Family and Friends Forever
December 2013

“Family and Friends Forever,” Ensign, Dec. 2013, 4–6

First Presidency Message

Family and Friends Forever

President Henry B. Eyring

Wherever you live, you have friends who are searching for the greater happiness you have found in living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They may not be able to describe that happiness in words, but they can recognize it when they see it in your life. They will be eager to learn the source of that happiness, especially when they see that you face trials just as they do.

You have felt happiness as you have kept the commandments of God. That is the promised fruit of living the gospel (see Mosiah 2:41). You don’t faithfully obey the Lord’s commandments to be seen by other people, but those who observe your happiness are being prepared by the Lord to hear the good news of the Restoration of the gospel.

The blessings you have been given have created obligations and wonderful opportunities for you. As a covenant disciple of Jesus Christ, you are obligated to extend to others an opportunity to find increased happiness, especially to your friends and the members of your family.

The Lord saw your opportunity and described your obligation with this commandment: “It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (D&C 88:81).

The Lord makes that commandment easier to obey through the change that occurs in your heart as you accept and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, your love for others grows, as does your desire for them to have the same happiness you have experienced.

One example of that change is how you welcome the chance to help in the Lord’s missionary work. Full-time missionaries soon learn they can expect from a true convert a warm response to a request for a referral. The convert yearns for friends and family members to share in their happiness.

When your ward mission leader or the missionaries ask for the names of someone to teach, it is a great compliment to you. They know that friends have seen your happiness and, therefore, those friends have been prepared to hear and choose to accept the gospel. And they have confidence that you will be the friend they will need as they come into the kingdom.

You need not fear that you will lose friends by inviting the missionaries to meet them. I have friends who rejected the missionaries but have thanked me over many years for offering them something they knew was so precious to me. You can make friends forever by offering the gospel, which they see has brought you happiness. Never miss an opportunity to invite a friend and especially a family member to choose to follow the plan of happiness.

There is no greater opportunity for that invitation than in the temples of the Church. There the Lord can offer the ordinances of salvation to our ancestors who could not receive them in life. They look down upon you with love and hope. The Lord has promised that they will have the opportunity to come into His kingdom (see D&C 137:7–8), and He has planted a love for them in your heart.

Many of you have felt joy in offering the ordinances of the temple to others, just as you do when you give names of people to the missionaries to meet. You have felt even greater joy performing ordinances for your ancestors. It was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that our eternal happiness is possible only if we offer the way to that blessing to our ancestors through vicarious temple ordinances (see D&C 128:18).

Christmastime turns our hearts to the Savior and to the joy His gospel has brought us. We show our gratitude to Him best as we offer that happiness to others. Gratitude is turned to joy as we offer names to missionaries and as we take the names of our ancestors to the temple. That evidence of our gratitude can make friends and families that endure forever.

Teaching from This Message

President Eyring explains that we can show our gratitude for the Savior by sharing the gospel with others. You could discuss with those you teach how the gift of the gospel has blessed their lives. Consider inviting them to prayerfully identify those with whom they wish to share the gift of the gospel and how they might do so.

Merry Christmas! To our dear friends!

Photo illustrations by Robert Casey