A Mother’s Insight


Barbara B. Smith

When the patriarch asked my son Blaine, his father, and me to come fasting to his home to receive a patriarchal blessing, he told Blaine that this preparation would help him to be able to give Blaine the blessing the Lord would have him receive.

We arrived at the patriarch’s home and the blessing began. It was a remarkable experience.

I felt I knew what the patriarch would say before he said it. The Lord seemed to be giving me some special insight about things I would need to know.

As Blaine grew a little older, it came time for him to go on a mission. He was interested in athletics, school, and many other things, and the thoughts of going on a mission did not fit into his plans.

One day, he said to his father: “Dad, do I have to go on a mission?”

His father replied, slowing his words thoughtfully: “No … Blaine … You don’t have to go on a mission. My sons are to make that decision and go because they want to go.”

He then came to me and told me that his father said he didn’t have to go on a mission, so he wasn’t going to go.

“But Blaine,” I said, “What about your patriarchal blessing? The blessing says you will have to bring the gospel to many.”

He didn’t reply but he was thoughtful. Later, he happened to meet a friend, crippled from poliomyelitis, who had just returned from his mission, excited and happy.

“Hey, David,” he said, “Why did you go on a mission?”

“Oh, Blaine, I went for the same reason every boy should go, to show the Lord how much I love him.”

The comment struck fertile ground. The words of his patriarchal blessing came back to him and Blaine committed himself to serve the Lord in the mission field.

My remarkable foreknowledge of Blaine’s blessing was a great aid to me in helping him make his decision to serve a mission. I think every mother in Zion is entitled to this kind of spiritual help in preparing her sons and daughters for the privilege and the responsibility of missionary service.

As Relief Society General President, I have had ample cause to consider the influence of the Holy Ghost in my own life and in the lives of the one million, two hundred thousand women who are now members of the Relief Society around the world.

With President Kimball’s urgent plea to expand the work of the Lord here and now, it has become necessary for the Church to realize that the missionary force must be drawn from members in each country.

This makes us mothers realize that we have a great work ahead to teach our children, so they will love the Lord enough to desire to serve him.

No matter how limited we are in our experience in the Church, we all have access to that great testifier, the Holy Ghost, whose calling it is to bear witness to the truth. With this testimony in our hearts, we can move forward in service, perfecting our skills and directing our efforts toward excellence.

I have seen the work of women around the world who are devoted and dedicated to the work of the Lord, and I am sure we can all dedicate ourselves to rearing a generation of young people who desire to serve the Lord.

Nothing is impossible when willing sons and daughters link hands with the powers of heaven, not even the rearing of missionary sons and daughters in each culture of the world.

I have seen the magnificent work done by new converts and brand new stakes. Recently in Mexico City, one of the newly created stakes presented a glorious display of the handiwork in the stake. Every facet of Relief Society was exhibited there.

I also talked with a number of new converts at a recent General Conference of the Church. They had journeyed far in order to be present. When I asked them what the gospel had brought to their lives, they all responded differently and with great candor. Though their experiences differed, they all felt greatly blessed in having the light of the restored truths to give direction and purpose to their activities.

The gospel teaches us to love one another in our homes and to express love to others with whom we come in contact. Letting our lights shine with love will help our families, and within the walls of a loving home, our children can be taught the gospel principles and the desire to serve him and to get knowledge and to pursue excellence.

In the pursuit of these goals, the individual—you and I—can receive the prompting influence of the Holy Spirit. It has happened to me many times.