As a member of the Caribbean Area Presidency, Elder Francisco J. Vinas of the Seventy witnessed firsthand the pain and devastation exacted by the recent earthquake in Haiti.
"Immediate help was sent by the Church to members and non-members and was distributed under the direction of the local priesthood and Relief Society leaders," he said. "They not only received medical aid, food, water and other basic supplies, they also received counsel, guidance and comfort from their local leaders."
Prophets from all ages, added Elder Vinas, have warned of another tragedy that is less perceptible but not less important: the "awful death [that] cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God" (Alma 40:26).
Parents and Church leaders need to watch over their families and members to help them avoid those things that could lead them to spiritual death. "Teaching our members and families about the things pertaining to righteousness is essential in the process of achieving an enduring conversion since it can lead them to obtain a correct knowledge of the Lord's commandments, the principles and doctrines of the gospel and the requirements and ordinances with which we must comply in order to achieve salvation in the Lord's kingdom."
He said that mothers and fathers play an essential role in helping their children to understand the things pertaining to righteousness. The family is under attack from the forces of evil, he said, and noted that amidst such conditions, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have set forth in "The Family — A Proclamation to the World" that "Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness."
Elder Vinas said this duty includes nurturing, supporting and teaching children in all things pertaining to righteousness so that they may remain firm, "having on the breastplate of righteousness, and [their] feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace..." (Doctrine and Covenants 27:16).
In order to more effectively teach the "things pertaining to righteousness," parents and leaders must also facilitate revelation, he said. "This way, the person being taught can feel the desire to know these principles for himself."
Elder Vinas concluded by saying the scriptures warn of the danger of dying "as to things pertaining to righteousness" and of the "serious consequences" this has for those who, having been enlightened by the Spirit of God, fall into sin and transgression.