Families, communities, and nations are strengthened by following the counsel given in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which was published by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The third paragraph of the proclamation is as follows.
“In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”
Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness for His spirit sons and daughters provides for marriage between a man and a woman and the children that are born to the couple or adopted by them. As this paragraph in the proclamation states, every human being born on earth was with Heavenly Father in the premortal life. All listened as He presented His plan for happiness and then accepted His plan. All mortals came to earth to gain a physical body and to gain experience that could be obtained in no other way. Heavenly Father sends His spirit children to earth to live as families and to prepare to live together for all eternity.
The plan of happiness includes covenants and ordinances that are available in temples. The most important covenant is “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.” Marriages performed by proper authority can be eternal, and children born into those marriages belong to their parents for eternity. Marriage is part of God’s “laboratory on earth.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles states, “Perhaps it helps to emphasize – more than we sometimes do – that our first estate [pre-mortal life] featured learning of a cognitive type…. The second estate [earth life], however, is one that emphasizes experiential learning through applying, proving, and testing. We learn cognitively here too, just as a good university examination also teaches even as it tests us. In any event, the books of the first estate are now closed to us, and the present test is, therefore, very real; we have moved, as it were, from first-estate theory to second-estate theory laboratory. It is here that our Christ-like characteristics are further shaped and our spiritual skills are thus strengthened” (Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, pages 19-20).
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