3 And now, Joseph, my last-born, whom I have brought out of the wilderness of mine afflictions, may the Lord bless thee forever, for thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.
4 For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph….
22 And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.
23 Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.
(2 Nephi 3:3-4, 22-23)
I’m struck by the fact that, in Lehi’s final counsel to his son Joseph, he reminds him of his ancestors and of his descendants. He describes the promises of the Lord to one of his ancestors: Joseph, who was sold into slavery. Lehi also prophesies that Joseph’s posterity will be righteous and will not be destroyed. I believe that both of these statements served to increase Joseph’s resolve to live righteously.
On September 4, 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Columbus, Ohio temple. While he sat in the dedicatory session, he noticed that one of his daughters, a granddaughter, and some of his great-grandchildren were in the room. He began to think about his faithful ancestors who had set an example of righteousness for him, and then he thought about his own responsibility to those who had gone before and to those who would come after him:
Reflecting on the lives of these three men [his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather]…, I looked down at my daughter, at her daughter, who is my grandchild, and at her children, my great-grandchildren. I suddenly realized that I stood right in the middle of these seven generations—three before me and three after me.
In that sacred and hallowed house there passed through my mind a sense of the tremendous obligation that was mine to pass on all that I had received as an inheritance from my forebears to the generations who have now come after me (“Keep the Chain Unbroken,” BYU Devotional, November 30, 1999).
Speaking about this experience just a few weeks ago, Elder David A. Bednar and Sister Susan Bednar counseled us to be a strong link in our family chains. Sister Bednar taught:
As a link in the chain of your generations, you should recognize that the decisions you make now and in the future are not just about you. Your decisions affect both those who have gone before and those who come after you. The example and influence of your obedience to gospel principles, the power of your personal righteousness, and the consequences of the decisions you make for good or bad will extend across the generations. Please be a strong link in the chain of your generations (“A Welding Link,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, September 10, 2017).
Today, I will remember that the decisions I make are not just about me. As Lehi reminded his son, I will remember that my ancestors have established a legacy of righteousness for me to follow and that my descendants will be affected by my example. I will recommit to be a strong link in my family chain.