Eternal Marriage and Families Integral to the Restored Gospel

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 9 November 2016

The father-son team of Daniel K. Judd, right, and Jacob D. Judd give a Sperry Symposium presentation on the doctrines of eternal marriage and eternal families October 28, 2016.  Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

Article Highlights

  • The doctrine of eternal families seems to start with Moroni’s visit to Joseph Smith.
  • The end of all Church activity is to produce happy, eternal families.

“The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity.” —President Boyd K. Packer

PROVO, UTAH

Appearing together, a father-and-son team of scholars gave a presentation on the doctrines of eternal marriage and eternal families at the 45th annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium at Brigham Young University, focusing on a statement by the late President Boyd K. Packer, who said, “The end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed for eternity.”

The statement by President Packer, who was serving as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the time of his death last year, was given not long before that, at the April 2015 general conference.

Daniel K. Judd, professor of ancient scripture at BYU, noted that this is a doctrine unique to members of the Church, although there have been others over the course of history who have taught similar concepts, including Father John Meyendorff of the Eastern Orthodox tradition and theologian Emmanual Sweedenborg.

Brother Judd’s son, Jacob D. Judd, director at the Church’s Chicago Institute of Religion, said the doctrines of eternal marriage and family seem to have begun in the Church with the visit of the angel Moroni to the young Prophet Joseph Smith, quoting to him from Malachi about the planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers and the hearts of the children turning to their fathers.

Brother Daniel Judd then spoke of the appearance of the prophets Elias and Elijah to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in the Kirtland Temple. Elias committed to them the keys of the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, and Elijah the keys of the sealing ordinance.

“Thus, the way was prepared for the planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,” Daniel Judd noted.

Jacob Judd said the next event pertaining to the idea of family and eternal marriage occurred in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839, when Joseph Smith, speaking at the funeral of Seymour Brunson, introduced the idea of living persons acting in behalf of their friends who had died by being baptized vicariously for them.

“One woman, upon hearing the news, grabbed those appropriate priesthood holders and ran down to the banks of the river and she was there baptized for her dead son,” he said.

“Now, I know we don’t mix genders in vicarious ordinances today, but I can’t fault her for wanting, upon hearing such wonderful news that salvation was available to all for vicarious ordinances, for wanting to go and take care of her family in this way, her heart being turned to her son, but collectively the Saints in Nauvoo having their hearts turned to their ancestors.”

The father-son team of Daniel K. Judd, right, and Jacob D. Judd give a Sperry Symposium presentation on the doctrines of eternal marriage and eternal families October 28, 2016. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

The father-son team of Daniel K. Judd, right, and Jacob D. Judd give a Sperry Symposium presentation on the doctrines of eternal marriage and eternal families October 28, 2016. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

The father-son team of Daniel K. Judd, right, and Jacob D. Judd give a Sperry Symposium presentation on the doctrines of eternal marriage and eternal families October 28, 2016. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

The father-son team of Daniel K. Judd, right, and Jacob D. Judd give a Sperry Symposium presentation on the doctrines of eternal marriage and eternal families October 28, 2016. Photo by R. Scott Lloyd.

SaveSave