"DOING THE RIGHT THING MATTERS! < "Teach more people more truth, and they will improve their own lives." - John Taylor
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Cheating and dishonesty harms you and harms others as well. If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others. Be honest at school; choose not to cheat in any way. Be honest in your job, giving a full amount of work for your pay. Be honest at home; your word, your children and your marriage are most important and you do not want to deal with infidelity cheating! Do not rationalize that being dishonest is acceptable, even though others may think it does not matter.
Closely associated with honesty is integrity. Integrity means thinking and doing what is right at all times, no matter what the consequences. When you have integrity, you are willing to live by your standards and beliefs even when no one is watching. Choose to live so that your thoughts and behavior are always in harmony with the gospel.
Am I honest in all my conversations and dealings?
In keeping my marriage covenants?
Be honest with yourself, others,
and God at all times.
Being honest means choosing not to lie,
steal, cheat, or deceive in any way.
I couldn’t remember the answer to one question on the quiz. It would be so easy to dart my eyes toward my classmate’s answer.
As I tapped my pen furiously on my chair, it occurred to me that it would take just a moment to turn my head, give my hair a flip, and dart my eyes toward my classmate’s answer. “I could do this just once,” I thought, “and I’ll ace the quiz. Just once won’t hurt. Besides, it’s so unfair for me. I study hard, yet I get lower grades than my classmates because I don’t cheat!” Still, I felt uncomfortable. I fidgeted in my chair, trying to make a choice: to cheat or not to cheat.
Then a voice inside me said, “No! Cheating is wrong, and you know it!” Suddenly I realized that even if I got a perfect score on the quiz, I wouldn’t feel good about my score if I cheated. I must make the right choice—this choice was the real test.
DID YOU CHEAT?
I remember when two guys in front of me at school were quietly comparing answers to the test we were taking when one of them turned to me and asked, “What did you get for number six?” I quietly told them.
My friend then asked me, Did you cheat?
My heart sank to the very bottom of my shoes. The words didn’t register at first, with my head pounding so hard. “What was that?” I stammered, all the while looking for an explanation.
“I said, did you cheat, Robbie?” The question came from one of my best friends, Darla. We’d grown up together and were now in our junior year of high school. Over the years we’d always talked about everything, but at this moment she was the last person in the world I wanted to talk to.
There I was, Darla in front of me, her question aimed right at my heart. What could I tell her? I had cheated on a lousy exam just to please my friends. I could see the look on her face, as if she didn’t want to believe the possible answer. I respected Darla more than almost anyone. She was a good friend and had strong values. She knew I was a member of my Church and respected that. We agreed on a lot of issues and found strength in each other’s desire to do good. Usually.
“Yeah,” was all I could say, lamely.
“Oh, Robbie,” was all she said as she turned back to her work.
I can’t describe how much the disappointment in her voice and on her face hurt me. I had compromised my standards just to fit in with a couple of guys and ended up disappointing someone I really admired. Guilt washed over me. I kept thinking I had hurt the image of the Church in her eyes. I apologized to her for what I’d done and talked to the teacher afterwards. She wasn’t pleased either, but we worked things out.
I’ll never forget that day. I now know it isn’t worth compromising your values just to please other people. Since then I’ve tried to be honest and am much happier with myself. Thankfully, I can say I haven’t repeated that mistake again. I’ve felt the difference in doing what’s popular and in doing what’s right, and I know what makes me happy.
“The Lord … wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. And as you do so and as you perform honorably and with excellence, you will bring honor to the Church, for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship. Be smart. Don’t be foolish. You cannot bluff or cheat others without bluffing or cheating yourselves.” PresidentGordon B. Hinckley
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like Him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves”. Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. They do not lie, steal, or cheat.
INFIDELITY – To Lie Is Dishonest
What happens to people who are married,
but break it by adultery, with its
heart-wrenching agony and divorce?
The problem doesn’t occur in a simple process of leaping from the marriage altar to the divorce court. Instead, infidelity is a subtle process. It does not begin with adultery; it begins with thoughts and attitudes. Each step to adultery is short, and each is easily taken; but once the process starts, it is difficult to stop.
Professional counselors have learned to recognize many of the “warning signs” of infidelity—signs that every husband and wife should be aware of and should avoid.
One man, whom we’ll call Willard, came for counsel because he was frightened of his own feelings, which were inclining to an interest in other women. He and Wilma seemed to have a “good” marriage, but he had gradually become bored with it. It lacked excitement; their personal relationship was unsatisfying, their conversations were guarded and sterile, and Wilma didn’t seem to be interested in him anymore. What particularly frightened him was the realization that he flirted with women at his office and even playfully kissed one once. This forced him to realize imminent danger to his vows.
Willard was suffering from three myths that often plague modern marriage.
The first mythsays, “The marriage will take care of itself.” But it won’t. Marriage is a dynamic interaction between two growing, changing people, and it requires constant focus on the quality of that interaction if the marriage is to be close and meaningful. A marriage does not automatically guarantee a pleasant one.
The second myth says, “If the marriage is not successful, I should start over.” But success is not an instant achievement. By definition, marriage is a process, not a stage. Consequently, it will be more successful at some points than at others. Many people want or expect instant success in all dimensions of marriage; if any aspect seems less than perfect, one despairs and thinks, “I married the wrong person.” This attitude frequently turns one’s attention toward someone other than his marriage partner.
The third myth says, “Loving my spouse does not preclude the possibility of becoming involved with anyone else.” The task for every married person is to maintain loyalty and fidelity with one person: the spouse. It is inappropriate to feel and express to others the same love feelings one expresses to a spouse.
Many situations in work, in society, and in church assignments bring men and women together. Each of these occasions is also a time when emotional involvement with other people may ensue. Both men and women must be very clear about their marital commitments and must be committed to the process of maintaining fidelity within marriage.
Fidelity, like infidelity, is a process. Fidelity, the positive quality, is measured by the degree of loyalty, allegiance, and commitment between husband and wife. Infidelity, the negative quality, results from insufficient feelings of loyalty and allegiance. Any action that fosters inappropriate relationships with another person erodes fidelity.
