Influence of doctrine on behavior can be eternally beneficial

Gospel doctrines are powerful shapers of human behavior, Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy declared April 30 at the Women's Conference at BYU.

Elder Jensen and his wife, Kathleen, spoke during the evening fireside in the Marriott Center and focused their remarks on spiritual anchors.In his remarks, Elder Jensen used the story of Joseph rejecting the advances of Potiphar's wife in Genesis, chapter 39. "Can there be any doubt that Joseph had been taught the doctrines that God is our Father, that we are His children, and that He has created a plan for our lives?

"The influence of doctrine on our behavior can be great and eternally beneficial."

Elder Jensen spoke of the following:

Paying the price for knowledge. "We all need to individually discover, think about and store up gospel doctrines in our own way and in our own time. To do so, we may need to get up a little earlier, stay up a little later, or consistently sneak a few precious moments for study during the day."

Applying the doctrine. "When we learn and begin to internalize the doctrines of the gospel . . . it will not be long before we and those around us begin to notice changes in our behavior.

"A determined effort to study gospel doctrine will also have the benefit of immersing us in the best source of that doctrine - the scriptures."

Teaching the doctrine. "Perhaps the best measurement of how well we understand the doctrines of the gospel is how clearly and simply we can teach them. And teach we must!"

Elder Jensen admonished members to express love in their families by teaching the gospel in the home. "When we teach doctrine, there will be an accompanying power and spirit that will carry our teachings deep into the hearts of those we teach and will also bring those teachings to their remembrance at appropriate and critical times."

In her remarks, Sister Jensen said the traditions created in the home can become spiritual anchors. "We are creating traditions whether we want to or not. . . . Traditions might well be one of the small things by which great things come to pass."

She said the following creates positive traditions:

Eating dinner together as a family. "I don't know of any scripture that tells families to eat together, but after being raised in a home where that happened and being a parent in a home where I try to make it happen, I know that it's a good thing for families to do.

"I think it's sad that we can live in the same house and yet live parallel lives. I know of a couple who while attending counseling sessions to save their marriage were advised to buy them a wonderful dining room table and to use it."

Taking long car trips together. "I have often thought that car trips have brought our family together . . . . Getting there is part of the fun. . . . I think car trips create forced togetherness, and in this busy world, it's hard to come by."

Reading together. "Reading to someone allows you both to share a common story line and also creates a closeness."

Studying scriptures and praying together. "I think family prayer is the perfect way to end a day, and we all agree that we feel good when we read the scriptures."

Holding family home evening. "On any given Monday evening, we would wonder if there was any good coming out of home evening, but the cumulative effect of years and years of 10-minute lessons is quite remarkable."

Setting family rules. "Creating anchors for our family can be done. It doesn't really take a lot of money. It doesn't really take a lot of creative genius. It does take time, and it does take a strong desire to make it all happen."

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