Eternal Perspective

Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 81–82


A view of marriage and the family based on eternal principles increases the probability of success.

—Elder Merrill J. Bateman

Selected Teachings

God’s view

President Spencer W. Kimball

“If we live in such a way that the considerations of eternity press upon us, we will make better decisions. …

“The more clearly we see eternity, the more obvious it becomes that the Lord’s work in which we are engaged is one vast and grand work with striking similarities on each side of the veil” (“The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?” Ensign, Jan. 1977, 3).

“If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, 97).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“One apparent impact of the women’s movement has been the feelings of discontent it has created among young women who have chosen the role of wife and mother. They are often made to feel that there are more exciting and self-fulfilling roles for women than housework, diaper changing, and children calling for mother. This view loses sight of the eternal perspective that God elected women to the noble role of mother and that exaltation is eternal fatherhood and eternal motherhood. (‘To the Elect Women of the Kingdom of God,’ Nauvoo Illinois Relief Society Dedication, 30 June 1978.)” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 548).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“God is weaving his tapestry according to his own grand design. All flesh is in his hands. It is not our prerogative to counsel him. It is our responsibility and our opportunity to be at peace in our minds and in our hearts, and to know that he is God, that this is his work, and that he will not permit it to fail” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 5; or Ensign, May 1983, 6).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Eternal life, which from an eternal perspective is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7), is reserved for those who believe and obey” (New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 358).

“Marriage and the family unit are the central part of the plan of progression and exaltation. All things center in and around the family unit in the eternal perspective. Exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:546).

“It is the hope of a better life to come that enables the saints to stand against the perils and enticements of this world. Whenever men gain the Lord’s eternal perspective of whence they came, why they are here, and what lies ahead in the eternal realms of living and being, they are able better to govern the deeds done in the flesh. A knowledge of the resurrection thus leads to personal righteousness” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:396).

Elder L. Tom Perry

“Are we investing, first and foremost, in the things that are eternal in nature? Do we have an eternal perspective? Or have we fallen into the trap of investing in the things of this world first and then forgetting the Lord?” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 40; or Ensign, May 1987, 34).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

“The questions we ask can make plain our paucity of perspective. One of the reasons why Esau was willing to sell his birthright is disclosed thus: ‘Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?’ (Genesis 25:32.) If Esau saw his birthright as pertaining only to this life, he surely did not have an eternal perspective! Faith, after all, involves perspectives that stretch both ways—beyond today by remembering of the past, and by extrapolating our faith into the future. Such is part of both the utility and the beauty of faith: a mess of pottage remains a mess of pottage and no more” (Men and Women of Christ, 116).

A “trap to be avoided … is the tendency we have—rather humanly, rather understandably—to get ourselves caught in peering through the prism of the present and then distorting our perspective about things. Time is of this world; it is not of eternity. We can, if we are not careful, feel the pressures of time and see things in a distorted way. How important it is that we see things as much as possible through the lens of the gospel with its eternal perspectives. …

“… It is very important that we not assume the perspectives of mortality in making the decisions that bear on eternity! We need the perspectives of the gospel to make decisions in the context of eternity. We need to understand we cannot do the Lord’s work in the world’s way” (“But for a Small Moment,” 453–54).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“The gospel teaches us that we are the spirit children of heavenly parents. Before our mortal birth we had ‘a pre-existent, spiritual personality, as the sons and daughters of the Eternal Father’ (statement of the First Presidency, Improvement Era, Mar. 1912, p. 417; also see Jeremiah 1:5). We were placed here on earth to progress toward our destiny of eternal life. These truths give us a unique perspective and different values to guide our decisions from those who doubt the existence of God and believe that life is the result of random processes” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 96–97; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 72).

“The pure in heart have a distinctive way of looking at life. Their attitudes and desires cause them to view their experiences in terms of eternity. This eternal perspective affects their choices and priorities. As they draw farther from worldliness they feel closer to our Father in Heaven and more able to be guided by his Spirit. We call this state of mind, this quality of life, spirituality” (Pure in Heart, 111).

“Seen with the perspective of eternity, a temporal setback can be an opportunity to develop soul power of eternal significance. Strength is forged in adversity. Faith is developed in a setting where we cannot see what lies ahead” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985, 78; or Ensign, Nov. 1985, 63).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman

“One can assume that the longer the view a woman and man have regarding the marital relationship, the greater the probability of success. The divorce rate for temple marriages is well below that of civil marriages, and civil divorce rates are exceeded by separation rates for open marriages. (See Tim B. Heaton and Kristen L. Goodman, ‘Religion and Family Formation,’ Review of Religious Research 26, no. 4 [June 1985]: 343–59; John O. G. Billy, Nancy S. Landale, and Steven D. McLaughlin, ‘The Effect of Marital Status at First Birth on Marital Dissolution Among Adolescent Mothers,’ Demography 23, no. 3 [August 1986]: 329–49; Larry L. Bumpass and James A. Sweet, ‘National Estimates of Cohabitation,’ Demography 26, no. 4 [November 1989]: 615–25.) A view of marriage and the family based on eternal principles increases the probability of success. When one takes the long view, one tries harder to be patient, long-suffering, kind, gentle, and meek. These characteristics, in turn, strengthen the marriage” (“The Eternal Family,” 115).

One can assume that the longer the view a woman and man have regarding the marital relationship, the greater the probability of success.