GCBC Week 8: “Becoming Goodly Parents” by Elder L. Tom Perry

It’s already late, so I’ll just post up this week’s talk and chime in another day with some of my own thoughts. This was the first talk from the Saturday p.m. session of conference.

Becoming Goodly Parents

by Elder L. Tom Perry

What did you like and learn from this talk? Please share in the comments below some of your insights.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

Faith, Prayer, Repentance, Forgiveness: The Power of Apology

There’s that one song on the radio that says over and over, “It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late.” That song bugs me, because if you’re still alive, it’s not too late. I mean (Pretend I’m talking out loud to my radio in the car. It’s been known to happen.), you might be too proud to apologize, or too scared to apologize, or it might seem too hard to apologize, but I guess that doesn’t make for good lyrics. Too late? Lame excuse.

The Family Proclamation lists the ingredients of successful marriages and families. If I were to rewrite one sentence from the Proclamation in the form of a recipe, I think it would look something like this:


It seems simple enough, but it is hard work (which, coincidentally, happens to be one of the ingredients). And since it is challenging, we mess up. Often. That’s why I think that the two ingredients that will have to be added over and over to the recipe are repentance and forgiveness. Consider the following words of wisdom:

“To be guileless is to have a childlike innocence, to be slow to take offense and quick to forgive. These qualities are first learned in the home and family and can be practiced in all our relationships. To be guileless is to look for our own fault first. When accused, we should ask as the Savior’s Apostles did, “Lord, is it I?”. If we listen to the answer given by the Spirit, we can, if needed, make corrections, apologize, seek forgiveness, and do better.” –Elder Robert D. Hales

“To any[one] within the sound of my voice who has trouble controlling his tongue, may I suggest that you plead with the Lord for the strength to overcome your weakness, that you apologize to those you have offended, and that you marshal within yourselves the power to discipline your tongue.” –President Gordon B. Hinckley

“The sweet peace the gospel brings never comes at all when we justify our misconduct or blame others for our unhappiness. But there is a way out. … Face up, quit, get out, confess, apologize, admit the harm we have done…” –Elder F. Burton Howard

“On a visit to see my Uncle Ray last year, … Hanging on the kitchen wall was a framed expression which my aunt had embroidered. It carried a world of practical application: ‘Choose your love; love your choice.’ Very often this will take compromise, forgiveness, perhaps apology. We must ever be committed to the success of our marriage.” –President Thomas S. Monson

“Every marriage is subject to occasional stormy weather. But with patience, mutual respect, and a spirit of forbearance, we can weather these storms. Where mistakes have been made, there can be apology, repentance, and forgiveness. But there must be willingness to do so on the part of both parties.” –President Gordon B. Hinckley

“You have felt [your Heavenly Father's approval] in your family when you asked the pardon of your spouse or forgave a child for some mistake or disobedience. These moments will come more often as you try to do the things you know Jesus would do. Because of His Atonement for you, your childlike obedience will bring a feeling of love of the Savior for you and your love for Him.” –President Henry B. Eyring

There’s a reason I chose to write about the importance of repentance and forgiveness in family relationships. The reason is me. I make mistakes all the time. Just yesterday, I lost my patience with both of my sons for performing below their potential at school. What I considered tough love was probably, in part, actually a little unkind. This morning, I lost my temper when my daughter refused to eat breakfast and responded to me with defiance. Here’s the thing: I am the parent, but I am still the learner, too. So when the Spirit pricks at my heart and says, “You could have handled that better,” then I need to swallow my pride and apologize. When I dropped off Natalie at school today, before I let her hop out of the van, I pulled her up onto my lap, looked into her pretty blue eyes, and said, “Does Mommy need to apologize?” She nodded her head. I told her I was sorry and that I had acted wrongly. I asked her forgiveness. I gave her a hug. And as I drove away, I promised Heavenly Father that I would try (again and again) to do better.

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he usually says sorry first–even when the fault is as much or more mine than his. It is an immediate diffuser of coldness and distance. When someone sincerely says “I’m sorry,” we can breathe easier as we work through our disagreements. And because we hope our Heavenly Father will forgive us all the way when we make dumb mistakes, we need to be willing to offer that same kind of forgiveness to others, especially those with whom we have covenant relationships.  I’ve always loved this powerful analogy by Elder Holland:

Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried. Don’t keep going back with your little sand pail and beach shovel to dig it up, wave it around, and then throw it at someone, saying, ‘Hey! Do you remember this?’ Splat!

Well, guess what? That is probably going to result in some ugly morsel being dug up out of your landfill with the reply, ‘Yeah, I remember it. Do you remember this?’ Splat.

