“The Words Which I Had Often Heard My Father Speak Sunk Deep into My Heart”

Bryan Richards

There is a great lesson to be learned in the lives of Enos and Alma, the younger. Both were young men in need of repentance. They key factor which was the catalyst of their repentance was the teachings of their fathers. Notice the words of Alma, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a son of God (Alma 36:17). This thought turns the mind of Alma to the Savior and allows him to repent and receive forgiveness. What if Alma, the elder had not taught these important principles to the people and his son? What if Jacob had not taught so faithfully concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints? The importance of these paternal teachings cannot be underestimated.

The lesson to be learned, then, is that there is hope for the many parents who struggle with their wayward children. They try to teach correct principles but the teachings, sometimes, seem to fall on deaf ears. Nevertheless, when wayward children hit rock bottom, they will naturally think of their parents. When, like the prodigal son who would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat (Lu 15:16), they will realize that they need the help of a power greater than themselves. If they have been taught of the Savior and eternal principles, their minds will turn to the Lord. Like the prodigal son, they will finally understand the importance of their parents' diligent efforts and the Savior's atoning sacrifice.

One Sister wrote about how her experience was similar to that of Enos:

"About five years ago, I was in a state of rebellion. Even though my parents had done their best in raising me, I was lost in a desolate world. My angry words wrenched to the very core of their beings, and with aching hearts they cried unto the Lord for me.
"Somewhere, somehow, a light turned on for me, and all the words that my mother and father had taught me flooded into my mind. I realized that I was ruining not only my life, but also my eternal progression. How could I have been so blind?
"Now that I am older and serving a mission, I have an even greater understanding and appreciation for the words of my parents. Those words have sunk deep into my heart.
"To those parents who have children lost in the world, please do not give up hope. Someday they will remember your words. They will then be humble and ready to receive the gospel. Until then, just love them as you have always loved them. - Sister P. Phillips, Ellicott City, Md." (Church News, Apr. 20, 1996, "Living by the Scriptures")

Loren C. Dunn

"Enos had been raised by good parents. According to his own words, he had been taught by his parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Yet there was a sort of gap between what his parents knew and what he knew. But one day he went to hunt beasts in the forests. It was then that the words he heard his father speak about eternal life and the joy of the Saints sank deep into his heart. And it was then that he had to know for himself.
"Quite often this is the pattern of young people today. You hear the words of your parents and Church teachers. Sometimes these words are not of personal value until you reach the point of wanting to know for yourself, or until such time as these words are challenged, or there is some other experience that prompts you to action.
"Enos wanted to know, and because of the teachings of his parents, he knew how to find out -- and he did." (Conference Reports, Oct. 1968, p. 71-2)

Boyd K. Packer

"We emphasize that the greatest work you will do will be within the walls of your home….It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should. It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled. 'The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.' (Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1929, p. 110)…When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them. President Brigham Young said [Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 208]: 'Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang.'" (Ensign, May 1992, p. 68 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 189)