It was September 1995, when President Gordon B. Hinckley announced The Family: A Proclamation to the World. This proclamation declared what we had learned growing up that God created man and woman and assigned their roles and responsibilities to each other and their posterity within His creation. It boldly declared that: “THE FAMILY is ordained of God.” It ended with the following challenge: “WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.” This proved to be a prophetic warning as Satan and his minions have striven over the succeeding years to destroy marriage and the traditional family of one man and one woman with their children.
Now God’s prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has challenged this father, this patriarch, and indeed the entire world to have a Christ-centered Gospel study plan in our homes. As a Prophet, Seer and Revelator what has been revealed to him and his fellow Apostles as the next attack upon those desiring to be disciples of Christ, to have Christ-centered homes, and to walk the covenant path? Those who desire to have the Holy Spirit guide as they walk in the light and to teach their posterity to also walk in the light. Those who desire to forsake the world for the Kingdom of God although they must continue to live in this dark world that is largely controlled by Satan and his minions.
I have been musing since his announcement what does it mean for this father and patriarch to have a Christ-centered home. In Luke chapter 10, the lawyer asks the Savior, “Who is my neighbor?” One might similarly ask, “What are the limits of home?” Is it the confines of the four walls of our empty-nester apartment? Or, within the limits of personal moral agency because even Heavenly Father never interferes with personal moral agency, does my home extend to my children, and my children’s children? Are these any less a part of my home even though they no longer live under my roof? For, as Jim English, my spiritual mentor, taught me, “Nowhere in all of Holy Writ have I ever read that I can stop being their father.”
As I was growing up, there was a plaque that hung in our home. Twenty years after I left home for the Navy, my mother retired and came to live with my family and the plaque came with her. It displayed the following Celtic saying:
Christ is the Head of this House,
the unseen guest at every meal and
the silent listener to every conversation.
I have also reflected upon when Jim and Marie came to Hawaii to see who this sailor was that their daughter wanted to marry. It was the day before they were to fly home that Jim asked me, “Who is going to be the head of your home?” Without hesitation, I answered “The Lord!” So I have been musing lately about how successful, or not, I have been in my declaration over the past fifty-five years. Have I really had a Christ-centered home over those years? What metrics does one use or more importantly does the Lord use in determining the success of this goal?
As the “unseen guest” at my table, what has He observed and thought about my efforts of discipleship and the discipleship of those He has entrusted to my care? As the “silent listener” to the conversations within my home, what has He thought about my efforts to impart the Doctrine of Christ and His teachings, particularly those regarding charity or the pure love of Christ, to those He has entrusted to my care? Again I say “has” because, as Jim English taught me, “Nowhere in all of Holy Writ have I ever read that I can stop being their father.”
In October Conference 1965, President David O. McKay taught, “The purpose of the gospel is to make bad men good, good men better, and to change human nature.” I know that it has been and is the desire of my heart to be a new creature in Christ — to be “born again.” I know that it has been and is the desire of my heart to be true and faithful in all things along the covenant path of discipleship. I also know that I have fallen short because as Paul taught the Romans, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (KJV: Romans 3:23). So as I continue to strive diligently to walk the covenant path, does my Lord and Savior, the Redeemer of the world, see me progressing from bad, through good to better, and toward best, to the perfection or completeness of God and His Son? What are the “more than these” that my Savior would have me forsake so that I might better minister and keep His charge to feed His sheep? (KJV: John 21:15-17) Particularly to those He has entrusted me as shepherd in His “fold” that I happen to call home.
I know that this disciple has both knowingly sinned willingly by commission and omission throughout my life as I walked the covenant path. I also know that I have unknowingly and ignorantly transgressed as I walked the covenant path. I know that this disciple has struggled, at times, to align his will with the will of God and overcome the natural man as he has learned “line upon line and precept upon precept.” I know that some of those struggles have been long and more difficult than others because I did not want to forsake that portion of the world for the Kingdom of God. I am grateful for the tender mercy of the Lord who has lengthened the days of this disciple that he might repent. I am ever grateful for the condescension of my Heavenly Father and the Atonement of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray earnestly that I may be worthy of salvation and exaltation in the Kingdom of God.
So what has God’s Prophet, Seer and Revelator had revealed to him and his fellow Apostles as the next attack upon those desiring to be disciples of Christ, to have Christ-centered homes, and to walk the covenant path? I do not know, but we will need to exercise our faith and strive to follow with all our hearts his direction and by extension the will of God, our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. For it is He that said, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38) And seeing the battles that have been waged against marriage and the traditional family since 1995, I and you need to be prepared for the battles which are about to be waged against our Christian homes and the Kingdom of God on Earth.
God lives and Jesus is the Christ ! May we all have the courage to do His will. May we all be about fortifying our homes into centers of Gospel learning that we and our posterity might go forth into this world of darkness clothed in the whole armor of God. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (KJV: Ephesians 6:12; see 10-18) In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.