As I have pondered about my childhood, my youth, and my adult life, I believe the foundation for my beliefs was laid by my parents during the years of my childhood and youth. I wish to render a tribute to them. My father and mother, with no formal education, knew how to teach the eternal principles of the gospel. I am the tenth child in a family of twelve children—ten boys and two girls.
The Lord gave to Israel, through Moses, the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. The fifth of these commandments says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Ex. 20:12).
There are two things that our parents did with all of their children for which we now honor them. First, they taught us correct principles and helped us walk uprightly before the Lord and live his commandments. Second, they taught us the value of work, personal integrity, and family unity. Even though not all of us are members of the Church, we have tried to live according to the principles they taught us.
When I was about to go on a mission, I worried about the same things that today worry the young men and young women who will also serve missions. I worried about work, my girlfriend, school, and family. When I was old enough to go on a mission, my father was almost 66 years old, and I thought, My father is old, and if I leave for two years, he may die and I will not see him anymore. Who will take care of my mother? She will be all alone when he is no longer at her side.
May I tell you that I served two years in the mission, I served in the Church schools in Chile for five years, I served as a mission president for three years, as a regional representative for six years, and then in the Seventy before my father died in 1993 at the age of 94.
I testify that when we serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, he blesses us. I also testify that an excellent way to honor our parents is to keep the commandments and serve the Lord.
I invite all of you, young and old alike, to honor your parents day by day and to try to do those things that bring honor to them. I testify with all my heart that God lives, that his son Jesus Christ honored him by keeping his commandments and obeying his will. Our Savior taught us this when he said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).
I testify that the Savior is our example and model of life. We must strive every day to follow his teachings and do the things that he did, for “the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (John 5:19).