And soon enough everyone comes out of that exchange dirty and muddy and unhappy and hurt, when what God, our Father in Heaven, pleads for is cleanliness and kindness and happiness and healing. Such dwelling on past lives, including past mistakes, is just not right! It is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

So when you find that your relationship with your spouse or your child is strained (as it will often be), put down your shovel and pail, put down your pride, and say “I am sorry.” When spoken with a humble heart, and then followed by an “increase of love” or any of the other ingredients, your marriage and family recipe is one step closer to successful. The song got it wrong: It’s never too late to apologize.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Marriage Is Essential, by Michele Stitt

A few years ago, our LDS Bishop called me into his office where he was counseling a newly married young couple.  “Tell them what it means to be equally yoked,” he directed.  “Tell them why you and Jeff are happy in your marriage.”  At the time, I mumbled something about horses and wagons and pulling together.

…Let me see if I can be more clear now.  I’ll start by quoting the Proclamation:

“Marriage between man and woman is essential to God’s eternal plan.  …Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

Elder David A. Bednar once said:

“Righteous marriage is a commandment and an essential step in the process of creating a loving family relationship that can be perpetuated beyond the grave
1. [because] The natures of male and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation and
2. By divine design, both a man and a woman are needed to bring children into mortality and to provide the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children” (6/06 Ensign, 82-84).

It has been said that in a contented marriage, partners have 5 positive feelings or interactions for every 1 negative one.  Since Jeff and I have been hitched to the same wagon now for nearly 15 years, I thought I’d share 5 POSITIVE THINGS he does that reinforce our partnership.

He actively loves (which I’m sure often involves “praying with all the energy of his heart” for charity).  He makes sure we have a weekly date; he brings home newspapers from his travels for me to read and discuss with him; he always shares his chocolate.

He listens.  He understands that I cannot sleep if the kitchen is a mess, so no matter how late he got home from work or how tired he is, he works beside me until the last dish is loaded in the washer.  He understands unspoken cues like—pulling-the-blanket-over-my-head-on-Saturday-morning means “Please feed and dress the kids and make sure they’re ready to go to soccer/piano/scouts/etc. by the time I get up.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught

“I am satisfied that the application of a single practice would do more than all else to [strengthen marriages…It is that] every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion… Argument would never be heard. Accusations would never be leveled. Angry explosions would not occur. Rather, love and concern would replace abuse and meanness.”  (11/04 Ensign, 82).

Jeff gets this.

Jeff forgives and moves on.  When Jeff and I were first married, I backed his brand new car into a cement pole.  When I called Jeff to tell him the bad news, I expected the first big trial in our fledgling marriage.  But do you know what he said?  “Are you okay? Don’t worry about the car.  It’s a car.  But you—how are you?”

Do you know what is even more wonderful to me about this story?  In all the time since this accident, Jeff has never complained about our insurance rates going up.  He never stands behind and beside the car waving his arms (like missionaries do), to help me back up.  He forgave and forgot about it.

As I think about Adam and Eve, they inspire me as people who certainly had trials but who “got over it” and moved on as equal partners.  To quote Marie Hafen:

“Adam and Eve fell that they might have JOY.  But they didn’t skip merrily out of Eden singing and wishing everyone a nice day.  They walked in sorrow into a lonely world, where they earned their bread by the sweat of their brows and learned about joy in the midst of misery and pain.”

Just as we have no record of Adam constantly bringing up Eve’s transgression in their two hundredth year together, Jeff has never once mentioned the totaled back-end of his car.

Jeff remembers who I am.  He tells our children by word and action that I’m a beloved daughter of God.  He remembers I’m his best friend by calling me in the middle of the day just to see how I’m doing; he relishes telling every new dinner guest our “how-we-met” story; he is the first to give me credit as his partner for any success he experiences in his career.

So there—5 good things about Jeff.  I’ll have to get back to you on a negative one.  In the meantime, I’ll just keep gratefully pulling along right beside him.

Michele is a wife and mother of two who currently resides in Alpine, Utah. She and I became friends in Minnesota, and she has been a mentor and example to me for many years. Thank you, Michele, for sharing these great ideas and insights.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue through Sept. 30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

← The giveaway this week is a gift certificate from Family Tree and Me redeemable for any of their Photo Family Proclamations, including the shipping cost. Readers of the Family Proclamation Celebration can receive a 25% discount off the price of the print if you use this code: Family Proclamation Celebration.25 The discount is good until September 30th. All those comment on posts will be eligible for the giveaway.

Family Tree and Me delights in creating customized keepsake family photo art and would love the opportunity to make a meaningful art piece for you to display in your home. You provide the pictures and we create the art!

