The Family Can Be Eternal
“Chapter 36: The Family Can Be Eternal,” Gospel Principles, 231
The first family on earth was established by our Heavenly Father when he gave Eve to Adam in marriage (see Moses 3:21–24). Since then, each of us has been commanded to marry and have children so that through our own experience we can learn to be heavenly parents. President Brigham Young explained that our families are not yet ours. The Lord has committed them to us to see how we will treat them. Only if we are faithful will they be given to us forever. What we do on earth determines whether or not we will be worthy to become heavenly parents (see chapter 2, “Our Heavenly Family”).
The Importance of Families
After Heavenly Father gave Eve to Adam, he commanded them to have children (see Genesis 1:28). He revealed that one of the purposes of marriage is to provide mortal bodies for his spirit children. Parents are partners with our Heavenly Father. He wants each of his spirit children to receive a physical body and to experience earth life. When a man and a woman bring children into this world, they help our Heavenly Father carry out his plan.
Every new child should be welcomed into the family with gladness. Each is a child of God. We should take time to enjoy our children, to play with them, and to teach them.
President David O. McKay said, “With all my heart I believe that the best place to prepare for … eternal life is in the home” (“Blueprint for Family Living,” Improvement Era, Apr. 1963, p. 252). At home, with our families, we can learn self control, sacrifice, loyalty, and the value of work. We can learn to love, to share, and to serve one another.
Fathers and mothers are responsible to teach their children about Heavenly Father. They should show by example that they love him because they keep his commandments. Parents should also teach their children to pray and to obey the commandments (see Proverbs 22:6).
The Eternal Family
Families can be together forever. To enjoy this blessing we must be married in the temple. When people are married outside the temple, the marriage ends when one of the partners dies. When we are married in the temple by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we are married for time and eternity. Death cannot separate us. If we obey the commandments of the Lord, our families will be together forever as husband, wife, and children.
Loving Family Relationships
Husbands and wives should be thoughtful and kind to each other. They should never do or say anything to hurt each other’s feelings. They should also try to do everything possible to make each other happy.
Parents are to teach children to love one another. In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin explained:
“Ye will not suffer your children … [to] fight and quarrel one with another. …
“But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (Mosiah 4:14–15).
As family members we can help each other feel confident by giving encouragement and sincere praise. Each child should feel important. Parents need to show they are interested in what their children do and express love and concern for their children. Children should likewise show their love for their parents. They should be obedient and try to live the kind of life that will bring honor to their parents and to their family name.
• Read Ephesians 4:29–32. How can we develop greater harmony in our homes?
How to Have a Successful Family
President Harold B. Lee taught, “The most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home” (Strengthening the Home [pamphlet, 1973], p. 7).
The following story illustrates this point:
After performing a temple marriage ceremony, President Spencer W. Kimball greeted the parents of the young couple. One of the fathers said, “My wife and I are common people, and have never been successful, but we are very proud of our family.” The father explained that all eight of his children had now been married in the temple. All are faithful and serve in the Church, teaching the gospel in their families.
President Kimball looked at the calloused hands and wrinkled face of the father and said: “That is the greatest success story I have heard. … You are fulfilling the purpose for which you were sent to this world by keeping your own lives righteous, bearing and rearing this great family, and training them in faith. Why, my dear folks, you are very successful. God bless you” (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Oct. 1971, pp. 152–53; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, pp. 37–38).
Satan knows how important families are to our Heavenly Father’s plan. He seeks to destroy them by keeping us from drawing near to the Lord. He will tempt us to do things that will draw our families apart.
All of us want to have happy, successful families. The following things will help us achieve this:
1. Have family prayer every night and morning (see 3 Nephi 18:21).
2. Teach children the gospel by meeting together as a family at least once a week to study gospel principles. “There shouldn’t be—there mustn’t be—one family in this Church that doesn’t take the time to read from the scriptures every day” (H. Burke Peterson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 79; or Ensign, May 1975, pp. 53–54).
3. Do things together as a family, such as work projects, outings, and decision making.
4. Kneel together as husband and wife each night in prayer.
5. Learn to be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable (see Moroni 7:45–48).
6. Attend church meetings regularly (see D&C 59:9–10).
7. Follow the counsel of the Lord in D&C 88:119: “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”
8. Keep a family history and gather family genealogy.
The family is the most important unit in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church exists to help families gain eternal blessings and exaltation. The organizations and programs within the Church are designed to strengthen us individually and help us live as families forever.
• What can we do to have a successful family?
• As a family, decide which principles to work on during the weeks ahead.
• Moses 2:27–28 (man and woman created and blessed)
• Genesis 2:24 (man to cleave unto his wife)
• D&C 49:15–16 (God ordained marriage)
• Ephesians 6:4 (train children in righteousness)
• D&C 132:15–21 (eternal marriage)
• D&C 88:119–26 (instructions for a successful family)
Families can be together forever.