I began to understand what President Gordon B. Hinckley meant when he said: “I am grateful for the emphasis on reading the scriptures. I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted. At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine.”2
Through seriously studying the scriptures, I felt a peace settle into my heart. President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said of the Book of Mormon, “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book.”3 In the beginning, when I was struggling with reading the Book of Mormon, I noticed that on the days I did not read, I was not at peace. I came to realize I needed the divine influence of this book in my life daily.
There are two basic principles that helped these young men become like the sons of Helaman. Even though the boys’ mothers were not members of the Church and did not understand the words of the Lord, priesthood leaders became like their fathers, and leaders’ wives became like their mothers.
These nine boys—I call them the “Boys of the Lord”—learned that they would be blessed when they listened to the Church leaders, even though they didn’t always understand why. They became like Adam, our first father, who when he made an offering to the Lord was asked by an angel, “Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.” They became anxious to be obedient and to serve the Lord with their whole hearts.
They also learned that attending their Church meetings was very important. President Ezra Taft Benson said in his speech entitled “To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright’ ”: “May I now direct your attention to the importance of attending all of your Church meetings. Faithful attendance at Church meetings brings blessings you can receive in no other way.” As they attended their Church meetings regularly, the boys felt the great love of the Lord and learned how to apply the doctrines and principles of the Church in their own daily lives. They also learned how to participate in meetings with great joy and happiness.
When I was a little girl, I often experienced serious illness. My father was always willing and worthy to use the priesthood power he held to bless me. But I have also felt that my mother's special gifts contributed to my healing. She was truly gifted in her ability to minister to my needs and help me get well. Her great faith that the Lord would lead her to answers about medical treatment was a comfort to me. How blessed I was to have two parents who lovingly used their spiritual gifts.
President Wilford Woodruff said that "it is the privilege of every man and woman in this kingdom to enjoy the spirit of prophecy, which is the Spirit of God; and to the faithful it reveals such things as are necessary for their comfort and consolation, and to guide them in their daily duties."
My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.
We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.
In the meantime, do not wait for someone else to make your life complete. Stop second-guessing yourself and wondering if you are defective. Instead, seek to reach your potential as a child of God. Seek learning. Become engaged in a meaningful career, and seek fulfillment in service to others. Use your time, your talents, and your resources to improve yourself and bless those around you. All of this is part of your preparation for having a family. Immerse yourself in your ward or branch and seek to magnify your callings, no matter what they may be.
The great purpose of this mortal existence is to learn to fully love our Heavenly Father and our neighbor as ourselves. If we do this with all our might, mind, and strength, our eternal destiny will be glorious and grand beyond our capacity to imagine. Be faithful, and things will work out for you. That is His eternal promise to all who love and honor Him.
There are those who do not marry because they feel a lack of “magic” in the relationship. By “magic” I assume they mean sparks of attraction. Falling in love is a wonderful feeling, and I would never counsel you to marry someone you do not love. Nevertheless—and here is another thing that is sometimes hard to accept—that magic sparkle needs continuous polishing. When the magic endures in a relationship, it’s because the couple made it happen, not because it mystically appeared due to some cosmic force.
Since “God is love,” the closer we approach Him, the more profoundly we experience love. But because a veil separates this mortality from our heavenly home, we must seek in the Spirit that which is imperceptible to mortal eyes.
Heaven may seem distant at times, but the scriptures offer hope: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.
When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden.
Being consistent in our homes is important for another reason. Many of the Savior’s harshest rebukes were directed to hypocrites. Jesus warned His disciples concerning the scribes and Pharisees: “Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). This strong admonition is sobering given the counsel to “express love—and show it,” to “bear testimony—and live it,” and to “be consistent.”
The hypocrisy in our lives is most readily discerned and causes the greatest destruction within our own homes. And children often are the most alert and sensitive when it comes to recognizing hypocrisy.
A public statement of love when the private actions of love are absent at home is hypocrisy—and weakens the foundation of a great work. Publicly declaring testimony when faithfulness and obedience are missing within our own homes is hypocrisy—and undermines the foundation of a great work. The commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) applies most pointedly to the hypocrite in each of us. We need to be and become more consistent. “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
As we seek the Lord’s help and in His strength, we can gradually reduce the disparity between what we say and what we do, between expressing love and consistently showing it, and between bearing testimony and steadfastly living it. We can become more diligent and concerned at home as we are more faithful in learning, living, and loving the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.