Two souls, united in matrimony, can achieve spiritual and temporal unity only if they constantly increase their friendship, love, and loyalty by expressing their feelings verbally, by maintaining mutual respect, and by demonstrating concern for each other.
The commandment to our generation is: “Thou shalt not … commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.” (D&C 29:6.) “For the naturalman is an enemy to God”Mosiah 3:19
Infidelity and fidelity are mutually exclusive processes. As fidelity, loyalty, trust, and sharing increase, there is little room for infidelity to grow. The main dimension of the fidelity process is personal commitment—commitment to your spouse, to marriage as an institution and as a personal relationship, to gospel ideals and standards, and to an eternity of dynamic development together.
“All things need watching, working at, caring for, and marriage is no exception. Marriage is not something to be indifferently treated or abused, or something that simply takes care of itself. Nothing neglected will remain as it was or is, or will fail to deteriorate. All things need attention, care and concern, and especially so in this most sensitive of all relationships of life.” Richard L. Evans
Fidelity in Marriage: It’s More Than You Think
Fidelity includes refraining from physical contact—but that is not all. Fidelity also means complete commitment, trust, and respect between husband and wife. Inappropriate interactions with another person can erode fidelity.
“What does it mean to love someone with all your heart? It means to love with all your emotional feelings and with all your devotion.” President Ezra Taft Benson
We should be careful not to allow relationships even to begin to develop inappropriately. As Paul warned, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Not only our actions relative to other people, but also our thoughts must be guarded “as our thoughts and words must be pure because we shall be judged for our thoughts as well as our actions, good or ill” (see Alma 12:12–15; see also 2 Nephi 9:39; Mosiah 4:30; D&C 88:109).
As we consider the sacred nature of being spiritually faithful to our spouses, we should remember the Savior’s counsel: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28).
We should be careful not to allow relationships even to begin to develop inappropriately. As Paul warned, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Cheating via Pornography
Dealing with a spouse’s pornography addiction can be an emotional roller coaster for the injured partner. Often this partner’s needs go unmet as efforts are focused on the person with the problem. Church leaders and counselors may overlook the pain and suffering of the wife* as they attempt to help the husband control and overcome his problem. Wives are left with a variety of emotions and feelings to deal with. They may experience feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger, fear, guilt, shame, abandonment, and so forth.
Research indicates better success rates when spouses work together in overcoming pornography addiction. In order for wives to be supportive and helpful in the recovery process, they may need help and support in managing their own feelings. For many women, their spouse’s use of pornography is a form of infidelity, leaving serious emotional and spiritual wounds.
Beware, women are now just as vulnerable as men when it comes to pornography!
Seeking professional help should be considered if any of the above-mentioned issues are interfering with one’s ability to function or fulfill daily responsibilities. If feelings of depression, worthlessness, aggression, or hostility are persistent, seek help.
“He who cheats others is a knave,
but he who cheats himself is a fool.”
“I have been taught that there is one person in the world you never want to fool, and that is yourself, because that is plain stupidity.”
In the next decade, millions of young people will drop out of school and shortly thereafter will be seeking jobs—millions of unprepared young people competing for new jobs. Their pay will be less, their working conditions poorer, and their competition more overwhelming than for those youth who persist in making themselves ready for responsible employment. A good education is said to be an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. To secure neither the ornament nor the refuge is a shortsighted approach to life.
“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”
How often I have talked to men who have spent many years of their early lives in wanton waste of energy, time, and effort, and who have, in later years, found themselves. Always they have this lament: “What a fool I have been! Why couldn’t I have seen the joys of service long before I did? Oh, the many years I have wasted. I have cheated myself.”
There are many other ways we can cheat ourselves too. We may get angry with our parents, or a teacher and dwarf ourselves into nameless anonymity as we shrivel and shrink under the venom and poison of bitterness and hatred. While the hated one goes on about his business, little realizing the suffering of the hater, the latter cheats himself.
Proverbs 10:18 tells us: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” [Prov. 10:18]
And there are those who try to free themselves from moral obligations by claiming that they are atheists. The current generation has no monopoly on this self-deception. Thousands of years ago the psalmist observed that “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.” He then wrote that they had “altogether become filthy,” that there was “none that doeth good, no, not one.” And his profound chastisement at that time was this: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (See Ps. 53:1–3.)
There have been so many people who have come to me and expressed their remorse for having cheated themselves. There was a young man who had postponed marriage for many reasons: to devote himself unhindered to advanced education, to accumulate material goods, and other reasons. After he finally married, he said, “My life is now so beautiful. Why did I waste so many years without these blessings? I have traded dollars for pennies.”
There was a young woman who had had a child while unwed. She had traded the child for care, hospital fees, and anonymity. Years passed, and she tried to recover her child but without success. Finally she married, and after a year or two with no children, her fears were confirmed by her doctor, and she came to weep. She would remain childless. Oh, how cheaply she had sold her one chance for motherhood.
There have been those who have finally found great joy in the gospel after having resisted it for years. Invariably they have said, “All these years we’ve spurned the missionaries. Why didn’t we listen sooner? We could have had many years more of the happiness we now enjoy.”
How can one justify cheating himself? To postpone life for lesser values is to deny opportunity. To marry by civil ceremony when eternal covenants could be made is to take unreasonable chances with the future. To terminate activity in the Church just to spite leaders or to give vent to wounded feelings is to cheat ourselves. And Dr. Maeser said, “He who cheats himself is a fool.”
How can we receive of this grace and love from the Lord? The scriptures hold the remedy for man’s foolishness. The prophets are our guide to wisdom. The Master is our great example and the source of all true counsel. In Luke we read:
“… O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25–27.)
Cheating In Chastity
The Lord has spoken clearly, strongly, and repeatedly on this subject. Through his prophets he has indicated that premarital sexual relations “are an abomination in the sight of the Lord” (Alma 39:5), but that those who remain virtuous and keep the other commandments shall have their “confidence wax strong in the presence of God.” (D&C 121:45.)
