Parents are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to their children. This has been the case since the time of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman on the earth. The Lord instructed them of the importance of teaching their children.
Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children… (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 6:57-58).
God commanded Adam and Eve to teach the truths of the gospel to their children, and He renewed those instructions to other prophets. The Prophet Joseph Smith received the same instructions.
But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth (Doctrine and Covenants 93:40).
Heavenly Father places us in families in order for us to learn from our parents. Parents are commanded to help their children prepare to one day return to live with Heavenly Father. A favorite children’s hymn is “Teach Me to Walk in the Light” with words and music by Clara W. McMaster. It is a beautiful song that teaches this principle in a way that even little children can understand. The first verse is usually sung by a child or children, the second verse by parents, and the third verse together.
Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
Come, little child, and together we’ll learn
Of his commandments, that we may return
Home to his presence, to live in his sight
Always, always to walk in the light.
Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
Gladly, gladly, we’ll walk in the light.
When we “walk in the light” we obey the commandments of Heavenly Father. This song teaches so simply the importance of parents teaching the gospel to their children. The Book of Mormon tells a story about some young men whose parents taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ by their parents and the importance of keeping the commandments of God.
Some Nephi missionaries went to teach the gospel to their enemies, the Lamanites. Many of the Lamanites were converted to the gospel, and they wanted to distinguish themselves from the wicked Lamanites. They called themselves the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, so that there would be no confusion. When they were converted they made a promise or covenant with Heavenly Father that they would not use their weapons of war. In order to show their intent to keep their covenant, they buried their weapons deep in the earth.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies moved to the land of the Nephites, and the Nephites gave them land and promised to protect them. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies became known for their righteousness and honesty. They provided food and clothing to help the Nephite armies.
After many years the wicked Lamanites began attacking the Nephites and taking possession of some of the Nephite cities. The Nephites were in great difficulty, and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies wanted to help them and wondered if they should break their covenant with God.
Helaman, a brave and righteous Nephite leader, knew the importance of keeping the covenants made with God, and He convinced the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to keep their covenant. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies had many sons who were children when their fathers made the covenant to never use weapons of war again. There were 2000 of these find young men who volunteered to fight if Helaman would be their leader.
These young men were honest and could be trusted. Their mothers had taught them to trust in Heavenly Father and to obey His commandments. These young men knew that they would be blessed if they followed the teachings of their mothers. They were not afraid, and they fought bravely.
Helaman loved these young men as much as parents love their children. After one great battle, many people had been killed. Helaman was worried that some of his young men had been killed. He numbered them, and he rejoiced to learn that none of them had died. Because the young men trust in Heavenly Father and were obedient to His commandments and the teachings of their mothers, they were protected in battle. (See Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Alma 56.)
Our children are also fighting a battle with evil. They need to know the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the importance of keeping God’s commandments.