I Have a Question


Questions of general gospel interest answered for guidance, not as official statements of Church policy.

As we’ve heard our teenage children and their friends discuss love and marriage, we’ve been concerned about how unrealistic some of their ideas are. Is there some way we can help them separate the fictions from the facts?

Clark Swain, marriage and family counselor, associate professor of marriage and family studies at Boise State University and father of five You may be doing one of the best things already—by giving an example of a loving marriage relationship, and by maintaining open communication with your children.

Let’s consider some of the most common fictions about love and compare them with the facts. Hopefully your children will be able to associate these facts with certain couples they know who have developed successful loving relationships.

Fiction: Being in love is all that’s necessary for a good marriage.

Fact: Love alone is not enough for a satisfying relationship. I counseled with a young couple not long ago who were “in love”—with all the symptoms: they idealized each other, felt strong feelings for each other, and always wanted to be together. But he wanted children and she didn’t. Disagreement on such a basic value has to be resolved before a marriage can be successful. The fact is, being in love is not enough for a good marriage. The lifestyles and life goals must also be compatible.

Fiction: Jealousy is a sign of love.

Fact: Intense jealousy is a sign of insecurity, a lack of self-confidence, a signal that the jealous lover “fears” his partner might abandon him. This lack of trust can weaken and even destroy the relationship.

Fiction: Feelings of love should always remain the same in a relationship.

Fact: Partners’ feelings in love relationships often change as time passes. Time may dull a couple’s ability to enjoy skiing together, for example, but may sharpen their ability to understand and appreciate each other’s sense of humor. We cannot feel exactly the same way now, about love or anything else, for that matter—as we did five years ago. Each couple must allow for change and let their love grow to include new, equally delightful aspects of the relationship.

Fiction: Falling in—or out of—love is something you can’t control.

Fact: Loving or not loving someone is a decision. That doesn’t mean that someone decides, “Next week I’ll fall in love” or “This month I’ll stop being in love with my wife.” The decision is more subtle than that. Loving means treating someone in certain ways, and consciously selecting that behavior is a decision.

Fiction: We should follow our feelings about love.

Fact: Because love is a decision, we need to involve our heads as well as our hearts. And we need to pray for the power of discernment—for the ability to make good judgments in our relationships. A few years ago I counseled a young couple who were financially secure and had four children, but the wife wanted a divorce. “I don’t love my husband anymore,” she said. “That’s all.”

It wasn’t quite all. She was “in love” with another man. She divorced her husband, but things didn’t work out with the other man. There wasn’t enough money for her and the children to live comfortably. She was lonely. She sought reconciliation, but her former husband had made other commitments. Obviously, her “feelings” about love had not been a very reliable guide. Our decision to love or not to love someone must be based on careful thought as well as feelings.

Knowing these facts about love should strengthen your teenagers’ ability to love and help them use greater wisdom when choosing a marriage partner.

How can I help my home teachers help my family?

R. Wayne Shute, former Regional Representative and presently Coordinator of Intern Doctoral Program, College of Education, BYU Home teaching is most successful when the families being taught are home teachable. Being home teachable means allowing your home teachers to give you the kind of help the Spirit intends for you to receive.

The question is—How does a family do this? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Become well acquainted with your home teachers. Learn about their skills, hobbies, work, and other interests so that you know how to involve them in your family circle. And help them get acquainted with you and your family, sharing information with them which you would want your friends to know.

2. See your home teachers as a resource to call upon for help. This is generally just a frame of mind. As parents, you have many resources available to help strengthen your family; you can call on schools to help you educate your children, police to protect you, bishops to interview you, and quorum leaders to lead you. View your home teachers as another source of help.

3. Involve your home teachers (perhaps gradually at first) in specific ways to help your family. There is a tendency on the part of independent and self-reliant people to resist calling on others for help. We tend to think that others have their own problems, that they are too busy, or that we don’t want to share too many problems with them.

It’s true that some problems are very sensitive, and it may not be appropriate for home teachers to help us deal with them. But there are many other specific areas where home teachers can be of great help. As your confidence grows in your relationship with them, give them a chance to help.

4. Decide which family goals your home teachers can review with you monthly. As a family, select specific goals for personal and family improvement based, perhaps, on the “Basic Points of Emphasis,” a list of goals dealing with missionary and genealogical work and temporal and spiritual welfare suggested by the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy (see Ensign, June 1980, p. 70). Decide which ones you’d like your home teachers to help you follow through with.

For example, if you choose to work on having a year’s supply of food, clothing, and fuel, you might make individualized, specific goals such as the following:

Give your home teachers a list of these goals and invite them to check on your progress, remind family members about forthcoming deadlines, and encourage individuals to accomplish their objectives so that the family can reach its goals.

Great experiences await home teachers when they are called on to be useful and supportive to families. Great experiences await families, too, as they become home teachable and allow their home teachers to encourage and strengthen them in specific ways.

I’ve heard there is a story behind the bell on Temple Square. Can you relay it?

Lois Leetham Tanner, gospel doctrine teacher, Tempe Tenth Ward, Tempe South Arizona Stake I am grateful to Sister Edith Smith Eliot (now deceased) for sharing with me her personal knowledge of the history of the bell. According to Sister Eliot, the bell was donated by the British Saints for the Nauvoo Temple and sent to the United States in the care of her great grandfather, Wilford Woodruff.

The bell hung for only a short time in the Nauvoo Temple. Pressure from unfriendly neighbors forced the Saints to evacuate the city, leaving the bell behind. Thereafter, it was apparently taken from the temple and placed in a local protestant church.

We owe recovery of the Nauvoo bell to the Lamoreaux family. Shortly before they left Nauvoo for the West, according to family sources, “one stormy night the men gathered in secret and without horses pulled the wagon to the Church and lowered the Bell, pushed and pulled the wagon by hand to the edge of the Mississippi River and carefully concealed it in the water. Andrew Lamoreaux and his brother, David, were chosen to bring the Bell to Utah with their families, concealing the Bell in their wagon with their provisions.” 1

En route, the bell was reportedly used to awaken the herdsmen at dawn, to signal morning prayer, to start the day’s march, and to sound during the night watches to let the Indians know that the sentry was at his post. In Salt Lake, the bell was used at the first old bowery and as a signal to the herders to take out the cattle. It was also used on Brigham Young’s schoolhouse for some time. Thereafter, it seems to have been in a Church business building for a while and then later was housed in the Bureau of Information on Temple Square. In 1942 it was placed in a bell tower on Temple Square by the Relief Society to celebrate their centennial. It remains there today.

I have always felt that the bell tower is on temple square in response to a prophecy President Brigham Young made in 1862. President Young said: “Right west of the temple … we shall build a tower and put a bell on it. … This plan was shown to me in a vision when I first came onto the ground.” 2

In 1961, President David O. McKay presided at ceremonies at KSL-TV where the bell furnished a new time signal for both the television and radio stations. On that program, President McKay observed, “In its own way, the Nauvoo bell is a symbol of religious freedom in our land. … Hourly, the sound of the bell should serve to remind us that religious freedom and liberty is as much at stake in the present difficult world situation as political and economic freedom. … When we hear, henceforth, the sound of the Nauvoo bell, let it remind us anew that our nation and our community owes its existence to our trust in God.” 3

  1.   1.

    Maud Lamoreaux Card, Nell Larnoreaux Clayton, Lulu Lamoreaux Jones, “The Nauvoo Bell,” typescript, one page; copy in possession of the author, received from Edith Smith Eliot.

  2.   2.

    See B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 5:136.

  3.   3.

    “As We See It,” Church News, 29 July 1961, p. 5.