The Lord gives us commandments because he knows what will bring us happiness, peace, joy, and fulfillment. President Spencer W. Kimball reminds us that he is not “an angry, cruel God who brings vengeance on people for not complying with His laws. … He organized a plan which was natural—a cause-and-effect program. It is inconceivable that God would desire to punish or to see His children in suffering. … But however he tries, a man cannot escape the consequences of sin. They follow as the night follows the day. Sometimes the penalties are delayed in coming, but they are sure as life itself.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 140–41.) God has not detailed all the psychological and sociological reasons why we should be sexually abstinent until marriage. We know from history and experience, however, that fornication and adultery are spiritually harmful and that if the practice is widespread it is detrimental to nations and societies.
As I approach this question from a background of counseling and social psychology, I can assure all young people that my professional experiences continue to confirm the wisdom of premarital chastity.
Serious effects upon our personalities
First, the sexual experience is not a simple satisfaction of a physical need, like eating or drinking. Freud recognized that it has a very complex relationship with our entire personality. (New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis.) The prophets teach us that it is a beautiful means our Father in heaven has established to provide bodies for spirits. If used aright, procreation can elevate and sanctify: if abused, it will violate and degrade. Our use of this special power, and the processes associated with it, will have a great effect upon our self-concepts and upon our perception of ourselves as men or women.
It is generally accepted that those feelings of masculinity or
femininity have great impact upon our personality. In the most intimate of all relationships, our self-doubts, our fears, and our feelings of adequacy are all affected. Intimacies outside the covenants of marriage affect our self-image, which significantly affects our marital relationships.
Some of our current movies, magazines, and music further compound the problem by conditioning us to focus more upon our own sensual pleasure and less upon human feelings.
Those who indulge in immorality lose some of their capacity to relate to others on more intimate spiritual and emotional levels. President Kimball once explained: “When the unmarried yield to the lust that induces intimacies and indulgence, they have permitted the body to dominate and have placed the spirit in chains. It is unthinkable that anyone could call this love.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 154.) From my experience in counseling, I have learned that what President Kimball has said is true. When a couple engage in premarital intimacies they act out of selfish interests (though they may neither recognize nor admit it), and when we act out of purely selfish interest, we begin to use people as things. The more we use people as things, the more we undermine our capacity to relate to others.
Because of the Vietnam War, we were bombarded for years with vivid television scenes of people being mutilated, tortured, and killed. At first, I was shocked and sickened, but it has become frighteningly clear to me that as time went by I was able to view the human carnage more and more with a dispassionate attitude. From this experience, I know that people can become accustomed, and then apathetic to things that should cause great concern. People have tolerated and then accepted as “just part of life” that which should offend their most basic human feelings. Some of our most violent motion pictures and TV shows have become the greatest moneymakers. Until now, I never understood how the Romans could come to enjoy seeing people fed to the lions.
Likewise, as we are bombarded with sensual, carnal stimuli that in years past embarrassed us, it becomes easier to ignore it or perhaps even accept it. In movies it has become so common that many persons can very dispassionately see immorality on the screen. Norman Cousins warned, “The danger is not that the exploitation of sex may create sex fiends, but that it may spawn eunuchs. … People who insist on seeing everything and doing anything run the risk of feeling nothing. … Our highest responses are being blunted without our knowing it.” (“See Everything, Do Everything, Feel Nothing.” Saturday Review, January 23, 1971, p. 31.)
I fear that, whether we realize it or not, if we engage in premarital sexual conduct we are using the other person as an object or defining him or her in terms of bodily functions or in terms of our own selfish needs instead of by his or her eternal value. This not only destroys meaningful, fulfilling relationships with them, but it also cuts us off from the most important relationship of all—that with our Father in heaven. When we disobey commandments, we sin against our relationship with our Father in heaven. We sin against people and our relationships with them. We sin against our own true nature as sons and daughters of Deity.
I urge you sons and daughters of God, who are in the image of your creator, to put your minds in the image of his, and to discipline and mold your spirits after the pattern of the Only Begotten. If you will do so, the Lord has promised that joys will follow eternally, and you need never fear of having cheated yourself of what might have been.
President Spencer W. Kimball
There are several other ways of cheating such as sports, gambling, Politics, not paying your taxes and you bills or even the Lord with His tithes. If you think you are getting away with it, you are only kidding yourself. Someone is always watching! Just remember when you make choices, to always ‘choose the Hard Right instead of the Easy Left’ and you will always be happy and successful!
When you look at life’s challenges in this world and realize what is causing them, “Don’t you see” that something must be done?
“Don’t you see” that there are truly real answers to life’s greatest questions but because people don’t know where to find them or because they are too busy or lazy to go and read or especially, if they don’t want to know because they might find themselves in the wrong, it still doesn’t mean those things aren’t true!
If you say that there is no God because “You don’t see” Him, DOESN’T mean that God doesn’t exist! He is there! We left his presence to come to earth to be tested to see if after all we have learned and experienced, we would choose the way of everlasting happiness, or the way of everlasting darkness. It is up to us.
I come from a family with a long line of school teachers and because I was taught at a young age that “The Glory of God is Intelligence”, I love to learn! I also love to share those truths that I have found to be true. For instance:
1. We have learned that the ‘natural man’ leads people away from God only to become wicked and seek for riches and have pride in their hearts; forgetting about the covenants or promises they and their forefathers had made with God. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. When we don’t, God doesn’t need to keep His promises either and thus He allows earthquakes, pestilence, famine, and damaging weather catastrophes to take place in order to humble His children, of which we are.
2. Do you know that the cause of most of our social problems today is the breakdown of the family? We see the lack of education, laziness, making more welfare money by staying home than going to work; doing drugs and alcohol, sex, pornography, sex trafficking, abortions, low birth rate, single parent homes, broken marriages, no marriages; taking God out of our lives, our schools, our day of prayer and our anthem! We know who is responsible for this! The followers of Satan! Know how to fix this world? Reverse these things!
3. Do you know that the Bible used to contain several other books that are no longer in the Bible? Many ‘precious parts’ were taken out of the Old and New Testament of the Bible and perhaps willfully destroyed! What ever happened to them? Who took them out? When it said in Revelations that no more should be added to the Bible, yet more was added! No wonder there is so much confusion and so many churches today! If God talked to the people on this earth via prophets many years ago, has He stopped talking to us today? And, is the Bible the only book that contains the words of Jesus and of God or is there more?
