Liahona
Stories That Bind Us Together


“Stories That Bind Us Together,” Liahona, June 2022.

Aging Faithfully

Stories That Bind Us Together

We can strengthen our families by sharing examples of faith and courage, past and present.

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Wagon Train

Illustrations by Carolyn Vibbert

As I have grown older, my position in my family has changed. Once I was the young mother corralling a group of active children into the sort of organized chaos we called home evening. Now I’m the grandmother, sometimes in the midst of family events and sometimes in the background. I’ve moved up a link in the chain of life. I have loved two preceding generations, including my husband, who are now on the other side of the veil. And I adore two generations currently on the earth (plus a few great-grandchildren from the generation coming after that).

One of the roles I now play takes place at the end of our Come, Follow Me family videoconferences. As an extended family, we use an online game program to help the cousins get to know each other and to help all of us remember or get to know our ancestors. As we have done this, I have realized that not only do our temple covenants bind our family together eternally, but so do our shared stories of courage and faith.

Inspiration from the Past

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Baptism

I believe that each of us has a story of faith and courage to share. Certainly those who went before us can inspire us as we remember their spirit and sacrifices. For example:

  • Our family is grateful for a young boy, Christian Hans Monson, who in the 1800s took meals to the missionaries in jail in Fredrikstad, Norway. They taught him the gospel. He secretly let them out of jail, and they baptized him in the fjord one starlit night. After he joined the Church, his father threw him out. But he made his way to the Salt Lake Valley to raise a righteous posterity.

  • We are also inspired by the story of Johanna Kirstine Larsen. During their trek to the Salt Lake Valley, her pioneer company, led by Brigham Young Jr., encountered an engulfing prairie fire. After they offered fervent prayer, a small cloud on the horizon became a thunderstorm that doused the fire.

Inspiration for Today

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My granddaughter and my “adopted” granddaughter, a young convert who came to live with my daughter’s family.

Photograph courtesy of the author

I feel a great depth of gratitude for these faithful, courageous souls. But I’m also humbled by the valiant spirits in our family today. So, I decided that at each one of our family meetings, I would ask two of the grandkids to share their testimonies of faith and courage. Not only does this inspire the rest of the family, but it allows those who share to take a few minutes to see how God helped them through a tough time. Here are two of their stories.

  • Our granddaughter battled thyroid cancer as a young teen. She said, “Heavenly Father guided me, especially during my week of radiation isolation. My testimony and my little dog Daisy pulled me through.”

  • When a young convert found herself without home or family, the missionaries brought her to our daughter’s house. We have taken her in as our own and look on her as one of us. This delightful young convert said, “I have learned that even when I’m scared, I can do hard things with Heavenly Father’s help.” She blesses us with her loving, cheerful attitude.

In my role as a grandmother, I have learned once again that there is much we can do as parents and grandparents to strengthen the links in our eternal family chain. Sharing stories of faith and courage, from the past and the present, is one way to help our children and grandchildren to have faith and courage as they face the future. And it is a great way to help turn the hearts of the children to their fathers and mothers (see Malachi 4:6).

The author lives in Utah, USA.