Ever since Come Follow Me, for Individuals and Families was introduced, I have felt increased responsibility to teach my children.
So very much of the focus lately has been on the youth and the importance of them seeking the truth and gaining greater testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. It seems to me that everything that has been revealed in the last few years has been designed to strengthen us, but most especially to strengthen the youth. It is vital that the youth of today have a solid understanding of the gospel and a firm testimony of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It is not enough for the children and youth of today to rely on the light and testimony of their parents, teachers, and leaders. Satan and his followers are working every moment of the day to capture us, “for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Nephi 2:27)
Youth Should Seek Guidance through Prayer
As we teach our children and encourage them to gain their own testimonies, it comes back to a boy named Joseph who, almost 200 years ago, was reading in the Bible and seeking his own answers as to which church to join.
It was a simple question that could have been answered in so many ways. Consider today where we go when seeking an answer to questions: Google is the most common answer or YouTube. Asking friends could be next. Then, maybe they go to parents or leaders and teachers. This is okay when the question is “how far is it to London?” Or “what is 563x658?” But when it comes to spiritual questions, Elder Richard G. Scott taught, “The best way of finding truth is simply to go to the origin of all truth and ask or respond to inspiration” (“Truth: The Foundation of Correct Decisions,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 90).
We are all familiar with the verse that prompted Joseph Smith to ask God which church he should join: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). It was a simple question that could have been answered by many different people in Joseph’s life. His father, his mother, his friends could have given their opinion, not to mention the preachers of each church with their own agenda. But Joseph knew that the best answer would come from God, for He is “the origin of truth” and has promised to answer our prayers. He will give us the knowledge that we seek “by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).
In his address to the youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 2018, President Russell M. Nelson said: “Now I plead with each of you to do as the teenaged Joseph did. Take your questions directly to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Ask Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to guide you. You can learn for yourself—right now at your age—how to receive personal revelation. And nothing will make a bigger difference in your life than that!” (“Hope of Israel,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, Jun. 3, 2018).
As we teach our children and youth how to seek answers to their questions, they will receive the personal revelation that is required for their testimonies to grow and be strengthened.
Experiencing a Testimony of Jesus Christ
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” advises, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness.” We must continue to teach our children the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we must remember that we also need to encourage them to experience how to gain their own testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. At the April 2019 general conference, Elder Bednar quoted Joseph Smith: “Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose” (“Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” Ensign, May 2019, 54).
In preparation for the September 29, 2019 worldwide Children and Youth Introductory Video Broadcast focusing on the new program Children and Youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is to be implemented January 1, 2020, President Nelson extended an invitation to the youth to read from the Book of Mormon every day and to ask the Lord to prepare their hearts and minds to hear what he is eager to teach them. This invitation was not a one-time thing. As we encourage our children to continue this pattern, they, and we, will be prepared to receive personal revelation in our lives on a daily basis as we “strengthen the rising generation’s faith in Jesus Christ, and help children, youth, and their families progress along the covenant path as they meet life’s challenges” (“A Glimpse of the New Program for Children and Youth: Focusing on Faith in Christ through Balanced Growth,” Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Sept. 13, 2019).
As we help strengthen the rising generation, they will be prepared even more than anyone has been before to face the world in which we live and be shining examples to everyone that they meet. What a blessing it is to have modern-day revelation to guide us in this journey of parenthood: both by inspired prophets and apostles and from our own personal revelation. We—as parents—can be inspired to teach our children in the best possible way for them as individuals. I am excited to see the amazing things that our children will accomplish in their lives.