Recently Susan and I spoke at the worldwide devotional for young adults about how they—and each of us—can be welding links in the chain of our generations. This is something that has been on my mind ever since listening to President Gordon B. Hinckley discuss this topic 18 years ago.
The imagery of a chain of the generations was clear in my mind. The warning to not become a weak link in the chain of the generations was powerful in my heart. The admonition to never do anything which would weaken the chain of the generations penetrated my soul. For Susan and me, the simple and powerful lessons we learned on that September afternoon have influenced for good our marriage, our family, and every aspect of our lives.
President Hinckley clearly and emphatically described what we should not do, which is become a weak link in the chain of the generations. I want to focus upon what we should do, which is become a welding link in the chain of the generations.
We learn in Doctrine and Covenants 128:18 “that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children” (italics added). Why would the earth be cursed? If there is not a welding link between the fathers and the children—which is the work for the dead—President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that the whole work of God would fail and be utterly wasted. In fact, the righteous influence that saves the earth from being utterly wasted when the Savior comes again is the restoration of the sealing authority.
These foundational gospel truths help us understand why “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”). But some of you have experienced great sorrow in abusive or dysfunctional family relationships. And consequently, you may have little or no desire to be linked to the people who inflicted such heartache and suffering.
Please listen: eternal family links are only welded together through priesthood authority and personal righteousness. Whatever bad things may have occurred in your family, I testify and promise the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the healing, renewing, and restoring that you need.
Some of you are first-generation members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whether you are a recent or a long-time convert, you are the lifeblood of the Church and the salvation of your present and future families. You are the first link in the chain of your generations.
Deceased family members who precede you in the chain of your generations are praying for your help, and those who will come after you are counting on your faithfulness. You indeed have the power to become strong welding links. Remember, it begins with you. And with the Lord’s help, you can do it.
After the devotional, I invited young adults to send me video messages of what they are doing to become a welding link in their families. I enjoyed watching their responses.
I implore you with all the energy of my soul to become a welding link in the chain of your generations. With the help of the Lord, you can create an eternal family, even if you did not come from the kind of Latter-day Saint home that sometimes is featured on the covers of the Liahona or Ensign magazines. The Holy Ghost will teach you all things that we should do. But please always remember: it begins with you!