One Monday evening my husband and I gathered our four young boys together for a family home evening. I was seated on the couch, and the children were sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of me. I had prepared a story on obedience from the Book of Mormon. I wanted to teach in a way that my children would remember, but I found, as is often the case when teaching, and with the help of the Holy Ghost, that I learned a lesson that lasted a lifetime.
I explained to the family that Nephi demonstrated his obedience to both his father and the Lord when he returned with his brothers to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates. Despite the difficulty and the distance, Nephi's declared, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded." With only a minimum of tussling, my children sat quietly as I told them this story.
Next I explained that after several attempts to accomplish their purpose, the brothers had to flee Laban's house without the gold and silver that they brought from their home. They had neither the plates nor their worldly wealth, and they were angry. Blaming both their father and Nephi, the scriptures say that Laman and Lemuel were speaking harshly to Nephi and Sam and then began to smite them with a rod.
Now I had my family's full attention! What happened when the older brothers were hitting their younger brothers? An angel of the Lord "came and stood before them and he spake unto them saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod?" At that moment the similarities between those four sons of Lehi and my four sons became a little more apparent to me. I turned to my husband who was sitting next to me and quietly said, "Sometimes I wish an angel would come down here and stop the fighting."
Before my husband could respond, my 8-year-old son, Clark, said to me, "Mom, you're the angel." Me? An angel? I didn't feel like one. But then I asked myself, "What tasks do angels perform?" Angels are messengers from the Lord, and they minister to the Lord's children. Surely, these definitions bear a close resemblance to the lives and work of righteous women. Women teach, protect and care for Heavenly Father's children. I felt surprised, inspired and touched by my son's comment.
Now, whenever I sing the second verse of "As Sisters In Zion" these words emphasizes for me the significance of my experience: "The errand of angels is given to women; And this is a gift that as sisters, we claim: To do whatsoever is gentle and human, To cheer and to bless in humanities name." (Hymns, No. 309). President James E. Faust punctuated this concept for me when he said, "May you have an eternal perspective as you go about your angelic cause of doing good so that it will not only lead you to become great women but ultimately to become queens in the eternities" (New Era, March 1999, p. 4).
What a challenging but noble work we have as women of this last dispensation.
Gail Johnsen is from Spring, Texas.