“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 1999, 2
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands unique before the world. It was brought into being by the appearance of God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, to a boy whose mind was not clouded with the doctrines of other churches and with the philosophy of the world. His mind was pure. His outlook was clear. And he could accept the revelations which came to him from the Almighty. So, following that first great vision about which I hope every one of you has read, there came other manifestations of the power of God—the Book of Mormon, as another witness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the holy priesthood, which gives to every worthy man the authority to speak in the name of God. There is nothing upon all the earth to compare with this Church” (meeting, Praia, São Tiago, Cape Verde, 22 Feb. 1998).
“The Church will ask you to do many things. It will ask you to serve in various capacities. We do not have a professional ministry. You become the ministry of this Church, and whenever you are called upon to serve may I urge you to respond, and as you do so your faith will strengthen and increase. Faith is like the muscle of my arm. If I use it, if I nurture it, it grows strong; it will do many things. But if I put it in a sling and do nothing with it, it will grow weak and useless, and so will it be with you. If you accept every opportunity, if you accept every calling, the Lord will make it possible for you to perform it. The Church will not ask you to do anything which you cannot do with the help of the Lord. God bless you to do everything that you are called upon to do” (meeting, Praia, São Tiago, Cape Verde, 22 Feb. 1998).
“Partaking of the sacrament each week—what a glorious blessing that is. What a wonderful privilege to go to sacrament meeting and partake of the sacrament, the emblems of the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and of the great Atonement which was wrought by Him, which makes possible our moving beyond the grave into a glorious future. I hope that all of us attend our sacrament meetings. I hope we recognize it as an opportunity and as a wonderful blessing” (regional conference, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 15 Mar. 1998).
“You men who are husbands of wives, how great is your responsibility to be good men, to be good husbands! Never abuse your wives. Never abuse your children. But gather them in your arms and make them feel of your love and your appreciation and your respect. Be good husbands. Be good fathers. Don’t you ever forget that if you ever go to the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, you will go hand in hand with your wife. You will not go alone. If you go, you will go together. She is a daughter of God, just as you are a son of God, and deserves the very best that you can give. Love, appreciate, and be true to the one you married” (regional conference, priesthood leadership session, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 14 Mar. 1998).
“Hold your family home evenings. Family home evening was begun by a prophet of the Lord, President Joseph F. Smith, way back in 1915. I can remember when it was begun. I was a little boy five years old, and my father said, ‘President Smith has asked us to hold family home evenings.’ And we did it. It was not easy to do at first. We were more prone to laugh and giggle than we were to be well behaved. But we did it. I see the fruits of it in my own family and in the families of my grandchildren and in the families of my great-grandchildren. The principle of family solidarity carries with it a conviction of its truth” (regional conference, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 15 Mar. 1998).
“When I was a little boy, each December we would go to the home of the bishop—Father and Mother and each of their children. The bishop didn’t have an office in the meetinghouse. We had to go to his home. And then he would call us in individually and find out how much tithing we had paid and how much we wished to pay. It was a very small amount for the children. I think it cost more to keep track of than it was worth, but it did something. When we were little tiny children we were on the tithing records of the Church, and it has never been a difficult thing to pay tithing ever since then” (fireside, Quito, Ecuador, 12 Aug. 1997).
“You boys who hold the Aaronic Priesthood, you girls who are a part of the great army of young women in the Church, you who are seminary and institute students, keep the faith. Do not let anything get in your way of being faithful members of the Church. Stand tall and be true! Get on your knees and say your prayers night and morning. Ask your Father in Heaven to guard you and to guide you, to lead you and bless you. Do not become involved in immorality. It may be tempting, but it will destroy you. It will literally destroy you. I don’t have to tell you what is wrong. Every one of you knows what is wrong. Every one of you knows what is right. Choose the right!” (meeting, Puebla, Mexico, 9 Nov. 1997).
“I believe in the beauty of personal virtue. Be happy. Be alive. Be alert. Enjoy life and have a lot of fun. But there is a line which you should never cross. It is the line that pertains to morality, to integrity, and the crossing of which is expressed in coarse language, in sloppy dress and manners, and in immoral behavior. Each of you can and must stand above these destructive evils. May God bless you as you strive to do so” (statement placed in 1997 Pioneers of Progress display at Utah State Capitol Building).
