I grew up in a different world. Many of you did too. Today's schools seem impossibly foreign to the schools of my childhood. First we had attendance and then the child in charge of our morning routine would lead us in singing a patriotic song followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Finally, before we started our day's work we would have a short prayer or a moment of silence.
Because my father was in the military, I attended 13 different schools as a child, both in the U.S. and beyond. Each school had their own way of doing things but these were always constant.
By and by things changed. No longer do they pray together. These routines helped ground us. We understood that we had responsibilities and safety as a community of Americans. We all spoke to the same God although our individual beliefs were quite varied.
These simple traditions gave us a feeling of unity and security that no longer exists. Our children have lost such a blessing in their lives.
What can be done about it? While the existence of prayer in school will likely never be restored, and the feeling of unity and security may always be tenuous, we have a responsibility to our community to provide this safety and security where we can.
We nurture this feeling of unity and safety in our homes as we gather our families in prayer each day before they scatter to the four winds. We need to ask God for His loving guidance and protection throughout our day. Our home is the constant in our lives, and that is where we need to build religious character for ourselves and our children.
In our community we can stand for truth and righteousness. Now, more than ever, in our nation's history it is imperative that we are open about our religion. We cannot afford to be "closet Christians." Freedom of Religion is so precious to us individually and as a nation. This freedom is under fire and at great risk.
It is time now to let our lights shine and shine brightly as we are taught in Matthew 5:14-16, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints