Turning the Hearts of the Fathers to the Children: Nurturing the Next Generation
The Old Testament opens with an account of God creating order from chaos to provide an earth on which his children could dwell. Through disobedience, however, the children of Adam and Eve turned their hearts away from their Father; consequently, they separated themselves from God, and the ground has been periodically cursed. Interestingly, the Old Testament concludes with the Lord telling the world through Malachi that if there is not a returning of children's hearts to the fathers and of fathers' hearts to the children the earth will again be cursed or destroyed.
Malachi's prophecy is one of the most far-reaching and profound prophecies in the scriptures. This article explores some of the multiple messages embedded in the prophecy of Elijah's latter-day mission. In a recent address, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught that an important aspect of Latter-day Saint scripture study is an understanding that many scriptures have multiple meanings and messages. He included the prophecy of Malachi as one example. The sealing powers restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith by the hand of Elijah have broader application than temple ordinances performed for the living and by living proxies for the dead, although this is unquestionably the central function of the sealing powers. The Spirit of Elijah is further manifest in building and strengthening links between fathers and children in time as well as eternity. In this article, we reflect on how the powers associated with the Spirit of Elijah seem to be turning many living fathers' hearts to their children for the benefit of all.