Building Stronger Families

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“Building Stronger Families,” Tambuli, Feb. 1987, 30

Building Stronger Families

From the Prophet Joseph Smith to President Ezra Taft Benson, the Presidents of the Church have urged the Saints, and the world at large, to build stronger families. Here is what the prophets of the Lord have said:

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said:

“And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

“For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

“And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

“And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.” (D&C 68:25–28.)

President Brigham Young:

“Bring up your children in the love and fear of the Lord; study their dispositions and their temperaments, and deal with them accordingly, never allowing yourself to correct them in the heat of passion; teach them to love you rather than to fear you, and let it be your constant care that the children that God has so kindly given you are taught in their early youth the importance of the oracles of God, and the beauty of the principles of our holy religion, that when they grow to the years of man and womanhood they may always cherish a tender regard for them and never forsake the truth.” (In Journal of Discourses, 19:221.)

President John Taylor:

“Train your children to be intelligent and industrious. First teach the value of healthful bodies, and how to preserve them in soundness and vigor; teach them to entertain the highest regard for virtue and chastity, and likewise encourage them to develop the intellectual faculties with which they are endowed. They should also be taught regarding the earth on which they live, its properties, and the laws that govern it; and they ought to be instructed concerning God, who made the earth, and His designs and purposes in its creation, and the placing of man upon it.” (In Journal of Discourses, 24:167.)

President Wilford Woodruff:

“I have long been satisfied that the Devil was making great exertions to drive a wedge in between parents and children—trying to inspire and instill into the minds of the sons and daughters of the Saints those corrupting notions that will prevent them from following the footsteps of their fathers and mothers; but this cannot be done! The sons and daughters of this people, if we do our duty, will be held by the strength and in the name of Israel’s God.” (In Journal of Discourses, 8:271.)

President Lorenzo Snow:

“If you ever secure a union in any family in Zion, if you ever secure that heavenly union which is necessary to exist there, you have got to bind that family together in one, and there has to be the Spirit of the Lord in the head of that family, and he should possess that light and that intelligence, which, if carried out in the daily life and conduct of those individuals, will prove the salvation of that family, for he holds their salvation in his hands.” (In Journal of Discourses, 4:243.)

“Women will find that they hold a good deal of power and influence in relation to blessing their husbands; therefore, let your faith and your hearts be united together, and pray for your husbands and for your children.” (In Journal of Discourses, 5:326.)

President Joseph F. Smith:

“Now my brethren and sisters, wil you try to take care of your children, and look after them on the Sabbath day, see where they are, bring them to meeting and teach them something they did not know? …”

“If we turn out our children on the Sabbath for a holiday, careless where they are or what they are doing, God will not hold us guiltless. Children are subject to their parents, and the parents are responsible for the conduct of their children until they arrive at years of maturity.

“Look after your children, brethren and sisters.” (Journal of Discourses, 14:286.)

President Heber J. Grant:

“I pray that your example may be such that your children will live the gospel of Jesus Christ, because that is of more value than anything else in the world.” (Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: The Improvement Era, 1942, p. 156.)

President George Albert Smith:

“Now, fathers and mothers, appreciate your children. Don’t turn them over to somebody else to train and educate in regard to matters of eternal life. That is your privilege, and it is a privilege. Teach them to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord, and then in time of need they can go to him, and he will answer their prayers. It will be astonishing to you the great happiness that will come into your home that you theretofore have not enjoyed, if you will follow this counsel.” (In General Conference, October 1948.)

President David O. McKay:

“The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches. In such a home God can work miracles and will work miracles.” (In General Conference, April 1964.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith:

“To all the families in Israel we say: The family is the most important organization in time or eternity. Our purpose in life is to create for ourselves eternal family units. There is nothing that will ever come to your family life that is as important as the sealing blessings of the temple and then keeping the covenants made in connection with this order of celestial marriage.” (In General Conference, April 1972.)

President Harold B. Lee:

“The greatest of the Lord’s work you brethren will ever do will be within the walls of your own home. Don’t neglect your wives, you brethren. Don’t neglect your children. Take time for family home evening. Draw your children round about you. Teach them, guide them, and guard them. There was never a time when we needed so much the strength and the solidarity of the home.” (In General Conference, April 1973.)

President Spencer W. Kimball:

“The family is the basic unit of the kingdom of God on earth. The Church can be no healthier than its families. No government can long endure without strong families.

“Never before have there been so many insidious influences threatening the family as today, around the world. Many of these evil influences come right into the home—through television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and other forms of literature.” (In General Conference, April 1978.)

President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Eternal life may be obtained only by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

“When parents themselves have complied with the ordinances of salvation, when they have set the example of a temple marriage, not only is their own marriage more likely to succeed, but their children are far more likely to follow their example.

“Parents who provide such a home will have, as the Lord has said, ‘a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, … a house of order, a house of God.’ (D&C 88:119.) Regardless of how modest or humble that home may be, it will have love, happiness, peace, and joy. Children will grow up in righteousness and truth and will desire to serve the Lord.” (In General Conference, October 1982.)

Photography by Grant Heaton