President Thomas S. Monson asked Latter-day Saints to love their neighbors and to put their homes in order during a regional meeting Sunday in the Conference Center.
The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to thousands at the gathering and thousands more tuned in via satellite feed to 77 other locations, with translation into more than a dozen languages. The multi-stake conference included LDS congregations in the Salt Lake City North Area.
"Let there be no anger among us," he said, quoting 3rd Nephi in the Book of Mormon. "Let their be no disputations among you. ... he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me."
He encouraged Latter-day Saints to set their homes in order, according to a scriptural admonition in the Doctrine and Covenants, to include prayer and instruction for young children in how to pray. He recalled a time he and his wife were kneeling with their 3-year-old son, who was learning to pray and was asking God to bless a member of their congregation who was ill.
"Bless Sister Lister, Henny Penny, Chicken Licken and Turkey Lurkey," the boy prayed, as his parents smiled quietly. "Never dismiss the prayer of a child," he urged, noting the family was "later humbled as Sister Lister sustained a full recovery."
Fasting is another mark of a faithful household, he said. As a boy, he learned to appreciate God's blessings through fasting when his mother would send him down the street with a plate of food for a neighbor who was alone before the family sat down to eat. President Monson said he once suggested to his mother that since he and the other family members were all hungry from fasting that day, maybe he could deliver the food after they finished their own meal.
She declined, saying his own meal would taste better after he delivered the food to a friend in need. "She was right, it did," he said.
Making one's home a house of faith includes petitioning God for needed blessings and asking for his help. One couple in Colorado did so when their young missionary son in Germany decided he wanted to come home shortly after arriving there. As a visiting general authority to their stake conference, President Monson prayed with the couple that their son would find the courage to stay and complete his assignment.
When the father asked why their faith was being tested after they had worked so hard to help their son serve, President Monson asked where he was serving and told the couple their prayers were not in vain, as he had been assigned to meet with the missionaries in Germany within the month. He interviewed their son, who stayed and served an honorable mission.
He urged members to build a house of learning by studying the scriptures regularly and to read good books with their families, especially young children, in order to develop a lifelong love of learning.
Making one's home a house of glory includes the need "to be sincere with God. You can not be one person and pretend to be another," he said. "We can't live a lie ... .It is by being consistent that we can assure a house of glory."
A house of order includes time for family, for work, for study, for recreation and for self, and "above all, time for Christ.
Developing a house of God is one where "clean thoughts, noble purposes, ready hearts and ready hands" are dedicated to helping and serving others. One missionary exemplified the teachings of such a home when he was hospitalized and facing major surgery, President Monson said.
The missionary shared the basic principles of the gospel with five other men in his room before he was taken into the operating room, and the men decided among them to fast for his recovery, though none of them knew much about the LDS Church except what the missionary had shared with them.
The operation was a success, and as President Monson who was then serving as mission president attempted to pay the surgeon, he refused to take the money. "He said he had never before performed a surgery where he knew that his hands had been guided by a power higher than his own."