4. Nowhere does the Bible proclaim that all revelations from God would be gathered into a single volume to be forever closed and that no further scriptural revelation could be received. Yes, there are other ancient records that have come forth with those missing parts and more words by Jesus Christ with records of His visit to their people in other parts of the world!
5. Did you know that some of the 10 tribes of Israel that left Jerusalem came to North America via boats which they built by revelation? Their history records the visit of Jesus Christ in North America after He was crucified and rose from the grave. Jesus said He also visited “other sheep which are not of this fold!“ Have you read this book? Who wouldn’t want to know more words of Christ?
6. Did you know of the writings translated from small fragments of the long papyrus scrolls that were found in Egypt with writings from the book of Abraham that sheds further light and knowledge on many topics and knowledge of the heavens? Have you read it?
7. There are prophecies yet to be fulfilled with the coming forth of ‘other books’ that will reveal more words of Jesus Christ and His prophets bearing witness that He is ‘the way’ of truth and light. Jesus will be returning to live with us in peace for a thousand years. Are you and your posterity prepared to be with Him?
“Don’t you see” that we are living in troubled times in these last days? The forces of good and evil have never been so strong. When one has the desire to know the truth of these things, they usually find that opposition follow keeping you from knowing the truth! So, who do you trust? What do you believe? Do you even care? You should, because there are things you MUST KNOW and DO in this life in order to prepare a place for you and your family when you die. When it happens, and everyone will, the spirit body within leaves the body at goes to a place called Paradise; a holding place until judgment day when the resurrection happens and the body rejoins the spirit to never be separated again! You will then be assigned a kingdom or mansion in one of God’s Kingdoms to dwell for all eternity.
I pray that we might lay aside our differences, the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better. Those who seek truth shall find, but you must have spiritual eyes to see, and ears to hear! “Don’t you see?”
May we so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments.
“We have come to the earth in troubled times. The moral compass of the masses has gradually shifted to an “almost anything goes” position.
I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed much of the metamorphosis of society’s morals. Where once the standards of your religion and beliefs, and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.
Many movies and television shows portray behavior which is in direct opposition to the laws of God. Do not subject yourself to the innuendo and outright filth which are so often found there. The lyrics in much of today’s music fall in the same category. The profanity so prevalent around us today would never have been tolerated in the not-too-distant past. Sadly, the Lord’s name is taken in vain over and over again. Recall with me the commandment—one of the ten—which the Lord revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” I am sorry that any of us is subjected to profane language, and I plead with you not to use it. I implore you not to say or to do anything of which you cannot be proud.
Stay completely away from pornography. Do not allow yourself to view it, ever. It has proven to be an addiction which is more than difficult to overcome. Avoid alcohol and tobacco or any other drugs, also addictions which you would be hard pressed to conquer.
What will protect you from the sin and evil around you?
I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will help see you through to safety.” Thomas S. Monson
“Nations take up their battle stations.
Patrons of zodiac revelations.
Lustations breaking family relations.
Litigation allowing shoot-up sensations.
That’s what they said
Some day it woiuld be.
Now just look around,
if that’s what we see…
It’s gotta be the Last Days.
Gotta be the Last Days.
People living lives of confusion.
Millions caught up in revolution.
Cities lost in their own pollution.
Question, what is the constitution?
That’s what they said
Some day it woiuld be.
Now just look around,
if that’s what we see…
It’s gotta be the Last Days.
Gotta be the Last Days.”
“For their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening with destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.”Helaman 5:2
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. 2 Timothy 3:1-4
“I know of nothing in the history… of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now. Words of profanity, vulgarity, and blasphemy are heard everywhere. Unspeakable wickedness and perversion were once hidden in dark places; now they are in the open, and even accorded legal protection. At Sodom and Gomorrah these things were localized. Now, they are spread across the world, and they are among us”.
Is America worth trying to save? Save from what you might ask. Is America worth saving from self-destruction? Maybe that’s a better question to ask.
Civilizations have risen and fallen through the ages. Countries have been birthed and countries have died. I believe the United States of America was birthed by the God of the Bible primarily for the purpose of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ both here and around the world unlike any other country in history.
Even before we won our independence from England, the Christian faith had begun to spread like wildfire across the land. My dad, a Methodist minister, used to tell me stories about the legendary circuit riders who later traveled on horseback to evangelize the new nation. These men would brave whatever was in front of them to carry the message of Jesus Christ throughout the New World. Other denominations trail blazed the gospel as well and soon our country became recognized both here and abroad as a distinctively Christian nation. The evidence was so overwhelming that in 1892 the Supreme Court wrote in the case Church of the Holy Trinity v The United States: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
Our country has known freedom for the individual unlike any other country in history. Quite frankly, the idea was novel that people could govern themselves. In order for freedom to be sustained the masses had to be willing to act morally and lawfully by their own volition or else society would crumble from within. Thus wrote our second president John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount were how we judged good and evil, right and wrong. Some of that still remains, but respect for those teachings and reverence for the God who spoke them is deteriorating at a very rapid rate.
In modern day America, there is very little shame anymore. Most Americans have lost their fear of God. We are on the road to self-destruction.
Secularists mock the idea of God. Judges forbid even the acknowledgement of God in many public places. We teach our children they come from monkeys. Those who hold to the biblical definition of marriage are called hatemongers. The entertainment industry promotes sex without moral standards day after day, movie after movie, song after song – influencing our youth beyond measure. Try to raise any objection to this tide of immorality and you are quickly shouted down, ridiculed, called a prude, a hater, a religious nut, a censor or a fundamentalist.
What we are experiencing today in America is unbridled selfishness and licentiousness and the results are manifesting themselves in many terrible ways that will only get worse if things don’t change.
For the Christian in America today there is only so much we can do. Only 43% of our fellow countrymen even go to church today. We are now outnumbered. But that which we can do, with God’s help, we must do. We can pray to God that He send revival to America. We can continue to build strong Christian families. We can put our denominational barriers aside when there are shared values we can defend concerning issues that affect the moral health of our nation. We can share our faith. We can continue to hold high the standard of righteousness and we can vote for candidates who best reflect our values. There are no perfect candidates, but we are a nation of laws so we must elect the best available lawmakers to govern us and hold them accountable.
