Once again, here are our ward goals for 2010:
1. Become a more devoted and reliable home or visiting teacher.
2. Set a personal goal for the year based on a principle of the gospel.
3. Have more meaningful and regular temple attendance.
While we call them ward goals, they are actually better termed our leadership emphasis for 2010. We leave it to individuals to set your own personal goals, but we encourage you to do so.
The first goal is a repeat from 2009. Many in the ward reported that they made improvements in their home and visiting teaching, and I am grateful for that. But we need to continue to emphasize this and make improvements.
The second goal is for both parents and children. We encourage you to dedicate a family home evening to discussing and setting personal goals based on a gospel principle. A great resource for this is the new Gospel Principles book that will be our priesthood and Relief Society instruction manual for 2010 and 2011.
When Brother Nuttall spoke on the topic of goals last month, he quoted from a talk given by Elder Quentin L. Cook. I repeat that entertaining quote here. You’ll get a kick out of it.
“When our children were small, my wife, Mary, and I decided to follow a tradition which my father taught when I was a child. He would meet with us individually to help us set goals in various aspects of our lives and then teach us how Church, school, and extracurricular activities would help us achieve those goals…Having been the beneficiary of this tradition, I had the desire to engage in this practice with my children. When our son, Larry, was five years old, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said he wanted to be a doctor like his Uncle Joe. Larry had experienced a serious operation and had acquired great respect for doctors, especially his Uncle Joe. I proceeded to tell Larry how all the worthwhile things he was doing would help prepare him to be a doctor.
“Several months later, I asked him again what he would like to be. This time he said he wanted to be an airline pilot…Almost as an afterthought I said, ‘Larry, last time we talked you wanted to be a doctor. What has changed your mind?’ He answered, ‘I still like the idea of being a doctor, but I have noticed that Uncle Joe works on Saturday mornings, and I wouldn’t want to miss Saturday Morning Cartoons.’
“Since that time our family has labeled a distraction from a worthwhile goal as a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
What are some of the Saturday Morning Cartoons that distract us from attaining the joy that we desire? Some want to be married in the temple but only date those who do not qualify for a recommend. Others want to be a good home teacher or visiting teacher but are distracted by the constant parade of TV programs, catalogs, and other material maintenance and don’t find time to minister to those they are assigned to teach. Still others want to have family prayer but allow little matters to build into discord that make it harder for the family to kneel together. If we examine the reasons we don’t do what we ought to do, we find that the list of Saturday Morning Cartoons is almost endless.'”
Finally, we hope you will plan to attend the temple more often, and that when you go, you will make your experience there more meaningful. The temple is a house of revelation. Many of our troubles could be resolved if we took them before the Lord in His temple and sought His guidance more diligently. There is no better place to seek the Lord’s help than in His House.
When I received my own endowments in the Idaho Falls Temple the month before I left on my mission, I remember reading these words at the entrance. “The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Hab. 2:20.) Those words are still in my heart. I have never forgotten the moment I read those words for the first time.
May we have the faith to know that the Lord’s presence abides in the temple and that by attending the temple more often, we will experience that presence first hand—and that presence will move, and bless, and save you.