the number of our children; THIRD, the encouragement that mothers not seek employment outside the home; FOURTH, giving spiritual leadership in your home and family; and FIFTH, staying true and faithful to your covenants. Just a few decades ago, many of these principles were widely accepted by the world at large. However, with the passage of time, now, not just the world but even some Latter-day Saints question the relevance of these teachings.


Have you ever thought about what the world would be like today if Adam and Eve had decided that two children were enough and then all of their descendants decided the same thing? If they had done so, they would have failed to keep God's commandment to REPLENISH the earth and God's great plan of happiness would have been seriously affected."


In October 1996 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke extensively on this subject. He said:

Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.

Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women (it has become very many, in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.

It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter . . . .

To the mothers of this Church . . . I want to say that as the years pass, you will become increasingly grateful for that which you did in molding the lives of your children in the direction of righteousness and goodness, integrity and faith. That is most likely to happen if you can spend adequate time with them.

As you listen to those teachings by modern prophets, is it possible that a course correction might be needed in your own life or in the attitudes that you have about these subjects. It is so easy, even for Latter-day Saints, to buy into the popular philosophies of the day.

How grateful I am for my mother who was always there when I was growing up. How grateful I am for a wife who chose as her full-time career the role of wife and mother.


Young men, after you are married it is your responsibility to call the family together for family prayer, family home evening, and daily family scripture study. The Lord will hold you accountable for whether or not these things are happening in your home.

In 1999 the First Presidency issued two letters regarding these subjects to the members of the Church throughout the world. In the February letter they state, "We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church." They go on to say, "We counsel parents and children to givehighest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform" (emphasis added).

What does it mean to give your "best efforts" or to give "highest priority?" I am confident that each day you do the things that you wantto do, even though these may not be things that you know you should do. As we talk about those things that really matter in your life, somehow you have got to put the spiritual leadership in your own home at the top of the list. Thus say the prophets of God.

In October 1999 the First Presidency issued a letter entitled "Monday Night Activities." This letter states:

Monday nights are reserved throughout the Church for family home evenings. We encourage members to set aside this time to strengthen family ties and teach the gospel in their homes (emphasis added).

Somehow, a tradition has developed in the Church. In fact, you may have heard members say, "We hold our family home evenings on Sunday, and on Monday nights we have activities." Note that the First Presidency letter says that Monday Night is the time for family home evenings. Also note that Monday night is not for activities, but as they counsel, "to teach the gospel in their homes."

My young brothers and sisters, I hope that you can have vision to see what the prophets are seeing as they give us this counsel. Satan is targeting our homes and families. The day has passed when we can be casual in holding family home evening, daily family scripture study, or family prayer and still have real hope to hold our children close to the family and close to the Church.