“Follow the Lord’s Blueprint for Strong Homes, Families Urged,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 82–83
Latter-day Saint homes can be places of refuge from the storms of evil if they are built with the help of the Master Builder and founded on principles he taught.
That was the message of a fireside for families broadcast via satellite to stake centers in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico January 12, under the direction of the First Presidency.
President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, presided, at the direction of President Ezra Taft Benson, and spoke at the fireside. Also speaking were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Council of the Twelve and Sister Carol B. Cooper of the Sandy Forty-first Ward, Sandy Utah Stake.
President Monson quoted the Lord’s instruction, given through the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1832, that his people should “establish … a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” (D&C 88:119.)
Though that instruction was given in connection with the Kirtland Temple, it applies also to the families and lives we build, he said.
“Where in all the world could we find a better blueprint to fashion the home, the house, the family—one’s self?” A home built according to this revealed blueprint, President Monson added, “will meet the building code recorded in Matthew—the house built upon the rock. (See Matt. 7:24–25.) It will withstand the rains of adversity, the floods of opposition, and the winds of doubt everywhere present in our challenging world.”
He suggested three “points to ponder in our building project”: Kneel down to pray, step up to serve, and reach out to rescue.
In connection with the first, President Monson quoted admonitions of Solomon to “trust in the Lord” for understanding (see Prov. 3:5–6), and of the prophet Jacob to “pray unto him with exceeding faith.” (Jacob 3:1.) He emphasized the Lord’s direction that we have family prayer (see 3 Ne. 18:21), and spoke of the blessings it brings to a family to hear father, mother, brother, and sister pray for each other’s spiritual needs and development.
He cited the Savior as our exemplar in stepping up to serve. As the Lord ministered among men, “He restored sight to the blind. He gave hearing to the deaf. He gave mobility to the cripple. Yes, He brought life to the body of the dead.”
The Savior taught love, kindness, understanding, striving for perfection—all principles to prepare us for our role in building an eternal family unit.
In speaking of our opportunity to “reach out to rescue,” President Monson reviewed the First Presidency message, issued at the end of 1985, inviting those who may have strayed from the gospel to come back into fellowship. It placed responsibility on the Saints to welcome them and help them enjoy again the fruits of faith.
That responsibility applies within families as well as within the gospel flock at large, he taught.
“Let us be diligent, each one of us, in his or her building project,” President Monson said. If we will do that, the Lord will accept our efforts and “we will discover that we have heavenly homes and we have forever families.”
Elder Perry spoke following a short video presentation that depicted a family coming in from a storm and securing their home against the rain and wind. The presentation, he said, “calls our attention to the need to make our homes places of refuge from the storms which are increasing in intensity all about us. If even the smallest opening is left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes.”
“Home” and “family,” he emphasized, must be interpreted to encompass the lives of the single Latter-day Saint, single LDS parents and their children, and married Saints who have no children.
“The basic principles given to us with which we should govern our homes have existed since the beginning of time,” Elder Perry said. They were taught by the Lord to Adam and Eve and can be applied equally well today. He listed five principles:
—Married couples must develop a healthy, productive working relationship.
—Families should worship together. Daily family prayer and attendance at Sunday services to renew our covenants with the sacrament are key elements of worship.
—We must learn to sacrifice, giving up a portion of what we have for the benefit of others. For parents, this means spending time with individual children.
—Parents must teach obedience. To help children learn to obey, parents must provide opportunities for daily scripture study so children can learn God’s laws. They must also set an example which teaches that obedience brings blessings.
—Parents must teach and train children formally. Discipline and tradition are important, Elder Perry explained. Families should establish habits of working, studying, enjoying recreation, and counseling together about decisions.
Sister Cooper also referred to the Lord’s instructions that Saints in Kirtland establish “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith.” (D&C 88:119.) While these instructions pertained to the Lord’s temple, she noted, the Bible Dictionary in the LDS edition of the scriptures points out that “only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.”
“It is in the home that true gospel principles are learned and taught,” she said. Children must be taught to recognize and seek spiritual enlightenment. Parents must be consistent and persistent in teaching, both by example and in formal instruction. That way, the Spirit of the Lord will be able to bear witness of the truths parents teach, and it will touch the hearts of children who might be temporarily resistant.
“Parents, children, if we are holding family prayers, having our family home evenings, having parent-child interviews, observing the law of the fast in our homes, I pray we will continue to do so,” Sister Cooper said. “If we are not, I pray the Lord will bless each of us with a firm resolve to begin again, to build a house of prayer, a house of fasting, and a house of faith unto the Lord.”
Videotapes of the fireside will be distributed, through distribution centers, to Church units in English-speaking areas of the world beyond the reach of the satellite broadcast. Stake presidents in areas receiving the program by satellite were urged to tape it for later use. Copies may also be available through distribution centers after the needs of Church units are met.