How people learn to adjust to changes and challenges in life depends on their foundation, said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The gospel of our Lord and Savior provides a sure foundation for us to build our lives upon. It is constructed piece by piece as we gain knowledge of the Lord’s eternal plan for His children,” he said in his Saturday afternoon conference address.
“Men and women are shaped partly by those among whom they choose to live,” Elder Perry explained. “Those whom they look up to and try to emulate also shape them. Jesus is the great exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.”
Elder Perry cited one of the Savior’s parables, which, he said, “especially applies to our current day.” In Matthew 13, while a householder is asleep, his enemy sows tares among the wheat of his field. When the servants of the householder ask if they should try to gather the tares, he restrains them, saying, “Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat. Let them grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13: 25-30).
“That old enemy of all mankind has found as many devices as he can think of to scatter tares far and wide,” Elder Perry said. “He has found ways to have them penetrate the sanctity of our own homes. The wicked and worldly ways have become so widespread there seems to be no real way of weeding them out.”
Because the wheat and the tares have grown together, individuals must nourish that which is good so the tares have no appeal. “How blessed are we as members of the Lord’s Church to have the precious gospel of our Lord and Savior as a foundation on which we can build our lives,” Elder Perry said.
Members of the Church have a responsibility to preserve and protect the family as the basic unit of society and eternity, Elder Perry said. “Our homes must be holy places in order to stand up against the pressures of the world.”
Noting that the most powerful teaching a child can receive will come from righteous parents, Elder Perry quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley who said of a mother’s role, “We cannot begin to measure or calculate the influence of women who, in their own ways, build stable family life and nurture for everlasting good, the generations of the future. May I suggest that the mothers of today have no greater opportunity and no more serious challenge than to do all they can to strengthen the home” (October 2003, “To the Women of the Church”).
Elder Perry then listed the ways in which fathers play an important role, including blessing and performing ordinances, leading family prayer and scripture study, building family traditions and setting an example of gospel service.
“Please remember, brethren, your sacred calling as a father in Israel — your most important calling in time and eternity — a calling from which you are never released.”
In conclusion, Elder Perry declared, “This is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the foundation upon which we can find lasting peace and build eternal family units.”