Wednesday, April 13, 2016

M. Russell Ballard on fortifying our homes against the world's influences

Elder M. Russell Ballard (1928- ) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985.
"There was a time when the walls of our homes provided all the defense we needed against outside intrusions and influences. We locked the doors, closed the windows; we shut the gates; and we felt safe, secure, and protected in our own little refuge from the outside world.
"Those days are now gone. The physical walls, doors, fences, and gates of our homes cannot prevent unseen invasion from the Internet, the Wi-Fi, the mobile phones, the networks. They can penetrate our homes with just a few clicks and keystrokes.
"Fortunately, the Lord has provided a way to counter the invasion of negative technology that can distract us from spending quality time with each other. He has done this by providing the council system to strengthen, protect, safeguard, and nurture our most precious relationships.
"Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them, and the family council can provide a time during which family members can learn to understand and love one another."
- M. Russell Ballard, "Family Councils," General Conference, April 2016, Saturday afternoon session
Click here to read the full talk

Elder Ballard provides some helpful imagery to think about our homes and families. The threats we face today are so much more insidious than those of the past. Fortifications could be built against invaders in the times of old; the doors of our homes could much more easily shut out most of the world's influences.

But today, there are subtle invaders that threaten to destroy from within. The influence of "negative technology" (as opposed to the power of wonderful, productive technology) can penetrate defenses and have a terrible impact.

Elder Ballard describes the key to combating these invaders: communicating on family council settings, both formal and informal. I am grateful for the reminder that "Children desperately need parents willing to listen to them" — and for the constructive suggestions on how we can make that happen more frequently and effectively.

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