So to answer my own question, yes, America is worth trying to save. For our children, grandchildren and generations to come. We cannot give up. There is nowhere else to start over. There is nowhere else to where we can sail!
Tim Wildmon, President
American Family Association
Trying out a potential marriage partner like you might try out a car before buying it is NOT a good idea or a prudent decision.
The “prevailing wisdom” in the world today is that it is a bit foolish and impulsive to just marry someone you have never lived with, hoping you will be compatible.
Why not cohabitate for a while and test each other out before tying the knot?
While there are still couples who wait for a deep level of commitment before having sex, today it’s far more common for two people to explore their sexual compatibility before making long-term plans together.
So which approach or method leads to better marriages?
Sex and cohabitation before marriage or delaying them both until after marriage?
A new study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology sides with a delayed approach.
The study involves 2,035 married individuals who participated in a popular online marital assessment called “RELATE.”
From the assessment’s database, researchers selected a sample designed to match the demographics of the married American population.
The extensive questionnaire includes the question “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”
A statistical analysis showed the following benefits enjoyed by couples who waited until marriage compared to those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship:
Relationship stability was rated 22 percent higher
Relationship satisfaction was rated 20 percent higher
Sexual quality of the relationship was rated 15 percent better
Communication was rated 12 percent better
For couples in between — those that became sexually involved later in the relationship but prior to marriage — the benefits were about half as strong.
In other words, to put it bluntly, the longer you wait, the longer your marriage will last, and the better it will be.
“There’s more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspect of their relationship,” said lead author Dean Busby, a professor at BYU in the School of Family Life.
“I think it’s because they’ve learned to talk and have the skills to work with issues that come up.”
Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved with this research, read the study and shared his take on the findings.
“Couples who hit the honeymoon too early — that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship — often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy,” said Regnerus, author of “Premarital Sex in America,” a book from Oxford University Press.
So … the simple fact is that what we see in today’s movies, romantic comedies and TV sitcoms — where everyone goes home to bed on their first date — is WRONG on at least three levels.For most of us, it is morally wrong.
It is practically wrong because, as statistics show, marriage works better when sex is delayed.
It is factually wrong in that it doesn’t really happen that way as often as the media suggests.
As parents, we ought to be teaching all three of the “wrongs” to our children. The wonderful thing we call “chastity” is not only about morality, it is about practicality, too.
And just because they see “just acquainted” people sleeping together in movies doesn’t mean that that’s the way it usually happens.
For further help on positive ways to talk to kids about sex, go to www.valuesparenting.com and click on “how to talk to your child about sex” on the left menu.
NOTE: The Eyres’ new book is “The Entitlement Trap: How to rescue your child with a new family system of choosing, earning, and ownership” (see www.EntitlementTrap.com). Richard and Linda are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com. “The Entitlement Trap” can now be preordered. See details atwww.valuesparenting.com.
Because he creates life and worlds without number. This is His Work and His Glory. . . in being A CREATOR.
If God is a Heavenly Father, then who are we?
We are His Children! You and Me!
As God’s children, we have come to earth and have been given a physical body just like our Heavenly Parents, with “sacred powers” to ‘TEST DRIVE’, to get MARRIED, which is ordained of God, and to fulfill God’s commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth” and to be a CREATOR of life also, while here on earth. Our Father in Heaven wants what all fathers desire, and that is for their children to have all of the same experiences and joys in becoming parents like them. Our physical body is just like our Heavenly Parent’s except that their bodies are glorified and eternal, as we may become. Yes, we all will die and this power will be taken from us.
In order to be proven in all things amd become like Him, our Heavenly Father gave us commandments and laws to obey. We agreed to follow His word before we even came here. We are NOW here and we are somewhat like going to school, to learn and to be judged. And what do they give you in school? That’s right, TESTS!
Yes, we are here to be tested, to see who of all God’s children will learn and obey His commandments and to see if we can pass lifes TESTS and be worthy to continue to have these creative powers again or NOT, if we misuse them. If we do, just like a policeman who pulls you over for breaking traffic laws, you could have your “creator drivers license” taken away because of wreckless driving. If you commit wreckless sexual sins, you too, will also be pulled over and may not be privileged to become more like your eternal parents and have eternal increase in the worlds to come, for ‘God is not the author of confusion’.
This world has many choices. They are either good or evil – Eternal life or everlasting darkness. Too many follow ‘the natural man’ which is an enemy to God.
“For the naturalman is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah 3: 19
The use of these creative sexual powers is one of the main reasons we came to this world so that we can become more like our parents, as all children do. It is to see whom among us can keep those sacred powers sacred and NOT misuse them! It’s just like getting a drivers license to drive a car. Once you get it, if you are not careful, it can be taken away! These “creative powers” are what makes us Creators like our Father and Mother in Heaven.
Again, may we please understand that WE MUST NOT follow the “Natural Man” or the “Natural Woman”.
Some may laugh or think otherwise but as Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what the do.’ Unfortunately many do know but don’t care! These precious children of God that we are allowed to bring down from heaven and into this world are our responsibility and they deserve a lawfully and leagally wedded Mother and a Father who will provide a safe and loving home for them until we all return back home to the highest mansion or heaven, which is the only heaven that these powers will be available to us and only to those that are worthy to continue on with eternal increase! The heavens are governed by God’s laws.
Make sure that you are NOT stopped or “damned” with your eternal progression!
YES, It’s that serious!
So is Jesus Christ.
“For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him willI freely forgive.
Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judgeaccording to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and Iwillforgive him also.
Yea, and as often as my people repentwillIforgive them their trespasses against me.
And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation.” Mosiah 26: 22, 29-31
Like my Mother Olive often said, I am not trying to convert you or discredit the truths you already have in your various religions . . . but to share further “LIGHT and KNOWLEDGE” about “THE WAY” … to get back to Heaven. Truth is Light! The Glory of God is Intelligence. The more we attain in this world, it will rise with us in the resurrection which is guaranteed to all by the sacrifice of Jesus! “There is a Glory like unto the STARS, a Glory like unto the MOON, and a Glory like unto the SUN! So also is the Resurrection”!
We each will Choose our Glory by which higher laws we are willing to live. “You’ve Got The Power To Choose”!
