Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals understand and live the principles contained in the inspired document known as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The first paragraph of the Proclamation testifies that God ordained marriage and has a plan for the eternal happiness of His children.
“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
The family is central to God’s plan. A loving, supportive home is important to developing well-balanced, productive adults. We all know successful people who have come from less ideal homes, but we must understand that they are the exception rather than the rule. God organizes us into families in order to provide a place of happiness and safety for us to grow and develop and to help us learn how to love others.
I learned the following quote of President David O. McKay while I was a child. This quote was on the wall of my parents’ home, and I heard it often at church meetings. “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” Many of the problems in our society can be traced back to the destruction of the family and failures in the home.
God performed the marriage ceremony of Adam and Eve before they partook of the fruit and became mortal. There are numerous scriptures testifying that God ordains marriage for the benefit of mankind. Genesis 2:24-25: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Mark 10:6-9: “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Families are an important part of God’s plan because the family is the core unit of society and the very foundation for the human race. God ordains marriage between a man and a woman in order to prepare a safe place for the conception and rearing of children. Most babies in the animal kingdom are up and moving within minutes of their births, and they need the protection of their mothers for only a few weeks or months. Human children and youth mature much slower and need parental protection and guidance for a much longer period of time – at least until age eighteen. The family provides a secure place where children can be taught proper principles and given guidance to help them become well-balanced, productive members of society and prepare to start their own families.
Just as the family as a whole is an important part of society, each member of the family plays an important role within the family. The father has the responsibility to lead, protect, and provide for his family; the mother’s main responsibility is to nurture the children. Children and youth are responsible to do their part in strengthening the family, and their responsibilities and abilities to assist should grow and develop as the children mature.
Think of a chain with its links and how each link is an important part of the chain. We know that no chain is stronger than its weakest link, and we know that the same is true of the family. Just as a family begins with one man and one woman united in marriage, a chain begins with two links welded together. Just as the chain becomes longer as links are added, the family grows bigger with each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Each generation is linked to the previous generation.
Elder Robert D. Hales stated, “While our individual salvation is based on our individual obedience, it is equally important that we understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and that the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family.”
Heavenly Father has a plan and provided a way where families can be together for all eternity. That way is for a man and a woman to be “sealed” together in the proper place by the proper authority. The proper place is a temple of God, also known as the House of the Lord; the proper authority is the Melchizedek Priesthood and sealing power of God.
Little children should be taught the importance of the family and their place in it. A hymn entitled “Families Can Be Together Forever” (Hymns, #300) can increase your understanding of the Lord’s purpose for families and available blessings from God. This hymn was written by Ruth M. Gardner with music by Vanja Y. Watkins and is one of my favorite hymns. You can learn more about families here.
I am very grateful for this doctrine. I love my family, and I am grateful to know that we can be together for all eternity. I want to be with my parents, siblings, husband, children, grandchildren, etc. forever. I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to do so. I know that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by understanding the doctrine of eternal families.