Church News and Events

Primary Leaders Encourage Families to Focus on the Savior

  By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer

  • 8 May 2013

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president (center), and her two counselors, Sister Jean A. Stevens (left) and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin (right), speak May 2 at the BYU Women’s Conference in Provo, Utah.  Photo by Jonathan Hardy, BYU Photo.

“It is the small things we do that bring our children to the Savior,” Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, said during Women’s Conference at Brigham Young University on May 2, 2013.

“When our focus is on Jesus Christ, we clear away the rubble that obscures the path, and we build a foundation for our families on the rock of our Redeemer. The winds will blow and the mighty storms will beat upon us, but we will not fall.”

Sister Wixom and her counselors, Sister Jean A. Stevens and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, focused on three building blocks—prayer, scriptures, and the temple—that strengthen the foundation of homes.

The Power of Personal and Family Prayer

“Our Heavenly Father isn’t concerned with how clever, brilliant, rich, or famous we are,” said Sister Esplin. “He loves us because we are His children. He has given us a lifeline to Him—it’s called prayer.”

Prayer is essential in building a Christ-centered life and a Christ-centered home, she taught.

“We all know that the reality of bringing a family together for family prayer is not always easy with the different schedules and activities of family members, but when we make it a priority, we will find a way to make it happen that works best for us,” said Sister Esplin.

Drawing from the words of President Spencer W. Kimball, Sister Esplin said, “In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future, it will not be enough if we are going to save our families.”

As little children consistently and regularly experience prayer in their families, they learn quickly that there is one to whom they can always turn for help.

“We can pray anytime, anywhere,” she said. “We have been promised that through having regular prayer, our family members will draw nearer to God and to each other. Our home will be a place of spiritual strength, a refuge from the evil influences of the world.”

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, greets a conference attendee at the BYU Women’s Conference. Photo by Jonathan Hardy, BYU Photo.


The Power of Searching the Scriptures

Quoting from Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve, Sister Wixom said, “Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high.”

Those packets of light illuminate minds and help build a foundation upon the “rock of our Redeemer,” she taught. They testify of Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Ghost, individuals come to know Him as they read.

“When reading the scriptures becomes a daily habit, we are drawn to searching them and we love them,” she said. “Like one woman said, ‘Then comes the moment when obedience turns to thirst and hunger.’”

President Thomas S. Monson has said, “If you will study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased” (“Be Your Best Self,” Apr. 2009 general conference).

“Our families are all different, and so are the circumstances within each one of our homes,” Sister Wixom said. “We might think, ‘It is easier for others to read the scriptures as a family than it is for our family.’”

Sharing the examples of things that sometimes get in the way—a large age span of children, different schedules, or a husband leaving for work every day before the children are awake—Sister Wixom recognized that all families are different.

“Having the scriptures in our homes today is one thing, but actually opening them and searching them and applying them to our lives is another,” she said.

Through reading the scriptures, families will increase the spirit of the Holy Ghost in their home.

The Power of the Temple

The temple and family history work are central to accomplishing the Lord’s work of salvation, said Sister Stevens.

“I can imagine that the Lord, with His infinite power, could design a way to bring salvation to all His children without directly using our help,” she said. “But for whatever reason, He did not. Could it be that our participation in temple and family history work is designed to not only save our ancestors, but to save us and our children as well?”

As individuals make temple worship and family history work their focus, they will experience promised blessings and will feel the Lord’s presence in their life. Involving children in that focus on the temple brings those blessings into homes and families.

Sister Stevens said that even small activities—a picture of the temple in a bedroom of a child, singing songs about the temple, visiting the grounds of a temple, helping children prepare for a temple recommend, sharing stories of ancestors, and involving children in family history and temple work—will help children make the temple become part of their heart and future.

“The blessings of the temple are available to us all—young and old and everybody in between,” she said. “It is in the temple that we remember who we really are and see with clarity who we really can become. In this we will feel the Lord’s love for us in a personal way. It draws us to Him.”

It is through building upon the rock of the Redeemer, Christ, the Son of God—through prayer, scripture study, and temple attendance—that families will have a strong foundation, she said.