A new BYU study, published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology, shows that those ideas are not supported by research — and that includes people of all ages, races and religious backgrounds.
“So many people think that sexual compatibility must be one of the first things figured out,” said Dean Busby, BYU professor and lead author on the study. “However, we didn’t find any benefit to early sexual involvement.”
In fact, researchers came to find that sexual timing in relationships has a large effect on the quality of relationships and overall satisfaction. They concluded that individuals who waited until marriage to have sex experienced more satisfaction, stability and better communication in relationships.
For members of the Church, the concept of waiting to have sex until marriage isn’t new — the commandment is an eternal principle encouraged from a young age and emphasized in the youth programs of the Church and the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.
The newly published research shows some of the other benefits — more than the spiritual — that come from abstinence until marriage.
“The research supports it from a different angle,” Brother Busby said. “That was part of our hope … makes people think maybe there is more to this commandment to be with one person. It builds relationships in very important ways and helps people make better decisions in who to marry.”
Research shows that as couples develop their relationship while delaying or refraining from sexual intimacy they are able to form foundations on communication and other social processes.
“When couples become sexual early in the relationship … other areas do not develop as well,” Brother Busby said. “Couples who wait spend time talking and sharing their life, getting to know each other in other ways, strengthening their relations and creating greater relationship satisfaction.”
Brother Busby, along with his BYU associates Jason Carroll and Brian Willoughby, started studying sexual timing at the end of 2007. More than 2,000 married individuals answered questions while participating in an online marital assessment called “RELATE” — a study that has been collecting data and conducting research on different aspects of relationships and marriage for more than 30 years.
The average age of participants was 36, but the sample ages ranged from as young as 18 and as old as 70. Although the recent study came out of BYU, a known religious institution, researchers were sure to take religiosity into account, controlling the study to represent more of the demographics of the married American population, including participants of all ages, races and religious affiliation in the study. Only six percent of the study included members of the Church.
Along with questions about communication and overall satisfaction in relationships, participants answered the question, “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”
Researchers found that for those who waited to have sex until they were married rated their relationship stability 22 percent higher, their relationship satisfaction 20 percent higher, sexual quality of the relationship 15 percent better and communication 12 percent better, than those who did not wait for marriage. Results from the study show that couples who were in between — meaning those who became sexually involved later in the relationship but prior to marriage — had half of the reported benefits.
“When couples are sexual very early it sets up seeds of distrust,” Brother Busby said. “Knowing that the person was sexual with [an individual] before they really knew [that person] without a commitment and trust lingers in a relationship.”
That, Brother Busby said, leads to less stability and trust.
“In the end, sex in a relationship is relative,” Brother Busby said. “If you think of the amount of time in relationships, it is relatively small. Time talking and developing relationships is greater and are so crucial in how you are going to feel in the companionship. Today, things are turned upside down. It is all about sex first and then couples hope the other areas develop.”
Although the physical element in a relationship is still very important, Brother Busby said, it is the timing that is the crucial part.
In the end, research proves that following the standards set forth in the gospel contributes to stronger relationships and greater satisfaction.
“The longer a couple waits, the better,” Brother Busby said.
.Either way, as a person… you are being sought after!
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, wehope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous,lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, weseekafterthesethings.
Are you “In the world but NOT OF the world”. OR Are you “IN and OF the world.”
That is your choice!
Those who are chaste are morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions. Chastity means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also means complete fidelity to husband or wife during marriage. Chastity is sexual purity.
In the world today, Satan has led many people to believe that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is acceptable. But in God’s sight, it is a serious sin. It is an abuse of the power He has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder and denying the Holy Ghost (Alma 39: 3-5).
Sometimes people try to convince themselves that sexual relations outside of marriage are acceptable if the participants love one another. This is not true. Breaking the law of chastity and encouraging someone else to do so is not an expression of love. People who love each other will never endanger one another’s happiness and safety in exchange for temporary personal pleasure.
When people care for one another enough to keep the law of chastity, their love, trust, and commitment increase, resulting in greater happiness and unity. In contrast, relationships built on sexual immorality sour quickly. Those who engage in sexual immorality often feel fear, guilt, and shame. Bitterness, jealousy, and hatred soon replace any positive feelings that once existed in their relationship.
In this life, we are given the power to choose The Way that we wish to live our lives and in whom we wish to follow.
Scriptures teach us that there are two ways you can choose. “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choosethe way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life. 2 Ne. 10: 23
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not yourown. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
“Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that yebridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. Alma 38:12
“Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, tolust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.” 3 Nephi 12:27-30
Strong words, but with very little confusion as to what we are to do and not to do!
It is important for you to date and find that special someone that you trust with all your heart who will marry you and take care of you in sickness and health and also forever! The only way to be married forever is to do it in The House of The Lord. These are Holy Temples, where a couple can be married not only for time, but also for all eternity. Plus, by keeping God’s commandment to ‘multiply and replenish the earth’, those children that you bear will all be sealed to you as husband and wife. This is ‘The Way’ that lasts forever and the only way for you to become like your Heavenly Parents and live forever with eternal offspring. Otherwise, it is sin, and you will be judged for your evil works.
If you have make some mistakes already in your life and wish to get rid of those sins, then Jesus is the ‘Only Way’ to be forgiven. He died for us knowing that we would make mistakes and need forgiveness. Let Him be your Savior and accept His sacrifice. Don’t let His offer be wasted in your behalf. Accept Him with Faith and Repentance and be Baptized to wash away those sins and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help lead you through this trying world, especially in these last days, that you might have ‘clean hands and a pure heart’ to receive Jesus Christ as He is coming back again!
Parents, one look at the world today is enough to provide convincing evidence that we must give high priority to teaching our children moral purity. In the past, we could count on society to give us a helping hand, but no more. In fact, society—as an examination of some of the media could lead us to believe—has, in general, defected to the enemy, hailing immorality as an acceptable and inviting life-style.
Beyond that facade, however, there are millions of parents trying to combat the evil around us. Certainly we in the Church should understand the responsibility parents have to resist immorality and to teach the wrongness of it.
