Living in Canada, we are privileged to have many people from many different corners of the world come to be part of our community. One of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the May 10-16, 2021 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families explains that as the early Saints brought in people from different religions and backgrounds, they found that direction was needed on how to recognize false teachings and navigate the gospel doctrines that were being taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Lord had specific instructions for a religious group known as Shakers from Ohio to ensure that they were not hanging onto false beliefs due to their traditions but were grounded in gospel truths as they moved forward (see Doctrine and Covenants 49: section heading).
In our own times, there have been adjustments to various approaches, practices, and policies that have brought about exciting opportunities to draw closer to Christ.
In April 2018 we witnessed a change from home and visiting teaching to implementing “a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others” (Russell M. Nelson, “Ministering,” Ensign, May 2018). The Sunday meeting schedule was shortened to two hours with the focus moving to a more home-centered and Church-supported approach for worship (see Quentin L. Cook, “Deep and Lasting Conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 2018). Younger age requirements allowed more young men and women to serve fulltime missions for the restored Church of Jesus Christ (see Thomas S. Monson, “Welcome to Conference,” Ensign, Nov. 2012, 4-5). Youth involvement increased when lower ages were announced for Young Men and Young Women to begin attending the temple to perform proxy baptisms (see “Progression Will Be in Age Groups,” Ensign, Jan. 2019), and the update was announced that any worthy member can witness a baptism (see Russell M. Nelson, “Witnesses, Aaronic Priesthood Quorums, and Young Women Classes,” Ensign, Nov. 2019). These are just a few of the changes that have personally impacted our family.
Doctrine and Covenants 50:24 states, “He that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” While these updates and adjustments changed how things traditionally were done, my husband and I felt the confirmation of the Spirit witnessing that our prophet—President Russell M. Nelson—is truly the mouthpiece of the Lord.
He is receiving revelation to help hasten the Lord’s work. We were being given “more light” in preparation for “the perfect day” of Christ’s Second Coming. Traditions may have been altered, but the gospel truths and principles have remained pure, true, and grounded in doctrine.
Home-centered and Church-supported Blessings
The COVID-19 pandemic has enforced major changes in our lives. We have been taken away from traditions that we usually enjoy and relied on. Through these changes, there have also been opportunities taken by our family to instill new traditions in our home that are grounded in gospel principles. As a family we have had family gatherings online on a weekly basis. This has given us the opportunity to connect more meaningfully with family members from around the world.
As we partake of the sacrament in our home, there is a deep reverence we had not previously felt with our busy little ones. We have come to cherish deeply the opportunity to renew sacramental covenants in our home. On Sundays our young daughters also inspire us with their “talks” during our at-home sacrament meetings. This spirit of worship in our home has uplifted our family. Our home has become more focused on intentional and consistent gospel learning.
We have witnessed miracles and blessings. We feel that our home and family has moved closer to heaven as we have tried our best to align our lives with gospel principles. We have been continually edified by the spirit from others: our children, family members, and Church leaders. On a constant basis, we devote more time to Sabbath day worship and more time throughout the week to gospel learning as we study Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: both together and individually.
Filling Our Lives with Christ’s Light
Elder David A. Bednar stated in his October 2011 general conference talk: “Approximately three years later, in response to earnest prayer on the evening of September 21, 1823, Joseph’s bedroom filled with light until it ‘was lighter than at noonday’ (Joseph Smith—History 1:30). A personage appeared at his bedside, called the young boy by name, and declared ‘he was a messenger sent from the presence of God … and that his name was Moroni’ (verse 33). He instructed Joseph about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon” (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign, Nov. 2011, 24). As Joseph was instructed and filled with light, we can also establish our focus on what the Saviour would have us do and be active in our spiritual growth.
We are grateful for a living prophet who has given his life to serving the Lord. We are blessed to have revelations, scriptures, and our own agency that can open our homes to more light. Our family has been blessed by the light given from the Saviour. We can sing with the Saints: “Happy are we! …We shall gain the vict’ry by and by” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Hymns, no. 250) as we follow our prophet and take care of families with traditions centred on the gospel of Jesus Christ.