Laying the Foundation of a Great Work – Conference Notes Oct. 2018

Oct 27, 2018
3 min read

This year our grandchildren wrote the topic of their message on stones and then, one by one, buried them next to one another, representing a sure foundation upon which a happy life is established.

I think it is cool to do things like this with kids (sure, and adults too). Stories like these that Elder Steven R. Bangerter shared sound like something you would read about in scripture as a parable or relating to an event like the Lamanites literally burying their weapons of war. Acting out symbolic gestures can imprint unique things upon the mind and help draw connections to other doctrines and principles.

Jesus Christ is that precious cornerstone in the foundation of Zion. It was He who revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”

Underestimating the power of what we perceive to be “small things” was a theme in this conference and something that I think humanity has universally struggled with throughout history.

By these efforts, our beloved prophet urges us to make our homes “sanctuaries of faith.”

This theme had a significant impact on me this conference. This is by no means a new message, but these changes and this emphasis have certainly stirred something good in me.

Moses well understood the fundamental need for constant teaching. He counseled, “And thou shalt teach [these words] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Great reference, why do I feel like I have never read this one before? Reminds me of Amulek’s teachings about prayer in Alma 34. I love the talks I get to have with my children at home, and while driving to school in the morning, and around town. Moses words appear to illustrate capturing informal moments as optimal times to teach.

While I often will bring up a particular teaching that has been on my mind, I will also ask my girls about things they are going through and use that as a springboard to find gospel solutions. I think I would like to explore using the environment around me more to teach though. The earth and everything in it is the great teaching tool whereby one may draw infinite metaphors that testify of eternal truths. I’m recalling father Lehi teaching his sons in the following manner:

And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness! And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord! (1 Nephi 2:9-10)

Elder Bangerter continues:

We kneel beside our children during family prayer…

I would almost like to write another post about this, but we have a number of ways that we have made prayer more enjoyable and unifying in our family. Every family member has a specific day of the week assigned and they pray for every family prayer that day from dawn to dusk. The person praying gets to determine how we pray.

Whether we stand independently or hold hands creating a “family prayer circle,” whether they offer the entire prayer or we go around in the circle each contributing or whether they speak and we repeat the words of their prayer in unison. Each way has value and just the change in position brings out more heartfelt and thoughtful words from each member.

The things we talk of, the things we preach and teach determine the things that will happen among us. As we establish wholesome traditions that teach the doctrine of Christ, the Holy Spirit bears witness of the truthfulness of our message and nourishes the seeds of the gospel that are planted deep in the hearts of our children by our efforts all along the way.

Great words. I think it is very useful to focus less on short-term successes and consider our exertions similar to growing a large tree from a small seed. The more seeds we plant the better, the more we water them day by day, the better, the more we prune, graft, dung and step back to allow growth to occur, the better. The more we have faith in the intricate mechanisms of reality and fix our eyes beyond the present, the better.

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