What Do You Envision in Life? | Erich W. Kopischke

What Do You Envision in Life? | Erich W. Kopischke


>>THIS BYU DEVOTIONAL ADDRESS
WITH ELDER ERICH W. KOPISHKE
WAS GIVEN ON DECEMBER 2, 2014.>>WELCOME,
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, TO OUR DEVOTIONAL. THIS MORNING WE WILL HAVE THE
PRIVILEGE OF HEARING FROM ELDER ERICH W. KOPISCHKE,
A MEMBER OF THE FIRST QUORUM OF THE SEVENTY. WE EXTEND A SPECIAL WELCOME
TO SISTER KOPISCHKE WHO IS SEATED ON THE STAND,
AS WELL AS THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WHO ARE HERE. ELDER KOPISCHKE SERVED AS
A FULL TIME MISSIONARY IN MUNICH, GERMANY,
AS A YOUNG MAN; AND IN 2003 HE WAS
CALLED TO PRESIDE OVER THE GERMANY BERLIN MISSION,
WHICH INCLUDED THE FORMER GERMAN DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC AND WEST BERLIN. ELDER KOPISCHKE WAS SUSTAINED
A MEMBER OF THE FIRST QUORUM OF THE SEVENTY IN MARCH 2007. PRIOR TO THAT TIME HE
WAS AN AREA SEVENTY. HE RECEIVED HIS INITIAL
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING AND DEGREE IN BUSINESS AND WORKED
IN THE INSURANCE FIELD. ELDER KOPISCHKE AND HIS WIFE,
SISTER CHRISTIANE KOPISCHKE, ARE THE PARENTS OF
SEVEN CHILDREN AND HAVE SIX GRANDCHILDREN. AND NOW WE WILL HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY OF HEARING ELDER ERICH W. KOPISCHKE.>>MY DEAR FRIENDS,
WHAT A PRIVILEGE IT IS FOR CHRISTIANE AND ME
TO BE HERE WITH YOU. AS WE DISCUSS IMPORTANT AND
ETERNAL MATTERS TODAY YOU SOON WILL RECOGNIZE
THAT I AM GERMAN; NOT ONLY BECAUSE OF MY FUNNY
ACCENT BUT ALSO BECAUSE OF MY VERY DIRECT APPROACH. IN THE GERMAN LANGUAGE WE
REFER TO THE IDIOM “MIT JEMANDEN DEUTSCH REDEN”
WHICH WOULD DIRECTLY TRANSLATE TO
“TALKING GERMAN TO SOMEONE.” IT MEANS TO EXPRESS
THINGS IN A SIMPLE, VERY CLEAR AND DIRECT
MANNER SO THAT NO ONE CAN MISUNDERSTAND. SO NOW YOU KNOW,
WHAT YOU WILL HAVE TO PUT UP WITH TODAY. THE TIME BETWEEN THANKSGIVING
AND NEW YEAR’S EVE IS A VERY SPECIAL TIME OF THE YEAR. AS THE DAYS GET SHORTER,
THE NIGHTS GROW LONGER, AND THE TEMPERATURES DROP LOWER,
WE SEEK LIGHT AND WARMTH. THESE ELEMENTS ARE FOUND IN
ABUNDANCE IN ALL THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTING THAT SURROUNDS US. IT IS IN THESE DARK MONTHS
WHEN WE ENJOY THE SHINING CANDLES IN THE HOUSE,
A ROMANTIC CANDLE LIGHT DINNER WITH SOMEONE WE LOVE OR-
IF WE FIND TIME- RELAXING A LITTLE
BY JUST SITTING AND READING A GOOD BOOK CLOSE TO
A CRACKLING FIREPLACE. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, CANDLES,
AND OPEN FIREPLACES PROVIDE LIGHT AND WARMTH. THEY NOT ONLY MAKE US FEEL
COZY BUT ALSO HELP US TO DIRECT OUR THOUGHTS TO
THE SOURCE OF ALL LIGHT: THE LIGHT OF LIFE,
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, EVEN OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. CELEBRATING HIS BIRTH AND
PONDERING HIS LIFE REMIND US OF THE DEPENDENCY WE HAVE UPON
HIS LIGHT AND THE GRATITUDE WE FEEL FOR THE MORTAL
AND ETERNAL BLESSINGS OF HIS ATONEMENT. THIS ALSO HELPS US REALIZE
WHAT MATTERS MOST IN LIFE AND OFTEN IS A TIME OF SERIOUS
PERSONAL REFLECTION AND EVALUATION AS WE
CONSIDER THE PAST AND CONTEMPLATE THE FUTURE. SADLY AND FAR TOO OFTEN THIS
WONDERFUL SEASON OF RE-EVALUATION BECOMES
“THE TIME OF THE GOOD INTENTIONS,”
WHEN OUR RESOLUTIONS TO BE BETTER END IN “SUDDEN DEATH”
WITHIN A FEW DAYS OR WEEKS INTO THE NEW YEAR. AS A BOY I OFTEN SET NEW
YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS WITH GREAT EXCITEMENT AND ENTHUSIASM. MY MOTHER,
OBSERVING MY WEAKNESSES AND SOMETIMES FAILURE TO
CARRY OUT THESE GOALS, USED TO SAY:
“THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS.” I SUSPECT ALL OF US FALL
SHORT IN TOTALLY LIVING UP TO OUR RESOLUTIONS. BUT WE OUGHT TO
TRY TO DO BETTER- ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US
WHO KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMITTING OURSELVES TO FOLLOW
THE REAL LIGHT OF THE WORLD! TO US THE PROPHET ISAIAH SAID:
“LET US WALK IN THE LIGHT OF THE LORD.” TO WALK IN THIS LIGHT,
