Saturday, April 6, 2013

Strengthening Home and Family

If I were to make a personal list of what I thought to be the greatest, most important angelic manifestations given to mankind, Gabriel's appearance and message to Mary would be included very high on my top ten five. 

Perhaps the top five two.

And Mary would be the only woman.

So this week I have been pondering the words of Elder Talmage as he compared Gabriel's visit to Zacharias  in the magnificent temple: "under the light shed from the golden candlestick, and further illuminated by the glow of living coals on the altar of gold;" to the the visit he made to Mary for "in a small town far from the capital and the temple, most probably within the walls of a simple Galilean cottage" (Jesus the Christ pg. 82, italics added).

Just as the youth of today are told by latter-day prophets that they are a chosen generation, the young women in Mary's day "knew that some Jewish maiden was yet to become the mother of the Christ" (pg. 80).   Maybe this teaching was made known under the direction of Jewish leaders in the synagogue.  But perhaps it was done more intimately, during the quiet moments at home by loving parents who knew and loved the words of holy prophets.

Is it any wonder then, why the young women recite each Sunday that they will "be prepared to strengthen home and family?"

And as Relief Society sisters part of our purpose is to "increase faith and personal righteousness" and "strengthen home and family?"

So, what if Mary were not at home that day when Gabriel stopped for a visit?

What if she were out with her girlfriends because she couldn't take the pressures of home and family?

Or, what if she were at the temple instead, taking on a "better cause" by protesting the use of precious minerals and fire or, more definitively, what if she were lobbying for rights, authority or power equal to that of Zacharias?

In January of this year, at a  BYU devotional, Sis. Elaine Dalton made this bold declaration:

"Young women, you will be the ones who will provide the example of virtuous womanhood and motherhood. You will continue to be virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, and of good report. You will also be the ones who will provide the example of family life in a time when families are under attack, being redefined, and disintegrating. You will understand your roles and your responsibilities and thus will see no need to lobby for rights (italic added).

Indeed, as I have been pondering Gabriel's visit to Mary, I have come to realize that the sweetest, most important spiritual manifestations that have happened in my life have happened within the walls of my own home or they have been about those things that happen and can happen within those walls.  Those messages have taught (and continue to teach) me how I can increase my faith and personal righteousness and specific directions on what I need to do to strengthen my home and my family.

What more rights, authority or power do I need than that?

1 comment:

  1. I love Sister Dalton's devotional address! I love Sister Dalton period.

    This post is excellent. And so poignant. Home is truly the place we need to be as mothers. It goes along with President Packers' statement this morning in General Conference, "Few things are more powerful than the faithful prayer of a righteous mother."