Moments are the molecules that make up eternity!
There are two real tests of the strength and quality of any relationship. The first comes under conditions of stress and strain. When all is fine, when the sun is shining, no deep-root relationship structure is required. Appearances seem sufficient, but when the storm breaks, appearances are thrown to the wind, and in the winds that blow then some of us lash out with an ugliness held deep within. We may wound - and wound deeply - the tender sensitive feelings of our spouses or children or others and thereby teach them to be defensive and guarded against such hurts in the future.
...The other test of the quality of relationship is found in the little things of every day, little courtesies, little acts of kindness, the give and take in little moments.
"Men best show their character in trifles, when they are not on their guard...It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feeling of others, and denies nothing to itself." (Arthur Schopenhauer.)
Most recently, I think about the indescribable bond of brotherhood I have felt within the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Though each of these groups was very different, each had common characteristics. Perhaps we grew close because we struggled so much together, strived together, and achieved together. Perhaps our camaraderie was because we linked arms together in a common journey where we had to depend so completely on each other. Whatever it was we shared these relationships are the foundation of many of the most precious and rewarding moments of my life.
I wish to call your attention to the importance of establishing a bond of brotherhood in our assignments....
Establishing a bond of brotherhood is critical to successful church work. If those who serve with you feel this mutual love and trust, the work of the Lord will thrive, and heaven will aid you in your efforts. Fail to establish this bond, however, and you may find your work tedious, toilsome and unproductive.
But when he took up debate in high school and learned that his grandfather had been a champion debater for Brigham Young University, our son began to identify with his grandfather. My father had kept a personal journal during much of his adult life, and one day I showed my son an entry describing a debate between BYU and Princeton. I left that volume of the journal with him, and he ended up reading all three volumes.
Some months later, our son worked his way through a particularly trying experience and came to me late at night to tell me what had happened. He said, “Dad, I never knew Grandpa Hafen, but I felt that he was there to help me.”
Not long afterward, as that son was anticipating receiving his mission call, we went to a weekend family reunion in southern Utah. On Sunday afternoon, our son borrowed his grandmother’s car and drove alone to the isolated little canyon where his grandfather had loved to ride his horse—the place, in fact, where he had passed away. At an appropriate spot, my son knelt to pray, asking for the Lord’s help to sort through his questions about his mission and his faith. Something very special then occurred, and at his missionary farewell, he described the deep assurance and new insights he had carried out of the canyon that day.
As I think about those precious personal moments, I have no doubt about the reality of a bond and a sense of belonging between the generations on both sides of the veil. Through these experiences, my son gained a sense of identity and purpose. His tie with the eternal world became more real, and the resulting sense of destiny and mission he felt sharpened his life’s focus and lifted his expectations.
Generally, testimony emerges over time and through life’s experiences. We can compare testimony to the process of watching a photograph develop. Powerful impressions of the Spirit come like flashes of light on receptive photographic film. Like the chemicals needed to develop the picture, certain spiritual conditions and experiences are needed in our lives for our personal testimony to develop into a certain truth and knowledge. And like a photograph, a testimony, if not carefully preserved, will fade with time.
Testimonies often come when there is willingness to serve where we are called. They come when a decision is made to strive to be obedient. Testimonies come during efforts to help, lift, and strengthen others. They come from prayer and from studying the scriptures and applying them in our lives. Whatever our circumstances, there seem to be moments in each of our lives when we can be given the knowledge that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. There is no greater search in life that we can embark upon than the quest to gain a testimony of the truth.
we enjoy take us by surprise.
It is not that we seize them,
but that they seize us.
We have the greatest opportunity with the young. The best time to teach is early, while children are still immune to the temptations of their mortal enemy, and long before the words of truth may be harder for them to hear in the noise of their personal struggles.
A wise parent would never miss a chance to gather children together to learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Such moments are so rare in comparison with the efforts of the enemy. For every hour the power of doctrine is introduced into a child's life, there may be hundreds of hours of messages and images denying or ignoring the saving truths.
The question should not be whether we are too tired to prepare to teach doctrine or whether it wouldn't be better to draw a child closer by just having fun or whether the child isn't beginning to think that we preach too much. The question must be, "With so little time and so few opportunities, what words of doctrine from me will fortify them against the attacks on their faith which are sure to come?" The words you speak today may be the ones they remember. And today will soon be gone.
The years pass, we teach the doctrine the best we can, and yet some still do not respond. There is sorrow in that. But there is hope in the scriptural record of families. Think of Alma the Younger and Enos. In their moments of crisis, they remembered the words of their fathers, words of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It saved them. Your teaching of that sacred doctrine will be remembered.
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