Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Interview

My mom kept this quote from President David O. McKay, the 9th prophet after the restoration of the Church, on the fridge of our house for most of my life growing up:

Let me assure you, brethren, that some day will have a personal Priesthood interview with the Savior Himself. If you are interested, I will tell you the order in which He will ask you to account for your earthly responsibilities.
First, He will request an accountability report about your relationship with your wife. Have you actively been engaged in making her happy and ensuring that her needs have been met as an individual?
Second, He will want an accountability report about each of your children individually. He will not attempt to have this for simply a family stewardship but will request information about your relationship to each and every child.
Third, He will want to know what you personally have done with the talents you were given in the pre-existence.
Fourth, He will want a summary of your activity in your church assignments. He will not be necessarily interested in what assignments you have had, for in his eyes the home teacher and a mission president are probably equals, but He will request a summary of how you have been of service to your fellowmen in your Church assignments.
Fifth, He will have no interest in how you earned your living, but if you were honest in all your dealings.
Sixth, He will ask for an accountability on what you have done to contribute in a positive manner to your community, state, country, and the world.”
I think this is an easy way to realize what is important in life and what isn't. It is telling to me that the first items on this list aren't about personal fulfilment or anything that usually brings any attention or praise to ourselves, but how we treat the people whose lives we are most able to bless.

It also interests me that these interactions are among the most private of our lives. Most of the people we know, although they may think otherwise, really don't know whether or not we are doing these things or to what degree we do them. Perhaps this is part of what the Lord was referring to in Luke 12:3 -
"Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."

Mostly, I love this quote and have found it useful throughout my life. I'm grateful that we have prophets today who teach us. I'm looking forward to general conference next weekend; I know that if we practice what we're taught there we'll be lead down the right path.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Do We Have Families?

Families are a unique relationship that we have in this world due to its permanence. With few exceptions, family is family and no matter what we're going to be attached to them. Even people who spend years separated from their families often eventually return to become part of the family again.

I do not believe that this organization is by accident. I think the families we are given here are meant to teach us directly about our relationship with God. No matter what, we are God's children; He created all of us and placed us here on earth. Although we can make decisions that disappoint Him we do not cease to be His children. The relationship a child has his or her parents is directly patterned after the relationship we have with Him.

As we seek to strengthen our families and our relationships in our families we will come to understand God better. If we are good and faithful in these relationships, then we will please Him; if we are not, then we cannot please Him. It is as simple as President David O. McKay taught:

No other success can compensate for failure in the home.
Now the obvious, sad fact is that many are not born into homes where they are loved by their father and mother. Some have single parents, some have abusive parents, some are orphaned, some are ignored, or many other possible unpleasant situations.

This begs the question: why would God allow innocent children to suffer? How can this be His plan? The answer I have found for this question is two-fold: first, God will not force us to live correctly. We are meant to learn from this life and be tried. You cannot effectively test someone if you force them to choose the correct answers. Second, God's plan is for us to all have rich and fulfilling family relationships. Like so many of the things we suffer here, in almost all cases the lack of a loving family is because of disobedience to His plan.

Families are given to us as gifts to support us through the challenges of this life and are one of the most effective ways we can learn about our Heavenly Father. I know that if we work to develop love in these relationships it will bring us more peace and happiness than most anything can in this world.