“The Link in the Chain,” Ensign, Sept. 2004, 50
In 1970 I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was well prepared: I did not use alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or drink tea or coffee. I had quit all those things when I realized it was time for me to change my life and find a church where I could take my children.
My conversion had begun after my sister-in-law developed a favorable opinion of the Church and arranged for me to receive the Church magazines. I later read the Book of Mormon, and I recognized its truthfulness. My three children and I were baptized shortly thereafter. My husband was not keen on this new life his family was living, because he felt it would take us away from him. Yet he allowed us to attend.
For a few years, although I experienced opposition from some family members, I was very happy. Each Sunday I went to church with my children, and I loved it. The gospel was just what I was looking for, and it filled any emptiness left over from my troubled childhood with an alcoholic father.
But as my children grew older, things began to change. They wanted to be boating with their dad on Sundays rather than sitting in meetings. All of a sudden I found myself going to church alone. I was hurt. I would drive to church, sit by myself, cry, and go back home again.
Finally I told my stake president I was going to quit attending church because it was breaking up my family. He counseled me to ask Heavenly Father if that was what He wanted me to do. I accordingly went home to fast and pray, and I received my answer. My mind was impressed with the following words: “You are the link in the chain. If you break the link, everything will be lost.” These words sank deep into my heart, and I made a commitment that I would continue my activity in the Church.
It was hard for me to go alone because I was very shy, and I realized my children had been my security blanket. Once again, I took my problem to the Lord. This time I felt impressed to draw closer to my ward family. So I would go to church, look for someone else who was alone, and force myself to speak to that person. Over the years my fear has left me, and now I have many friends in my ward.
My commitment to faithfully attend church has also paid off. One by one my children have returned to the Church, and all three are active. They are raising my nine grandchildren in the gospel, and each one is walking in righteousness.
My mother and sister have been converted also. My sister’s husband is a bishop, and two of her children have served missions. My son also served a mission, and a grandson is currently serving. Our family is very close, and although my husband has not yet joined the Church, he has grown in many ways.
I thank Heavenly Father every day for my blessings and for the happiness and joy I experience in my family. I am so grateful I took to heart the answer to my prayer: “You are the link in the chain.”
“I thought of an experience I had long, long ago. In the summer we lived on a farm. We had a little old tractor. There was a dead tree I wished to pull. I fastened one end of a chain to the tractor and the other end to the tree. As the tractor began to move, the tree shook a little, and then the chain broke.
“I looked at that broken link and wondered how it could have given way. I went to the hardware store and bought a repair link. I put it together again, but it was an awkward and ugly connection. The chain was never, never the same.
“As I sat … pondering these things, I said to myself, ‘Never permit yourself to become a weak link in the chain of your generations.’ It is so important that we pass on without a blemish our inheritance of body and brain and, if you please, faith and virtue untarnished to the generations who will come after us.
“You young men and you young women, most of you will marry and have children. Your children will have children, as will the children who come after them. Life is a great chain of generations that we in the Church believe must be linked together.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Keep the Chain Unbroken,” in Brigham Young University 1999–2000 Speeches (2000), 108–9.