Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sure Foundation

                    Families, communities and nations are strengthened when we teach children and teenagers to build their lives on a sure foundation.  The best information that we can give to the rising generation is to teach them the importance of worshipping Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  This sure foundation is built of daily personal prayer, daily scripture study, weekly attendance at worship meetings, regular temple attendance, and service to others.   I have known for many years that my days and weeks are much more meaningful when I stand on this firm foundation and have encouraged others to build their own foundations on this sure foundation.

                    An ancient American prophet named Helaman taught his sons Nephi and Lehi about the importance of building on a "sure foundation":  "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Helaman 5:12).

As a seminary teacher, I often asked my students to give me better answers than what I called "Sunday School answers" because I wanted my students to develop more depth in their spirituality and to choose some specific activities that help us live certain gospel principles.  Even though I always encouraged prayer, scripture study, service, and attendance at Church meeting, I wanted them to think a little more about the specific gospel principle we were discussing.

I was pleased when my older son called home from Brigham Young University and shared his experience with building his own foundation.  He told me that he was "angry" because he had to admit that his Sunday School teachers, Seminary teachers, priesthood leaders, and I had been correct all along.  I was pleased that he had discovered for himself the importance of daily personal prayer, daily scripture study, regular Church attendance, and service.

I was a little surprised to read a magazine article where the author used the term "Sunday School answers" to describe these same activities, and I read the article with great interest.  The author explained that she wanted to ask "profound questions that would require contemplation and big, new, insightful answers" and "avoid a recitation of the same old `Sunday School answers'…."  I recognized her desire to bring greater depth into her lessons for I had felt that same desire.  I appreciated the way she shared her experience because she helped me to focus more on the reason that the "Sunday School answers" are exactly what we all need.

"Much of what I searched for was how I could be one with the Lord, how I could abide in His love, and how, as a result, I could develop extra patience - patience I so desperately needed to turn my experiences from ones that exhausted me to ones that invigorated and sanctified me.
"Ironically, as I searched for both an understanding of the word abide and answers to the difficult challenges I faced on a daily basis, I was ultimately led back to the precise Sunday School answers I had been trying to avoid.  I found the answers to my challenges by reading the scriptures, praying daily, serving my family and others, and attending the temple and my Sunday meetings.  I learned that those simple things make the difference between enduring and enduring well and with patience."

I already knew that my days and weeks go better when I live the "Sunday School answers" and build my life on this firm foundation; however, I had not previously connected the dots between this firm foundation and "enduring well and with patience."

We must teach our children and teenagers - and encourage young adults - to build their foundations on the "Sunday School answers."  I know that we can strengthen our families, communities and nation by assisting the rising generation to build their firm foundation on these basic principles.  We can strengthen our families and communities as we individually grow stronger and better prepared to endure our trials well and with patience.

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