Mormon Parenting: King Benjamin's fantastic promises to parents

Published: Friday, April 27 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Gary Kapp's painting depicts King Benjamin teaching his people in the Book of Mormon.

LDS Church

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Would you like your kids to “never transgress the laws of God?”

Would you like your children not to “fight and quarrel one with another?”

What most parents wouldn’t give for those two promises!

Well, in fact, they are two of the 10 promises listed by King Benjamin — promises that will be ours if we respond to the challenge they are predicated upon.

Before we get to that challenge or the condition we must meet to claim the promises, let’s look at the whole list. It may be the most magnificent list of promises in all of scripture, and so many of them apply to our families:

The scripture says, “…if ye do this … " (we will get to what “this” is in a moment).

  1. Ye shall always rejoice and be filled with the love of God.
  2. And retain a remission of your sins.
  3. And grow in the knowledge of the glory of God.
  4. Ye will not have a mind to injure one another but will live peaceably.
  5. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked.
  6. Nor will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God.
  7. Nor that they fight or quarrel one with another.
  8. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness.
  9. And to love one another and serve one another.
  10. And ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor.
What a list! Wouldn’t you do almost anything to have these promises?

So let’s go back to the preceding verse to see what the challenge or condition is that leads to the promises. Verse 11 of Mosiah 4 is Benjamin speaking to his people and admonishing them to do one great thing, which then leads to the 10 promises that follow in verses 12 to 16. The challenge goes like this: “Remember, and always retain in your remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness … and humble yourselves even to the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come.”

In other words, if we, as parents, are humble and reliant on Heavenly Father, remembering his greatness and our “nothingness,” we will then develop an attitude and a faith within the love-and-forgiveness-filled atmosphere in our homes where needs are met and children love and serve each other rather than fight or quarrel or transgress God’s laws.

Some who have read verses 12 to 15 have thought they were reading admonitions — that Benjamin was telling us to forbid our kids from fighting or quarreling and to instruct them to love one another. But with careful reading, it is evident that this is not a list of admonitions but a list of promises, and that they are all promised to parents who develop this wonderful attitude of personal “nothingness” and humility that elevates and worships God. And when we think about it, we realize that the blessings that are promised really do flow naturally from the challenge. Humble, prayerful parents who see their children as a wonderful stewardship are the ones that can bring about the home conditions and atmosphere where these promises come true.

What, then, is the key to good parenting? It is not how many methods or techniques we know or the comprehensive list of things we teach to our children. Rather, it is the humility and prayerfulness of our own hearts.

Richard and Linda are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Read Linda's blog www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html and visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com.

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