Varied “Menu” of Goals for Church Members

“My wife and I, with several family members, went to dinner at a fine restaurant in Salt Lake City,” Elder J. Thomas Fyans of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy told the Regional Representatives last October. “It was a delightful experience. As we walked into the restaurant, we were cordially greeted by a hostess who led us to a table. She gave us a menu and left our party to ourselves to contemplate what we would order. On that menu was a number of delectable dishes. We looked at what was appealing, examined the prices, and discriminately selected a meal to our personal taste.”

When the waiter appeared, each person ordered what he wanted.

Elder Fyans told the leaders gathered at the Regional Representatives Seminar last October that every individual and family in the Church will have a similar opportunity to choose from a menu—not “a menu of salads, meat dishes, desserts, and thirst-quenching drinks,” he said, but rather a menu of “spiritually nourishing” goals in four broad areas of emphasis: missionary work, genealogy, temporal welfare, and spiritual welfare. (See goals listed on the accompanying chart.)

“These are not all the goals individuals and families could choose from,” Elder Fyans explained, “but they are those which have received persistent emphasis by current and past Church leaders. The goals are measurable and provide a point of emphasis for individual and family exaltation.”

These basic points of emphasis will be brought to the attention of Church members during 1980 in ward, stake, and regional meetings. Individuals and families are asked to study the “menu,” select some of the goals listed, and begin working toward them.

“Can we see that if we include in our lives these efforts, there will be a deep commitment and spiritual growth?” Elder Fyans asked the Regional Representatives. “Can we see how a family, who, in council with one another, selects from these goals, will experience greater unity, solidarity, appreciation, and love for one another, the joy of service and personal self-reliance? Can we see how the individual who, on his own initiative, selects goals to meet the needs of his eternal development will be blessed toward that end?

“Can we see that the eternal vision of these goals is for families to be prepared for temporal calamities in addition to being spiritually capable of enjoying, without guilt or shame, the presence of angels and the company of Gods? The whole objective of the Church is to help each father and mother bring the spirit of heaven into their homes. Families who work cooperatively toward these goals will realize a happiness and peace which to others seems ‘idealistic.’”

Just as people normally select for themselves the dishes they wish to order from a restaurant menu, individuals and families are to select their own spiritual goals. Priesthood leaders may serve as “hosts and waiters, to encourage family heads to select from this menu those things which will strengthen individual members,” said Elder Fyans, but no one should “constantly impose a diet” on someone else, and no one is expected “to attempt to digest this entire menu all at once. [Church members] must be selective in their choices.”

Elder Fyans explained the purpose of the basic points of emphasis: It is “to place responsibility on the individual and the family. It is to help individuals see to it that they are qualified to receive all the ordinances of the gospel. It places before parents the reminder that theirs is the charge to see that their children are qualified for all the gospel ordinances. It is to help them work together toward a common, noble purpose through family councils. Our objective is to make individuals and families self-reliant so that ‘notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, … the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world; that you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms’ (D&C 78:14–15; italics added).

“Families and individuals are not to be commanded in all things,” Elder Fyans said. “They have the power of the Holy Ghost and their individual agency to do ‘many things’ voluntarily, and to bring about ‘much righteousness’ (see D&C 58:26–28). When individuals and families use their initiative for righteous purposes, the Spirit of God will bless their lives with affection, singleness of purpose, and love of God and of fellowmen.”

Basic Points of Emphasis for Individual(s) and Family

An outline (not all inclusive) by which individuals and families can set for themselves measurable goals that will contribute to personal and family progress.

Missionary

  • Prepare children (especially sons) for missions.

  • Prepare selves to serve a mission.

  • Annually friendship someone to hear the gospel.

  • Give financial support to missionary work, including the general missionary fund.

Genealogy

  • Complete four-generation records.

  • Write personal and family history.

  • Participate in the extraction program when invited.

  • Perform a reasonable number of temple ordinances.

Temporal Welfare

  • Have a specific plan for physical fitness and social and emotional health.

  • Prepare educationally and vocationally for financial stability. Avoid unnecessary debt.

  • Have a one year’s supply of food, clothing, and (where possible) fuel.

  • Be willing to sacrifice by giving time, talents, and means in behalf of the Church, community, and needy.

Spiritual Welfare

  • Give Christlike service to family, Church, and community.

  • Magnify callings in the Church.

  • Participate in efforts to reactivate members of the Church.

  • Develop a close relationship with the Savior through prayer, scripture study, fasting, partaking of the sacrament, and obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel.

A father and son counsel together about personal goals.