I love it when the Spirit takes a passage of scripture and illuminates it for me in a whole new way. This particular passage is written by the hand of Joseph Smith as a recounting of the events surrounding his reception of the golden plates from the angel Moroni. Take that same passage and now, think not of golden plates, but of your own children or loved ones. The words take on a whole new deeper and personal dimension:
‘the heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
“I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose…But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them…”
Doesn’t that feel like that battle that you are doing every day for the souls of your children? Satan is on the loose. He has devised every stratagem possible to take our children from us-physically, emotionally, or spiritually. From careless (and seemingly harmless) apathy to deep addiction and outright rebellion. The seeds of difficulty lie all around them, just waiting for a bit of fertile ground to take root.
As parents we have a covenant obligation to keep our children safe and to preserve and protect them until they are called for. It is only through the wisdom of God that we will be able to accomplish such a task in these perilous times. Much wisdom has already been revealed to assist us in this commission. We can find it in the scriptures and in the current LDS church publications and from others ahead of us on the path. However, much of what our particular children are going to need from us will have to be revealed to us individually. All the more reason to figure out this personal revelation thing!
Of course this thought wouldn’t be complete without an acknowledgment that unlike gold plates, children have agency. (We can’t stick them in the bottom of a barrel of beans until they are all grown up.) This can make our commission to preserve and protect them a bit convoluted. Sometimes children choose to move themselves out of our direct influence or protection. In which case, we might wonder what is to be done? The answer lies in the passage above: “I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand.” Search out what God requires from you in these situations, act on it, and then peacefully leave the rest to His capable hands.