Stake Presidency Message – February 2016

The Proclamation to the World entitled The Family makes the following statement: The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

President Ezra Taft Benson identified the family as a strength against evil when he said, “The family is one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day. Help keep your family strong and close and worthy of our Father in Heaven’s blessings.”

Knowing we should make family a top priority, how do we keep our family strong? How do we make family our top priority?

Following are seven (7) ways to strengthen family and move family to the top of our priority list:

1. Share with your family how your testimony was gained. As parents, our children should never have to wonder how we came to know Jesus is the Christ and our personal Savior. Share your conversion story with them. Testimonies will be strengthened as we do so.

2. Make scripture reading and gospel conversation a frequent event in the home. Discuss doctrine—the word of God—as found in the scriptures. Read, study, and ponder Mosiah 18. The greatest gift is found in the love our Savior offered us through the atonement. Help children understand the atonement and discuss the steps that lead to repentance. No other doctrine will be of greater importance and worth to them.

3. Share the Gospel with others. As a family, establish a “Family Mission Plan”. Speak of it. Let’s not make it complex or elaborate. Success through simplicity should be our goal. How better prepared would our children be for mission service if the gospel was an established family practice and firmly established in the mind and heart of children.

4. Serve and teach. Look for and plan service opportunities and spiritual activities where the spirit is present and can teach and testify. Don’t hope such activities will happen on their own. They must be planned. We can’t afford to miss opportunities to invite the spirit through the planning of uplifting family activities. We only have a short period of time before the world competes with parents for precious children. Teach also the doctrine found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

5. Pray together and for one another. Make an effort to pray for one another during family prayer. Each family has those they are concerned for who have health challenges and emotional or spiritual trials. This single act of praying for one another in family prayer will increase love between family members. As a family identify individuals to include in family and personal prayers. The Lord hears and answers the sincere prayer of the righteous heart.

6. Attend church together and keep the Sabbath Day holy. Living prophets have testified that attending church to partake of the sacrament and honoring the Sabbath Day will increase our spirituality. Through partaking of the sacrament we witness to our Heavenly Father our love for the Savior and our intent to keep His commandments.

7. Prepare family names and take them to the temple and perform the sacred ordinances on behalf of those who have gone before. Angels will assist in such a sacred work. When possible, attend the temple together as a family. Each worthy member 12 years and older can obtain and maintain a current temple recommend. The temple experience is enriched as we carry in our hearts and our hands the name of loved ones gone before.

We can’t compete with the entertainment the world has to offer. However, the world will never compete with the spirit. May we develop within our homes a loving environment where the spirit is present. May our home be one of God’s greatest fortresses against the evils of our day.

President Johnson

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