Handbook 2:
Administering the Church

1. Families and the Church in God’s Plan


1.1 God the Father’s Plan for His Eternal Family


The Premortal Family of God

The family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity. Even before we were born on the earth, we were part of a family. Each of us “is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents” with “a divine nature and destiny” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). God is our Heavenly Father, and we lived in His presence as part of His family in the premortal life. There we learned our first lessons and were prepared for mortality (see D&C 138:56).


The Purpose of Mortality

Because of God’s love for us, He prepared a plan that included our coming to the earth, where we would receive bodies and be tested so that we could progress and become more like Him. This plan is called “the plan of salvation” (Alma 24:14), “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8), and “the plan of redemption” (Alma 12:25; see also verses 26–33).

The purpose of God’s plan is to lead us to eternal life. God declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to His children (see D&C 14:7). It is exaltation in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. Through the plan of salvation, we can receive this blessing of returning to God’s presence and receiving a fulness of joy.


The Atonement of Jesus Christ

In order to gain exaltation in the kingdom of God, we must overcome two obstacles of mortality: death and sin. Because we cannot overcome either obstacle by ourselves, Heavenly Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Redeemer. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice made it possible for all of God’s children to overcome physical death, be resurrected, and gain immortality. The Atonement also made it possible for those who repent and follow Him to overcome spiritual death, return to God’s presence to dwell with Him, and obtain eternal life (see D&C 45:3–5).


The Role of Families in God’s Plan

As part of our Heavenly Father’s plan, we were born into families. He established families to bring us happiness, to help us learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and to prepare us for eternal life.

Parents have the vital responsibility to help their children prepare to return to Heavenly Father. Parents fulfill this responsibility by teaching their children to follow Jesus Christ and live His gospel.


The Role of the Church

The Church provides the organization and means for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children. It provides the priesthood authority to administer the ordinances of salvation and exaltation to all who are worthy and willing to accept them.