OUR LIVES NEED A LONG-TERM ORIENTATION BASED ON KNOWLEDGE
AND CONVICTION- KNOWLEDGE OF WHO WE REALLY ARE
AND THE PURPOSE OF OUR CREATION, AND CONVICTION OF
OUR ETERNAL DESTINY. WE KNOW THAT WE ARE SONS
AND DAUGHTERS OF A LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER. AS SUCH,
WE KNOW HE WANTS US TO FILL “THE MEASURE OF OUR CREATION.” HE WANTS US TO FIND JOY AND
HAPPINESS IN THIS LIFE AND ULTIMATELY REACH OUR
DESTINATION OF IMMORTALITY AND ETERNAL LIFE
“CROWNED WITH GLORY, “EVEN WITH THE PRESENCE
OF GOD THE FATHER.” NOW, I AM LOOKING INTO YOUR EYES
AND SEEING YOUR SMILING FACES. AS I TRY TO ENVISION YOUR
DREAMS AND FEEL YOUR HOPES I THINK BACK TO WHEN I WAS
AS YOUNG AS YOU ARE NOW. JUST HAVING RETURNED
FROM MY MISSION, I WAS DATING A BEAUTIFUL GIRL-
WHO AFTER A SHORT PERIOD OF NERVOUS RESISTANCE,
FEARFUL INVESTIGATION, AND DOUBTFUL ANTICIPATION-
FINALLY DECIDED TO PUT UP WITH ME AND GIVE ME AN HONEST TRY. SHE NOW IS THE MOTHER
OF OUR SEVEN CHILDREN, AS BEAUTIFUL AS ALWAYS,
AND SHE IS SITTING HERE WITH US ON THE STAND TODAY. IN MY YOUTH AND YOUNG ADULT
YEARS I OFTEN ASKED MYSELF THIS QUESTION:
“ERICH, WHERE WILL YOU BE TEN YEARS FROM NOW?” NOW THAT I AM GETTING OLDER,
I’M NOT SO MUCH INTERESTED IN THAT QUESTION ANYMORE. I REMEMBER WELL,
HOW MY DREAMS AND VISIONS FOR MY FUTURE HAD AN
IMPORTANT IMPACT UPON THE DECISIONS THAT I MADE. FOR EXAMPLE,
WHEN I WAS A YOUNG BOY OUR EXTENDED FAMILY OFTEN GOT
TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS. AMONG THE FAMILIES
WERE NINE CHILDREN, AND EVERY BIRTHDAY WAS
LIKE A MINI-FAMILY REUNION. AUNT ANNI WAS MY FAVORITE
BECAUSE SHE SEEMED TO BE THE NEVER-TIRING PLAYMATE. SHE WOULD WRESTLE WITH US,
PLAY FUNNY GAMES, AND JUST SPENT TIME WITH US. WE LOVED HER LAUGH,
HER EXCITEMENT, AND HER ENTHUSIASM. SHE NEVER SEEMED TO BE
DEPRESSED OR TO HAVE A BAD DAY. I STILL GET EXCITED JUST
THINKING ABOUT HER. BECAUSE OF HER EXAMPLE,
I ENVISIONED THAT MY FUTURE WIFE WOULD BE LIKE HER. I WANTED MY WIFE TO BE LIVELY,
FULL OF EXCITEMENT AND ENTHUSIASM. IN MY DREAM I EVEN SAW
HER AS A GRANDMOTHER, RUNNING AROUND WITH
HER GRANDCHILDREN, NEVER TIRED, ALWAYS HAPPY. SOMEHOW I HAD INTERNALIZED
THAT VISION SO MUCH THAT THIS BECAME THE
MODEL I WAS LOOKING FOR, AND GUESS WHAT? THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I
WAS BLESSED TO RECEIVE. CHRISTIANE IS FULL OF
EXCITEMENT AND ENTHUSIASM, AND SHE LOVES TO PLAY WITH THE
CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. THEY LOVE HER AND I
LOVE BEING AROUND HER. THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED FROM
THIS EXAMPLE IS THAT DREAMS AND VISIONS ARE IMPORTANT. THEY DETERMINE THE DIRECTION,
GOALS, AND PRIORITIES WE ARE
SETTING FOR OUR LIVES. THE SCRIPTURES
TEACH THE FOLLOWING: “WHERE THERE IS NO VISION,
THE PEOPLE PERISH.” SOMETIMES OUR UNDERSTANDING OF
A PRINCIPLE IS ENHANCED IF WE REVERSE THE PHRASING,
WHICH IN THIS CASE WOULD READ: “WHERE THERE IS A VISION,
THE PEOPLE FLOURISH.” I TRULY BELIEVE THIS TO BE
TRUE BECAUSE I HAVE WITNESSED IT IN MY OWN LIFE AND IN THE
LIVES OF MANY OTHERS AROUND ME. THE SCRIPTURE THEN CONTINUES:
“BUT HE THAT KEEPETH THE LAW, HAPPY IS HE.” THIS BRINGS ME TO ASK YOU TWO
VERY PERSONAL QUESTIONS TODAY: “WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL
VISION FOR YOUR LIFE?” AND “WHAT ARE YOU
DOING TO FULFILL IT?” SOMETHING EVERY ONE OF
US ENVISIONS IS TO BE HAPPY IN OUR LIVES. ONE OF THE DIVINE PURPOSES OF
OUR VERY EXISTENCE IS TO EXPERIENCE JOY AND HAPPINESS. LEHI TAUGHT:
“ADAM FELL THAT MEN MIGHT BE; “AND MEN ARE,
THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY.” THE PROPHET JOSEPH F. SMITH
SAW IN A VISION THAT THE RESURRECTION OF THE RIGHTEOUS
TO ETERNAL LIFE WILL BRING THEM A FULLNESS OF JOY. IN HIS FAMOUS DREAM,
THE PROPHET LEHI BEHELD THAT THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF LIFE
“WAS DESIRABLE TO MAKE ONE HAPPY”. THIS IS WHY ALMA DESCRIBES
THE PLAN GOD HAS FOR US AS HIS CHILDREN AS
“THE GREAT PLAN OF HAPPINESS”. JOY AND HAPPINESS ARE
