Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Home, A Place for Mom

I was going through my journal looking for something and found several talks I had given in the past so I thought I would post them, here is the one I gave in church in August, 1999:

Before I begin my talk, I would like to point out that there are many facets of the gospel, some are easy for some people to live and some are very difficult for others.  As an example, tithing may be a principle that  is easy for some members and yet for others it may be a challenge.  This applies to what I am going to talk about today as well.  This may be something very simple for some and has never created question or difficulty and yet to others it could be the greatest challenge of their life.  I am grateful for the opportunity to talk on this subject as it is something that is very important to me and has greatly affected my life.

A call has been sent out, the call for mothers to come home.  In 1977 President Kimball pleaded with mothers to "come home from the typewriter, the laundry, the nursing.  Come home from the factory, the cafe.  No career approaches in importance that of wife, homemaker, [and] mother."  On another occasion he again urged mothers to "come home to your children, born and unborn.  Wrap the motherly cloak about you and, unembarrassed, help in a major role to create the bodies for the immortal souls who anxiously wait."

President Benson counseled mothers to "be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going."  In addition President Benson stated that the Lord's way to rear our children is "different from the world's way . . . .  In the beginning, Adam - not Eve - was instructed to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, a mother's calling is in the home, not in the marketplace."

Mothers work out of the home for numerous reasons.  Regarding one of these reasons, President Kimball stated:  "I know of no scriptures where an authorization is given to young wives to withhold their families and to go to work to put their husbands through school."

In an April, 1998 Ensign article entitled "Putting Our Marriage Back Together" the author makes this statement:  "I knew there were sometimes circumstances in which a wife has to work, such as when a husband cannot obtain employment, but I realized that my case did not fall into that category.  According to President Ezra Taft Benson, "we know that sometimes the mother works outside of the home at the encouragement, or even insistence, of her husband. . . .  Not only will the family suffer in such instances, brethren, but your own spiritual growth and progression will be hampered."

Along with the call to come home, promises and blessings are given.  President David O. McKay promised, "She who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, . . . deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God."

And President Kimball stated "When you have fully complemented your husband in home life and borne the children, growing up full of faith, integrity, responsibility, goodness, then you have achieved your accomplishment supreme, without peer, and you will be the envy of all through time and eternity."

Why have so many prophets for so many years issued this call for mothers to come home?  Why is it so important for mothers to be home with their children?  In Alma 56:47-48 regarding the Stripling Warriors, it says:  "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying:  We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

In talking about mothers, President Hinkley said:  "It is you who bear and nuture your children.  It is you who comfort them and sustain them, who listen to them and counsel them wisely.  You are the ones who teach them to pray and trust in the Lord.  It is you who guide them in the schooling they receive which will prepare them to take their places in society.  It is you who keep them close to the Church and who nourish their faith."

So we see how important it is for mothers to be at home to teach and nurture their children.  In an October 1989 Ensign article regarding the transition from career woman to stay-at-home mother, one of the contributors had this to say:  "I used to long to be out in the world working with adults, using my brains and my education, but one day I realized the flip side of that argument - does that mean that only someone without any brains or education is suited to rearing a family?  That wasn't the kind of person I wanted to raise my children.  I wanted them to have the smartest, most educated, most spiritual person I could find.  That realization became an incentive for me.  I stopped feeling that my skills were being wasted at home and started to make myself worthy of this important calling."

Another contributor to this same article talks about one day that her baby was sick and how she had spent the whole day rocking the sick child.  When her husband returned home from work he found a frustrated wife and mother because of so much left undone.  Her husband was able to put things in perspective for her as he pointed out to her that she had decided to stay at home to nurture their children and how would she feel if her child had cried all day because she had instead cleaned the house all day.  I think of how valuable that day really was for that child, to have her mother's loving arms around her all day.

As we look around us, we see the decay in our society.  I found it interesting in a study done on all the shootings taken place in our schools that among the many common factors of the children who did the shootings, one was that the parents worked outside of the home.  When I was working I would drive by churches and note how many of them provided day care.  I remember thinking, why doesn't our church do something like that, what a good idea and then the realization hit me, our Church does not do this because it is more important that mothers be at home.

Lillie Freeze reported having heard Joseph Smith make the following prophecy: "He said the time would come when none but the women of the Latter-day Saints would be willing to bear children."  Continuing in this same area of thought, President Hinkley stated that "There will be a growing trend in the future to leave to others the tasks of rearing children. . . ."

Often we think that mothers need to be out of the home working, especially just to get by in this society.  I too thought I needed to be out of the home working.  I thought that I was helping my family.  I would like to repeat a quote I have already made by President Benson regarding mothers working out of the home, he stated:  "Not only will the family suffer in such instances,brethren, but your own spiritual growth and progression will be hampered."

In working outside of the home I had been doing, I thought, everything in my power to help my family.  When I read this statement, I realized I was helping them temporally, but hindering them spiritually.

