One measure of a nation's economic activity is the number of houses started each month and the number of previously built homes sold. Those statistics tell economists and others the relative strength and weakness of the housing market and forecast what we may expect in the future.
Latter-day Saint homes are a measure of the future, too. What is our own record of home building? Home building is an art. It takes many hours of work by talented craftsmen and artisans. Parents who know how to create an atmosphere in which strong men and women can flourish, know how to shape something finer than ever found in expressions of wood or stone. Parents are the master craftsmen, building the Kingdom of God for future generations.The molding of an immortal soul is the highest work we do in this world, and the home is the place to do it. Often, neither school nor society can reform the finished product of a bad home.
The home is an institution, and its value is best determined, not by how it is furnished or its location, but rather by what it contributes to its surroundings. The ideal home, then, will be the one that produces ideal men and women. The home that gives to the world noble men and women makes a great contribution to the world.
Consider these observations:
"Blessed is the home where God is at home and where the spirit of Christ rules.
Blessed is the home where children are welcomed and given their rightful place.
Blessed is the home where father, mother and children worship regularly together.
Blessed is the home where each puts the other's happiness first.
Blessed is the home where all show their love in ways that mean the most to those they love.
Blessed is the home where each seeks to bring out the best in each other and to show his own best self at all times.
Blessed is the home where all have learned to face their daily problems in a Christian spirit and to disagree without being disagreeable.
Blessed is the home where children grow up and grown-ups do not act like children."
(Words of Life by Theodore F. Adams, Harper & Row N.Y. 1966 p.109.)
If our homes are God-centered and gospel-filled, we need not fear what type of finish work the Lord has in store for us. What we need to look after is the foundation on which our homes are built, the amount of insulation we have installed against the buffetings of the adversary, the light that shines from our windows, and any repairs we may need in the not-too-distant future.
Jesus taught His followers that they would be likened unto the "wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it. (Matt. 7:24-27.)
Thus our homes are to be more than sanctuaries - they should be places where God's Spirit can dwell, where the storm stops at the doors, where love reigns and peace dwells.
From homes of Saints glad songs arise,
For there the Lord is King.
There faith is learned and prayers ascend,
The Spirit's peace to bring.
For homes where scriptures old are loved,
And living prophets, too,
All thanks we give; the Father praise
For guidance sure and true.
- Hymns, No. 297
Just as housing starts and home sales measure economic activity, we ought to be able to measure our spiritual activity within the walls of our dwellings. Do we allow cracks to form in the foundation, or let insects burrow into the beams, or are we merely patching ceilings and floors when more extensive renovation is needed to correct basic structural problems?
Do we need the assistance of a divine Architect to redesign our home and give us fresh ideas as to how to construct our surroundings so that peace and harmony abound?
The Lord has set the standard for us when He revealed the following scripture, which may be applicable to individual homes as well as to temples - "establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning and house of glory, and house of order, a house of God." (D&C 88:119.)