Much of my childhood happiness can be attributed to the positive influence of my patient and loving mother. She would say that I had a personality that was very “determined.” She may have even spelled it S-T-U-B-B-O-R-N. As parents, we may sometimes question whether we have any influence on our children. I grew up in the Church and participated in all of its programmes. I obtained the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods1 at the appropriate ages and received my patriarchal blessing before serving a full-time mission. It was during my missionary service that all the guiding influences in my life culminated towards an awakening of my sense of duty to God2. I was excited to enter the mission field, but the stark reality was that I had limited experience in how to teach the gospel, which also revealed my basic depth of gospel knowledge and understanding.
Recognising my inadequacies, I began to read at every opportunity and filled my day with study and contemplation. I prayerfully pondered what I read, and it was most enlightening and revealing. It was during this period I began to grow up unto the Lord3. Gratitude for my Saviour began to take hold in my heart and it allowed me to see what King Benjamin described as the greatness of God and my own nothingness4. I began to remember all that my mother had taught5. Even though I had been an active member throughout my adolescent years, I felt a mighty change in my heart6 and through the refinement of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I was born again7.
Each of us can “come to the knowledge of the glory of God”8 and experience this mighty change of heart9. Even with this new disposition, we are reminded of King Benjamin’s description, that we are still “unworthy creatures.”10 This term may sound somewhat harsh, but it is an illustration of our spiritual infancy and a reminder of our reliance on our Saviour Jesus Christ who “is mighty to save”11. Our consistent, prayerful supplication and dependence on the Saviour’s Atonement is key to always have His spirit to be with us12. Seeking perfection is a process requiring change that comes through time. We cannot remain spiritually stagnant when we are actively seeking perfection13 through the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Full-time missionaries are uniquely placed in an environment that is conducive to the Spirit. This concentrated period of service can act as a catalyst for enhanced spiritual growth and becomes a great blessing in their lives and to those they serve. We have all witnessed the contrasting differences of our departing, then returning sons and daughters who have acquired and now demonstrate “a godly walk and conversation”14. However, most of us live outside of the spiritual niche of a full-time mission. Our busy, daily schedule of essential responsibilities can inadvertently shift our focus from what is important, to what is not. President Nelson said “As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional. It takes conscious and consistent effort to fill our daily lives with His words, His teachings, His truths”.15
As individuals and families, we should strive to make our home a spiritual sanctuary. By doing so, the influence of the adversary in our lives will decrease16. Remodeling our homes into a centre of gospel learning17, will keep us well placed on the covenant path. Running alongside the path at an arms-reach may give a false sense of our spiritual position and deny ourselves the power of godliness, manifested through participation in priesthood and temple ordinances18. Talking, rejoicing and preaching of Christ19 in our homes through the curriculum of Come, Follow Me, will strengthen the muscles of our faith20 and will influence our daily decisions as we strive to increase our personal capacity to receive revelation21. As we navigate the undulating rigours of life, we can find reassurance in the Saviour’s promise, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”22
The sacrament prayer includes a plea to God that we may always have His spirit to be with us.23 As President Nelson said, “it has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to [us] than right now”24. May each of us pause, reflect and make the necessary adjustments in our lives to enable the Holy Ghost to dwell with us and be in us. Let us do whatever it takes for the Holy Ghost to guide, comfort and teach us in the home environment we have strived to create for Him.