Family History: Does Your Garden Grow?

This is a General Conference Odyssey post for the Saturday morning session of April 1976.

What in the world does Family History have to do with a garden?

The lightbulb of enlightenment went off in my head with this week’s general conference reading, and my understanding has just been illuminated; now I share it with you.  

Do you remember all the years our prophets have talked about growing a garden and beautifying our yards and homes? For years, every General Conference, it was specifically Pres. Kimball who would spend quite a bit of time talking about gardening–of all things. Well, I think I just figured out why.

In the April 1976 General Conference, the opening address was given by Pres. Kimball where half his talk was about growing gardens, then he switched and began talking about missionary work and growing the church. It wasn’t until I got to Elder Petersen’s talk that it occurred to me what the relationship is.

When parents grow gardens these gardens have to be tended. Work becomes part of home life and the children are taught that sacred skill by going out to regularly weed, water, and harvest. Parents aren’t just growing gardens, they are growing children. By the same token, weeding side by side is the perfect time to talk together. Your hands are busy, your eyes are on the ground, and somehow it’s just easier to talk about deep subjects.

Today, no one has time to till the ground. Parents have a million things on their plates and children are inside playing video games. How interesting that Pres. Kimball tried to teach this preventative skill long before it was such a problem.

Now, the church is emphasizing that children get involved in Family History. Could there be a relationship here? Maybe children, with their computer savvy, will be able to accomplish–not only heavenly work–but spiritual work within themselves?

In the following video, Elder Bednar states that the question is no longer “Are you preparing to go on a mission?” It is now, “Are you worthy to be in the temple?” If our youth are busy being worthy to do their own family temple work, they will be prepared to go on a mission. This is the growth we want to see in our youth.

 

Pres. Kimball said,

“We believe in work for ourselves and for our children. … Too much leisure for children leaves them in a state of boredom, and it is natural for them to want more and more of the expensive things for their recreation. We must bring dignity to labor in sharing the responsibilities of the home. … It is amazing what our youth can do when given assignments and direction.”

Elder Petersen said,

“Be it understood that if we go to the temple, and not for our own dead, we are performing only a part of our duty, because we are also required to go there specifically to save our own dead relatives and bind the various generations together by the power of the holy priesthood. … God holds each of us responsible for saving our own kindred.”

Did you hear the most important message from the video?

“The Spirit of Elijah will not only bless you, it will protect you.”

As we see our children garden in Family History work, our family garden will grow and bloom with temple worthy attendance and our youth will have participated meaningfully in the salvation of themselves, the living, and the dead.

Additional General Conference Odyssey posts:

President Monson’s Witness of the Resurrection of Christ Daniel Ortner

A practical God Marilyn Nielson

Jan Tolman

Jan Tolman is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She is a writer, as well as speaker, on the history of the Relief Society at www.ldswomenofgod.com. Several articles, written by her on Relief Society history, have been published in the Deseret News. She has taught Institute and served as a docent at the Church History Museum. She urges everyone to learn something new about Church History, and especially about the incredible women of LDS faith.

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About Jan Tolman

Jan Tolman is a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of seven. She is a writer, as well as speaker, on the history of the Relief Society at www.ldswomenofgod.com. Several articles, written by her on Relief Society history, have been published in the Deseret News. She has taught Institute and served as a docent at the Church History Museum. She urges everyone to learn something new about Church History, and especially about the incredible women of LDS faith.

One thought on “Family History: Does Your Garden Grow?

  1. Marilyn

    Really interesting connection. I had some of the same thoughts but didn’t see the parallel! I have wondered several times about the “garden” counsel. I’m sure planting a garden is still a good thing, but it was emphasized SO much back then…and now it doesn’t seem to be emphasized really at all, except in the context of general provident living. So–I love this idea, that tending our family history “garden” can do the same sorts of things for our children. I’ll have to ponder some more about what that means.

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