One of the best things in life

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March 6, 2008
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We have something that you may want. One of the main emphases in the LDS (Latter-day Saint) Church is on the family. The family is the central unit of society, of our church, and of our lives. Therefore, we are encouraged and assisted in creating strong, stable, happy families. The kind of families that want to stay together not only for this life, but for eternity.

family

And the church also offers that option.

It breaks my heart to see couples who have been together for 50+ years, holding hands, taking care of each other, becoming more and more alike everyday; and know that they were married “till death do you part” by the civil/church ordinance that only has authority over what will happen in this life.

But this is not God’s way. He intends for all of us to continue those relationships after we move on from this life to the next. How could heaven be heaven for me without my wonderful husband and my adorable child and a half (I’m sure this one will be adorable too.)? How could any of us be truly happy and fulfilled when we are separated from the ones we love so dearly? I know that being in the presence of God and Jesus Christ will be more fulfilling than anything else we have ever experienced, but I also know that They love us and want us to be happy. They want us to have everything that they have, which includes our families.

Joseph Smith received revelations about this issue that help to clarify it for me. Jesus was talking about this blessing of eternal marriage and He said,

“All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed. . .whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power. . .are of no efficacy, virtue or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.
Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.
Will I accept of an offering saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?
Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?
And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was.” Doctrine and Covenants 132:7-11.

Or in modern terms, the Lord is saying, “Why do you think that I will just acknowledge any old arrangement you come up with when I rule by laws. There is order in my universe, and I expect order when it comes to your lives too. If you want to be married for eternity, you’d better do it under My authority”

And that authority is precisely what makes the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ powerful and amazing.

God has used this “sealing power” as it has been termed in this dispensation of the gospel throughout the ages. Elijah was the last one to have it before Jesus Christ–he sealed the heavens from rain, raised a boy from the dead, called down fire from heaven and, of course, ascended into heaven on a chariot of fire. He also held the authority of God to do things on the earth and they would be accepted in Heaven.

It goes without saying that Jesus Christ, as part of his earthly ministry, also held this authority. He IS the authority. He was persecuted for not only healing and raising from the dead, but for forgiving sins and making eternal pronouncements. What he said on earth was valid in heaven.

ordain

That highest power of the priesthood was restored to Joseph Smith on April 3, 1836. Because God works with laws and order, he sent Elijah (the last holder of this power on earth, besides Jesus Christ) to ordain Joseph Smith to the same order of the priesthood.

elijah

**sidenote: As you learn more about the restoration of the gospel, you will see these ‘cameos’ by past prophets, who held authority in some form or another, that are sent back to restore what they had to Joseph Smith. It is fascinating and unifying**

Today, there are hundreds of worthy, righteous priesthood holders working in LDS temples that also hold this authority to seal on earth and it will be sealed in heaven. This is what the Lord was referring to in the Doctrine and Covenants section cited above. They can seal you to your family FOREVER. God recognizes their authority to act in His name and through your faithfulness, your family will stay together eternally.

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It is simply one of the most amazing aspects to being a member of Christ’s church. And it brings me a lot of joy. Talk to your local LDS missionaries if you want to know more about how you can go to a temple and be sealed to your family.

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17 Responses to “One of the best things in life”

  1. Dave

    Well written and describes our beliefs well. Thanks!

  2. dave

    I agree with dave. Very well written.

  3. RTC

    Two points:
    (1) That section is also the one in which Joseph Smith says men should have multiple wives and women should have multiple husbands, and without polygynous marriage, no man or woman can make it to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom.
    (2) Mormons are very pro-family until a member of the family leaves the religion. I know dozens of people who have divorced or being disowned as a result of leaving the religion. If Mormonism is so pro-family, why doesn’t family come first?

