As prophets have repeatedly taught, “Our success, individually and as a Church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home.”1
Living the gospel is the best way to learn and teach the gospel. As we live these doctrinal principles, we will bring our families and ourselves closer to the Spirit. With the Spirit’s help, we can best learn and teach these principles. We will be guided to the most effective learning methods for our needs and circumstances and, with our families, grow closer to the Savior.
Priesthood ordinances and sacred covenants—promises we make with Heavenly Father—bring powerful blessings into our lives. One way to envision the purpose of ordinances is to think of them as milestones on a path leading back to Heavenly Father’s presence—eternal life. We stay on that path by keeping the covenants we have made.
For example, a young woman describes how she stays on the covenant path: “I once had a classmate ask me for help. I didn’t think much of it, just gave her the help she needed. But afterward, the Spirit reminded me that by helping bear her burdens, I was keeping the covenants I made when I was baptized (see Mosiah 18:8–10). I am grateful for the opportunities Heavenly Father gives me every day to choose to walk the covenant path.”
As a family, you might identify the ordinances each member still needs to receive and then evaluate how well you are keeping the covenants you have made. For example, what does your preparation to receive the weekly ordinance of the sacrament reflect about your commitment to your covenants? The Holy Ghost can teach you how to make improvements.
Marriage and family are central to our happiness and to Heavenly Father’s plan for our salvation. The family is the fundamental unit in time and eternity.
Teaching your children about marriage and family can be as easy as sharing a personal experience. A young adult shared how she gained an appreciation for her temple sealing:
“I remember sitting alone in an empty celestial room in the temple. I was anxious, not knowing if I would be sealed in the temple that day because of a miscommunication about the recommends my fiancé needed.
“I began to pray earnestly that the Lord would allow us to be sealed in His temple that day. As I did, a thought occurred to me: Although you are alone in the celestial room, the celestial kingdom is celestial because you won’t be alone. You will be with your eternal family and your heavenly family. That’s why you are being sealed.
“Forty minutes and a few phone calls later, my husband and I were able to be sealed. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. The ordinance became more meaningful to me because we could build a celestial life with God where we would never have to be alone.”
What experiences have taught you about the role of marriage and family in Heavenly Father’s plan? The Holy Ghost can help you remember and share appropriate experiences. Regardless of your family situation, the Holy Ghost can teach you how to apply the principles of marriage and family in your life.
Commandments are the laws and requirements given by a loving Heavenly Father to bless our lives.
One powerful way to study them is by searching the scriptures to learn about the blessings that come from obedience, as this young adult did:
“When I study about a commandment, I like to read all the scriptures I can find about it and make a list of the blessings Heavenly Father promises for my obedience. Learning more about promised blessings has strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father loves me and wants to bless me.”
To learn or teach about the commandments, you could read with your children lesson 4 in chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel, study the associated scriptures, and make your own lists of promised blessings. You could use this approach to learn about the blessings related to any of the principles of the gospel.
During Christ’s ministry, He commanded us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We strive toward perfection when we simply work on developing one of Christ’s many attributes at a time and try to improve in that area with His help. One young man started by working on diligence.
“I wanted to develop more Christlike attributes, so I studied my scriptures and Preach My Gospel. In chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, I found a suggested pattern for developing Christlike attributes and decided to try it with the quality of diligence. First I wrote down my own definition of diligence and the questions I had about it. Then I went through the suggested scriptures on diligence and recorded my impressions and answers I found as I read. Afterwards I set a goal to be more diligent with my schoolwork and have found myself feeling more motivated and consistent as I pray each night for diligence.”
As you strive to develop and teach your children how to develop Christlike attributes, Church resources can help you know where to start. The scriptures always supply Christ’s example, and resources like Preach My Gospel offer patterns that help us establish habits of studying and setting goals. When used together, the scriptures and other resources help us apply what we learn so that we can become more like Christ.
Developing self-reliance means exercising our agency to care for ourselves and our families and doing our best to find solutions to our own problems. Becoming more self-reliant gives us increased capacity to serve in our homes, the Church, and our communities. One of the best ways to teach these concepts is by example, as this member describes:
“For as long as I can remember, my mom has risen early each day to study the scriptures. I have seen how she has developed a spiritual strength that carries her through difficult times. She depends on her own relationship with Heavenly Father to be her support. Along with her spiritual strength, I’ve been impressed by her ability to care for our family. I’ve watched her budget, sacrifice her own wants, seek education, and show a lot of humility in ways that have allowed her to meet our family’s financial needs and still be at home with her children after school. I want the kind of strength that she has, and I’m so grateful for her example that teaches me how to get it.”
How could you be a better example of provident living to your children? If you don’t know a lot about certain aspects of self-reliance yet, you can invite your children to learn along with you, and that will be a great example in itself.
“Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). This is the type of question you can ask yourself and your children as you discover what your roles are in building the kingdom of God.
This member learned to trust the Lord to help her build the kingdom: “I remember my parents teaching me from a young age that we always accept our callings because they are given by the Lord. While in college I was extended the call of Relief Society president. I was overwhelmed, but it never crossed my mind to say no. So I began the year with over 100 women to care for, little experience, and faith that the Lord would make up the difference. A year later I was released. As I thought back on the moments of revelation when I knew exactly what lesson to give or comment to share, or the many times when someone would make me a meal because I was too busy to cook, or the pile of encouraging notes I’d received, I knew with a surety that the Lord had magnified my efforts in building the kingdom.”
As you and your children think of ways to build the kingdom of God, remember to offer them encouragement and opportunities to serve. You might consider discussing ways to minister to others in the callings you hold. What other ways can you help the work roll forward? No matter where you serve, your efforts are valuable. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Stand close together and lift where [you] stand.”2