Just the other day I was reading in Doctrine & Covenants 93 and was so taken by these consistent refrains, spoken to several early church members and leaders:
“You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebulked before the Lord. Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed . . . “ (vss. 47-48).
And to another servant of the Lord:
“My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place” (vs. 50).
The Lord obviously cares about families. Very much so. And it makes sense. It is within the family that children receive (or don’t receive) exposure to love. It is within the family that children receive (or don’t receive) knowledge that they are of value in God’s eyes. It is within the family that children see (or don’t see) examples of patient, Christ-like living.
It has been said that when we train a child, that training (or lack thereof) will stick with him. We hear the expression that first impressions are lasting ones. We know all these phrases but do we apply their significance into our lives?
Just why is it that the Lord cares so deeply about families? I believe it is because He understands how significant parental love is for a child. Even studies by social researchers have indicated this and the impact that parenting style has on children.
The word of God is potent. It can be studied for hours on end and with each pass of study, we gain new truths. In fact, one could study the same book of scripture for years and never cease to learn from it.
As Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, we believe the scriptures. We study them. We seek knowledge from them. And as I read this 98th chapter in the Doctrine & Covenants, I felt to wonder what the Lord would comment about my parenting.
When he said in D&C 93:43: “And now a commandment I give unto you – if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house”, I wondered if there were any things not right in my house needing righting.
When the Lord said in D&C 93:49: “What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place”, I knew the Lord was speaking from a place of wisdom. It would be well to hearken.
Therefore, I have doubled my determination to serve my children. I am resolved even more deeply to be “concerned at home,” focusing on the urgent spiritual needs of my children, making sure I immerse them each day in things of the Lord. For I desire this blessing spoken of in D&C 93:52: “…and inasmuch as you keep my sayings you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.” That is a blessing worth living for!