We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by studying the document titled “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” and by following its precepts. One way to study the proclamation is one paragraph at a time. This is the ninth article in this series.
Last week’s post on strengthening families discussed the first part of the seventh paragraph. I chose to do this long paragraph because there were too many important topics to be covered in one post. As my regular readers will remember the first part of this paragraph says, “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity….”
This week’s post will cover the middle section of the paragraph as follows, “… Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities….”
As you can see, there are some powerful principles listed in the above paragraph. Time has proven that living these principles produces successful and happy marriages and families. These in turn produce strong communities and nations.
The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ tells the experience of a group of 2060 young Lamanite men who came from families who lived and taught these principles. The fathers of the young men were converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, repented of the many deaths they had caused, and buried their weapons deep in the earth in a covenant to never take another life. They were given land by the Nephites and kept their covenant with God. Enemies came upon their Nephite friends, and the fathers were about to break their covenant with God. However, their sons told them that they (the sons) had not made such a covenant. They would join the Nephite army and fight for liberty. They asked a prophet named Helaman to be their leader.
After a hard fought battle, Helaman wrote the following to his commander, Captain Moroni: “And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
“For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
“Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
“And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it”
The next chapter tells of another battle in which the 2,060 fought valiantly and “did administer death unto all those who opposed them.
“And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted.
“Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them….
“And we retained our city Cumeni, and were not all destroyed by the sword; nevertheless, we had suffered great loss.
“And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had fled, I immediately gave orders that my men who had been wounded should be taken from among the dead, and caused that their wounds should be dressed.
“And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.
“And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe – that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.
“Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually” (Alma 57:19-27).
These young men had been taught by their mothers – some of their fathers were probably killed because they would not take up arms against their enemies. This example shows the powerful of faith in Jesus Christ and putting their trust in God. Surely the young men were also taught other gospel principles such as prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, and work.
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles states, “Times are very different today, but while times may change, a parent’s teaching must never be devalued. Many activities link the values of one generation to the next, but perhaps the most central of these activities is parents teaching children in the home. This is especially true when we consider the teaching of values, moral and ethical standards, and faith” (“Mothers Teaching Children in the Home,” Ensign, May 2010).
As you study the middle section of the seventh paragraph of the proclamation, you may want to share what you learn in a family home evening. This site has a wonderful family home evening program all outlined with lesson, music, activity, and refreshments. You may want to cover the entire paragraph in one evening, or you may want to split the paragraph as I am doing. I hope you will strengthen your family, community, and nation by teaching powerful gospel principles in your home.