"The family is central to the creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children..... In the pre-mortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, para. 3)
You might be wondering why this part of the blog wasn't included when I first began writing. As I studied for this college course on The Family, I had a wide array of topics and chapters from which to glean. I intentionally placed this part at the end of my blog because I wanted to wrap up what we had been talking about all along, and wanted to re-emphasize the importance of families as a beautiful part of the Plan of Salvation.
This blog's main audience is intended for those not of my faith, for those investigating my church, and for those who already belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but are not fully active in the church. In any one of these scenarios I mentioned, we all have something in common. We have a family of our own, or belong to a family. I truly believe that for the most part, we want to be with our family forever, or at least want to take steps to mend family relationships.
From the text, Successful Marriages and Families, Elder Hugh B. Brown stated,
"The family concept is one of the major and most important of the whole theological doctrine. In fact, our very concept of heaven itself is the projection of the home into eternity. Salvation, then, is essentially a family affair, and full participation in the plan of salvation can be had only in family units." (pg. 345)
When my father died at age 58, although it was a sad time for me, I knew in my heart that all was going to be okay. I was living in Salt Lake City at the time, as a nanny. The mother of the children I took care of, who was Jewish, asked me how I was doing. I told her, with tears in my eyes, that I knew I would see my father again someday because our family had been sealed in the temple. Because of that binding action, I could, if I lived a righteous life, see my father again. This is one of the most unique blessings in our church, in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our families can be together forever! Imagine that! Marriages do not have to end at 'till death do us part.' In my eyes, that would be a tragedy to never be with my husband or children after this mortal life.
Taken from the text, please ponder on the following statement:
"The power to seal families that was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith was given anciently by the Savior to Peter (Matthew 16:19) and is held by all presidents of the Church today, who in turn bestow this authority on others, who then perform these sacred ordinances in the holy temples. Pertaining to these ordinances, Elder A. Theodore Tuttle of the Seventy taught:
'Frequently we perform marriages in the temple. These marriages are properly called celestial marriages, temple sealings, or eternal marriages.... The family is the most important relationship in this life. In reality, the bride and groom are called to assignments in the family from which they are never released, except through transgression. This the one eternal unit which can exist in the presence of God'". (pg. 343).
In the New Testament we learn of the apostasy where many doctrines were lost. Part of that was the eternal nature of the family as well as the fact that we existed before we came to earth. Much more information on this can be found here. In this website you can browse and search questions and answers to more fully understand the church doctrine on the eternal nature of the family.
I believe that the creation of the world, the fall of Adam, the restoration of the Gospel (because of the apostasy the earth endured for a time) are all part of God's plan to help bring back the ability to have our families be eternal, and to enjoy our families beyond the grave that we might live in Happiness forever. This time on earth is a probationary time for us to learn to be part of a family, to know what our individual roles mean and how to become more like our Father in Heaven. The ties that bind our families consist of covenants we make in the temple, always promising to do our very best and be what our Heavenly Father knows we can become.
"It should be the work and glory of all Latter-day Saints to make and keep these sacred covenants, to teach these transcendent truths to those who do not yet know of them, and to work in God's holy temples to make these covenants and ordinances available to all the children of God." (pg. 345)
That is what I want to do.... to share what I know to be true. I am grateful for the family in which I was born and the family I am helping to raise now with my husband. I love them! I wouldn't want to live eternity without them, for what would be the purpose?