All around we see evidence of the truths found in Ephesians 6. It talks about putting on the whole armor of God so that we can withstand the daily attacks by the adversary. Of this, Elder Kim Clark of the Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education (2014-2019) taught:
The scriptures teach us that the world is now and will be in commotion. Wickedness and darkness will increase. Yet in that darkening world there will be increased divine light. The Lord Jesus Christ has a great work for us to do with the rising generation. It is a greater work than we have ever done before. The Lord is working in power to strengthen teaching and learning in His true and living Church. He is hastening His work, and He is preparing the earth and His kingdom and us for His return. …
Whatever level of spirituality we now enjoy in our lives; whatever degree of faith in Jesus Christ we now have; whatever strength of commitment and consecration, whatever degree of obedience or hope or charity is ours; it will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead. … Every one of us needs to be better than we have ever been. (Link)
What does this mean for parents, teachers and leaders of children and youth? Here are a few answers from Elder Clark that are weighing heavily our minds and hearts:
- Educating our children and youth more deeply and more powerfully than ever before.
Our children and youth will need to be grounded in the plain and simple truths of the gospel, including the doctrine of the family as found in the family proclamation. These eternal truths will need to be deep in their hearts, and they will need what President Russell M. Nelson has called resilient faith in Christ, when he said, quote, “Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord ‘shall suffer persecution’. That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives. (Link)
2. Teaching the doctrine of marriage and the family more deeply and clearly than ever before.
BYU-Idaho has been teaching a course on the family over the years as part of every student’s education. It’s given the faculty a window into what students believe about the doctrine of marriage and the family. According to Elder Clark, the results of surveys were unsettling:
Many students, perhaps 40 to 50 percent, have at best an incomplete, and at worst, a false understanding of this most crucial doctrine of the family. These are good, active Latter-day Saint youth who have graduated from seminary and who have not sufficiently learned the doctrine of marriage either at home or in seminary or in Sunday School or in their Young Women or priesthood quorum classes and, in some cases, not even on their missions.
The students not only need a better knowledge of the doctrine of marriage, they need to understand it in their hearts. They need a spiritual witness of its truth, and they need to act on that witness. They also need to know how to talk about the doctrine of marriage with their friends and with others who may not share their beliefs. And they need to grow in their capacity to discern between truth and error. They need increased faith in Jesus Christ, and they need increased hope in Him. (Link)
3. Loving the doctrine of the family
We need to understand, and love the doctrines of the Church so that our children and youth can know, understand and love these things as well. We need to teach the doctrine of marriage and the family in everything we do. This means using the family proclamation in every lesson we teach, whether it be in our homes or in a classroom. We need to live and teach these things with such precision and with such clarity so that they cannot be misunderstood. Of this, Elder Holland has said:
When Christ comes, the members of His Church must look and act like members of His Church are supposed to look and act if we are to be acceptable to Him. We must be doing His work and we must be living His teachings. He must recognize us quickly and easily as truly being His disciples. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. once advised, our faith must not be difficult to detect. (Link)
4. Being aware of trends and helping them discern eternal truths in everyday life
We know the Lord is hastening His work. There is evidence of this all around us. We also know that He is not the only one who is hastening his work. Satan is also increasing in his intensity, boldness and sophistication. That’s why we need to know and teach the doctrine and standards taught in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (including the why’s behind them, which is what we hope this site will help you do!) We need to be aware of and understand social issues and the latest trends in the media—see them for what they really are—and then help our children and youth learn how to compare and contrast them with eternal truth. As we do this, we will be able to teach the rising generation how to have spiritual discernment and triumph against the adversary.