Monday, February 6, 2012

Stand in Holy Places

(find the talk here)

I didn’t get a chance to read this talk this morning, but I was super tired (my wonderful husband surprised me on Saturday with a brand new computer(!) and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday evening trying to get all my photo albums switched over to the new computer) – so I am trying to make up for it now.

I really enjoyed this talk. I am pretty sure that it was one of the first talks our ward Relief Society studied for our Teachings for Our Times lesson.

It’s not hard to see that what President Thomas S. Monson said about the “moral compass of society” is absolutely true.

“Also evolving at a rapid rate has been the moral compass of society. Behaviors which once were considered inappropriate and immoral are now not only tolerated but also viewed by ever so many as acceptable.”
It’s interesting that there are a lot of things that made people uncomfortable decades ago and now are mostly the “norm” – and some of those things are good (interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, etc) and some of those things are bad (views on homosexuality, skewed priorities of mothers, financial miseducation, etc).

“Although the world has changed, the laws of God remain constant.” The bishop of one of my student wards in college drew the two lines as pictured above on a chalkboard during a combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting. Actually, the first time he drew the lines, the top line ran parallel to the bottom line. He discussed with us how the world’s morality has always been slightly lower than the morality of members of the Church, but how members today are letting their standards fall along with the world – even though our standards are still higher than those of the world. Then he erased the top line and drew a straight line across like the one I have pictured. He then taught us about the constancy of God and how His laws never change, and so our standards should never be lowered. The gap between the standards of the Church and the standards of the world should be growing if the standards of the world are declining.

Most of us probably experience feelings of uncertainty when we think about raising children in today’s society, which is only getting worse and worse. President Monson asks the questions:IMG_0397-001 “Do we wring our hands in despair and wonder how we’ll ever survive in such a world?” His answer is an emphatic “No.” And I echo that sentiment. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, and we know how to keep our families safe from the storms of the world. President Monson’s message is that the way to keep our families safe is by maintaining a close relationship with our Father in Heaven.

This is something that I frequently “wring my hands” about teaching my children:

“It may appear to you at times that those out in the world are having much more fun than you are. Some of you may feel restricted by the code of conduct to which we in the Church adhere. My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments. That Spirit cannot be present at the kinds of activities in which so much of the world participates.”

I am always concerned that my children will feel this way – that the laws of God are restrictive. I want to teach them that obedience to God’s laws brings “more joy into our lives [and] more peace to our souls”.

Just tonight I had a conversation with my four year old, who is having a really hard time learning how to obey rules. He tells me all the time that he wishes there were “no rules” and that he could just do “whatever [he] want[s]” to do. We talked about how kites fly by being held by a string, and that if we let go of the string, the kite will fall down to the ground. Then we talked about how following God’s rules helps us feel the Spirit and how obeying our parents keeps us safe, and how obeying the rules to a game helps us have more fun.

I hope that bedtime conversation will have an impact on him. I know that just one conversation will not be enough – I will have to show him by my obedience to God’s laws, and other important “rules” and we will talk about this concept frequently. I still can’t help but worry about him.

On a concluding note, I have to say that I wish I could say that “not a day has gone by that I have not communicated with my Father in Heaven through prayer.” I want to make a goal to communicate with my Father in Heaven every day.

How do you keep your family safe in this morally declining world? How often do you communicate with your Heavenly Father?

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