Teach with openness and warmth. We need to be the first to teach our sons and daughters the basics about sexuality, for the first information can have the greatest impact. Carefully and prayerfully, we must plan how we will teach them the basic sexual functions of their bodies, recognizing that this instruction is not just a one-time event. The need for more information grows as the child grows. We must be there to answer questions, unembarrassed and spiritually guided. Children need to know that their bodies are sacred, created by a loving Heavenly Father, and that it is their divine responsibility to protect and never defile their procreative functions.
Teach the doctrine of the Church regarding morality. Our Church leaders have provided us with a clear definition of what the Lord expects of us regarding sexual purity. “The Lord specifically forbids certain behaviors, including all sexual relations before marriage, petting, sex perversion (such as homosexuality, rape, and incest), masturbation, or preoccupation with sex in thought, speech, or action.” We must be sure our children understand the meaning of these words in the context of the gospel; if not, someone else, without the Spirit, may lead them into unrighteousness.
“In the category of crimes, only murder and denying the Holy Ghost come ahead of illicit sexual relations, which we call fornication when it involves an unmarried person, or the graver sin of adultery when it involves one who is married. … In the eyes of God, chastity will never be out of date.”
Our children need to have a clear understanding that “it is not pleasing to the Lord to sow one’s wild oats, to engage in sexual transgression of any nature, and then expect that planned confession and quick repentance will satisfy the Lord.” Ezra Taft Benson
Teach children how to make wise choices. They need to understand that their sexual feelings are natural and God-given, and that they do have the power to control them. We must help them comprehend the blessing of their great gift of agency. “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” (2 Ne. 10:23.)
Who would choose everlasting death over eternal life? Perhaps only those who are not experienced in the art of choosing. According to a bishop in Texas, “many parents aren’t allowing their children to make even simple decisions on their own. How can they make choices with eternal consequences if they aren’t allowed to choose their own clothes, hairstyles, hobbies, etc.?” Parents need to guide youth in making some choices more than others. But children can learn to choose appropriate friends, music, movies, and other activities if we lovingly help them consider the effects these choices can have on their morality.
Help build strong testimonies of the gospel. Over and over, young men and women have told me that the single most important factor in their choosing sexual purity was their testimony of Jesus Christ.
Create a happy environment at home. We need to enjoy life around home. One father of teenagers said, “Having fun with our children has been a key to helping them choose morality. My wife and I emphasize that it’s fun to be good.” Then they try to prove it. “We work at having fun, and it’s paying off.”
What a responsibility it is to be a father of eights sons and growing up especially during these troubled times with them possibly wanting to pattern their lives and careers after my own, in show business. Such was the case of my sons, The Osmonds Second Generation.
Yes, we love music and our home was filled with it. Our boys actually stated singing on their own. Suzanne and I discovered one night after returning home from a night out together and found our sons watching old videos of me and my brothers singing barbershop harmony. The funny thing was they were singing right along with the video and singing in two part harmony as well! We both looked at each other and said, oh, oh!
The next day I sat my sons down and taught them a song in two part harmony. They did it! Soon, they were trying to sing in three parts and eventually, four parts! They sang at church and a few private parties and were invited to be on the Eugene Jelesnick Talent Showcase TV Show in Salt Lake City, Utah; the same show my brothers and I did when we were young! Bob Hope saw them, put them on his National TV Special and we have been chasing after them ever since!
While they were young, we gave them piano lessons and encouraged their interests in music but Suzanne and I also knew that they needed good educations and tried to keep their music as a hobby. While maintaining somewhat normal lives and going to school, they had great opportunities and success especially in England with four top twenty hit songs with videos.
Soon, it was time for Michael, the oldest, to serve as a missionary for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he chose to do and left the group to serve for two years in Denmark speaking Danish. When it was time, Nathan also did the same and went to Chile. Doug went to South Africa, David to Spain. Scott served in Paraguay and Jon went to to Brazil. Alex served stateside in Atlanta, Georgia and our youngest, Tyler, is yet to be seen.
When our boys returned from their mission calls they went to college and majored in various areas of business yet became very good at entertaining with a love for music. Suzanne and I had both encouraged them to get “Real Jobs” by getting a good education, and most of them did. Still, some have pursued music careers and we now see their talent and love for music showing up n their own children!
I realize how important it is for fathers to “set the stage” of life for your children to follow as they may become like you.
Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be. As we sit shoulder to shoulder in worshiping our Lord at church as priesthood holders or ‘Side by Side’ singing together on stage, we realize that we with our families can also become part of an eternal family of God.
M. Russell Nelson, a friend and an Apostle of our church reminds us that, “Father and sons need to talk together and possibly work together as there is no other relationship quite like that which can and should exist between a boy and his dad. It can be one of the most nurturing, joyful relationships in life, one that can have profound impact on who boys become and also who dads become. We are all on a journey with Dads a little further down the road, but none of us has yet arrived at our final destination. We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be.
I know that father-son relationships are never perfect, but it is possible if you will put forth the effort to make it happen.
Young men, you are your father’s pride and joy. In you they see a promising future and their hope for a better, improved version of themselves. Your accomplishments are a joy to them. Your worries and problems are their worries and problems.
Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor, and believe it or not, you are their hero in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them.”
I appreciate what Brother Nelson says, “I believe that by doing these three simple things you can make your relationship with your father even better than it is right now.
First, trust your father. He is not perfect, but he loves you and would never do anything he didn’t think was in your best interest. So talk to him. Share your thoughts and feelings, your dreams and your fears. The more he knows about your life, the better chance he has to understand your concerns and to give you good counsel. When you put your trust in your dad, he will feel the responsibility of that trust and try harder than ever to understand and to help. As your father, he is entitled to inspiration on your behalf. His advice to you will be the heartfelt expressions of someone who knows and loves you. Your dad wants more than anything for you to be happy and successful, so why would you not want to trust someone like that? Boys, trust your dad.
Second, take an interest in your father’s life. Ask about his job, his interests, his goals. How did he decide to do the work that he does? What was he like when he was your age? How did he meet your mother? And as you learn more about him, you may find that his experiences help you to better understand why he responds the way that he does. Watch your dad. Watch how he treats your mother. Watch how he performs his Church callings. Watch how he interacts with other people. You will be surprised what you learn about him just by watching him and listening to him. Think about what you don’t know about him and find out. Your love, admiration, and understanding will increase by what you learn. Boys, be interested in your dad’s life.