INSEPARABLY CONNECTED WITH CHOOSING THE LIFESTYLE
GOD HAS IN MIND FOR US, MAKING COVENANTS WITH HIM,
AND KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS WITH ALL OUR
“MIGHT, MIND AND STRENGTH.” THIS JOY IS NOT TO
BE CONFUSED WITH THE “PLEASURES OF THE WORLD.” REAL HAPPINESS AND JOY HAVE
LITTLE TO DO WITH THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IN MY BANK ACCOUNT,
THE SIZE OF MY HOME, THE NUMBER OF EXPENSIVE,
AND OF COURSE “GERMAN,” CARS REGISTERED IN MY NAME,
OR THE MOST MIND-BOGGLING AND EVER IMPORTANT QUESTION:
“MY DEAR, “WILL THE NEW BOAT
FIT INTO OUR GARAGE?” TRUE HAPPINESS AND JOY ARISE
FROM OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON AND
OUR KNOWLEDGE THAT WE ARE COMPLETELY IN TUNE WITH THEM. IT ALSO STEMS FROM THE LOVING
RELATIONSHIPS WE HAVE WITH THE PEOPLE WHO SURROUND US. THEREFORE,
“IN THIS LIFE WE “SHALL HAVE JOY,
“AND AGAIN IN THE FLESH WE SHALL SEE GOD.” THE QUALITY AND CONGENIALITY
IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OUR SPOUSES, CHILDREN,
GRANDCHILDREN, FRIENDS, AND ASSOCIATES DETERMINE
THE LEVEL OF JOY IN OUR LIVES. WE WILL BE INCREASINGLY
HAPPY IF WE AND OUR LOVED ONES WITH US ARE
“LIVING AFTER THE MANNER OF HAPPINESS.” MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,
HAVE YOU ALREADY ESTABLISHED A CLEAR AND STRONG
VISION FOR YOUR LIFE, WHICH INCLUDES THE PILLARS OF
REAL HAPPINESS AND JOY? IF NOT, I INVITE YOU TO DO SO;
IF YOU HAVE, I INVITE YOU TO EMBRACE YOUR
VISION WITH ALL YOUR HEART. IT WILL INSPIRE AND GUIDE
YOU IN ALL THE CRITICAL DECISIONS THAT YOU ARE
MAKING DURING THIS WONDERFUL SEASON OF YOUR LIFE. LET ME SHARE WITH YOU A
DOCTRINE THAT WILL HELP YOU REACH YOUR RIGHTEOUS DESIRE
AND YEARNING FOR HAPPINESS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. IF CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD
AND APPLIED, IT WILL BRING JOY AND
TREMENDOUS SECURITY INTO YOUR LIFE,
INDEPENDENT FROM ANY CIRCUMSTANCES YOU MAY FACE. THIS DOCTRINE REACHES FAR
BEYOND THIS EARTHLY LIFE RIGHT INTO ETERNITY. I AM TALKING ABOUT THE
DOCTRINE OF THE FAMILY. THE CONCEPT OF FAMILY AND
FAMILY LIFE AS A TRUE SOURCE FOR HAPPINESS HAS BEEN
TERRIBLY HOLLOWED OUT IN RECENT DECADES. WORLDWIDE,
THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY IS UNDER ATTACK FROM MANY
DIFFERENT SOURCES. BUT THERE ARE OTHER PITFALLS
AND RISKS WHICH EVEN RELATE TO SOME OF US WHO KNOW ABOUT THE
IMPORTANCE, DIVINITY, AND ETERNAL
DESTINY OF THE FAMILY. INFLUENCED BY THE WORLD
AND ITS ENTICEMENTS, THE INCREASING DESIRE FOR
SELF-CENTERED FULFILLMENT, AND THE INCLINATION FOR
COMFORT OR MAKING THINGS EASY, WE PUT THE FAMILY AND OUR
HAPPINESS UNDER STRESS. ALL TOO OFTEN HAPPINESS
IN OUR LIFE IS DEFINED BY THE QUALITY OF OUR
“ALL-ROUND-CAREFREE-PACKAGE,” WHICH WE HOPE TO
ACHIEVE AND RETAIN IN A “LOW INVESTMENT, HIGH RETURN”
MODE. BUT LIFE DOES NOT
WORK IN THIS WAY; IT WAS NEVER
INTENDED TO BE EASY. THE LORD SAID TO JOSEPH SMITH:
“FOR AFTER MUCH TRIBULATION “COME THE BLESSINGS. “WHEREFORE THE DAY
“COMETH THAT YE SHALL BE CROWNED WITH MUCH GLORY;”
THE LORD HAS CLEARLY REVEALED HOW TO DEVELOP AND
RETAIN STRONG FAMILIES. WE ALL ARE INVITED TO STUDY
AND APPLY THE PRINCIPLES SET FORTH IN THE FAMILY:
PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD. ADDITIONALLY,
WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT DRAWING PERSONAL STRENGTH
AND HAPPINESS FROM FAMILY LIFE REQUIRES SOME
SACRIFICE AND FAITH. THE PROCLAMATION STATES
“THAT MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN “AND A WOMAN IS ORDAINED OF GOD
“AND THAT THE FAMILY IS CENTRAL “TO THE CREATOR’S PLAN
“FOR THE ETERNAL DESTINY OF HIS CHILDREN.” IT FURTHER STATES THAT
“GOD’S COMMANDMENT FOR HIS “CHILDREN TO MULTIPLY AND
“REPLENISH THE EARTH REMAINS IN FULL FORCE.” AMONG MANY,
THE IMAGE AND PURPOSE OF THE FAMILY HAS DRASTICALLY CHANGED. INCREASINGLY,
SOCIETY IS ADOPTING THE SO-CALLED “SOUL MATE”
MODEL OF MARRIAGE, WHICH FOCUSES ON THE NEEDS
AND FEELINGS OF THE ADULTS AS OPPOSED TO
THOSE OF THE CHILDREN. AS A RESULT,
