First Education Week at Ricks College focuses on teaching in the home

High standards help ordinary people realize extraordinary potential - both at Ricks College and in the home, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin declared during the first annual Campus Education Week at Ricks College June 4-6.

Elder Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve was the main speaker during a morning devotional June 6, during which Mary Ellen W. Smoot, Relief Society general president, and Ricks Pres. David A. Bednar also spoke.The three-day event, with the theme "Every Home Is a House of Learning," drew some 2,000 people, mostly from southeastern Idaho. Forty-five instructors, including Ricks faculty, BYU Education Week faculty and individuals, offered nearly 300 classes. Speakers included former Young Women Gen. Pres. Ardeth G. Kapp, author Jack Weyland, humorist John Bytheway and composer Darwin Wolford.

During his devotional address, Elder Wirthlin spoke of the home as "far and away the single most important institution of learning in this Church and in the world, for that matter. Strong families who teach and practice in their homes enduring values, based on true principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, are this world's best hope for a better future."

Continuing, he said: "Being in the world can be frightening because we live at a time when Satan is becoming bolder and more effective with his lies and deceptions. Many problems in our society today have their source in the breakdown of the family. `The Family: A Proclamation to the World' is the Lord's revealed response to Satan's attack on families. The proclamation powerfully reminds us of the importance and sacredness of family life and of our responsibilities to foster and protect strong families."

Elder Wirthlin then quoted from D&C 88:119: "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful things; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."

He then expounded on the scripture in the following ways:

A House of Prayer: "Our families should gather for family prayer morning and night. In addition, we should offer our own individual prayers for our personal needs. Children who grow up praying for the missionaries usually go on missions. Children who grow up thanking their Heavenly Father for the temple marriage that seals them to loving parents usually get married in the temple. Prayer is a powerful teaching tool."

A House of Fasting: "In fasting, we humble ourselves and more keenly sense gratitude for the blessings of life. In paying a generous fasting offering, we give of our abundance to those who have not."

A House of Faith: "We need to have faith to be obedient, to keep trying, and to keep a positive outlook."

A House of Learning: "We must be teaching parents who diligently explain and reinforce gospel principles to our children and grandchildren. Every Latter-day Saint home should be a house of learning where family members learn to be obedient, honest, industrious, self-reliant and faithful in living gospel principles."

Elder Wirthlin spoke of the importance of regular family home evening. "The Church continues to reserve Monday evening for this purpose."

A House of Glory: "Home can literally become a house of glory. When parents fully realize, accept and carry out their divine duty as partners with God the Father in accomplishing His work and His glory, they teach their children that they are God's children and they teach them how their Heavenly Father wants them to live to be happy and to earn the blessings of eternal life."

A House of Order: "Of course, a house of order should be neat and clean. To make life healthy and pleasant, domestic skills of good nutrition, proper diet, sanitation and personal hygiene should be taught and practiced.

"Other safeguards of order in our homes include following established guidelines to bless the lives of our children through the ordinances and programs of the Church.

A House of God: "My brothers and sisters, if we will make our homes houses of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory and order, they will be houses of God."

In her devotional remarks, Sister Smoot spoke of the "Quintessential Elements of a Happy Family." While she spoke, an overhead projector depicted a picture of a child.

"A child looks at the world of grown-ups and notices immediately that some people are happy and some are not. He likes to laugh and . . . feel good about himself. He sees those who are not and wonders, `Will I be happy?' "

Speaking of happy families and the very essence of joy in marriage, Sister Smoot referred to a portion of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," including the following: "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ."

In his address, Pres. Bednar reflected on the theme, "Every Home is a House of Learning." "It concerns me as I see young people in our Church who know all the things that they should do and don't have a clue why. They have a checklist mentality - `I say my prayers in the morning and night and I study my scriptures.' . . . It's related to the doctrine of revelation. We have prayer every morning in a meaningful way to invite the companionship of the Holy Ghost . . . . We also study the scriptures daily to feast upon the word of Christ, to again invite the Spirit and receive that instruction and direction."

Ricks College officials were pleased with the outcome of Education Week at Ricks College. Doug Stutz, event coordinator, remarked: "We've definitely do this again next year. This will be something that will grow. The purpose is to help build people's understanding of the gospel. For many people it was a spiritual and an educational refresher and charged their batteries."

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