President Jones tells parents how to lay ‘cornerstones’ in developing their children’s testimonies

Danil always dreamed of joining the military. From the time he was a young boy, he learned everything he could about it. Being a soldier was his greatest desire.

One day, he and his family attended the dedication of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple. When President Thomas S. Monson symbolically sealed the temple cornerstone, he invited Danil to help him. He told Danil that he would become a good missionary, and Danil said, “In my soul a feeling came that the Spirit was covering me. And I felt a strong love of God.”

He shared his experience in the Friend, as a child who was “One in a Million.”

In a Facebook video in September 2020, Elder Danil Khilobok serving in the Ukraine Dnipro Mission shares about being invited by President Monson to put mortar on the cornerstone of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple as a little boy.
In a Facebook video in September 2020, Elder Danil Khilobok serving in the Ukraine Dnipro Mission shares about being invited by President Monson to put mortar on the cornerstone of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple as a little boy. Credit: Screenshot

Ten years later, at age 18, Danil reached a defining moment in his life. He had an important decision to make between choosing to sign up for the military or serving a full-time mission.

After diligent prayer and scripture study, Danil read Mosiah 28:3: “Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish.”

That was his answer. He wanted to save souls. Danil chose to enlist in the Lord’s Army, and the Book of Mormon became his “weapon.”

The “cornerstone” laid in his life years before helped him establish a strong foundation upon which he continued to build. He remained on the covenant path and today Elder Danil Khilobok is serving as a full-time missionary in the Ukraine Dnipro Mission.

Духовная Aрмия Иисуса Христа

Многие задаются вопросом зачем мы едим на Миссию? Зачем мы это делаем? Какая цель? Я вам скажу почему я здесь, и что я делаю на Миссии, и чего мне это стоило.Я один из миллионов: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/children/videos/million?lang=eng&videoId=1270877864001

Posted by Церковь Иисуса Христа Святых последних дней – Украинская Днепровская Миссия on Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What are some of the “cornerstones” we can help our children lay and build upon to strengthen testimony, encourage them to stay on the covenant path and prepare for temple and priesthood service? In our divinely appointed role as parents, how can we help them actively engage in the work of salvation and exaltation? 

We can begin with the “cornerstone” of helping our children understand their divine identity. Every child needs to know “I am a child of God” — a son or daughter of a loving Heavenly Father. This fundamental truth is the centerpiece of our Father’s glorious plan of salvation. Our home-centered teaching can introduce and reinforce this strong foundation that will provide an anchor throughout their lives. 

Another “cornerstone” is to follow the prophet. Even during times when we cannot attend the temple, President Russell M. Nelson has invited us to, “Talk about the temple with your family and friends. Because Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do in the temple, as you think more about the temple you will be thinking more about Him” (“Go Forward with Faith,” April 2020 general conference).

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Consider prayerfully sitting down with your child, looking him or her in the eye and sharing your own experiences, feelings and testimony about the house of the Lord. Invite the Spirit to teach both of you, and you will be amazed at what you learn.

A natural follow-up to such conversations could be the cornerstone of learning about children’s family on both sides of the veil. Tell them stories of those who have gone before. Help them feel a sense of joyful belonging! “I Love to See the Temple, I’m going there someday,” (Children’s Songbook, p. 95) will become more than a song, it will be a desire of their hearts.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared: “Turning the hearts of the children to their own fathers, conducting family history research, and performing vicarious temple ordinances are labors that bless individuals on both sides of the veil. As we become anxiously engaged in this sacred work, we are obeying the commandments to love and serve God and our neighbors. And such selfless service helps us truly to ‘Hear Him!’ and come unto the Savior” (“Let This House Be Built unto My Name,” April 2020 general conference).

The Lord has given us all the home-centered tools we need to help His children prepare for temple and priesthood service. Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offers this insight: “What might spiritual cornerstones of our personal and family lives be? They may be the simple, plain, and precious principles of gospel living — family prayer; scripture study, including the Book of Mormon; temple attendance; and gospel learning through ‘Come, Follow Me’ and home evening” (“A Good Foundation against the Time to Come,” April 2020 general conference).

Beginning with their first covenant of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can help children lay additional “cornerstones” to help them continue on the covenant path. Each child can be “one in a million” in the Army of the Lord, as they become part of “the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21).