I was fortunate enough to be in Honolulu on Jan. 17 and hear Elder Clayton, a member of the Seventy, talk at a special stake conference. His primary subject was on remaining faithful during difficult economic times. Given that the First Presidency’s message in January was a similar theme, it seems appropriate to discuss it here.
Elder Clayton’s primary point seemed to be: be loyal to the church, pay your tithing, do your calling and home/visiting teaching, hold Family Home Evening, scripture study and family prayer, and things will turn out OK.
Here is how Elder Clayton illustrated this point. He told a story about meeting with a group of stake presidents in South America during a tough economic downturn there. The stake presidents said their primary concern was members suffering from a tough economy. Elder Clayton felt prompted to ask the stake presidents: how many of the people who are suffering pay tithing and fast offerings; do home and visiting teaching; have family home evening and family scripture study; and have personal and family prayers.
The answer from the assembled stake presidents is that they could not think of even one family who did these things who had economic problems they could not handle.
Now, the first thought I had when I heard this was: I know families who are doing all these things who are still going through very tough economic times. I can think of a few in the Bloggernacle who are. But Elder Clayton’s point is not that if you are loyal you will not have tough times. His point is that if you are loyal you will not have tough times you cannot handle.
I think the Lord still tests people in various ways, and sometimes those tests are economic. I can tell you that our family has suffered economic hardship in the last few years but we have found a way to muddle through.
So, as a reminder, here are Elder Clayton’s suggestions:
- Pay tithing and fast offerings.
- Do home teaching and visiting teaching.
- Hold family home evening and family scripture study.
- Have personal and family prayers.
His feeling is that if you do these things you will not have economic problems you cannot handle.
Elder Clayton also made another interesting point: even though members are suffering, fast offerings are actually up church-wide. I found that very surprising.
It seems that yet again we are being tested. Can we remain loyal to the Church and do what the prophets ask of us despite the current economic difficulties? Can we find a way to send money to Haiti and continue offering tithing and fast offerings? Can we find a way to do more to help the poor and the needy?