Saturday, February 14, 2015

David O. McKay on love and respect at home

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"One of our most precious possessions is our families. The domestic relations precede, and, in our present existence, are worth more than all other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtues. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interests of human life....
"When one puts business or pleasure above his home, he that moment starts on the downgrade to soul-weakness. When the club becomes more attractive to any man than his home, it is time for him to confess in bitter shame that he has failed to measure up to the supreme opportunity of his life and flunked in the final test of true manhood. No other success can compensate for failure in the home. The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches. In such a home God can work miracles and will work miracles.
"Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of heaven....
"It is Christ's ideal that home and marriage should be perpetual--eternal.
"Marriage is a sacred relationship entered into for purposes that are well recognized--primarily for the rearing of a family.
"I know of no other place where happiness abides more securely than in the home. It is possible to make home a bit of heaven. Indeed, I picture heaven as a continuation of the ideal home. Some man has said: 'Home filled with contentment is one of the highest hopes of this life.'"
- David O. McKay, "Blessed Are They That Do His Commandments," Conference Report, April 1964, pp. 3-7; click here to read the full talk
President McKay gave many wonderful discourses on the importance of families and relationships. This excerpt contains some of his landmark thoughts about the "precious" nature the family should hold in our lives. Now more than ever, there are distractions that draw us away from that focus; President McKay's remarks are so timely.

I have heard expressions of dismay at the assumed message of the first line, one of the iconic quotes from Pres. McKay, from some who feel they have failed in some aspect of relationships or parenting. But I think it needs to be remembered in context. He was warning us, especially fathers, about distractions including "business and pleasure" that take us away from the priority of the home and draw our energy or focus in inappropriate ways. But when "love prevails" the home is never completely a failure, even when there are challenges or disappointments. Our goal and responsibility should always be to do all we can to create the environment in which "God can work miracles."

So the "ideal home" is what we can all aspire to. It would be well to ask what we can do in our personal relationships in families, to help create that kind of environment. It starts with "pure hearts in a pure home" — we each should examine our own worthiness and devotion, do what we can to make the environment as wholesome as possible, and then work to aid and assist those closest to us.

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