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. . . whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 36:3)

“. . . by small and simple things are great things brought to pass . . .” (Alma 37:6)

“O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” (Alma 37:35)

“See that ye are not lifted up unto pride . . .” (Alma 38:11)

“. . .see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.” (Alma 38:12)

“Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward . . . .” (Alma 41:14)

One of my goals in life has been to be a good father to my children. I have watched the example of others, read many suggestions in many places, and listened to counsel as to how best to do this. It seems that the learning curve is slow so that by the time one learns how to be a parent, the children are soon gone from the home. It is my belief that fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness. In The Book of Mormon I found some wonderful chapters in Alma 36-42 where Alma gives instructions to his sons that have helped me in doing this. I have tried to pattern some of the things that I teach my children as a father after his words. Those I have quoted above, and many other instructions given by Alma to his sons, have made this book very valuable and special to me. I have received a personal witness that The Book of Mormon is true, that its teachings have helped me as a father and in every aspect of my life, and that it has helped me draw nearer to God.

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

As people learn this principle, many start out doing service they “have” to do. Then they progress to doing things they ”ought” to do. Finally they reach the point where they do things because they “want” to. When people do good things because they “want” to, then they are serving as the Savior would.
For many years I have dealt with a person who is very miserable and unhappy. I encouraged her to go out and be of service to others so that she could be happier. She has refused because she feels that she cannot be of service to others until she has made herself happy.
I remember a father who, when asked to help someone in the neighborhood move in or move out, would complain to his children because he had to go and help. What was he missing out on because of his attitude towards service? What lesson was he teaching his children because of his attitude?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is that if I want to have joy in my heart and peace in my mind, I need to be of service to others. I have found that when I am serving others and doing so with the right attitude, I am the happiest and most content with life. I feel that others are blessed, and as I feel that I am becoming more like my Savior, I too feel blessed.

"And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. And when he had done this he wept again; and he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones. And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them." (3 Nephi 17: 21-24)

This passage has served me well as a husband and father. Early in my marriage, as I pondered these verses I came to realize how much Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ loved children. I sensed that in essence, children were entrusted to parents with the heavenly expectation that parents would teach them correct heavenly principles and be good examples. The rearing of children required my very best effort as a father and a husband. This was a partnership shared with my dear wife of fifty plus years, as well as deity. Yes, it has been challenging at times, but so rewarding. And these verses and experiences continue to bless us as we reach out to our thirty-two grandchildren.

"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth." (Mormon 9:21)

I have many examples of the Father answering my personal prayers. I’ve learned through personal experience that when I’m really troubled I can go to my Father in Heaven and He will answer my prayers. For instance, when we were moving from Dallas back to our home in Utah, rather than let the movers handle them we personally packed up and set aside some very valuable papers and documents we would need when we got home. We spent a month visiting family and friends and touring significant spots in the United States. When we finally arrived home and unpacked everything in our Volkswagon bus, the papers we needed were missing. I could not remember where I had packed them, and they were nowhere to be found. That night I pleaded with my Father in Heaven to help us locate the lost items, and went to bed, sleeping soundly. Early the next morning, just before dawn I had a dream and in that dream it was revealed to me, as in a movie, exactly what we’d done with the documents and where we could find them: the night before we were leaving Dallas, a friend headed directly to Utah volunteered to save us space by taking this small trunk and holding it until we would arrive a month later. We happily accepted the offer, and in the scramble of packing and saying goodbye never gave it a second thought. None of us had remembered that transaction until it was revealed to me.

I have had many such experiences, the Spirit speaking to me in the early dawn when my mind is cleared and prepared to listen without distractions. I know He is there and He cares.

"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." (Alma 56: 47-48)

I like this scripture because it talks about how two thousand stripling warriors did not fear death, and they thought more about the freedom of their fathers than about their own lives. And they talked about their mothers.

I think that is great that they did not fear death. I mean, think of how courageous they would have to be to go into battle with only two thousand men and not be afraid for their lives.

I know that when I have prayed and read a passage of scripture, the Holy Ghost has touched my heart and told me if it is true.