  4. Jancisco

    rtc,

    you’re partially right–that is the section where Joseph Smith introduces the principle of multiple wives. He never talks about multiple husbands, however, nor does he say that the Lord requires plural marriage for exaltation. If you look into the history of plural marriage in the LDS church, you’ll find that actually a small percentage of men actually had multiple wives. It wasn’t like everyone was going out to marry as many people as they could. It all had to be authorized and sanctioned not only by the president of the Church, but by the other wives. But polygamy isn’t what our church is about. At all.

    As far as the pro-family thing, you are right there too. Sometimes people (mormon or not) don’t know how to handle what they see as an affront to their ideals, and they just turn away. But God doesn’t, and the church doesn’t support that kind of response. People are just imperfect. For every number of people who have been disowned or divorced for leaving the church, there are probably that many again who were disowned or divorced for joining the church.

    Luckily, God never disowns us. Even if we disown Him, He’ll never give up on us.

  5. RTC

    Jancisco… Thanks for responding. First, I’m pretty sure it does allow for polygamy and polyandry. We recently debated this here:
    http://latterdaymainstreet.com/?p=273

    Second, yes, joining Mormonism breaks up families, just like leaving it does. Both of which support my assertion: nothing is more important than family, definitely not religion.

  6. Jancisco

    That’s an interesting link. I’m not sure I buy into it, though, since it is all taken out of context and shaped to fit their argument. Perhaps that is the direction the Church would have gone if they had not repealed polygamy, but they did. So it is really irrelevant.

    I am sorry for your discontent with the church. But I think we are approaching these issues from different dimensions–you love logic, semantics and reason.
    I love my faith, peace and knowledge gained from the Spirit.

    As to the family, you are right–it is the most important thing on the earth. That is why being sealed to them through the proper authority and living worthily is so critical. So, in this respect, religion is AS important as the family inasmuch as God can keep the family together forever.

  7. RTC

    Jancisco… Stopping the practice of polygamy is not the same as repealing the doctrine. Are you trying to tell me that the first Manifesto nullified D&C 132? If so, your original post about families is null and void. If all it did is delay the practice, then polygamy is still the doctrine of Mormonism, just not the practice. Again, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

    Also, we are absolutely approaching things from different perspectives. Your assertion is basically like you are saying you don’t use logic and reason (semantics is a non-issue here); you prefer blind faith. That’s your choice, but I prefer reason over blind faith.

    In Mormonism, religion is more important than the family. Family always comes second. Let me give you an illustration: If you were married to someone in the temple and they left the religion then proceeded to become a critic of the religion, would you remain married to them?

  8. Thaddeus

    A Family is only happy in an atmosphere of love and respect. A critic of the Church may think he is doing his wife a big favor by “helping” her out of delusion, but consider how she feels. Attacked. Scorned. Made to feel stupid. (His reliance on rational arguments blinds him to her feelings). She is put on the defensive. Suddenly her husband is not supporting her and she pulls away from him so as not to be hurt any more.

    The critic, still hoping to open his wife’s eyes now sees his wife pulling away from him in favor of the Church. He blames the Church further. All he sees is the stranglehold they have on her.

    In such a circumstance it would be difficult to maintain any semblance of a happy family.

    Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  9. RTC

    So, let me see if I got your response straight: Apostate spouse leaves, it causes tension, but only because the “apostate” is trying to “force” his beliefs on his “believing” wife. It could never be because the believing “spouse” is trying to force his/her beliefs on the apostate? (Note: That is exactly what happened in every divorce I’ve seen resulting from one spouse losing faith and the other staying – it was the Mormon insisting on the divorce and not the other way around; and in most cases, the apostate was still willing to go to church, raise the kids Mormon, etc., but the believing spouse just couldn’t take living with a non-believer). So, it seems to me like you are putting all the blame on the apostate and none of it on the Mormon. This seems like black and white thinking – Mormons can do no wrong, ergo, it must be the non-Mormon who is at fault.

    Also, you really want me to believe that the only happy families are Mormon families? That means 99+% of the world is wallowing in misery and their family lives suck. That, Thaddeus, is patently absurd! Mormons do not report themselves to be any happier than non-Mormons, nor do they rate their marital satisfaction as higher. (Again, look up Tim Heaton’s work on this – it’s a scientific and statistical question, not a question of what you want to believe.)

