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Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith Lesson 16: Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth

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Get the full lesson, "Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth" from The Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith at LDS.org.

Note: As the Church has said, the manual has been prepared as the primary source of lesson material. These supplements, from general conference addresses, are meant only as a complement to your study on this lesson’s topic.

From President James E. Faust's October 1990 conference talk, "The Greatest Challenge in the World--Good Parenting":

While few human challenges are greater than that of being good parents, few opportunities offer greater potential for joy. Surely no more important work is to be done in this world than preparing our children to be God-fearing, happy, honorable, and productive. Parents will find no more fulfilling happiness than to have their children honor them and their teachings. It is the glory of parenthood. John testified, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4.) In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life. 

Click here to read the full talk.

Sister Mary N. Cook tells this story about the importance of strong family relationships in her October 2007 conference talk, "Strengthen Home and Family":

Many years ago on a day in late December, we received a letter from my brother, who was serving in the California North Mission. The outside of the envelope cautioned, “Do not open until you are all together!!”

As my father, mother, and I gathered to open his seven-page typewritten letter, we read his testimony of prayer. He taught us the doctrine of eternal families from the scriptures. We read his experiences of how fasting and prayer helped his investigators prepare to receive the ordinance of baptism. He assured us that our family too could be blessed through fasting and prayer. Then came his challenge: “The bishop of the Stanford Ward spoke on a topic a couple of months ago which really hit home. … The bishop’s talk made me stop and realize the goals I want to accomplish in life. Uppermost in my mind is the goal I want to achieve with my own family … that, of course, being sealed to you, Mom and Dad, for time and all eternity in the house of the Lord. I love you very much and want our family to be together in the eternities.”

Then his closing words: “May the Lord guide you in this important decision and may you pray together as a family is my prayer.”

As a teenager, I too had prayed for this blessing to come to my family. This letter now brought hope for my righteous desire.

The new year was an opportunity for our family to make some changes. In the many months that followed, we established family patterns of righteousness. We prayed together, studied about the ordinances of the temple, paid tithing, and attended our meetings regularly—as a family. Shortly after my brother returned from his mission, we were prepared to receive the ordinances of the temple. I knew the Lord had heard and answered our prayers as we surrounded the holy altar in the temple and were sealed as a family for time and all eternity.

Can you make a difference in your family? Yes, you can! I often wonder about my family’s eternal progression if my brother had not written that powerful letter. His patterns of righteousness and example changed our lives.

Read the rest of her talk here.

Also see The Family: A Proclamation to the World for more about the sacred nature of family.

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