Heavenly Father established the first family on earth when He gave Eve to Adam in marriage (see Moses 4:21-24). Like Adam and Eve, we are commanded to marry and have children and learn through personal experience how to become heavenly parents. The children who come into our families are not yet ours but are loaded to us by Heavenly Father to see how well we treat them. If we prove faithful, the children will be ours for all eternity.
The importance of children is shown by God’s commandment to Adam and Eve to “multiply and replenish the earth” (see Genesis 1:28). This commandment remains in force for us today. In fact, our Heavenly Father has told us that bearing and rearing children is the purpose for marriage. After we marry, we become partners with Heavenly Father is preparing mortal bodies for His spirit children because He desires that each of His children receive a physical body and the experience of living on earth.
The Proclamation on the Family proclaims that “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” Each child is first a child of God and should be welcomed into our families with joy. A righteous home is the best place to rear a family because therein we can learn self-control, sacrifice, loyalty, and the value of work as well as to love, to share and to serve each other. Mothers and fathers have the responsibility for teaching and caring for their children and will be held accountable to Heavenly Father for how they fulfill this duty. A very important part of this responsibility is to teach the children about God and to show by example how to pray and how to keep all of His commandments.
Heavenly Father has a plan in which families can be together forever. The first step in this plan is for a man and a woman to be married in the temple of the Lord by the proper authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Such marriages do not end at death but can continue throughout eternity.
The Proclamation on the Family declares: “Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children…. Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives – mothers and fathers – will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”
President Harold B. Lee taught: “The most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home” (pamphlet, Strengthening the Home, p. 7).
This point is illustrated by the following story shared by President Spencer W. Kimball: After he performed a temple marriage ceremony, he greeted the parents of the young couple. One of the fathers said, “My wife and I are common people, and have never been successful, but we are very proud of our family.” The father explained that all eight of his children had now been married in the temple. All are faithful and serve in the Church, teaching the gospel in their families.
President Kimball looked at the calloused hands and wrinkled face of the father and said: “This is the greatest success story I have heard…. You are fulfilling the purpose for which you were sent to this world by keeping your own lives righteous, bearing and rearing this great family, and training them in faith. Why, my dear folks, you are very successful. God bless you” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1971, pp. 152-53, as quoted in Gospel Principles.)
Some dear friends recently witnessed the temple marriage of their youngest daughter and last child. All the older siblings and spouses were there to join in the celebration as they were there previously to set the proper example to younger siblings.
Satan understands the importance of families in the plan of our Heavenly Father, and he does everything in his power to destroy families. If we want to have happy and successful families, we can follow these suggestions: (1) Have family prayer every night and morning;
(2) Meet together as a family once each week to study gospel principles; (3) Do things together – work, play, vacations, etc.; (4) Husbands and wives should kneel together in couple prayer every night; (5) Develop Christlike attributes like kindness, patience, longsuffering, and charity;
(6) Attend Church together weekly; (7) Attend the temple as often as possible; (8) Be organized, prepare every needful thing, and establish a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, order, and glory to God (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:119); (9) Gather family genealogy and do family history.
The family is the most important unit on earth as well as in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church exists to help families to prepare to live together for eternity. All the meetings, programs, activities, etc. are there to lead families to the temple and to strengthen us as individuals and to help us become eternal families.