GCBC Week 9: “Children” by Elder Neil L. Andersen

Children are much less “popular” these days. They’re quite inconvenient. Some see them as a burden. Many see them as an option; not a natural, integral part of any family. Some people simply prefer pets. There’s a different climate in the world today about what family means and what our responsibilities are with respect to having and raising children. That’s why I love Elder Andersen’s clear voice of an apostle declaring the Lord’s position on children and family.

My own children have never been “convenient,” but they are absolutely part of God’s plan for me and my husband. (See him up there with my daughter?  I’m a lucky woman.) They are loved by their Heavenly Father, and He helps me become who I am supposed to be through them. And that’s a gift.

Children by Elder Neil L. Andersen

“It is a crowning privilege of a husband and wife who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for these spirit children of God. We believe in families, and we believe in children.”

What about this talk stood out to you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

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22 thoughts on “GCBC Week 9: “Children” by Elder Neil L. Andersen

  1. What a great idea! I wish I would have known about this from the beginning!
    This talk felt like a nudge to learn more about my ancestors. Our families are eternal and huge! I love that about our gospel. I love that there is a place for our ancestors in our father’s kingdom.

  2. I LOVED this talk!!!!!! Affirmation again about the importance of motherhood and being a strong parent. Even as the world goes crazier, we are still commanded to bring children into our homes, to teach children the gospel and to follow the prophet. I’m done with child bearing – but it is so important to teach my children to plan on having a family.

    By the way, this book club has been so inspiring to me. I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate the conference talks. I’ve decided to read a few paragraphs to my kids each morning before we do our family scripture study. I just use the talk that you have selected for the book club each week. By the end of the week, the kids have heard most of the talk again. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s better than the nothing that I was doing. Thank you!!!!

    • Amy – I love how you read the conference talks to your kids. My kids are still really young, but I bet I could find some quotes that would be good for them to hear.

  3. I love GCBC :) I keep learning so much from all the other ladies who are commenting! Thanks for all your wonderful examples and sharing your insight with me. I feel really grateful and humble to be associated with all of you – even if it is just online :)

    I enjoyed this talk when I heard it, and I have read and re-read parts of it since I got my Ensign, but for some reason when I was reading it again today, I had an epiphany about faith and children and marriage – it was really good. Just what I needed today.

    I would share more thoughts here, but I don’t know if they will come out right – I’m not even sure if I got them out right on my blog. Either way, they are over there if you want to read them…

    Thanks again, Stephanie – this is so great. It’s seriously the highlight of my week! :D

  4. This talk is a good reminder given the fact that our social climate is turning further away from idealizing the “traditional family”. I also appreciated that he reminded us that family planning decisions were private and that we shouldn’t judge others for the size of their family. I remember getting comments before I had kids (When??) and then after (When’s the next one??). I could have done without all of them. :)

  5. This talk actually scared me a bit when I first heard it! The week before GC I had a doctor’s appointment in the women’s center where I delivered my son. Seeing all those pregnant women made me a bit nostalgic, and I couldn’t stop thinking about whether or not it was time to have another baby. Since my only child was not yet 12 months old, my rational thought was, “NO WAY!!” But then I heard this talk, and I was again struck with the thought that this is a sign, maybe we ARE supposed to go for child #2 — and then I was paralyzed with fear because I can barely handle #1!

    After much discussion with my husband, we don’t think the time is right yet, but I do think this talk was timely for me nonetheless. Part of the reason I’ve struggled with my son is that I’ve only just recently become a full-time mom. I never in my life wanted to be a stay-at-home parent, so this is very strange territory. But I did it for the right reasons, and mentally I know it was absolutely the right decision… but emotionally, I sometimes need reassurance. Being told by a general authority that what I am doing is “a crowning privilege” bolsters my confidence and increases my joy. I truly love being a mother :)

    • Lindsay,

      I totally get what you are saying. I always planned on doing the full-time mom thing, but it’s such a huge adjustment to go from work and school to being home! It’s a different kind of fulfilling isn’t it? But it’s nice to know that this one has amazing and eternal rewards – and I love the way you describe your feelings on it!

    • I remember going through this same feeling. I wasn’t a full time stay-at-home mom until my first was 20 months old and I was pregnant with #2 (I worked until #1 was 10 mos, and then finished school when he was 20 mos). Although I had always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom, I was FREAKED OUT. I’m still adjusting, but it’s much better now :) Thanks, as well, to lots of good counsel from the prophets about motherhood :) Especially Elder Holland’s talk that was made into a Mormon Messages video – “Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God”.

  6. This talk was bittersweet for me at the other end of the tunnel. I was a very naive young woman. At 18 I was ready to conquer the world with my new husband. Well, at least my little corner of it. I wanted to keep the commandment to ‘multiply and replenish the earth’ in great numbers.