We have four categories of art with a variety of options available within each one: Photo Family Trees, Photo Family Proclamations, Missionary Photo Art, and Photo Family Mission Statements.

Husband and Wife, by Shawni Pothier

Marriage is the keystone for everything else in a family to fit together.  If we don’t put our spouse first, it is really difficult to do all the other family stuff in the proclamation.

Here is a list of ideas to strengthen marriage. Some of these things Dave and I do great. Others are things we are really working on.

Here you go:

Go to bed at the same time. (I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it makes a world of difference for us.)

If you go to bed at the same time, you get to have “pillow talk” which leads to belly laughs, which make me happy. (I feel so much more connected to Dave when we make time to really talk about how our day went and what’s coming up the next day.)

Find at least a few of the same things to be interested in together. (We’re always working on that one because we are so different, but I think it’s so important.)

Learn what his “love language” is from this book (I know this may sound cheesy, but seriously, it is a pretty cool concept).

Never underestimate the power of touch. Even just a touch on the shoulder or a on his knee at dinner.

Tell your kids how excited you are to go on a date together with stars in your eyes.

Hug in front of your kids.

Tell your kids what you love about their dad. All the time.

Say you’re sorry before he does.

Continue “dating” regularly forever, even if it’s an “at-home date” after the kids are in bed.

Drop everything you’re trying to juggle some evenings and just snuggle on the couch.

Watch a show you like together while sitting in front of him on the floor…he rubs your back while you rub his feet. (or visa-versa)

Text him love-notes in the middle of the day.

Tuck love-notes in his suitcase when he goes on a business trip.

Make dinner for him.

Dave and I decided right when we got married to keep any complaints or things we were bugged about between us. We promised each other that we would discuss those things and work them out just the two of us, not with our friends or neighbors. We figured it would make us stronger to work through things together and to keep that relationship sacred. And we were right. That’s one of the best things about our marriage as far as I’m concerned.

Show that you value his opinion by giving in more often. (Hmmm…I need to work on that one…)
Let him beat you at Quordy here and there :) (that’s a Boggle game on the iPhone)

Make an effort to give him a sincere compliment before you go to bed each night…something you noticed during the day. Be looking for the good instead of for opportunities to nag.

Talk about your budget often and make sure you’re on the same page with how you spend.

If you’re not on the same page with how you spend, re-evaluate. And give-in a little. Make compromises. Finances are one of the biggest stress-inducing things in marriages.

Forgive. And then Forget. Don’t hold on to grudges.

If something is important to him, make it important to you. No matter how silly it may seem in your view at first. (That’s my favorite one from my Mom and I think about it ALL THE TIME.)

Laugh. A lot. Keep a sense of humor.

Ok, and just to keep it real, here’s what NOT to do to make your husband feel like you really care about him:

Chop your hair off in a moment of mid-life crisis even though you know he loves long hair. But if he’s really nice like Dave is he’ll still love you anyway. :)

Cough all night long with allergies.

Back into your in-laws’ car.

Forget to warn him about five different conflicts you have in one night early enough that he can brace himself for it.

Text when you’re on a date.

But hey, I’m working on those, and hair grows, right? :)

Strong marriages make strong families, but they take work.

What are some things that you and your spouse do for each other that strengthens your marriage?

Shawni lives with her husband and five children in Arizona.  She takes her job as a Mother very seriously and strives to promote joy in the journey of Motherhood on her blog. Shawni’s youngest daughter (Lucy) was born with a rare genetic syndrome which causes blindness (amidst a myriad of other health problems).  Because of this, Shawni and her mother started the “I Love Lucy Project” and have become heavily involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Aside from being an advocate for her daughter and relishing in motherhood, Shawni enjoys speaking at Time Out for Women and recently published her first book, A Mother’s Book of Secrets.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!

Divinely Appointed Sacred Powers, by Michelle

Original photo : [stu-di-o] by jeanie Photography, via heirloommagazine.com

One of my favorite quotes is from President Boyd K. Packer, who says, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.” I love the Proclamation to the World on the Family because it is a clear, powerful, doctrinal document, full of simple truths that are such an anchor in these challenging times.

Of course, as we all know, some of these truths delve head-first into the most highly-charged social and political issues of our day. For example, consider this simple phrase from the Proclamation:

…the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

As many of us have experienced, sometimes it can be extremely difficult to know how to respond to the questions — and even outright opposition and anger  – regarding our beliefs and standards.