My Father and brother Wayne.
And third, ask your father for advice. Let’s be honest: he is probably going to give you his advice whether you ask for it or not, but it just works so much better when you ask! Ask for his advice on Church activity, on classes, on friends, on school, on dating, on sports or other hobbies. Ask for his counsel on your Church assignments, on preparing for your mission, on decisions or choices you have to make. Nothing shows respect for another person as much as asking for his advice, because what you are really saying when you ask for advice is, “I appreciate what you know and the experiences you have had, and I value your ideas and suggestions.” Those are nice things for a father to hear from his son.
In my experience, fathers who are asked for advice try harder to give good, sound, useful counsel. By asking your father for advice, you not only receive the benefit of his input, but you also provide him with a little extra motivation to strive to be a better father and a better man. He will think more carefully about whatever it is that he advises, and he will work harder to “walk the talk.” Young men, ask your dad for advice!
OK, fathers, now it’s your turn. Let’s talk about some things you can do to enhance your relationship with your sons. You will notice that there is some linkage between the three suggestions I am going to give you and the suggestions I just gave your sons. That isn’t coincidental.
First, fathers, listen to your sons—really listen to them. Ask the right kind of questions, and listen to what your sons have to say each time you have a few minutes together. You need to know—not to guess but to know—what is going on in your son’s life. Don’t assume that you know how he feels just because you were young once. Your sons live in a very different world from the one in which you grew up. As they share with you what’s going on, you will have to listen very carefully and without being judgmental in order to understand what they are thinking and experiencing.
Father often took us fishing. Alan, Merrill, Wayne.
Find your own best way to connect. Some fathers like to take their sons fishing or to a sporting event. Others like to go on a quiet drive or work side by side in the yard. Some find their sons enjoy conversations at night just before going to bed. Do whatever works best for you. A one-on-one relationship should be a routine part of your stewardship with your sons. Every father needs at least one focused, quality conversation with his sons every month during which they talk about specific things such as school, friends, feelings, video games, text messaging, worthiness, faith, and testimony. Where or when this happens isn’t nearly as important as the fact that it happens.
Father taught us to work but listened. And oh, how fathers need to listen. Remember, conversation where you do 90 percent of the talking is not a conversation. Use the word “feel” as often as you comfortably can in your discussions with your sons. Ask: “How do you feel about what you’re learning in that class?” “How do you feel about what your friend said?” “How do you feel about your priesthood and the Church?”
Don’t think you have to try to fix everything or solve everything during these visits. Most of the time, the best thing you can do is just listen. Fathers who listen more than they talk find that their sons share more about what is really going on in their lives. Dads, listen to your sons.
Second, pray with and for your sons. Give them priesthood blessings. A son who is worried about a big exam or a special event will surely benefit from a father’s priesthood blessing. Occasions like the start of a new school year, a birthday, or as he begins to date may be opportune times to call upon the Lord to bless your son. One-on-one prayer and the sharing of testimonies can draw you closer to each other as well as closer to the Lord.
I am mindful that many of you fathers suffer heartache over sons who have strayed and are being captured by the world, just as Alma and Mosiah worried about their sons. Continue to do all you can to maintain strong family relationships. Never give up, even when fervent prayer in their behalf is all you can do. These precious sons of yours are your sons forever! Fathers, pray with and bless your sons.
Third, dare to have the “big talks” with your sons. You know what I mean: talks about drugs and drinking, about the dangers of today’s media—the Internet, cyber technologies, and pornography—and about priesthood worthiness, respect for girls, and moral cleanliness. While these should not be the only subjects you talk about with your sons, please don’t shy away from them. Your boys need your counsel, guidance, and input on these subjects. As you talk about these very important matters, you will find that the trust between you will flourish.
I am especially concerned that we communicate openly and clearly with our sons about sexual matters. Your sons are growing up in a world that openly embraces and flaunts early, casual, and thoughtless promiscuity. Your sons simply cannot avoid the blatant sexual imagery, messages, and enticements that are all around them. Fathers and Church leaders need to have open and frequent discussions that teach and clarify how young men of the priesthood handle this issue. Be positive about how wonderful and beautiful physical intimacy can be when it happens within the bounds the Lord has set, including temple covenants and commitments of eternal marriage. Studies show that the biggest deterrent to casual sexual activity is a wholesome attitude that connects such personal relationships with genuine commitment and mature love. Fathers, if you have not had this “big talk” with your sons, please do so, and do it soon.
And fathers, the three suggestions I made to you moments ago absolutely apply to your relationships with your returned missionary sons. Listen to them, and connect with them in regular, focused conversation. Talk with them in depth about their feelings and desires. Pray with them, and give them blessings as they face the important decisions in their future.
Alex at Temple Leaving on Mission.
Elder Ballard says to young men like mine who are returned missionaries to“trust your father. You can be closer to him now than ever before regardless of what your relationship was like before your mission. During the next few years, you will make the most important decisions of your life. Along with prayer to your Heavenly Father, advice from your earthly father can help you make those decisions concerning your education, career choice, and marriage. The most important decision you will make in this life is the decision to marry the right girl in the temple! While no one should rush this significant decision, all returned missionaries should be working on it. Be where you can meet the right kind of friends. And go on dates. Hanging out is not the way, nor is it enough! Courting seems to be a lost art. Rediscover it. It really works! Ask your fathers—they know! Do not drift to the ways of the world. Rather, maintain the dignity and the Spirit you enjoyed on your mission. The Church will need your leadership in the future.”
(Alan, My Father George, My son Scott – 3 generations)
I have never been a father before. I have watched my father while growing up and how he handled problems, made decisions, and handled situations as I grew older. With my eight sons, I have often tried to remember those times and have applied it to my own sons. I remind them that this life is a time to make choices;that those choices that we made in heaven before we came here determined where we are in this life. And, the choices we make here will decide which mansion in heaven we go to after we die and return to our Heavenly parents. I cannot tell them who to love. I cannot tell them what you should do for a living. But what I can do is show continual love and support and be there to catch them should they fall.
We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes.