Helping Family Members Live the Gospel

Family Home Evening Resource Book, (1997), 236


Sometimes we think that some five-second formula or recipe will effectively change a family member’s behavior. Long-term change, however, comes only from living correct principles. The Lord told priesthood bearers how the power and influence of the priesthood should be used (see D&C 121:41–46). We can use some of the things he mentioned, such as persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned to teach and guide our children and others. In contrast, using sarcasm, intimidation, force, impatience, irritability or anger, harshness, and pride will neither teach children proper values nor help them change their behavior. In fact, we know that it is Satan, not Heavenly Father, who wants us to use force and hostility.

We can learn to be better parents by studying the scriptures to see how Heavenly Father deals with his children. We can also learn how not to act by observing Satan’s methods. What can you learn from the following chart to help you be a better parent and spouse?

The Lord’s Way

Satan’s Way

Love unfeigned—charity, caring for others’ welfare despite any wrongdoing.

Physical force—being hostile and unfairly using physical strength.

Acceptance—seeing others in eternal perspective, judging with compassion.

Blame—condemning others’ faults without compassion.

Integrity—being honest, a personal commitment to righteousness.

Accusation—provoking guilt, reminding people of their mistakes to punish them and justify oneself.

Persuasion—teaching with compassion, kindly pointing out advantages and disadvantages of situations.

Intimidation—ruling by fear because others are afraid of one’s power.

Gentleness—soft, not treating others harshly.

Threat—expressing an intent to physically or emotionally harm someone.

Trust—lovingly allowing others to exercise their agency to choose right or wrong and to accept the consequences.

Pride—self-righteously preaching moral truths and condemning others.

Responsibility—acknowledging and assuming your role in any situation including repenting for past wrongdoing.

Self-centeredness—refusing to accept responsibility for your actions.

Meekness—humility, uncomplaining, and teachable

Haughtiness—being unteachable, proud, and pessimistic.