Strong families sustain the Prophets and Apostles as they lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Parents must first sustain the Prophet with their words and actions and then teach their children to follow in their footsteps. This teaching must be more than just teaching the “steps” to sustain but also include the “how” and the “why.” When family members truly understand the importance of sustaining the Prophet, they sustain him and bring blessings to their homes, communities, and nations.
When we speak of “sustaining” our leaders, we mean several different actions. Some of the most important ways we can support our leaders are: (1) have faith in their abilities to lead, (2) pray for them and their families, (3) follow their counsel, (4) help them when we are asked, and (5) accept callings they extend to us.
President Joseph F. Smith made the following statement in 1898 when he was Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “It is an important duty resting upon the Saints who … sustain the authorities of the Church, to do so not only by the lifting of the hand, the mere form, but in deed and in truth.” (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 211.)
The topic of sustaining came up because a few members of the Church – maybe ten people – raised their hands in opposition to the Prophet last Saturday. This is not the first time people have voted to not sustain, and it probably will not be the last; however, this is the first time it has been broadcast so quickly and widely.
I read a lot about the problem and learned one reason for this lack of support: the Prophet is getting old and the next two Apostles in the line of authority are about the same age. In fact, according to one article I read, the average age of the fifteen Apostles who currently lead the Church is eighty years. The author obviously thought men of that age cannot lead the Church. Apparently, he does not understand the value of experience or how the Lord is in charge of the Church. According to the Lord’s will and in His own time, the elderly Apostles will either be taken from the earth or strengthened to the work. The ages of the Apostles do not concern me except I will miss them when they go. I do not fear for the future of the Church.
As parents teach their children, one tool they can use is the family home evening (FHE) program. This site has a FHE lesson all prepared for parents to use in teaching their children the importance of sustaining the prophet.
Wise parents will actively teach their children to sustain the Prophet because they know following the Prophet will strengthen their family. They also know that strong families as the core unit of society will strengthen communities and nations.