But as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland recently reminded us (if you haven’t yet listened to his talk, I highly recommend it…as in, go listen to it now if you can!):

“This Church can never ‘dumb down’ its doctrines in response to social goodwill or political expediency. It is only on the high ground of revealed truth that gives us any footing on which to lift another who feels troubled or forsaken.”

There is power and love in truth.

I’m grateful to share two examples from lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that illustrate this power, specifically how the power of truths about morality and marriage that have helped bring people to Christ and His gospel.

My sister told me a few months ago about a (now 17-year-old) young woman named Sarah who, in response to friend’s simple question, was able to talk about marriage and the law of chastity. Sarah kindly agreed to share the story with Proclamation Celebration readers.

Every day in my art class I sat by a group of girls who had never really heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I would be tired when class started because I had been to early morning seminary.  The girls had a lot of questions about my morning church class.  They asked about polygamy, dating, drinking and many other things — because I was the only “Mormon” they had ever met. 

One of the girls and I became good friends. Even though our lifestyles were very different, our personalities clicked and we had fun together. Every time we would hang out, she would ask more questions about the Church. When my older brother got engaged, I told my friend about him and his fiancé. She asked me about them and asked if they were both virgins.  I said I was confident they both were. She asked why they would do that. I told her we believe that a sexual relationship is sacred, and that they had saved their love to be given only to their spouse. I had only offered her a simple explanation. I didn’t feel like I had taught any sort of spectacular lesson or shared a new insight.

But, after I had said this her countenance dropped. I will never forget the look of sorrow and remorse on her face when she said, “Wow. . . . I wish I’d thought of that.” The fact that abstinence and fidelity was a new idea to her shocked me. I was given a new appreciation for what I had been taught since I was a child.

My friend, who was once so tied down by the weight of her sins has since joined the Church. Her imperfections were washed away and Heavenly Father remembers them no more. Her sexual transgressions, though they were serious, are no more, and she is now leading a virtuous, wholesome life.

I am so grateful for the protection of the commandments and the grief it prevents me from carrying. Not only am I grateful for the sin the commandments save me from committing, I am even more grateful for the cleansing power [of the Atonement]. I testify that virtue truly is power. I know that being virtuous — though it is not always easy, and it is certainly not popular — is truly the way to happiness.

I was also moved by this recent Mormon Women comment in response to the question “Why do you choose to be a Mormon woman?” Dee wrote about how the morals and values we teach, and the Proclamation itself, drew her to the Church:

I choose to be Mormon because I can feel [the] Holy Spirit within me. I believe in The Church and the word I read in the Book of Mormon. I have strong morals and values and The Church has the same type of morals and values I have always held so dear to my heart. I grew up and attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until I was 7 then my mom stopped going. My grandmother has been a member for 32 years and always prayed I would find my way back to The Church. Now, at the age of 24 I have been baptized and live in The Gospel. I love being a member of The Church. I love being Mormon. I love being able to be me and feel comfortable, I no longer feel like the odd one out, I feel like I am back with my long lost family. One of the strongest things I read that made me know this church was right for me was reading The Family: A Proclamation To The World.

As Sarah notes, it is definitely not popular to live and believe what we live and believe. But it’s eternal truth, and there is power in truth. I believe as we calmly, compassionately, and consistently seek for the Spirit’s help to live and share our faith (even in small and simple ways), God can continue calling to His children who, like Sarah’s friend, are still “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (Doctrine and Covenants 123:19).

I conclude with the words of Elder Holland…for the next time you have someone ask why it is that a politically neutral church is taking a stand on certain social issues.

“Sensitively explain why some principles are defended, and some sins are opposed wherever they are found, because the issues and the laws involved are not social and political, but eternal in their consequence. And while not wishing to offend those who believe differently than us, we are even more anxious not to offend God.”

And again,

“It is only on the high ground of revealed truth that gives us any footing on which to lift another who feels troubled or forsaken.”

I know the doctrine that our prophets teach is true. The Proclamation is powerful doctrine for our day. The Savior and His Atonement are real. The gospel has been restored. I pray that we may have the strength, guidance, wisdom, and charity to know how and where to share these marvelous truths with others.

Michelle is a wife and mom of three. Before marriage and motherhood blessed her life, she served a mission, got a B.S. in Psychology and an MBA (Organizational Behavior emphasis), and worked as a business consultant. She’s been grateful to be a stay-at-home mom since her first child was born. She is currently the managing editor of mormonwoman.org.

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Click here to read a complete version of The Family: A Proclamation to the World. The celebration will continue from Sept 17-30.

Remember that during the world-wide-web Family Proclamation Celebration, you can read more posts every day at We Talk of Christ, at Chocolate on My Cranium, and at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.

Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.

The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!