Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spiritual Thought: To My Grandchildren

Sunday was my week to teach again. Sometimes I dread it, sometimes I look forward to it. This time I didn't mind so much because the given topic was from my favorite general authority (is it ok to have a favorite, or is that like having a favorite child?), Henry B. Eyring. The comments given in class were really great - my favorite came from our Bishop's wife who talked about the power of music to bring the spirit into our homes. She said when her children were little (she has six, three of which are very close in age) she would sing hymns all the time to make them stop yelling at each other. Even though the children are all teenagers, they still do that.

Most of the comments and stories shared came back to the same four things - build up your personal testimony, put your loved ones (and others!) before your self by giving service, let the Holy Ghost guide your actions, and love unconditionally.

If you haven't heard this talk in a while, I encourage you to listen to it. I especially love the anecdote he shares from his parents. I'm including my outline below for other TFOT teachers.

To My Grandchildren, Henry B. Eyring
His grandchildren, upon entering into marriage, asked him - What will lead me to happiness? What will cause unhappiness? (and I believe his context is “IN FAMILIES,” not so much personal happiness, though those two can often be the same).

How would you answer this?

Here’s what Pres. Eyring says:

Quote #1:
“For all of us, including my grandchildren contemplating marriage, there is one overarching commandment that will help us to meet the challenges and lead to the heart of a happy family life. It applies to all relationships regardless of circumstances. It is repeated throughout the scriptures and in the teachings of the prophets in our day. Here is the Bible wording of the Lord’s advice to all who want to live together forever in loving happiness:
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.””

Joy of the Atonement
Pres. Eyring says that for him, the question before “What leads to happiness” is really “What leads me to love the Lord with all my heart?” His answer is feeling the joy of forgiveness and the Atonement. He says to CHOOSE to put yourself where you feel the joy of forgiveness. How do you do this?

Service in the church
The second commandment is to love thy neighbor. I think we can accomplish this in many ways since our “neighbors” essentially are everyone. But Pres. Eyring focuses specifically on our callings. Here’s what he says:

Quote #2:
“That great blessing has come by encouraging people I care for to go to the Savior for relief from pain, a relief only He can give. That is why I urge those I love to accept and to magnify every calling offered them in the Church. That choice is one of the great keys to family happiness. The pressures at every stage of life can tempt us to reject or neglect calls to serve the Savior. That can put us in spiritual peril for ourselves, our spouse, and our families.”

How does neglecting a calling put you in spiritual peril?
He says that in serving others, our love for the Savior increases. Why is that?
He also says that as we serve, as are more likely to plead for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Has anyone found that to be true?

The Holy Ghost and Marriage
After Pres. Eyring emphasized the importance of pleading for the companionship of the Holy Ghost in callings, he then applies it to the family as well.

Quote #3:
“It is only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we can hope to be equally yoked in a marriage free from discord. I have seen how that companionship is crucial for felicity in a marriage. The miracle of becoming one requires the help of heaven, and it takes time. Our goal is to live together forever in the presence of Heavenly Father and our Savior.”

This is my favorite part of his talk. He shares a personal story of his parents: His family had been living in New Jersey for 16 years because that’s where his father’s job was. It was really difficult for his mother to be so far from her family. His father was offered a new job opportunity that would take them back to Utah and asked his mother what she thought he should do. She answered that it was up to him and what he thought best. He turned down the offer and Mama Eyring got pretty upset. She left him a letter reminding him that he had made her a promise, many years ago, that if he ever could he would take them back to be near her family. He had forgotten about the promise and was surprised that she remembered and was upset. He went to her and said  “Mildred, why didn’t you tell me?” and she answered “You were supposed to remember.”

Why was it important for him to remember, not be told?
Why is Pres. Eyring using this story as an example of why we need the Holy Ghost?

Don’t Put Conditions on Love.
Not just for your spouse, but for your brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us no matter what, we should follow that example.

Pres. Eyring shared this story:
Quote #4:
“Years ago a friend of mine spoke of his grandmother. She had lived a full life, always faithful to the Lord and to His Church. Yet one of her grandsons chose a life of crime. He was finally sentenced to prison. My friend recalled that his grandmother, as she drove along a highway to visit her grandson in prison, had tears in her eyes as she prayed with anguish, “I’ve tried to live a good life. Why, why do I have this tragedy of a grandson who seems to have destroyed his life?”
The answer came to her mind in these words: “I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did.”

He adds:
“Life in families will test us. That is one of God’s purposes in giving us the gift of mortality—to strengthen us by passing through tests. That will be especially true in family life, where we will find great joy and great sorrow and challenges which may at times seem beyond our power to endure them.”


At the beginning of this lesson, we discussed two questions - what leads to happiness in families? and what leads to unhappiness? After discussing Pres. Eyring’s talk, what can we add to that? What advice would you give to your children, or grandchildren?

My answer -
  • Purify yourself. President Eyring talks so much about the atonement and feeling the joy and love of Christ. None of us are perfect. But as become more like Christ, we are less likely to yell, judge, be angry. I think of flying - put your air mask on first before you help others.
  • Give Service. In families, I think of service as just always thinking about the other members of your family before yourself. Service is the opposite of selfish.
  • Listen to the Holy Ghost. Even if you’re doing the first two things, we often still fall short. And that’s why we need to constantly be checking in with the Holy Ghost, listening for things we may be missing.
  • Love unconditionally. Don’t give up on your family members because they are making choices you don’t approve of. Our Savior never gives up on you.

No comments:

Post a Comment