Teachings for Mothers: April 2012 General Conference
Call to Action from the Prophet
“My dear brothers and sisters, may your homes be filled with love and courtesy and with the Spirit of the Lord. Love your families. If there are disagreements or contentions among you, I urge you to settle them now” (Thomas S. Monson, “As We Close This Conference,” April 2012 general conference).
Families under Covenant
“President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
“ 'In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair. …
“ 'Above all else, children need to know and feel they are loved, wanted, and appreciated. They need to be assured of that often. Obviously, this is a role parents should fill, and most often the mother can do it best.'
“But another crucial source for that feeling of being loved is love from other children in the family. Consistent care of brothers and sisters for each other will come only with persistent effort by parents and the help of God. You know that is true from experience in your own families. … Give children opportunities to pray, when they can pray, for each other in the circle who need blessings. Discern quickly the beginnings of discord and recognize acts of unselfish service, especially to each other. When they pray for each other and serve each other, hearts will be softened and turned to each other and to their parents” (Henry B. Eyring, “Families under Covenant,” April 2012 general conference).
“One hundred years ago, President Joseph F. Smith connected happiness directly to the family and admonished us to focus our efforts there. He said: 'There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home. … There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life. … The home is what needs reforming' ” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 382, 384). …
“When people make family and religious commitments to gospel principles, they begin to do better spiritually and often temporally as well.
“And, of course, societies at large are strengthened as families grow stronger. Commitments to family and values are the basic cause. Nearly everything else is effect. …
“Put everything you do outside the home in subjection to and in support of what happens inside your home. Remember President Harold B. Lee’s counsel that 'the most important … work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes' (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee , 134) and President David O. McKay’s timeless 'No other success can compensate for failure in the home' (quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization , 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116).
“Organize your personal lives to provide time for prayer and scriptures and family activity. Give your children responsibilities in the home that will teach them how to work. Teach them that living the gospel will lead them away from the filth, promiscuity, and violence of the Internet, media, and video games” (M. Russell Ballard, “That the Lost May Be Found,” April 2012 general conference).
The Role of the Church and Family Life
“Husbands and wives, you should be equal partners in your marriage. Read often and understand the proclamation on the family and follow it. … Use the family resources of the Church. In raising children, families can draw upon the help of the ward. Support and work in tandem with priesthood and auxiliary leaders, and take full advantage of the Church’s youth and family programs. Remember another of President Lee’s insightful phrases—that the Church is the scaffolding with which we build eternal families (see Teachings: Harold B. Lee, 148)” (M. Russell Ballard, “That the Lost May Be Found,” April 2012 general conference).
“A faithful Latter-day Saint father on a remote island in the Pacific did heavy physical work in a faraway place for six years to earn the money necessary to take his wife and 10 children for marriage and sealing for eternity in the New Zealand Temple. President Monson explained, 'Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.' …
“Perhaps the most familiar and most important examples of unselfish service and sacrifice are performed in our families. Mothers devote themselves to the bearing and nurturing of their children. Husbands give themselves to supporting their wives and children. The sacrifices involved in the eternally important service to our families are too numerous to mention and too familiar to need mention. …
“The Lectures on Faith teach that 'a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. … It [is] through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life' ” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Sacrifice,” April 2012 general conference).
Examples of Parents
“Religious observance in the home blesses our families. Example is particularly important. What we are speaks so loudly that our children may not hear what we say. When I was nearly five years old, my mother received word that her younger brother had been killed when the battleship on which he was serving was bombed off the coast of Japan near the end of World War II. This news was devastating to her. She was very emotional and went into the bedroom. After a while I peeked into the room to see if she was OK. She was kneeling by the bed in prayer. A great peace came over me because she had taught me to pray and love the Savior. This was typical of the example she always set for me. Mothers and fathers praying with children may be more important than any other example.
“The message, ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, are our essential family curriculum. No scripture characterizes our faith better than 2 Nephi 25:26: 'And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins' ” (Quentin L. Cook, “In Tune with the Music of Faith,” April 2012 general conference).
“I hope we are reading the Book of Mormon with our children regularly. I have discussed this with my own children. They have shared with me two observations. First, persistence in reading the scriptures daily as a family is the key. … It requires great effort from every family member every day, but it is worth the effort. Temporary setbacks are overshadowed by persistence.
“We know that family scripture study and family home evenings are not always perfect. Regardless of the challenges you face, do not become discouraged” (Quentin L. Cook, “In Tune with the Music of Faith,” April 2012 general conference).
Bearing Your Burdens
“President James E. Faust, my boyhood stake president, said: 'I have a great appreciation for those loving parents who stoically bear and overcome their anguish and heartbreak for a child who was born with or who has developed a serious mental or physical infirmity. This anguish often continues every day, without relief, during the lifetime of the parent or the child. Not infrequently, parents are required to give superhuman nurturing care that never ceases, day or night. Many a mother’s arms and heart have ached years on end, giving comfort and relieving the suffering of her special child.'
