Feast upon the Word Blog

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RS/MP Lesson 22: “Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth” (George Albert Smith Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on November 14, 2012

A link to the full lesson is here.

Parents have the primary responsibility to teach their children the gospel.

“Do not leave the training of your children to the public schools. Do not leave their training to the Primary, to the Sunday School, to the [Church’s youth organizations].”

What are each of these institutions teachings and how might their teachings and influence differ from our own? I understand that when we send out children to public schools those school might be teaching our children things that we do not argue with, but what about the Church? Does parenting and Church authority/teachings ever clash? In what ways do we lead our children that make Church organizations supplementary to what we do as parents? How do parents and Church organizations work towards the same goal?

“Nobody else can perform the part that God has assigned to us as parents. We have assumed an obligation when we have been the means of bringing children into the world. We can’t place that responsibility upon any organization.”

Why do you suppose this is and what is the danger in letting someone else raise your children? When you read this, do you see this as a command only to righteous parents or to all parents? I ask this because I think that we have all seen children and said to ourselves, “that kid needs a mom (or dad)” because his/hers is virtually absent from his or her life.

Other interests must not cause us to lose sight of our duty to teach our children.

“I want to suggest to you … , there is no time that you can spend, no way in which you can utilize your time that will be of greater advantage than training your boys and your girls to be worthy of the blessings of our Heavenly Father.”

What gets in the way of this? How can we know where that line is between working hard to provide for our families and failing to bless our families with our presence? Personally, one thing that I am guilty of is spending more time educating other people on the scriptures and not enough time educating my own children on the scriptures. It is very easy for me to get wrapped up in interesting discussions with like minded individuals, while it is much harder for me to sit down and simple speak with my young children. In other words, my interest in the scriptures sometimes makes me forget about what direction the scriptures are actually pointing. When this happens I lose sight of my real duty.

A parent’s example can lead a child to safety, righteousness, and happiness.

“Let our homes be sanctuaries of peace and hope and love.”

I love President Smith’s usage of the word “sanctuaries” here. What is a sanctuary? Well, on one hand, it is a safe haven.

The idea of my home as a sanctuary was probably one of the most important things for me growing up. I always knew that I was safe at home. No matter how bad things got elsewhere, I always knew that I had some place to which I could return. I always felt like my home was a sanctuary from the world.

The original meaning of sanctuary conveyed the idea of a sacred or a holy place. If we consider this second definition, then how are the sanctuaries of our homes any different from other sanctuaries that protect us from the world? After all, I would assume that most of us have many sanctuaries in one for or another. For example, how is the “peace and hope and love” found in our homes different from that found at the church building, or the temple, or a grandparents house? What makes the sanctuary of a home so unique?

By loving and teaching our youth, we can help safeguard them from evil.

The heading of this section lumps loving and teaching in as a pair of actions that equals success. Why is this? Can loving and teaching exist apart from one another? How can simply loving someone safeguard them from anything? The same question can be asked about teaching, how can teaching be used as a defense mechanism against evil?

Studying the gospel as a family will help us keep our children close to us.

President Smith remarks that if we are not reading the scriptures with our children and not having family time then we should “repent of our neglect and draw our families around us and teach them the truth.” When we talk about repentance in the church we necessarily talk about sin right along with it. Are we sinning when we neglect to hold family scripture study and fail to have wholesome family time? If so, how does one repent of such inaction and how big of a sin is this? Is there any sin comparable to this one? For example, do we view a church leader that provides faithful service while neglecting his family in the same way as we would view a church leader that drank coffee? Is family neglect a major sin?

I will end with a few thoughts about D&C 93:40

“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth” (D&C 93:40).

Why must we bring up our children in light and truth? Perhaps one reason for this is because truth can often deceive without the proper light shed on that truth. When our children go to school, talk with friends, go to church, ect. they could very well be hearing (and learning) truth. However, that truth is not enough. It is our job to shed light on that truth. Remember, the serpent deceived Adam and Eve with the truth, it was only with God’s light that they were ever able to discern that truth.