MANY ENTER MARRIAGE AFTER A LONG-STANDING RELATIONSHIP
RATHER THAN MOVE FORWARD AFTER AN APPROPRIATE COURTSHIP. FINDING THE PERFECT MATCH,
TESTING A RELATIONSHIP BY COHABITATION WITHOUT THE
BENEFIT OF MARRIAGE, OR SECURING A LAVISH LIFESTYLE
THAT WILL BE BACKED BY A ROBUST PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT
HAVE BECOME COMMON PRACTICES AMONG MANY BEFORE THEY
EVEN CONSIDER MARRIAGE. SCRIPTURE AND MODERN DAY
PROPHETS TEACH US DIFFERENTLY. WE BUILD OUR MARRIAGES
ON THE FOUNDATION OF CHASTITY AND FIDELITY,
WITH THE INTENT TO ESTABLISH AND REAR A FAMILY. THE PROPHET OF MY YOUTH,
SPENCER W. KIMBALL, TAUGHT, AND I QUOTE:
“THE LIGHTED WAY, THEN, “BRINGS US TO NORMAL,
“CLEAN COURTING OF “YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN,
“COMING EVENTUALLY TO A “VIRTUOUS UNION AT AN ALTAR
“WHERE A FULLY AUTHORIZED “SERVANT OF GOD SEALS
“THE UNION FOR ETERNITY. “THE HEBREW SAINTS
“WERE PROPERLY TAUGHT, “‘MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE IN ALL,
“‘AND THE BED UNDEFILED: “‘BUT WHOREMONGERS AND
ADULTERERS GOD WILL JUDGE.'” “AND TO THOSE WHO
“MIGHT DECRY MARRIAGE “OR POSTPONE IT OR FORBID IT,
“PAUL SPOKE, “CONDEMNING THEM. “IT IS GENERALLY SELFISHNESS,
“COLD AND SELF-CENTERED, “WHICH LEADS PEOPLE TO
SHUN MARRIAGE RESPONSIBILITY.” PRESIDENT KIMBALL CONTINUES:
“THERE ARE MANY WHO TALK “AND WRITE AGAINST MARRIAGE. “EVEN SOME OF OUR OWN DELAY
“MARRIAGE AND ARGUE AGAINST IT. “WE CALL UPON ALL PEOPLE TO
“ACCEPT NORMAL MARRIAGE AS A BASIS FOR TRUE HAPPINESS.” BASICALLY MARRIAGE
PRESUPPOSES A FAMILY. THE PSALMIST SAID:
“LO, CHILDREN ARE A “HERITAGE OF THE LORD:
“AND THE FRUIT OF THE “WOMB IS HIS REWARD. “HAPPY IS THE MAN THAT HATH
HIS QUIVER FULL OF THEM.” END OF QUOTE. WHEN CHRISTIANE
AND I WERE YOUNG, THESE WERE THE WORDS
OF OUR LIVING PROPHET, AND WE TRUSTED AND
FOLLOWED HIS ADVICE. WE KNELT ACROSS THE ALTAR
OF THE SWISS TEMPLE, BEING ONLY 22 AND
20 YEARS OF AGE. WE WERE WORTHY OF THE COVENANT,
WE HAD NO REAL CLUE OF WHAT TO EXPECT,
NO WORK EXPERIENCE OR FINISHED EDUCATION,
AND WE WERE POOR AS CHURCH MICE. ALL THAT WE HAD IN ABUNDANCE
WAS OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER AND A LOT OF NAÏVE ENTHUSIASM. BUT WE BEGAN BUILDING
OUR WORLD TOGETHER. WE DID NOT POSTPONE
HAVING CHILDREN, AND WE NEEDED TO SUPPORT EACH
OTHER IN GETTING OUR EDUCATIONS. WE STRONGLY BELIEVED IN THE
LORD’S PROMISE THAT “IF YE DO KEEP HIS
“COMMANDMENTS HE DOTH BLESS YOU AND PROSPER YOU.” AND HE DID. WHEN WE MARRIED,
CHRISTIANE WAS IN NURSING SCHOOL. OUR VISION INCLUDED HAVING
HER FINISH HER DEGREE, BUT AT THE SAME TIME WE ALSO
MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO BEGIN FULFILLING OUR
DREAM OF HAVING A FAMILY. AS A RESULT,
OUR FIRST CHILD WAS BORN ABOUT TWO WEEKS BEFORE CHRISTIANE
PASSED HER FINAL EXAM AS A CERTIFIED NURSE. HOWEVER,
WE KNEW THAT EVEN IN OUR MARRIAGE THERE WOULD BE
STUMBLING BLOCKS, CHALLENGES, AND SOME DIFFICULTIES. BUT WE HAD A SIMPLE
ORAL AGREEMENT, WHICH WE OFTEN REPEATED
WITH SMILES ON OUR FACES: “IF DIFFICULTIES APPROACH,
“NO MANSLAUGHTER AND NO DIVORCE.” NOW, 36 YEARS LATER,
WE ARE GRATEFUL THAT WE COULD BUILD THIS FAMILY TOGETHER. OUR FAITH IN GOD AND OUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH OTHER HAS BECOME UNSHAKEN AS WE HAVE
SEEN THE HAND OF THE LORD GUIDING US THROUGH THE
PROCESS OF BUILDING OUR KINGDOM IN MORTALITY,
WHICH AT PRESENT CONSISTS OF SEVEN CHILDREN
AND SIX GRANDCHILDREN. THIS KINGDOM WILL CONTINUE
TO GROW, FOREVER AND EVER. FOR THIS VISION OF HAPPINESS,
WE BOTH WERE READY AND WILLING TO SACRIFICE. WE ACCEPTED THE DIVINELY
APPOINTED ROLES OF THE FATHER TO PRESIDE AND PROVIDE
AND THE MOTHER TO NURTURE. SISTER JULIE BECK,
FORMER GENERAL RELIEF SOCIETY PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH STATED:
“THE PRIESTHOOD ROLE “OF FATHERS IS TO PRESIDE AND
“PASS PRIESTHOOD ORDINANCES “TO THE NEXT GENERATION. “THE PRIESTHOOD ROLE OF
“MOTHERS IS TO INFLUENCE. “THESE ARE ESSENTIAL,
“COMPLIMENTARY, “AND INTERDEPENDENT
