Helping Our Families Walk in Light and Truth
April 2024

“Helping Our Families Walk in Light and Truth,” Liahona, Apr. 2024.

Helping Our Families Walk in Light and Truth

Are we helping our families face Heavenly Father and the Savior and continually walk toward Them?

family talking to a police officer at a carnival

Illustration by Casey Nelson

My wife, Nuria, and I received a witness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ after three months of listening to the missionaries. We were baptized in 1982. We had no children at the time, but we learned the importance of having children and teaching them the gospel.

The Lord told Adam to teach his children “that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. …

“Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:

“… Ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. …

“And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men” (Moses 6:57–59, 62).

Nuria and I have raised five children and been blessed with 14 grandchildren. We have come to know that this teaching from modern prophets, seers, and revelators is true: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”1

Creating a Christ-Centered Home and Family

In many ways, Nuria and I were pioneers in the Church where we lived in Puerto Rico. Everything was new to us. We discovered early on that home evening would be important in raising our three daughters and two sons.

At times, we wondered if it made much of a difference. I remember one of our sons would have his head on the sofa with his feet pointed toward the ceiling. We would look at him and wonder, “Is he learning anything?”

Even when it seems our children are not paying attention, you never know when they are actually listening and learning. That is why consistently sharing the gospel is so essential.

Years ago, our family attended a fair. We enjoyed the rides until it got dark. On our way to the car to go home, I put my hand in my pocket and realized that the keys to the car, the house, and my office were gone!

The fairgrounds were full of people, but we found a quiet spot (as quiet as you can find during a busy fair) and stood together to pray that the keys would be found. We then walked through the fair and looked for the missing keys.

As we moved along, we saw a policeman. We thought that maybe someone had found our keys and delivered them to him. We approached the policeman and asked, “We’ve lost our keys. Do you happen to have them?”

He asked if we were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A bit confused by that question, I answered, “Yes.”

The policeman then asked me to describe the keys. I did so, and he told me that he had them.

“Why did you ask if we were members of the Church?” I asked as he handed me the keys.

“Because you have a vial of oil on your keychain,” he said. “My father has one just like it. He is a member of your church.”

Experiences like this have blessed our family to trust Heavenly Father and to know that the Savior is with us and will help us.

Creating a Christ-centered home and family requires parents who are serious about their commitment to what President Russell M. Nelson has called “righteous, intentional parenting.”2 Our children can come to know how meaningful the gospel of Jesus Christ is to us as we strive our best to live it “at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).

It Is Worth Every Effort

When our oldest daughter started seminary, Nuria would take her early in the morning. This meant that I took care of the other children. I helped them get ready, we ate breakfast, and then I took them to school.

After a while, I thought, “Seminary is not working out! The family is divided. We are not all together for breakfast.”

That was until I saw my daughter studying the scriptures on her own one night. I was so happy and grateful that I became a believer in seminary! A while later, Nuria was called to teach early-morning seminary. When she entered law school, I took over and taught for six years. At times it was a sacrifice, but I had the blessing of teaching all our children in seminary.

Life can be chaotic at times, but helping our families walk in light and truth is worth the effort—the best effort we can give. In all we do, let us show our families that the gospel is more than just words. It is what we live every day. You never know how your efforts will bless your family in the years to come.

We Don’t Have to Be Perfect

Nuria and I have tried our best to teach our family, as Lehi taught his children, to “awake” and “put on the armor of righteousness” (2 Nephi 1:23), but we certainly have not always been perfect at it. We have made mistakes along the way.

I appreciate these words from Elder James R. Rasband of the Seventy: “As any parent can testify, the pain associated with our mistakes is not simply the fear of our own punishment but the fear that we may have limited our children’s joy or in some way hindered them from seeing and understanding the truth. The glorious promise of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice is that as far as our mistakes as parents are concerned, He holds our children blameless and promises healing for them. And even when they have sinned against the light—as we all do—His arm of mercy is outstretched, and He will redeem them if they will but look to Him and live.”3

portrait of Jesus Christ

Point Them to Christ

Youth and young adults—single or married—will face many questions. They may look at Church history or doctrine and have questions or doubts. The Church has many reliable resources to help them find answers, including Come, Follow Me, Church magazines, Saints, and For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices. Ultimately, they have the scriptures and the words of modern prophets and apostles that will increase their faith in Jesus Christ.

If you think of the gospel as a tree, the leaves and branches could represent Church history or policies. While important, they do not give life to the tree. The roots, however, anchor the tree in the soil, keep it straight and stable, and absorb water, minerals, and nutrients to strengthen and nourish the whole tree. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the root of the gospel tree. Without Them, nothing stands or thrives.

As parents, grandparents, or extended family, we should always help others look to the source of all truth. Are we teaching our families to face Heavenly Father and the Savior and continually walk toward Them?

No Greater Joy

The Apostle John declared, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). Despite our best efforts, however, some family members may choose to leave the gospel for a time. We have experienced this in our own family. We have found comfort in this message from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“Parents who honor gospel covenants, obey the Lord’s commandments, and serve faithfully can influence the salvation of their sons and daughters who go astray. …

“… They can lay claim to the promises of divine guidance and power, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and the privileges of the priesthood, in their efforts to help family members receive the blessings of salvation and exaltation.”4

Nuria and I have found great joy in our children and grandchildren. We hope that they will remember “the words which [they] had often heard [their parents and grandparents] speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints” (Enos 1:3).

Helping our families walk in light and truth is not always easy, but I testify that there is no greater joy than seeing them walk in the light and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.