Chapter 32: Living as Families Forever

"Chapter 32: Living as Families Forever," Part Eight: Saving Our Families, ()


How can families be together forever, even after life on earth?

God Planned for Families to Be Together Forever

The family is the most important group of people on earth. Our earthly family is patterned after our heavenly family. We were all brothers and sisters in heaven. We were children of God. God was the leader of our heavenly home. We received loving care and guidance from our heavenly parents.

God sent each of us to a family here on earth. He has given parents the responsibility to care for each of His children while they are here on earth. Parents should love their children and provide for them food, clothing, and a home. They should teach their children about God and how they may become like Him.

God made it possible for families to be together forever. He has given the leaders of His Church the authority to bind families together forever. This binding together is called sealing. This sealing can take place only in a temple. Temples are sacred buildings where only faithful members of the Church may go. When a man and woman are sealed in the temple by someone who holds the priesthood and has special power to seal, their marriage will not end when they die. Their marriage will last forever if they keep the promises they made in the temple. This is called eternal marriage.

If a man and a woman are not sealed in the temple, the marriage ends when one of them dies. If we are sealed in the temple, and if we faithfully follow Jesus Christ to the end of our lives, our families can be together forever.

A married couple can go to the temple to be sealed if they are faithful followers of Jesus. There, a priesthood holder who has special authority can seal them to each other. He can also seal their children to them. After they are sealed to each other, they can be together forever, just as if they had been married in the temple in the beginning.

God wants all of His children to plan to be sealed in a temple and to raise an obedient family. Parents should guide their children so that they will be ready to go to the temple to be sealed when they get married. If a man and woman have been sealed in the temple, all children born to them after their sealing will be sealed to them automatically.

Discussion

  • How has God made it possible for us to be with our families forever?

  • Why is it important that we be sealed in a temple?

Only Faithful Members of the Church May Enter the Temple

Temples are sacred places. Only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have shown their faith in Jesus Christ by obeying His commandments are allowed to enter them. These people have become worthy to go into the temple. Before someone can enter the temple, he must have been a member of the Church for at least one year. Men must have received the Melchizedek Priesthood.

To see if they are worthy to go to the temple, both men and women must talk to the bishop or branch president. If the bishop or branch president finds that the person is worthy, he will give the person a signed paper called a temple recommend. Then a member of the stake presidency or mission president must also interview the person. He will also sign the temple recommend if he finds that the person is worthy. The person must take the temple recommend to the temple in order to enter there.

Following are questions similar to those that the bishop or branch president will ask in order to decide if a member of the Church is worthy to go to the temple:

  1. 1.

    Do you believe in God; in His Son, Jesus Christ; and in the Holy Ghost?

  2. 2.

    Do you accept the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as prophet, seer, and revelator? Do you accept him as the only person on earth who has authority to use all priesthood keys?

  3. 3.

    Do you give one-tenth of your earnings to the Church?

  4. 4.

    Do you obey the Word of Wisdom?

  5. 5.

    Do you try to be honest with other people?

  6. 6.

    Do you try hard to do your duty in the Church by going to your meetings and obeying the commandments?

  7. 7.

    Do you obey the law of chastity?

  8. 8.

    Have you ever committed a serious sin and not confessed it to the proper priesthood leaders?

Entering a temple is a sacred privilege. We must be worthy and willing to obey every sacred promise that we make with God in the temple. We must remember that the eternal sealing done in the temples is sacred. It is the only way that we can be together as families forever. It is the only way to receive all the blessings that God has for us. It is very important for our eternal happiness that we try to go to the temple to be sealed.

Discussion

  • Who can enter a temple?

  • What things must a person do to be worthy to enter the temple?

  • Why is it important that we go to a temple and be sealed?

Preparing Your Family to Live Together Forever

Being sealed in the temple makes it possible to live together forever as a family, but there are other things we must do if we want to receive this great blessing. We must continue to follow Jesus faithfully. We must keep the promises we make in the temple. We must learn to be good family members who love and serve one another. We must pray to God that the Holy Ghost will help us make the proper choices in everything we do. We should always try to help our families be worthy to live with God.

Discussion

  • Besides being sealed in the temple, what must a family do in order to live together forever?

God Has Made It Possible for Us to Save Our Ancestors

Millions of God’s children have died without hearing His gospel. They have not received the ordinances necessary to be forgiven for their sins and to be able to live again with God. God loves all His children and wants them all to return to Him, so He has provided a way to have the ordinances of the gospel done for them. This work must be done in a temple.

Some of the ordinances that are done in the temple for those who have died are baptism, giving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sealing of families for eternity. Because these ordinances are necessary for all who want to live with God again, we can do this work for our ancestors.

Discussion

  • How can those who died without hearing the gospel receive the ordinances necessary to return to God?

  • Who is responsible to see that the necessary ordinances are done for those who have died?

The Living Do the Ordinances for the Dead

There are some things we can do so that ordinances can be done for our relatives who have died. We need to identify them with their name and the date and place of their birth and death. If we cannot find this information, we can still identify them by recording as much as we know of a family unit (a father, a mother, and their children).

The work of finding the names of our ancestors who have died and all other information about them is called genealogy, or family history.

There are two forms, called a pedigree chart and a family group record, on which you may write this information. You may get copies of these forms from your priesthood leader. He will have someone help you write this information. You can then take or send the information to a temple, where the ordinances will be done.

If none of our living relatives have the information we need, we may get it from government records, from the records of churches to which our ancestors may have belonged, from cemeteries, or from any place where the information is available.

If we are worthy, we can go to the temple to do the ordinances for our own relatives. If we are not able to go to the temple, others will do the ordinances for them. We should go to the temple often to do ordinances for the dead.

Discussion

  • What has to be done before we can do ordinances in the temple for our ancestors who have died?

  • What information is needed so that these ordinances can be done?

  • Who can perform the ordinances for our ancestors who have died?

Personal Histories Are Important

When we read what a member of our family wrote about himself or herself, we know and love that person better. Besides learning about our dead relatives and doing the ordinances for them, we should keep a record of our own lives. We should write about our parents, our birth, and the things that have happened to us during our lives. We should also write our thoughts so our children and grandchildren may know more about us and be encouraged to do the same good things we did.

God told Adam to write a record of his life for his children. The prophets also wrote such records, and we should do it also. By reading the record that Adam and the other prophets wrote, we learn of the blessings and commandments they received from God. This helps us to do what is right. We should help our children by keeping a record of our lives.

Discussion

  • Why has God told His people to keep a record of their lives?

  • What blessings can come to your children and grandchildren from your personal record?

References

God Planned for Families to Be Together Forever

  • Matthew 18:18 (That which is bound on earth, by proper authority, will be bound in heaven.)

  • Matthew 19:4–6 (What God joined together is not meant to be separated.)

Only Faithful Members of the Church May Enter the Temple

Preparing Your Family to Live Together Forever

  • 1 Peter 3:1–9 (Husband and wife are told to live together in harmony.)

God Has Made It Possible for Us to Save Our Ancestors

  • Malachi 4:6 (People will become concerned for their ancestors as well as for families who live after them.)

  • Hebrews 11:40 (We cannot be made perfect without those who have died before us.)

The Living Do the Ordinances for the Dead

  • 1 Corinthians 15:29 (People living in the days of the ancient Apostles were baptized for the dead.)

Personal Histories Are Important

  • Malachi 3:16 (A book was kept in which the names of those who loved God were written.)