“It is so important that you young men and you young women get all of the education that you can. The Lord has said very plainly that His people are to gain knowledge of countries and kingdoms and of things of the world through the process of education, even by study and by faith. Education is the key which will unlock the door of opportunity for you. It is worth sacrificing for. It is worth working at, and if you educate your mind and your hands, you will be able to make a great contribution to the society of which you are a part, and you will be able to reflect honorably on the Church of which you are a member. My dear young brothers and sisters, take advantage of every educational opportunity that you can possibly afford, and you fathers and mothers, encourage your sons and daughters to gain an education which will bless their lives” (meeting, Hermosillo, Mexico, 9 Mar. 1998).
“The biggest misconception is that we are not followers of Jesus Christ. That is the constant allegation that is lodged against us. There is not a bit of substance to it. If there is any people in this world who believe in Jesus Christ it is the people of this Church. The Church carries His name. He is the central figure in all of our worship. That is a misconception that has been fostered and refostered and broadcast, but it is gradually breaking down. Things are changing; we are more accepted than we once were. I think this is the great era of goodwill in terms of the Church” (interview with Chuck Henry, KNBC, Los Angeles, 7 Mar. 1997).
“You are preaching the gospel of good news. The things you have to teach are good. They are designed to make people happy and live a better life. You ought to put a smile on your face and go forth to do the work which the Lord has outlined for you, and He will bless you. And the missionary strength which you have will become a great mark in your lives, a great period in your lives to which you will look back all of your days with appreciation and gratitude. You are only on missions for a short time; make the most of it” (meeting, Accra, Ghana, 16 Feb. 1998).
“We had a General Authority, Joseph Anderson, who lived longer than any other General Authority in the Church. He lived to be 102 years of age. He served as private secretary to President Heber J. Grant for many years. President Grant had a stroke and became very seriously ill, and Joseph Anderson went up to see him at night, and the President said to Joseph, ‘Joseph, have I ever been unkind to you?’ And Joseph said, ‘No, President Grant, you have never been unkind to me.’ And the President, with tears rolling down his face, said, ‘Joseph, I am grateful if I have never been unkind to you.’ He died the next day. But what a marvelous thing that a man who had worked with him for so very many years could say that the man who directed his efforts had never been unkind to him” (regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 14 Feb. 1998).
“I want to plead with you, every one of you, that you look after those who are baptized. The missionaries will teach them the gospel, but it is your opportunity and your responsibility to put your arms around them and be a friend to them and answer their questions and help them with their problems.
It isn’t easy to join this Church. A convert has to leave old friends and old associations and clean up his life and become a member of the Church. He needs help. He needs friends. He needs something to do, and it is your opportunity, whether you are old men or young men, whether you are older women or young women, whether you are boys and girls, to see that everyone who is baptized into this Church grows in faith in this Church. And I believe that God will hold us responsible if we fail to do this” (meeting, León, Mexico, 11 Mar. 1998).
“The Lord expects great things of His people. We are among His people. Nearly everyone here has entered the waters of baptism for the remission of his or her sins. You have been buried in the water and put away the old man, so to speak, and come out of the water with a newness of life, your sins remitted, and ready to do that which the Lord would have you do. What does He expect of me and you? What has He commanded us that we do? He expects us to be good men and women—men and women of honesty, men and women of integrity, men and women of faith, men and women of goodness. That is His great teaching, that we might become perfect even as He is perfect. That is one of the expectations of those who have become members of His Church and kingdom. He expects us to love Him, to worship Him, to do His will. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment’ (Matt. 22:37–38). Those are not idle words. Those are words which tell what He expects of us—to love Him and to grow in the pattern of His beautiful life” (meeting, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, 13 Feb. 1998).
Some Points of Emphasis
You may wish to make these points in your home teaching discussions:
“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” the Lord has said concerning that which His servants speak, “shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).
Prayerfully select from among the excerpts printed here those that would strengthen and bless the individuals and families you home teach.
Relate your feelings about living in a time when the Lord has prophets, seers, and revelators again on earth.
Are there some scriptures or quotations in this article that the family might read aloud and discuss?
Would this discussion be better after a previsit chat with the head of the house? Is there a message from the bishop or quorum leader?