“As described in Mosiah, … 'And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord' ” (Ronald A. Rasband, “Special Lessons,” April 2012 general conference).
Teaching Our Children to Understand the Doctrine
“This divine privilege of raising our children is a much greater responsibility than we can do alone, without the Lord’s help. He knows exactly what our children need to know, what they need to do, and what they need to be to come back into His presence. He gives mothers and fathers specific instruction and guidance through the scriptures, His prophets, and the Holy Ghost.
“In a latter-day revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord instructs parents to teach their children to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Notice the Lord doesn’t just say we are to 'teach the doctrine'; His instructions are to teach our children to 'understand the doctrine.' (See D&C 68:25, 28; emphasis added.)
“Teaching our children to understand is more than just imparting information. It’s helping our children get the doctrine into their hearts in a way that it becomes part of their very being and is reflected in their attitudes and behavior throughout their lives. …
“Sometimes the most powerful way to teach our children to understand a doctrine is to teach in the context of what they are experiencing right at that moment. These moments are spontaneous and unplanned and happen in the normal flow of family life. They come and go quickly, so we need to be alert and recognize a teaching moment when our children come to us with a question or worry, when they have problems getting along with siblings or friends, when they need to control their anger, when they make a mistake, or when they need to make a decision. (See Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching , 140–41; Marriage and Family Relations Instructor’s Manual , 61.) …
“Learning to fully understand the doctrines of the gospel is a process of a lifetime and comes 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little' (2 Nephi 28:30). As children learn and act upon what they learn, their understanding is expanded, which leads to more learning, more action, and an even greater and more enduring understanding.
“We can know our children are beginning to understand the doctrine when we see it revealed in their attitudes and actions without external threats or rewards. As our children learn to understand gospel doctrines, they become more self-reliant and more responsible. They become part of the solution to our family challenges and make a positive contribution to the environment of our home and the success of our family” (Cheryl A. Esplin, “Teaching Our Children to Understand,” April 2012 general conference).
“Wise parents must weigh when children are ready to begin exercising their own agency in a particular area of their lives. But if parents hold on to all decision-making power and see it as their 'right,' they severely limit the growth and development of their children.
Our children are in our homes for a limited time. If we wait until they walk out the door to turn over to them the reins of their moral agency, we have waited too long. They will not suddenly develop the ability to make wise decisions if they have never been free to make any important decisions while in our homes. Such children often either rebel against this compulsion or are crippled by an inability to make any decisions on their own.
“Wise parents prepare their children to get along without them. They provide opportunities for growth as children acquire the spiritual maturity to exercise their agency properly. And yes, this means children will sometimes make mistakes and learn from them. …
“In raising our family, we decided that our most important goal would be to help our children establish their own connection to heaven. We knew that ultimately they would need to depend on the Lord, not on us. Brigham Young said, 'Were I to draw a distinction in all the duties that are required of the children of men, … I would place first and foremost the duty of seeking unto the Lord our God until we open the path of communication from heaven to earth—from God to our own souls' ” (Larry Y. Wilson, “Only upon the Principles of Righteousness,” April 2012 general conference).
A Message to Single Parents
“My message is for the single parents in the Church, the majority of whom are single mothers—you valiant women who, through the varying circumstances of life, find yourselves raising children and running a home on your own. …
“We hope that when you attend meetings and see seemingly complete and happy families or hear someone speak of family ideals, you will feel glad to be part of a church that does focus on families and teaches of their central role in Heavenly Father’s plan for the happiness of His children; that in the midst of world calamity and moral decay, we have the doctrine, authority, ordinances, and covenants that do hold out the best hope for the world, including for the future happiness of your children and the families they will create. …
“Although you often feel alone, in truth you are never totally on your own. As you move forward in patience and in faith, Providence will move with you; heaven will bestow its needful blessings.
“Your perspective and view of life will change when, rather than being cast down, you look up.
“Many of you have already discovered the great, transforming truth that when you live to lift the burdens of others, your own burdens become lighter. Although circumstances may not have changed, your attitude has. You are able to face your own trials with greater acceptance, a more understanding heart, and deeper gratitude for what you have, rather than pining for what you yet lack” (David S. Baxter, “Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents,” April 2012 general conference).
Power of Love
“The Father’s plan designated the pattern of the family to help us learn, apply, and understand the power of love. On the day my own family was organized, my sweet Ann and I went to the temple and entered into the covenant of marriage. How much I thought I loved her on that day, but I had only begun to see the vision of love. As each of our children and grandchildren entered into our lives, our love has been expanded to love each of them equally and fully. There is seemingly no end to the expansive capacity to love” (Paul E. Koelliker, “He Truly Loves Us,” April 2012 general conference).