  10. Thaddeus

    I gave one example to show that the Church does not encourage this disunity, but it may be perceived that way. In any part-member family, the relationships will be strained. This is true of Jews, Baptists, Muslims and many other religions.

    Mormons don’t have a monopoly on happy families and I never claimed that.

  11. RTC

    You’re right – religiously heterogeneous families are less happy (Lehrer, Evelyn L., and Carmel U. Chiswick. 1993. “Religion as a Determinant of Marital Stability.” Demography 30.).

    As for never saying that Mormons have a monopoly, you’re right, but this is awfully close, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Though, ironically, atheists are less likely to divorce than are evangelical Christians… Go figure?!?)

  12. Bret Spencer

    Considering that those teachings of Christ include respect, love and tolerance (and much more), anyone who practices even one of those ideals ought to be happier than otherwise whomever they may be or whatever else they may believe. And it is always the case that people find those ideals in a great variety of sources depending on the life of an individual whether it be the Bible, Koran, Torah or life experiences.

  13. Chris

    I’ve been married for just over a year now. I can remember many people telling me that there is a lot contention in marriages … like we’ll start to bicker about many of the little things. The husband does things one way. The wife does those things another way… and then there’s disagreement and arguing. I think this stems for unrealistic expectations of one another. These expectations are very difficult to fulfill. And any unfulfilled desire will inevitably lead to a not-positive emotion. Removing expectations and replacing them with preferences, I think, is one of the keys to a lasting marriage. Is this a principle taught by Jesus? Perhaps it is a form of love…

  14. Kassie

    after being married for 22 years (in the temple) and being blessed with 9 children who are all sealed to us because they are BIC (born in the covenant) I cannot begin to tell you the comfort we have in the LDS church because we know we will all be together in eternity. I lost a sister at age 6 due to a heart condition. It was devastating to our family (I was one of only 4) but the consolation of knowing she will be with our family in eternity is what got my mother and father and siblings and I through a horrendous experience. I feel so saddenned when I see families lose a family member and believe “that is it. we will never see her again.” How horribly depressing! Familes are forever!

  15. Chris

    @Kassie

    I’m glad that you find comfort within your religion. But when you pity those people who don’t believe in “eternal” families, it’s kind of off-putting. My father died from cancer when I was 11. I do not believe in an afterlife. Am I depressed that I won’t see my father again? No. Because I know that I won’t. I know this may sound depressing to you. But it is reality. Please know that many people who have lost loved ones who are not of your religion are not depressed. Sure there is a time for grieving… and do you not also grieve as well? Which confuses me a little… why do I see Mormons grieve at funerals or in private (I have personally witnessed grieving Mormons) if they truly believe what they believe? I do not fault them for grieving. It’s only natural. 

    I have since let my father go and I am at peace that I know that he is no longer in pain. 

    Switching gears a little… is it Mormon doctrine that people in the Celestial kingdom can visit those in the lower two kingdoms?

  16. Kassie

    Chris- I am so sorry you lost your father at such a young age. It must be very difficult. I was 32 when my father died and I still miss him terrribly. You asked why Mormons grieve at funerals or in private when someone dies and my answer would only be to speak to my own personal experience.  I believe we grieve because we miss this person, and it saddens us to know they are no longer part of our lives. The hope of being together after death (for me) makes it not seem quite so bad. Pathological grief reaction happens to Mormons just as it does to other people. Some recover well, and move on, and others do not. I only know that if I thought I would NEVER see my sister again it would be much worse for me.
    As to your question about visiting people in other kingdoms. I have never really heard this addressed by the Church leaders so I will defer to a priesthold holder here who will know more about this particular doctrine than I do. It’s a great question Chris! And I am curious to hear what someone else with more knowledge than I have will answer! Anybody?

  17. Dyllon

    What about Jesus saying that in heaven there will be neither marriage nor giving in marriage and that we will be like Angels?

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