Jesus tells us that in the last days, “the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). We see this all around us in every aspect of our lives, but most especially within families where love should reign supreme. Divorce, neglect, and abuse of all kinds—emotional, physical, sexual, verbal, etc—are finding there way into the sacred realm of the family. The core of civilization is being destroyed from within and redefined from without, with the results being the same, the family is in trouble.
However, in Malachi we read, “Behold, I will send Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6). So it appears that while the world spirals into wickedness and self-destruction, the righteous will work to strengthen the family with love, and rebel against the world standards of anger, abandonment, and hate.
Harold B. Lee, in a talk at the dedication of the Oakland Temple, stated, “And so today there is being prepared instruction to do what? Is it not to turn here upon the earth the hearts of the parents to children and the hearts of the children to parents? Can you conceive that when parents have passed beyond the veil that is the only time when parents should have their hearts turn to their children? . . . I’d have you consider seriously whether or not that binding with your family will be secure if you have waited until you have passed beyond the veil before your hearts then yearn for your children whom you have neglected to have helped along the way. It is time for us to think of turning the hearts of parents to children now while living, in order that after they have gone to the beyond there might be the bond between parents and children that will last beyond death” (The Holy Temple, p. 262).
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith, “But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:40). What is the light and truth that we have been commanded to teach our children? If “light and truth forsake the evil one” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:37), which is our desire for our children, then certainly it would be something important to teach our family.
What is truth? “And truth is a knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). Teaching our children who they are and their place in the plan of salvation is essential to combat the forces of “the evil one.” We lived before we came to earth as spirit children of our Father in Heaven. We accepted His plan of salvation that required us to come to a school of experiences on this earth. We were given a unique set of personal experiences to tutor and teach us, to help us grow and develop, to give us opportunity to learn through service and circumstances. Those born in the last days were among the great ones, and were chosen to come at this time in history to prepare the world for the return of the Savior to earth. After our learning experience is finished, we will return home to Him, the Father of us all and live with him again. This is truth.
What is light? Jesus declared that He was the light, and that we must “believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light” (John 12:36). The truth about the plan of salvation can not be taught without the light. Jesus also declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). It is no wonder then Nephi wrote, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). And again, “For we labor diligently . . . to persuade our children . . . to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God, for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). And what must we do? “I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; . . . wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul, and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:29).
The Prophet Nephi then reminded us why we should teach our children, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26). We need to teach our children about the light of the world, what he has done for us, and show by example, our love for him. If we teach them to love the Savior, our children will be protected from the world and love will fill their hearts. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). This is light.
Let us turn our hearts to our children and bring them up in light and truth with the spirit of love. If we do, their hearts will turn to us, and our family relationships will be cemented with power and love for eternity.