RESPONSIBILITIES.” HELPING ONE ANOTHER IN A
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY AS EQUAL PARTNERS DOES NOT MEAN THAT
WE ALWAYS DO THE SAME THINGS, OR DO EVERYTHING TOGETHER
OR IN EQUAL SHARES. WE UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT
DIFFERENT ROLES GIVEN TO US BY DIVINE DESIGN AS OUTLINED IN
THE PROCLAMATION ON THE FAMILY. WE ARE NOT FOLLOWING THE WORLD
IN WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS “EMANCIPATION,”
WHERE BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE LIVE ONLY TO FULFILL
THEIR OWN SELF-INTERESTS. WE ARE LIVING THE PRINCIPLES
OF COMPLEMENTARINESS AND COMPLETION WITH RESPECT TO
EACH OTHER AND TO OUR CHILDREN. PRESIDENT JAMES E. FAUST,
IN A BYU DEVOTIONAL ADDRESS GIVEN ALMOST 30 YEARS AGO
COUNSELLED THE SISTERS TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO DO EVERYTHING
AT ONCE AND TO DO WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT FIRST WITH
THE FAMILY AND THEN OTHER DESIRES CAN FOLLOW. HE SAID:
“TO EVERYTHING “THERE IS A SEASON,
“AND A TIME TO EVERY PURPOSE UNDER HEAVEN.” THEN HE SAID:
“IT SEEMS THAT THE NEW ROLES “OF WOMEN HAVE NOT DECREASED
“THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES “BECAUSE WHILE THE NEW
“ROLES ARE CHALLENGING, “THE OLD ROLES OF WIFE AND
“MOTHER ARE IN THE SOUL AND “CRY OUT TO BE SATISFIED. “FORTUNATELY, IN MOST CASES,
“I WOULD LIKE TO ADD, “A WOMEN DOES NOT HAVE TO TRACK
“A CAREER LIKE A MAN DOES. “SHE MAY FIT MORE THAN ONE
“CAREER INTO THE VARIOUS “SEASONS OF LIFE. “SHE CANNOT SING ALL THE VERSES
OF HER SONG AT THE SAME TIME.” MY YOUNG FRIENDS,
SOME OF YOU MAY SAY: “WELL,
“OUR SITUATION IS DIFFERENT. “THE WORLD TODAY IS NOT IDEAL,
“THERE MUST BE ROOM FOR EXCEPTIONS.” WITH REGARD TO
MAKING EXCEPTIONS, THEN PRESIDENT PACKER ONCE
TOLD THE FOLLOWING STORY: “AS MISSION PRESIDENT,
“I ATTENDED A MISSION RELIEF “SOCIETY CONFERENCE. “OUR MISSION RELIEF
“SOCIETY PRESIDENT, “A RELATIVELY RECENT CONVERT,
“ANNOUNCED SOMETHING “OF A COURSE CORRECTION. “SOME LOCAL SOCIETIES
“HAD STRAYED, “AND SHE INVITED THEM TO
“CONFORM MORE CLOSELY TO THE “DIRECTION SET BY THE
“GENERAL PRESIDENCY OF “THE RELIEF SOCIETY. “ONE SISTER IN THE
“CONGREGATION STOOD AND “DEFIANTLY TOLD HER THAT
“THEY WERE NOT WILLING “TO FOLLOW HER COUNSEL,
“SAYING THEY WERE AN EXCEPTION. “A BIT FLUSTERED,
“SHE TURNED TO ME FOR HELP. “I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. “I WAS NOT INTERESTED IN
“FACING A FIERCE WOMAN. “SO I MOTIONED FOR
“HER TO PROCEED. “THEN CAME THE REVELATION! “THIS LOVELY RELIEF
“SOCIETY PRESIDENT, “SMALL AND SOMEWHAT
“HANDICAPPED PHYSICALLY, “SAID WITH GENTLE FIRMNESS:
“DEAR SISTER, “WE’D LIKE NOT TO TAKE CARE
“OF THE EXCEPTION FIRST. “WE WILL TAKE CARE
“OF THE RULE FIRST, “AND THEN WE WILL SEE
TO THE EXCEPTIONS.” THE COURSE CORRECTION
WAS ACCEPTED. PRESIDENT PACKER CONTINUED:
“HER ADVICE IS GOOD “FOR RELIEF SOCIETY AND
“PRIESTHOOD AND FOR FAMILIES. “WHEN YOU STATE A RULE AND
“INCLUDE THE EXCEPTION “IN THE SAME SENTENCE,
“THE EXCEPTION IS ACCEPTED FIRST.” END OF QUOTE. THEREFORE I AM ATTEMPTING TO
TEACH YOU THE RULE OR THE DIVINE IDEAL AND LET YOU DEAL
WITH EXCEPTIONS AS YOU WALK THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE. IN THE VISION WE
HAD FOR OUR FAMILY, WE WANTED CHRISTIANE TO STAY
HOME TO REAR OUR CHILDREN. THIS MEANT SACRIFICE. SHORTLY AFTER WE LEARNED THAT
A BABY WAS ON ITS WAY, CHRISTIANE REMINDED ME OF THE
MUTUAL DECISION WE HAD MADE EVEN BEFORE OUR WEDDING DAY
THAT SHE WOULD IMMEDIATELY STOP WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME
AS SOON AS A BABY WAS BORN. I TRIED TO ESCAPE WHAT I KNEW
WOULD BE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITY BY MENTIONING
THAT SHE WAS CONTRIBUTING ONE-THIRD OF OUR FAMILY INCOME. HER SIMPLE ANSWER WAS:
“THAT IS YOUR PROBLEM- “I WILL TAKE CARE
“OF THE CHILDREN “AND YOU TAKE CARE PUTTING
FOOD ON THE TABLE.” I KNEW SHE WAS RIGHT. WE HAD DISCUSSED IT LONG BEFORE,
IT WAS IN TUNE WITH OUR VISION OF FAMILY LIFE,
