The most important blessings that God grants to His children are associated with the family and the priesthood. President Boyd K. Packer declared that the purpose “of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity.” 1 We also know that “sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.” 2 It is only through worthily receiving needed priesthood ordinances in one of the temples that families are sealed and can be together forever. It is only through faithfully living the gospel that we can achieve the full joy and happiness that Heavenly Father intended for us to have during our lives.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our first effort is to be worthy of a temple recommend and then to seek an opportunity to receive our own temple blessings and to be sealed together as a family in the House of the Lord. For these blessings to be possible for our families, each husband and father must be worthy, be ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, lead his family in righteousness and treat his wife and children with kindness and love. Each must recognize that while his wife may have certain duties and responsibilities that differ from his, husbands and wives must “help one another as equal partners.” 3
In the Lord’s gospel, and in His church, husbands must never dominate or demean their wives or children. Likewise, wives should be kind and loving toward their husbands. Our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson has said, “Brethren, let’s treat our wives with dignity and with respect. They’re our eternal companions. Sisters, honor your husbands. They need to hear a good word. They need a friendly smile. They need a warm expression of true love.” 4 How grateful I am for my wife who loves me, encourages me and who strengthens my faith. I hope that, somehow, I am doing the same for her.
If you live worthily as a Melchizedek Priesthood holding husband and father, you have certain privileges. You may bless your newborn children during a sacrament meeting and give your new child a name and a father’s blessing. You may provide priesthood blessings that give comfort and counsel to your wife and children. You may even provide healing priesthood blessings. If worthy, you may baptize your children and confer the wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost. You may ordain your sons to the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood and you may take your family to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. You may also gather your children and teach them the gospel, read the scriptures with them, pray with and for them, have wonderful family home evenings with them, play with them and enjoy each one as they grow and mature. These are privileges that are worth every effort! These, and many other privileges, are the priesthood and gospel blessings on which our lives should be focused.
As a father, there will be times where discipline and correction are part of teaching your children. “But in discipline a father must exercise particular care, lest there be anything even approaching abuse, which is never justified. When a father provides correction, his motivation must be love and his guide the Holy Spirit.” 5
Our worthy young men also hold the Aaronic Priesthood and are a great blessing in the homes in which they reside. As with the Melchizedek Priesthood, the blessings of the Aaronic Priesthood are contingent on worthiness, diligence and love. Each young man holding the Aaronic Priesthood has three important responsibilities. First, he has the duty to administer certain priesthood ordinances. Second, he has the blessing of serving others. While some of this service will come as an assignment from the Bishop or other leaders, much of this service will occur within his own home and be a blessing to his family. Finally, each young Aaronic Priesthood holder has the privilege of inviting all to come unto Christ by always giving a good example, through visiting members in their homes, and by his conversations with those who are not yet members of the Lord’s church. In all of this, his service in the Aaronic Priesthood becomes a time of preparation for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood and assuming the blessings of missionary work, and, later, marriage and family.
The Lord loves those who hold His priesthood and who live up to their responsibilities to love God, live worthily, share the gospel, and assume the duties associated with family and temple marriage. As an Area Presidency, we extend our love to all and urge that every young man and every older man live worthy of these great personal and family blessings. We bear our witness that God loves His children and will provide every needed blessing as we live for them and work for them. ■
Caption: Elder David F. Evans
1 Boyd K. Packer, “The Plan of Happiness,” Liahona or Ensign, May 2015, 26.Liahona or Ensign
2 “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129; see also https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation?lang=engEnsign or Liahona
4 Thomas S. Monson, “Abundantly Blessed,” Liahona or Ensign, May 2008, 112.Liahona or Ensign
5 D. Todd Christofferson, “Fathers,” Liahona or Ensign, May 2016, 95Liahona or Ensign