Making home a heaven on earth will bring blessings to the family

Married or single members of the Church can have their homoes be a heaven on earth-- a sanctuary, according to Barbara Smith, former General Relief Society president.

Sister Smith in an address given at the "Family Expo: Making the Home a Sanctuary," at BYU April 4-5, said, "In our chaotic world such homes are a real treasure.Pondering what a sanctuary is, Sister Smith said she asked some of her friends what they thought. One said it's a place "where you are loved because you are you." Another friend commented, "where people can come and feel 100 percent comfortable, cared for, loved and wanted."

Sister Smith discussed the substantial benefits of making a home a sanctuary including: Overcoming the world, strengthening the home and those in it against evil influences; preparing those in a home to invite and receive the Holy Spirit.

Speaking of her granddaughter's wedding day, Sister Smith told of how the bride's father at the dinner before the marriage explained the promises of Abraham, Issac and Jacob that the couple could claim through their marriage and righteous living.

"He extolled the blessings of a family and counseled them to love and cherish each other, to grow with each other, to pray together and to serve one another," Sister Smith said. "We all were deeply touched and profoundly aware that this couple would strive earnestly to create and maintain in their home the order, sanctity, and spirituality they found in the temple."

Other benefits of making a home a sanctuary included helping those who live in that home to grow from grace to grace as did Jesus.

Sister Smith also cautioned that making a home a sanctuary is not always easy.

"When we think about what we are able to fashion into the environment of our homes we know that it can be difficult, at times even discouraging, but nevertheless wonderful and challenging."

Sister Smith noted the author C.S. Lewis said that all businesses, ships, railways, mines, cars, and governments, exist that people may be fed, warmed and safe in their own homes. The job of homemaking is the one for which all others exist.

"Can you even begin to imagine how important home would be if mothers really understood that all businesses were focused on them," she aksed, "and the work they were doing within the walls of their own homes and if they went home with the resolve to make that home a sanctuary?"

Sister Smith suggested four elements in creating a righteous environment in the home: a spirit of service; an atmosphere of growth; the discipline of love; and the practice of prayer.

Everyone should and could enjoy the peace and serenity of a home that is a sanctuary, Sister Smith said.

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