FHE: Duty

Conference Talk: For more information on this topic read “Our Path of Duty,” by Keith B. McMullin, Ensign, May 2010, 13-15.

Thought: Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous.

(Keith B. McMullin, "Our Path of Duty," Ensign, May 2010, 13-15.)

Song: "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" Hymns, no. 252.

Scripture: And now my beloved brethren, I have said these things unto you that I might awaken you to a sense of your duty to God, that ye may walk blameless before him, that ye may walk after the holy order of God, after which ye have been received. (Alma 7:22)

Lesson: Read the words of the hymn, “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd” (Hymns, no. 221). Ask:

  • According to the hymn, what are a shepherd’s responsibilities?
  • How would you describe a shepherd that fails to care for the flock?
Read together Zechariah 11:15-17 and notice how the shepherds of Zechariah's day fulfilled their duties. Ask:
  • Who is the flock these shepherds are supposed to take care of? (The Lord's people.)
  • How do you think the Lord feels about these types of shepherds?
  • Who are our shepherds today? (Priesthood leaders, parents, etc.)
  • What could happen if our parents and leaders do not care about us?
  • What blessings come from parents and leaders who do their best to help us?
  • When have you been blessed by the love and caring of your "shepherds"?
  • How do you think it feels to have the responsibility of a shepherd? Bear your testimony of the joy that comes from serving those you love and have a responsibility to serve.
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009], p. 245.)

Story: As a district presidency, we called many couples on missions. They were very good to accept and then go wherever and whenever we asked them. On one occasion I got word that a missionary couple was very ill on an outlying island. We left immediately to investigate and indeed found them extremely ill. We brought them back to Pangai where the hospital was.

When the doctor saw them, he was alarmed. They had typhoid fever and had deteriorated to a point of being basically helpless. He didn't want them around any of the other patients. At that time the only way they handled typhoid fever was to put the afflicted people in a barbed wire enclosure, away from everyone else, and hope they got well. They weren't treated badly, but they were isolated.

At that time in Tonga, the hospitals furnished medicine and other medical treatment, but each family was responsible for feeding their own patients, providing a bed for them, and caring for them in every other way. Since we were the "family" of this missionary couple, it was our responsibility to care for them. We gave them a priesthood blessing, during which I felt the assurance that they would be all right but that it would take time. We made arrangements for someone to watch their two small children. Then I helped nurse the couple and had some of the missionaries trade with me in providing for their needs.

The law then was that the couple could not leave the compound until they were well. We couldn't hire anyone to help them, because people generally were pretty scared that they might catch the same fever. I assigned a couple of missionaries to the job; they were pretty obedient, but scared also. Caring for this missionary couple became a major challenge.

I knew we needed someone more permanent, so I walked to the nearby branches, then took the mission boat and went to the various outlying branches, everywhere asking members, "Who will help? Is there anyone who will stay with these missionaries to nurse them back to health?" I knew the Lord wanted them to live. After visiting many branches, I found that no one was willing. I didn't put pressure on them, I just asked. They all had excuses.

Finally, on the island of Uiha, there was a young girl of about sixteen who, after we had explained our need, looked at her father and said, "I'd like to go." Her father, on the spot, said, "If you want to, you can." So she came back with us.

What an act of love! Here was a young girl in the prime of her life, willing to come and, in effect, give her life (because she might catch the disease) to help a missionary family in need.

She asked how long she would be there. I told her I did not know and neither did the doctor. She went straight to the hospital compound. When I closed that barbed wire fence behind her I thought, "What have I done?" In effect, she was a prisoner with them. Yet someway I knew things would be all right because she had such a beautiful attitude.

It took several months for the couple to fully recover. The girl stayed with them day and night and nursed them back to health. She did her duty even though it took a long time. By the time the missionaries were well, I had a deep feeling of love and admiration for her.

She came from a poor family. The only thing I could figure out to do to help repay her kindness was to enroll her at the Liahona College on Tongatapu. However, she didn't qualify, because she hadn't done well in school. I pulled rank a little and explained to the mission president the sacrifice she had made. We got her into school, and she did well. She ended up marrying a returned missionary, and they then went on a mission together. They had a large family, nearly all of whom served missions and married in the temple. Her husband has been faithful and held almost every responsible calling in the Church, and she has not been one whit behind.

Every time I see her, I realize again the blessings that come after we have proven our love for others. I have asked her how she felt when we came looking for volunteers. She says, "I was as scared as anyone, but I had a feeling that someone needed help and it was my duty to give that help."

(John H. Groberg, In the Eye of the Storm, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993], 207.)

Activity: Play "Obey the Law."

Players arrange their chairs in a circle. One player, called the lawgiver, stands in the center. As he gives the laws, the other players obey. If they are not alert they will disobey the law, and the lawgiver can take the chair of the disobedient player, who then becomes “it.”

Use “laws” similar to the following list, or use some of your own. The laws should be given in rapid succession so that the players must keep alert.

Stand up.

Sit down.

Stand on the left foot.

Move two chairs to the right.

Move one chair to the left.

Lift both feet off the floor.

Turn around.

Raise both arms.

(Alma Heaton, The LDS Game Book, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], p.96.)

Refreshment Quick Fruit Dessert

  • 1 can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • Nuts (optional)
  • 3/4 cup margarine, melted
Grease and flour a 9x13-inch pan. Layer pineapple and pie filling on bottom. Layer dry cake mix over top. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle melted butter over top. Bake in oven according to cake mix directions.

(Janene W. Baadsgaard, The LDS Mother's Almanac, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 333.)

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