IT WAS IN TUNE WITH THE WORDS OF THE LIVING PROPHETS,
AND IT FELT RIGHT. SO SHE GAVE UP HER WELL-PAYING
CAREER AS A NURSE TO BE CLOSE TO THE CHILDREN AND
MEET THEIR DAILY NEEDS, AND I HAD TO GET MY ACT TOGETHER
TO PROVIDE FOOD AND SHELTER. THE LORD BLESSED US TO
BE ABLE TO FULFILL THIS ASPECT OF OUR VISION. OTHER IMPORTANT MATTERS
LIKE PARENTING, TEACHING, MENTORING, CLEANING,
OR EVEN DIAPER CHANGING WE DID TOGETHER AS OFTEN AS
CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOWED. THIS DIVISION OF LABOR
OCCURRED BECAUSE IT HAD ALWAYS BEEN PART OF HOW WE
ENVISIONED OUR FAMILY LIFE. IT REQUIRES FAITH TO ESTABLISH
AND ACT UPON A VISION. BUT IT IS ONLY WHEN WE MOVE
FORWARD IN FAITH THAT WE PUT OURSELVES IN A POSITION THAT
THE LORD CAN BLESS US. A YOUNG COUPLE RECENTLY SHARED
AN EXPERIENCE WITH ME THAT ILLUSTRATES THIS POINT. LIKE CHRISTIANE AND ME,
THEIR VISION WAS TO BEGIN THEIR FAMILY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
AFTER THEY WERE MARRIED. THEY HAD TWO CRITERIA
FOR DOING SO: THEY NEEDED HEALTH
INSURANCE AND THEY WANTED TO BE ABLE TO CARE FOR THEIR BABY
WITHOUT USING CHILDCARE. NOT TOO LONG AFTER THE WIFE
GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, SHE GOT A JOB THAT PROVIDED
HEALTH INSURANCE AND WOULD ALLOW HER TO WORK FROM HOME. THEIR PLANS SEEMED TO HAVE
FALLEN IN PLACE EXACTLY AS THEY HAD HOPED,
AND SOON THEY WERE EXPECTING THEIR FIRST CHILD. THEY FELT THEY COULD BOTH CARE
FOR THE BABY BETWEEN THEIR WORK AND SCHOOL SCHEDULES. IN THE SUMMER,
THE SOON-TO-BE FATHER WAS LOOKING FOR AN INTERNSHIP
IN HIS CHOSEN PROFESSION. HE HAD SEVERAL INTERVIEWS,
BUT NONE OF THEM WORKED OUT. IN OCTOBER,
WHEN HIS WIFE WAS SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT,
SHE GOT A CALL FROM HER BOSS. THE BOSS INFORMED HER THAT THE
FEDERAL GRANT THAT FUNDED HER SALARY WOULD NOT BE RENEWED. THE AGENCY WAS HAPPY TO
OFFER HER ANOTHER JOB, BUT SHE WOULD NOT BE
ABLE TO WORK FROM HOME. THE COUPLE WAS HEARTBROKEN. THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD
PLANNED WELL AND THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES WERE PERFECT FOR
THE WIFE TO BE ABLE TO STAY HOME WITH THE BABY. SEVERAL WEEKS WENT BY,
AND THEY ADJUSTED TO THE IDEA THAT THEY WOULD NEED TO
USE SOME FORM OF DAYCARE. ABOUT THREE WEEKS BEFORE
HER DECEMBER DUE DATE, THE HUSBAND RECEIVED A CALL
OUT OF THE BLUE FROM ONE OF THE BUSINESS OWNERS WHO HAD
INTERVIEWED HIM IN THE SUMMER. THE MAN SAID HE HAD JUST MADE
SOME NEW HIRES AND PUT A REJECTION LETTER IN
THE MAIL TO THE HUSBAND. BUT THEN HE HAD A VERY
STRONG FEELING THAT HE SHOULD HIRE THE HUSBAND. THE BUSINESS OWNER TOLD THE
YOUNG MAN TO IGNORE THE REJECTION LETTER AND
OFFERED HIM A FULL-TIME POSITION WITH BENEFITS. IN CONCLUDING HER
ACCOUNT OF THESE EVENTS, THE WIFE WROTE:
“WE WERE OVERJOYED. “WE KNEW THAT THE LORD HAD
“TAKEN A SPECIAL INTEREST “IN OUR DESIRE FOR ME TO
“BE A STAY-AT-HOME MOM. “AND THE LORD’S PLAN WAS EVEN
“BETTER THAN OUR PLAN. “IF THINGS HAD GONE OUR WAY,
“I WOULD HAVE HAD TO WORK WHILE “CARING FOR OUR CHILD,
“BUT WITH THIS NEW SITUATION “I WAS ABLE TO DEVOTE MY
“FULL TIME AND ATTENTION “TO OUR NEW BABY,
“WHICH HAD ALWAYS BEEN OUR ULTIMATE GOAL.” LIKE THIS YOUNG COUPLE,
CHRISTIANE AND I HAVE FOUND THAT AS WE HAVE ACTED IN
FAITH AND TRUSTED THE LORD, HE HAS HELPED US TO DO HIS
WILL IN HIS WAY AND ACCORDING WITH HIS TIMING. NOW I HAVE TO SAY THAT HIS WAY
DID NOT MEAN THAT EVERYTHING TURNED IMMEDIATELY OUT THE
WAY WE THOUGHT IT WOULD. SOMETIMES WE HAD
TO BE VERY PATIENT, SOMETIMES WE HAD TO PUT
IN SOME EXTRA EFFORTS – AND SOMETIMES IT EVEN
WAS AS IF THE LORD WAS TESTING OUR SERIOUSNESS. HOWEVER OUR VISION ALWAYS HAS
INSPIRED US AND HAS BEEN THE FOUNDATION FOR OUR MOST
IMPORTANT DECISIONS. ONE THING CHRISTIANE AND I
ALWAYS ENVISIONED WAS FOR US TO BE WITH OUR CHILDREN IN THE
CELESTIAL ROOM OF A TEMPLE AS A PRELUDE FOR THE ETERNAL
JOY AND GLORY WE HOPE ONE DAY TO EXPERIENCE. OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS,
WE HAVE TAKEN ONE CHILD AFTER ANOTHER TO RECEIVE