Well, the call has been made, the purpose understood.  Now how are mothers to come home?  Another contributor to the October 1989 Ensign article said:  "Before, I would cry every time I'd hear a Church leader say I should be home with my children. . . .  He doesn't understand, I thought.  Things were different when he raised his children."

When I used to listen to the Prophets and their call for mothers to come home, I would get so angry, thinking "don't tell me to stay at home and then not provide a way for it to happen."  Unfortunately we found ourselves in the situation where I brought home the larger paycheck and every cent of it was used for a bill or debt.  As far as we could see, there was not a way I could ever get home.  Finding a way home became an obsession for me, it filled my every waking thought.  I found myself constantly running numbers, searching scriptures, talks, articles, anything I could get my hands on, thinking I could find a way home.  It wasn't until one day I was driving home from work that this thought entered my mind, "If I do what the Prophet says and stay home first, then will it work?"  I clung to this thought and started studying the aspect of doing what our Prophets tell us and having the faith to follow through with their counsel.  I realized all this time I had had it backwards.  I was waiting for something to happen to provide the way for me to be at home, instead of following the prophets' counsel and staying home, having faith first as faith precedes the miracle.  I always think of a movie I saw many years ago where a man is on a quest.  He finds himself at the edge of a cliff with a huge chasm to cross to get to the other side where he needed to be.  At first glance there is no way across this chasm. With faith he steps out into the chasm.  He doesn't fall, he looks down and he is standing on a rock and he can see a rock path leading all the way to the other side, a path that was not visible from that first step, but completely visible once that first step has been taken.  Just as in this story, I needed to have the faith to take that first step.

Through much thought, prayer, blessings and counsel with my husband and Bishops, a year and a half ago I made the jump and quit my job.  I know there are many mothers who think "but we need that extra $500 that I make, we need that extra $1,000, etc."  When I left my job, my salary was over $2,800 a month.  That is not an easy sum to live without.  About a year ago, I remember talking to our Relief Society President one day and telling her that what a testimony to the Lord and to following the counsel of our Prophets this experience of ours would be if it worked in the end, at that time we were still in the middle of the trial of our faith.  This past year and a half hasn't been easy, and it has required much more faith from me than I thought it would and more that I thought I had.  There were times when we thought that we would not make it.  During this time we found this scripture that was of great comfort, Matthew 6:31-33:  "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . . [F]or your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Our Father in Heaven knows our needs, and he provides for us, all that is required of us is to be obedient.  In the April, 1998 Ensign article, the author makes a statement that really touched my heart and I want to share it with you.  He says:  "I have never felt a stronger sense of personal honor or integrity than the day I rolled up my sleeves and determined my wife would never have to work outside the home again due to my lack of effort.  And Jolene has never been so beautiful as the day she committed to manage our household on the income I earned and to devote her life, time, talents, and energy to giving our children guidance, training, counseling, and love."

In the October, 1989 Ensign article it states:  "Although giving up a second income may seem impossible, those with an eye on the eternal perspective find that the extra paycheck sometimes can cost more than it's worth.  It is a decision that must be faced uniquely and prayerfully by each family."

As I said, this experience of ours has not been easy, but we committed to it and we have been blessed because of it.  I can safely say now that it has worked, Jim has been blessed with a new job and is able to provide for our needs.  I am so blessed to be able to be at home.  I love those teaching moments I have with my children, moments I would not have been able to have had I been working.  I hope all of you mothers appreciate every difficult, frustrating, happy moment you have at home, for they are precious moments, all of them.  The most important thing for us to remember is that our family must come first, no matter the temporal difficulties, as the eternal blessings in the end will far out way the difficulties.  I testify to you that what I have told you this day is true.  That our Prophets speak for the Lord and both know our needs, wants and desires.  That if we will put our faith and trust in God, He will provide for us.  I want to thank my family and friends who have been with me through this.  I want to thank my Bishops and home teachers for their counsel and blessings.  I want to thank my husband, who thought I was nuts in wanting to quit my job and stay at home and terrified at what might happen to us, but let me do it anyway.  I'm grateful for Prophets, who do know what they are talking about and who give us the counsel we need.  And last, but not least, I want to thank my Heavenly Father for guiding me home.
*****
It has been 12 years since I gave this talk and I believe in it more than ever.  The blessings we have received from making this huge decision have been immense.  After a few more years my husband was earning more than both of our incomes combined before I quit my job.  We had probably around seven years of financial challenges as we caught up for the first few tough years, but it was well worth it and if I knew then what I know now, I would have done it years earlier.  One of the ladies in my ward taught her children to never rely on the wife's income, even in the beginning of a marriage before children, to take that income and save it until children arrive and she is ready to stay home.  I thought this was amazing advice and have since taught it to my children.  I know we have been blessed greatly for my decision to stay home and be there for our children.  I know it can be done no matter what the wife's income is, I am living proof.

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