Leaders Say 2014 Primary Theme Teaches "Families Are Forever"
By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
“When we say ‘families are forever’ it is evidence to me of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. … He has promised we can feel that love forever because He has placed us here in families.” —Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president
At a time when the family is under fire, the Church's Primary general presidency is hoping children will understand that “Families Are Forever.”
That simple truth is the theme of 2014 Outline for Sharing Time. It is based on the scripture, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).
Children will be blessed by learning that families are forever, said Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president. “This is God’s plan and His truth and His Church.”
Sister Wixom and her counselors, Sister Jean A. Stevens and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin, met with the Church News to discuss the 2014 theme and why it is important for Primary children and their families.
“Families are forever and the forever begins each day with each moment of the family contributing to the picture,” said Sister Wixom.
“Children can strengthen their families,” added Sister Stevens. “Children are an important part of their families.”
In a busy world, children “long to have more time as a family,” said Sister Esplin.
During the year, children will learn that Heavenly Father has prepared a way for them to return to His presence, that He has a plan for His children, and that Jesus Christ is their Savior. They will also learn that the family is central to God’s plan, that families are blessed when they follow the prophet, and that priesthood ordinances and temple work bless their families.
The Primary leaders hope children are learning in Primary that they need to walk the path that will take them back to their Heavenly Father. While visiting with children from across the globe, the presidency asks children about this path of covenants, this path to the temple. “We ask, ‘Do you want to go alone? Who do you want to go with you?’ They always respond, ‘My family,’” said Sister Wixom.
Sister Stevens said temples stand as symbols of God’s love for His children. “Temples are where earth meets heaven,” she said.
Sister Esplin said the 2014 Sharing Time outline focuses on the truths found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
Church members will have to be a voice for the family, she added. “There are so many in the world who won’t be a voice for the family.”
Sister Wixom said parents are the ultimate example for their children. “I think our children are watching us in families,” she said. “We are defining their values by how we live.”
Sister Wixom said Satan is focused on shattering families. “He knows the power of family unity and gathering together through the storms and trials.”
She wishes every child could feel the security of a home where the Spirit dwells.
Sister Esplin said some children don’t have the “ideal family” with a father and a mother living together, but “when we live the gospel in whatever circumstance we may be in, we can be happy.”
As long as families live the principles found in the proclamation on the family things will work out, she said. “There is always hope.”
Sister Wixom said Primary leaders will need to think about every child in their Primary as they teach this year. They will need to be inclusive.
Children will come to understand that they can build and strengthen their families, said Sister Stevens.
“It is amazing what can happen when you have the Lord and you love each other in a home,” said Sister Wixom.
She quoted the words to the song, “The Family Is of God.” Primary children will learn the song in 2014.
“God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—This is how He shares His love, for the family is of God,” reads the chorus to the song.
Sister Wixom expressed her gratitude for Primary leaders who will teach children these truths about families.
“When we say ‘families are forever’ it is evidence to me of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. … He has promised we can feel that love forever because He has placed us here in families.”