THEIR TEMPLE ORDINANCES, SYMBOLICALLY RETURNING THEM
TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AFTER TEACHING THEM THE PRINCIPLES
OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. THE LAST EXPERIENCE OF THAT
KIND WE JUST HAD TWO MONTHS AGO WHEN ONE OF OUR YOUNGEST
SONS ENTERED THE TEMPLE. WE HAVE ACCOMPANIED THREE OF
OUR CHILDREN TO TEMPLE ALTARS AS THEY HAVE MARRIED
THEIR SWEETHEARTS, AND WE ANTICIPATE MORE
TEMPLE WEDDINGS TO COME. NOTHING HAS PROVIDED MORE
HAPPINESS AND SATISFACTION IN OUR LIVES THAN THE JOY WE
HAVE FOUND IN ONE ANOTHER AND IN OUR POSTERITY. ONCE WE UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE
ARE JUST THE BEGINNINGS OF OUR ETERNAL PROGRESSION
AND THEREFORE ONLY THE VERY FIRST LEVELS OF
OUR JOY AND HAPPINESS, WE WERE AND ARE CONTINUALLY
WILLING TO SACRIFICE ALL THAT WE HAVE TO LIVE THE DOCTRINE
OF THE FAMILY AND SEE OUR VISION FULLY REALIZED. I INVITE YOU,
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, TO PONDER THIS DOCTRINE AND
COME TO KNOW FOR YOURSELVES WHAT REALLY MATTERS MOST. THIS TYPE OF HAPPINESS IS AT
THE HEART OF OUR EXISTENCE. AND HAPPINESS WHICH STEMS FROM
CONGENIAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN HUSBAND, WIFE,
AND CHILDREN IS ALWAYS GROWING AND INCREASING. THERE IS ONE MORE THING THAT
YOU NEED TO DO AFTER YOU HAVE STUDIED THE DOCTRINE OF THE
FAMILY AND ESTABLISHED A VISION FOR YOUR HAPPINESS. YOU HAVE TO BECOME SERIOUS
ABOUT IMPLEMENTING YOUR VISION. I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE AN
ADDITIONAL LESSON FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. THE FIRST INITIAL REJECTIONS
I RECEIVED IN MY COURTSHIP WITH CHRISTIANE MADE ME
A LITTLE DISCOURAGED. I HAD JUST ABOUT DECIDED
TO BEGIN A FRUITFUL CAREER AS A YOUNG SINGLE
ADULT IN THE CHURCH. ONE DAY,
I HAD A SPECIAL SPIRITUAL IMPRESSION. I WAS PARTICIPATING IN
AN ORDINANCE IN THE SWISS TEMPLE WHEN I HEARD A
VOICE IN MY HEART SAYING SOMETHING TO THIS EFFECT:
“ERICH, IF YOU DO NOT “SERIOUSLY STRIVE TO
“MARRY AND ENTER INTO THE “NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT,
“ALL THESE TEACHINGS AND “PROMISED BLESSINGS REALLY
MAKE NO DIFFERENCE FOR YOU.” IT WAS A WAKE-UP CALL
THAT I RECEIVED AT THE VERY YOUNG AGE OF 21,
AND FROM THAT MOMENT I TRIED EVEN HARDER TO BE
WORTHY OF THAT BLESSING. I INVITE YOU TO SET PERSONAL
GOALS REGARDING YOUR VISION. IN PREACH MY GOSPEL WE READ:
“GOALS REFLECT THE DESIRE OF “OUR HEART AND A VISION
“OF WHAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH. “THROUGH GOALS AND PLANS,
“OUR HOPES ARE “TRANSFORMED INTO ACTION. “GOAL SETTING AND PLANNING
ARE ACTS OF FAITH.” I INVITE YOU TO BE SERIOUS. DO NOT TRIFLE
WITH SACRED THINGS. ONCE YOU REACH
A MARRIAGEABLE AGE, DON’T JUST DATE FOR FUN. NEVER COMPROMISE YOUR ETERNAL
BIRTHRIGHT BY DOING ANYTHING THAT WOULD DEPRIVE YOU FROM
MAKING THE MOST IMPORTANT COVENANTS IN THE TEMPLE. AS YOU TREAT EVERY DATE AS A
POTENTIAL ETERNAL COMPANION, YOU WILL NEVER DO
INAPPROPRIATE THINGS THAT WOULD PHYSICALLY OR
SPIRITUALLY HARM YOUR DATE OR COMPROMISE YOUR OWN WORTHINESS
AND DARKEN YOUR VISION. YOUR SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION WILL
NEVER BE DIMMED AND YOU WILL ALWAYS BE ENTITLED TO THE
WHISPERINGS OF THE SPIRIT. HE WILL ENCOURAGE AND CONFIRM
AS YOU MAKE THESE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS IN YOUR LIFE,
EVEN IF AT TIMES YOU ARE SCARED TO DEATH. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE TO
THE LORD WITH RESPECT TO YOUR VISION AND GOALS IN LIFE. IF THERE IS SOMETHING
YOU NEED TO REPENT OF, DON’T HESITATE A
SECOND TO DO SO. BOTH THIS LIFE AND ETERNAL
LIFE ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO PROCRASTINATE THE
DAY OF OUR REPENTANCE. FOLLOW THE INVITATION
OF THE SAVIOR, WHO ENCOURAGED US TO
“ASK THE FATHER IN THE NAME OF “JESUS FOR WHAT THINGS SO
“EVER YE SHALL STAND IN NEED. “DOUBT NOT, BUT BE BELIEVING,
“AND BEGIN AS IN TIMES OF OLD, “AND COME UNTO THE LORD
“WITH ALL YOUR HEART, “AND WORK OUT YOUR OWN
“SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING BEFORE HIM.” I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A
THOUGHT WITH THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE TRYING HARD TO IMPLEMENT
THESE PRINCIPLES BUT HAVE NOT YET SUCCEEDED. I RECOGNIZE THAT SOME OF YOU,
GIVEN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, MAY NEED TO ADAPT THE IDEAL
VISION OF A FAMILY TO FIT YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION. BUT I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE
LORD WILL HELP US AS WE ACT IN FAITH AND FOLLOW THE IDEAL
TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE. THE GOSPEL OF
JESUS CHRIST INCLUDES A MOST COMFORTING COMPONENT. IT IS THE “FINISHING” OR
“COMPLETING” ASPECT OF OUR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. MORONI ADMONISHES US TO ALWAYS
STAY ON THE RIGHT WAY, “RELYING ALONE UPON
“THE MERITS OF CHRIST, “WHO IS THE AUTHOR AND
THE FINISHER OF OUR FAITH.” BECAUSE OF THE FAITH THAT
WE HAVE IN JESUS CHRIST, WE CAN PURSUE THE COURSE
IN LIFE WE NEED TO TAKE, BUT IF WE FAIL
BECAUSE OF WEAKNESS OR MISSING OPPORTUNITIES,
HE WILL EITHER REACH OUT TO US OR FILL IN THE GAP AND BECOME
THE FINISHER OF OUR FAITH. IT IS HE WHO STATED,
“FOR I, THE LORD, “WILL JUDGE ALL MEN
“ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS, “ACCORDING TO THE DESIRE
OF THEIR HEARTS.” AND FROM THE CHURCH
HANDBOOK WE READ: “FAITHFUL MEMBERS,
“WHOSE CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT “ALLOW THEM TO RECEIVE THE
“BLESSINGS OF ETERNAL MARRIAGE “AND PARENTHOOD IN THIS LIFE,
“WILL RECEIVE ALL PROMISED “BLESSINGS IN THE ETERNITIES,
“PROVIDED THEY KEEP “THE COVENANTS THEY
HAVE MADE WITH GOD.” I TESTIFY THAT THE LORD MEANT
WHAT HE SAID WHEN HE STATED THAT “IT IS NOT GOOD THAT
THE MAN SHOULD BE ALONE;” AND THAT HIS ULTIMATE
DESIRE FOR ALL OF HIS CHILDREN IS THAT THEY
“RECEIVE A FULLNESS OF JOY.” THEREFORE,
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR VISION BEFORE YOU AND
“STRIVE FOR THE IDEAL OF “LIVING IN AN ETERNAL FAMILY. “THIS MEANS PREPARING TO BECOME
“WORTHY SPOUSES AND LOVING “FATHERS AND MOTHERS. “IN SOME CASES THESE BLESSINGS
“WILL NOT BE FULFILLED “UNTIL THE NEXT LIFE,
“BUT THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS THE SAME FOR ALL.” NOW AT THE BEGINNING OF MY
REMARKS I PROMISED YOU THE DIRECT “GERMAN APPROACH”. SO PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED
AT WHAT I HAVE SAID. I KNOW THERE ARE AS MANY
DIFFERENT LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES AS THERE ARE
PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM. I KNOW THERE ARE
DIFFERENCES IN CULTURES, TRADITIONS AND EXPECTATIONS. HOWEVER,
THE DOCTRINES AND PRINCIPLES OUTLINED TODAY ARE
ETERNAL AND TRUE; AND THEY STAND INDEPENDENT
FROM OUR PERSONAL LIFE SITUATIONS. I HAVE EVERY CONFIDENCE THAT
AS YOU SINCERELY PONDER AND PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER
YOUR PERSONAL VISION IN THE CONTEXT OF THESE
DOCTRINES AND PRINCIPLES, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DEVELOP A
VISION FOR YOUR LIFE THAT WILL BE PLEASING TO THE LORD AND
LEAD TO YOUR GREATEST HAPPINESS. I TESTIFY OF THESE
WONDERFUL TRUTHS. GOD LIVES,
JESUS IS THE CHRIST. IT IS THROUGH THE PLAN OF THE
FATHER AND THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST THAT WE HAVE
ACCESS TO SUCH MARVELOUS OPPORTUNITIES FOR HAPPINESS IN
THIS LIFE AND PROMISES OF A FUTURE WHERE OUR INDIVIDUAL
KINGDOMS WILL BE EXPANDED BEYOND OUR CURRENT CAPACITY
TO FULLY UNDERSTAND. SO ONCE MORE I ASK YOU:
“WHAT IS YOUR VISION “FOR YOUR LIFE? “AND,
“WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO TO ACHIEVE IT?” I PRAY THE BLESSINGS OF HEAVEN
ON YOU AS YOU PONDER THESE QUESTIONS AND STRIVE TO OBTAIN
SACRED AND ETERNAL BLESSINGS. IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST,
AMEN.>>THIS BYU DEVOTIONAL ADDRESS
WITH ELDER ERICH W. KOPISCHKE
WAS GIVEN ON DECEMBER 2, 2014.♪♪

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