    Instead of posting a book like usual, I’ll just link the rest of my thoughts to my blog post on the subject. http://alittleginger.blogspot.com/2011/11/joy-and-pain.html

  7. This was the only talk in all the years I’ve listened to conference where, instead of thinking about things to improve/change in my life, I felt the words, “you did it” in my heart. We have recently had our sixth and last baby, and know it’s our last through a lot of prayer and contemplation. We have accomplished what the Lord needed us to do, and that is a wonderful feeling. We are now looking ahead to raising our family and all the great adventures to come. I love this talk for confirming and reaffirming our decision. Perhaps that’s more personal than anything just anyone might take away from it, but I will always be grateful for the experience in watching it that weekend.

  8. I have 8 children. I know I will have more, so when I listened to this talk, I just thought, “Oh, good, I have one thing right.” But I love how he talks about how it is a personal decision and that we should not judge other people. There are so many reasons for having children and when to have them and when to stop having them. The Holy Ghost partnered with unity in marriage seem to be the only real guides. If I had listened to other people, I would have only had 3 or 4 kids. It would have been sad to find out what I could have had and chose not to. I also understand that for various reasons, the Holy Ghost will tell other couples “no more” after only 2, and that couple will have kept the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth just as much as I have. The same is true for couples who have not been able to bear children. Certainly, Sariah, Abraham’s wife, kept the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth well before Isaac came along.

  9. Loved this talk! For me, this quote sums up his talk: “We believe in families, and we believe in children.”

    His examples from the scriptures of parents that had children during tough times was very timely and thought-provoking for me. A couple of years ago, my husband and I felt like we needed to have another child. We acted on the prompting and shortly after I found out I was pregnant, my husband was laid off and eventually ended up starting his own business. If we hadn’t gotten pregnant when we did, we still wouldn’t have because of the uncertainty of everything in our lives. However, I am so grateful for my daughter and I know we were incredibly blessed during that time – hard as it was – that things worked out with money, insurance, etc. I now find myself with a baby that is 18 months old and a husband that is ready for another child and a lot of fears about having a baby with a husband that is self-employed. I don’t know when we’ll have another baby, but I do know that this talk gave me a lot of hope and faith that when we decide to, it will work out.

    Loved the quote from the blogger about motherhood is a calling and children aren’t something you squeeze in if you have the time. I also checked out her original blog entry at: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/motherhood-is-a-calling-and-where-your-children-rank

    Elder Andersen did a beautiful job of addressing the need to not judge others for their decisions in these regards. My favorite quote, though, along the ideas of not judging others is: “we thank you for creating within the Church a sanctuary for families, where we honor and help mothers with children.” What a positive way of putting it – and hopefully a call to all of us to be a little more proactive in helping the mothers around us that are struggling to keep little ones quiet during meetings and juggling little ones around their church responsibilities.

  10. I thought it was interesting that Elder Andersen mentioned not just one, but a couple of times to not judge people in the aspect of child-bearing. I’ve always known it was not my place to judge (but I’m sure I have been guilty of thinking someone doesn’t have enough kids or that someone else has too many kids) but hearing Elder Andersen’s talk made me realize just how silly it is that I do that sometimes. He said “…The decision of how many children to have and when to have them is between a husband and wife and the Lord.” Why would I ever think I knew better than a husband, his wife and the Lord?

    I also liked how he said that the church should be a sanctuary for families. Many with large families are ridiculed by the world, and it is a good reminder that we should make sure that there is none of that in the church, just support and love.

  11. This was one of the few talks last conference that I actually remember hearing. My daughter was probably asleep during it :) I remember, while I was listening to him, thinking that someone is noticing my efforts as a stay at home mom. I also remember thinking that I need to try a little harder to be a little better because this is a calling from God to be a mother. As I re-read it the quote, “it is generally during these challenging times that [husband and wife] will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions.” What a great reminder for these times of uncertainty. I hope that my husband and I can use challenges to grow closer, instead of growing apart.

  12. Beautiful thoughts, everyone. I particularly like the reminder that the church is a sanctuary for families. Now that my children are grown, I need to be more aware of what I can do to help others enjoy their journey with little ones. I’m grateful we believe in families and children. More thoughts here.

  13. Now that I’ve found time to watch the actual video :) This was also one of the talks I remember hearing from conference. It was my favorite one. My hubby plans to go to medical school, but hasn’t even finished up nursing school yet – although it’s soon! So I felt like I really connected with it. Some people think we’re crazy for starting our family before he’s done with his education. Other people think I’m crazy to not be working full time with a bachelor’s degree. It’s nice to know that not everyone is judging us for our decisions.
    A close relative of mine who works in the public library told me that the most popular topic coming in right now is why NOT to have children. I can’t comprehend that. I can’t comprehend purposefully denying yourself the joys of being a parent, it shows how true it is that the world’s stand has shifted away from the gospel truth.

  14. Playing catch-up here. One thing that really stood out to me in this talk is “We should not judge one another on this matter.” When to have children and how many to have is between the husband, wife and the Lord.

    If we only remember this we will be less likely to hurt or offend those who, for one reason or another, can not have children.

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