In the ancient Americas, a prophet by the name of Nephi, realizing the blessings of the Lord that he had through his righteous parents, begins his writings by paying tribute to the them with the words recorded in The Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ) in 1 Nephi 1:1:
I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
There are perhaps many people who could echo in the words of Nephi and say that they too had been born of “goodly parents.” But, what is meant by “goodly parents?” A large part of being a “goodly parent” is being a righteous example in the home and creating an atmosphere where the Spirit may always abide – husbands loving their wives, wives loving their husbands, mothers and fathers loving their children, and children loving and obeying their parents. In the Holy Bible, in the New Testament, in Colossians 3:20 are recorded these words:
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Also recorded in Ephesians 6:1-3 are found these words of admonition:
Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
However, the sole responsibility of having a home that is ruled in righteousness does not rest upon the behavior and the obedience of the children. To the fathers are given these words of authoritative counsel in the scriptures found in Ephesians 6:4:
And, ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Husbands are further counseled to “love [their] wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25.) And wives are counseled to “submit [themselves] unto [their] own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Ephesians 5:22-23.)
What does all of this mean? It means that father, mother, and children should strive to live in harmony with one another. It means that in order for there to exist an atmosphere of peace and love in the home, there can be no room for name calling, backstabbing, demeaning, or otherwise degrading one another. No matter how angry family members may get with one another, they must show kindness and respect for one another, always forgiving one another for any wrongs that may have been committed. All of the family members should also carefully remember to, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26.) Parents must realize that they are the authoritative figures in the home, but that does not give them free license to rule as a dictator, or to reign in tyranny. The best example of love that a father and mother can demonstrate to their children is to love one another. Hymn 294 in the LDS hymn book is titled “Love At Home.” These are the words to the first verse:
There is beauty all around,
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in every sound,
When there’s love at home;
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on every side,
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there’s love at home.
Someone might ask, how is something like this possible? It begins by inviting Christ into the home. Again, ‘goodly parents” set the tone and example by leading their family in family prayers and scripture study. Families not only work together to establish a righteous home, but they also worship together by attending Church regularly. How is this possible? It is possible if families remember, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33; see also 3 Nephi 13:33 (The Book of Mormon).) And it may prove of value to remember the counsel that Helaman in The Book of Mormon gave to his sons as recorded in Helaman 5:12:
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
During the Saturday afternoon session of the 162nd Semiannual General Confrence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Dallas N. Archibald in his address titled “Born of Goodly Parents” gave these remarks:
What a great burden of responsibility the Lord has placed upon us as parents: to take these children and lead them in the ways of holiness, to guide them through the perils of mortality, and to walk beside them on the straight and narrow path which leads to eternity. Yes, the responsibility is ours to teach them all they must do so that someday, as the mortal is changed to immortal, they will be prepared to return to the presence of the Father and dwell with him and their Elder Brother, Jesus Christ. . . .
What better teaching could a parent provide for a child than that of following the prophets and building a sure foundation upon Jesus Christ? The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob instructed that once they have been taught and “obtained a hope in Christ,” we may then teach them how to earn riches so that they can use them “to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry.” (Jacob 2:18–19.) We must teach them all that they must do to live with Him, and the best teacher is example.
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.