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6 Responses to “RS/MP Lesson 22: “Bringing Up Children in Light and Truth” (George Albert Smith Manual)”

  1. Leah said

    Very interesting Kirk. My thoughts;
    My take on the quote “Do not leave the training of your children to the public schools. Do not leave their training to the Primary, to the Sunday School, to the [Church’s youth organizations].” is that though these are important, our children learn the most from us. So often men become their fathers and women become their mothers. I take the quote to mean that the schools and churches are not babysitters, they are not the parents. We need to step up and take accountability as parents. We know the church is true, but is it enough to send our children to church if we don’t go? We know the gospel is true, but is it enough to expect our children to obey their baptismal covenants if we don’t? I take the quote to mean that we have to step up as parents, and show them how we can live in a way with church and school teachings. We are promised in the Doctrine Covenants that the gospel will not fail again as it did so many years after Christ’s death. Therefore, my teachings to my children do not contrast with that of the church. I do sometimes tell them I might not fully understand some of our doctrine, but will continue to try or it will be one of the first things I ask about when I pass from this life. If I receive testimony that the church is true, than that is all of it. I can’t pick what I will and won’t believe in and teach my children. However, the greatest example they can receive (on a day to day level) is from Troy and I (pretty scary). We can’t leave it to the church and school and call it good. There are always teaching moments at home.
    “I want to suggest to you … , there is no time that you can spend, no way in which you can utilize your time that will be of greater advantage than training your boys and your girls to be worthy of the blessings of our Heavenly Father.” I love everything you said. It is making me take a look at myself and want to make some changes. Thanks for pointing this out.
    “Let our homes be sanctuaries of peace and hope and love.” Without being reminded, it is easy to forget this. Thanks for quoting him and thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. Actually I love all the quotes and your thoughts on President G. Albert Smith’s teachings. It kind of reminds me of Sunday School. I’ve been in Primary (which I love), for so long that I don’t usually get to hear these kinds of discussions. I really needed this. Thanks for sharing.
    Leah

  2. Kim Berkey said

    My own thoughts have so far focused heavily on D&C 93:40 and the title of the lesson. I liked your question about light _and_ truth. I’m planning on having a discussion with the sisters about light and truth separately, as well (“what dose it mean to bring up a child ‘in light’? ‘In truth’?”). I’m also intrigued by the way that the phrase “light and truth” appears in the rest of D&C 93:28-42 and hope to spark some discussion on that.

    My other approach to this lesson has been largely practical. The members of our relief societies/quorums all live the gospel very differently within their own homes, and we could all benefit from others’ ideas. With the first quote under “Studying the gospel as a family,” for example, I may ask my sisters to share how family scripture study works in their home, what they’ve done to accommodate different-aged children, etc. I may do the same for FHE, granted the time.

    Thanks, as always, Kirk, for your thoughts.

  3. kirkcaudle said

    Kim, I agree that in order to have a firm grasp of what is going on with “light and truth” in v40 a good exegesis needs to be done on vv22-42. That would indeed make for a great discussion.

  4. huesofbeauty said

    Thank you for your thoughts on this lesson. I am teaching it tomorrow and I like your questions on Pres. Smith’s statement:
    “Do not leave the training of your children to the public schools. Do not leave their training to the Primary, to the Sunday School, to the [Church’s
    youth organizations].” I have not left the teachings of the gospel to anyone or any institution in or out of the church. I recently heard a general authority say the church has kept stride with the world. I agree. While the Prophets have been consistent with their doctrine and principles, the culture in the church as a whole
    has indeed kept the same distance from the world
    it always has. The world has gotten more and more wicked and much of the culture in the church and in the lives of the members is not far behind. I do not trust the opinions and teachings of others to line up with scripture or the prophets. It is my job as a parent to study and teach pure doctrine and pure principles as taught by Heavenly Father, the Savior and his living prophets.

  5. mialdy averion said

    I love this message.lesson so much.. It helps me a lot in preparing my message for our ward conference.

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