Friday, February 22, 2019

President David O. McKay on safeguarding and strengthening house and 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.
"If, upon examination, you were to find that termites were undermining the foundation of your house, you would lose no time to have experts make thorough examination and have the destructive insects exterminated. You would have the weakened materials removed and the foundation strengthened and, if necessary, rebuilt.
"More important than the building of your house is the rebuilding and purifying of your home....
"But there are destructive termites of homes, as well as of houses, and some of these are backbiting, evil-speaking, and faultfinding on the part either of parents or of children. Slander is poison to the soul. In the ideal home, there is no slanderous gossip about schoolteachers, about public officials, or about Church officials. I am more grateful now, as years have come and gone, to my father, who with hands lifted said, 'Now, no faultfinding about your teacher or anybody else.'
"Quarreling and swearing also are evils that lower the standards of the ideal home. I cannot imagine a father or mother swearing in the presence of children or even letting it pass their lips....
"With the high ideal of marriage as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, members of the Church should have but one goal, and that is to keep in mind the fact that marriage, the foundation of society, is ordained of God for the building of permanent homes in which children may be properly reared and taught the principles of the gospel....
"We appeal to all members of the Church to set their homes in order and to enjoy the true happiness of harmonious family life."
- David O. McKay, "Our Greatest Obligation," General Conference, April 4, 1953
Click here to read the full talk

The imagery of termites eating away at the foundation and structure of a building is a vivid one. They can do much damage before there is any recognition of their presence, and the longer there is delay in dealing with the issue, the harder it will be to resolve the problem. President McKay suggests the same thing that can happen to a house, can also happen to a home. Destructive forces can eat away at the structure and strength of a home or family; and the longer the problem is allowed to continue, the greater the damage and the more difficult the recovery. It becomes critical for us to identify and eliminate those destructive forces in our homes.

In particular when there are children in the home, parents must be vigilant in teaching gospel principles and creating an environment of wholesomeness and happiness.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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