Primary fills injunction to teach children

Help children live gospel

Read as families- Ponder meanings

The words of the Savior, who commanded, "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children (3 Ne. 22:13)," are fulfilled in the stated purpose of Primary, said Sister Anne G. Wirthlin.

She said that purpose "is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them learn to live it."

Speaking Saturday morning, Sister Wirthlin, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, said:

"As we witness the unfolding events of the last days, we cannot doubt that in this scripture the Lord is speaking directly to us. We are Israel of the latter days. We are they who must teach our children of Him. Peace that endures is not dependent upon outside forces that are beyond our control."

She said that the Lord's words, spoken long ago, give comfort to righteous parents who teach their children of the Savior. "They speak to us at a time when peace in the hearts of children can seem but an elusive dream, but the Savior has assured us it can be reality, if we teach our children. Primary supports parents in this important responsibility."

She said that research indicates that ages 1 to 10 in the lives of children are peak years for acquiring language that become the foundation for understanding future knowledge and truth. It is an ideal time, she said, for parents to read to them from the scriptures as they will begin to learn the language of the scriptures.

"A very young child's potential for learning and understanding is far greater than we tend to believe," she said. "The exciting possibility is that while children are learning new words daily, they can learn the language of the scriptures. In time, through the guidance of parents and teachers, they will grow in their understanding that Heavenly Father is speaking to them through the scriptures, that the scriptures can help them find answers to their problems."

She said that when families read the scriptures together, children are more likely to make scripture reading a habit in their own lives. She suggested that learning to ponder the meaning of the scriptures and then praying for understanding, rather than reading a certain number of chapters per day, follows the pattern given by the Savior.

"Pondering is more than reading words; it is searching for meanings that will help us as we relate to one another and as we make choices in our lives. It is allowing the word to move from our minds to our hearts," she said.

Sister Wirthlin said that children look to parents for guidance, and as parents consistently live what the scriptures teach, they provide for their children an anchor in a world of conflicting values.

"There can be no greater joy than to know that our children love the Lord, no greater peace than that which comes when we feel of His love and understand the meaning of His atoning sacrifice. That spirit which comes when we share the sacred things of the heart will bond us together as families."

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