Greetings, Family, I've returned from my temporary hiatus having learned much and wanting to share it all with you.
I want to talk to you a little bit about the home. Someone once said that the home should be the second most holy place in the Church... Second only to the temple. We all know that before any ordinance is performed in a temple that the building first has to be dedicated. Who among us has taken the time to dedicate our homes? The place where our children do most of their learning about the gospel. As I told my Elders' quorum in a recent lesson, it is not the responsibility of the church to teach our children, it's our responsibility as parents to teach them and we should call on the Holy Spirit to help and guide us. One way of doing that is dedicating the homes we live in. It can make a great difference.
When I first learned about dedicating homes, I thought, "Boy, I can't wait until I have a house so I can dedicate it." Then I realized that even though I didn't have a house like other people, I do have a "Home." It might only be a room in a Navy Barracks that I have to share with one or two other people, but it's still my home... that's where all my stuff is anyway. So I began a little tradition of dedicating every new room that I moved into. From Pensacola to Panama to Maine, I have taken the time, after settling in and organizing my place how I liked it, to dedicate it to the Lord. It's nothing fancy, it's just a simple prayer offered up to Our Heavenly Father. I would thank him for having a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in; and I would ask him for a blessing on my little room, that it would be a place where the Spirit could dwell; that it could be a place of learning; a place of comfort where my friends could feel the spirit; a place for them to come and feel safe and not have to worry about anything; a place where they can leave their problems at the door.
When I was in Panama, I was having some personal problems and I needed to seek professional help through available counseling options. Well, that usually starts with a trip to Medical and a talk with our Corpsman. He asked me why I was there and we chatted for a little bit before he said to me, "You're a Mormon, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am. How did you know?"
"I did room inspections this week... Walking into your room really... Humbled me."
"Humbled? I don't think I was going for that when I was decorating."
"No, I mean that in a good way."
This is what he saw when he entered my room:
On the door to my room was a picture of Christ knocking on a large wooden door(Seemed appropriate). As he entered the "kitchen" area, he saw a picture of Jesus talking with Mary and Martha... Martha was mixing something in a bowl (Again, seemed appropriate). Above my desk were postcards of temples. On my walls pictures of gospel stories from the Bible and Book of Mormon. Over my bed was a photo of the Christus in Salt Lake City. Above my dresser were portraits of The Lord Jesus Christ (Del Parson's painting) and the Prophet Joseph Smith as well as my line of authority as an Elder. On my locker was a picture of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
"You know," said the Corpsman, who later told me that he was an inactive member of the church, "A person could walk all the way down that hall angry, but there's no way he or she could go into your room and still feel that way."
For those of you who haven't yet taken the time to do so, dedicate your homes. Make them a place where the Spirit will feel welcome and a place where your family and your visiting friends can feel the spirit.