The role of parents - father and mother - was taught by Adam and Eve, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve said May 2 during Women's Conference at BYU.
"Adam and Eve were faithful examples for their children. Their challenges in raising children were recorded in the Bible in the book of Genesis, and we learn that the influence of Satan was felt by the first family on earth."Speaking to a packed audience in the Marriott Center, Elder Hales spoke during a plenary session on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." Attending the session was President Gordon B. Hinckley and other Church leaders and their wives.
In speaking about marriage and families, Elder Hales referred to and quoted the "Proclamation on the Family," issued by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Sept. 23, 1995. (Please see Sept. 30, 1995, Church News for complete text of proclamation.)
Speaking of Lehi's vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi, chapter 8, Elder Hales admonished: "I hope that we will have the courage of Lehi to teach, preach, exhort, even prophesy to our children of what we believe in a kind and loving way and encourage them to keep the commandments so that they might be able to come to the tree of life. There is nothing more poignant than Lehi looking down the strait and narrow path to see if Laman and Lemuel would perhaps come to the tree of life and partake of the fruit."
Continuing, Elder Hales said: "Parents must live in a way so that their children can honor them. Lehi and Sariah lived in fidelity with love and care for one another although there were times they had to work out some problems or concerns."
For example, he related, while Lehi's sons were gone to Jerusalem for the brass plates, Sariah became not only apprehensive about their safety but also that the family would perish in the wilderness. Lehi comforted her and bore testimony that the lives of their sons would be spared.
"In our relationships, I hope that we, as Lehi and Sariah, can show profound respect for one another - for Sariah, an understanding of her visionary husband; and for Lehi, a deep understanding of her character and willingness to believe."
Elder Hales further explained: "As children learn to love and strengthen parents and brothers and sisters . . . , they are really preparing themselves for the selection for their own companion and how they will be as parents in their families. The family is a protective incubator for caring, testing, trials and controlled growth.
"No parent on earth is perfect," he continued. "In fact, children are very understanding when they sense and feel that parents truly care and are attempting to do the very best they can."
However, "if the example we have experienced from our parents was not good, it is our responsibility to break the cycle. Certainly, parents will make mistakes in the parenting process, but through humility, faith, prayer and study, each person can learn a better way and, in so doing, bless the lives of family members and teach correct traditions.
"Let's review some practical advice on marriage for our day," Elder Hales said. "Temple marriage is of an eternal significance. We are sealed by priesthood power in an eternal covenant. It is a bond that binds us for time and for all eternity. Knowing of the importance of marriage from the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden until our day, what are some of the things that prevent us from having that joy and eternal happiness?"
Elder Hales spoke of courtship and love in marriage, of financial problems and the importance of staying out of debt, of saying "I'm sorry," and of listening.