"The family is central to the creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of his children. . . .
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped 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 their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life."
-The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The Creator's Plan
Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness was created so we could live with Him and our families in happiness and joy, forever. Can you imagine what it would be like to not know this knowledge? What would eternity be without our loved ones? Luckily Heavenly Father loves us so much that He made a way for us to return to live with them in joy forever.
If we succeed, we will be able to live with our families forever in the same kingdom as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We are far from perfect, but The Atonement of Jesus Christ gives us the ability to become perfect.
"From the beginning, God organized the human family and revealed that marriage and family relationships are intended to be eternal. Latter-day prophets have taught that while Adam and Eve were sealed in marriage for time and all eternity, the time would come when the doctrine of the eternal family would be lost to mankind."
(Judd, Successful Marriages & Families, 2016.)
Many Precious Truths Were Lost
After Jesus Christ died, mainly precious truths were lost. "...many doctrines were lost to the earth through apostasy, including the eternal nature of the family and the premortal existence of the human family. In addition, the doctrine of the divine destiny of mankind was also one of the “plain and precious things” (1 Nephi 13:40) lost in the generations following the death of Christ." (Judd, 2016)
In Book of Mormon, Nephi wrote: "They have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men." (1 Nephi 13:26–27).
When the Church of Jesus Christ was restored once again to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the ordinances of eternal marriage was restored as well. In Chapter 32 of Successful Marriages & Families, it says: "Beginning with the teachings of Joseph Smith, latter-day prophets have proclaimed to the world that God’s holy priesthood and the sacred keys that allow marriages and families to be sealed together for time and all eternity have been restored to the earth."
The Family: A Proclamation to the World states: "In a 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."
Sacred Ordinances & Covenants
The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ not only restored Jesus Christ's true church, but restored sacred ordinances and covenants for families to be together forever. This is why it is so important to do all that we can to keep these sacred covenants that we promise with the Lord in His Holy Temple. Without these ordinances, families would be separated, the purpose of Heavenly Father's plan would be void.
Chapter 32 explains why families are so important to the Great Plan of Happiness: "Birth into a family was the way God chose to send His spirit children to earth. Marriage and family relationships are the central means He has prepared to achieve His purposes. We best learn the lessons of life, not in a Garden of Eden–like existence, but in a con-text where we face challenge, opposition, hardship, and temptation (2 Nephi 2:11). " (Judd, 2016) We are here to not only experience trials and heartache, but to create families that will last beyond death.
The Family Proclamation states: “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force”
The Proclamation gives us a clear view in what Heavenly Father wants for His children. There is much confusion in the world right now regarding families. It is becoming more common children to be born out of wedlock, and less common to view marriage as a good thing. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ are blessed to have temple ordinances that bind families together forever. We should do all that we can do to keep the great promise of eternal life to live with our families, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ forever. Every family has their own set of unique trials. Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today, and forever and He knows each one of us personally. He will guide each of us and our families no matter the difficulties we face.
God and His plan are eternal. He instituted marriage and family in the beginning. God created the earth, the garden, and our first parents in order to create families for all of His children to be born into and experience mortal life—especially mortal family life.
My Personal Testimony
I did not grow up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I didn't have all of the precious truths of eternal life known to me. I had much anxiety and I questioned everything, yet I didn't know any of the answers. I worried about what happened after this life and where my family and I would go. I worried that we would be separated, or that I would never get to see them again. In high school, I followed the trends of the world and ended up living with a guy shortly after high school. As much as it felt right around my friends, it felt so wrong inside. I struggled with horrible panic attacks, and eventually depression. I lived in fear daily, and felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
When I was 19 years old, I met a friend who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had joined the church in 2011 while he was in college when he went through a similar experience as me. Although I had barely known him, I felt so safe around him. I ended up leaving the life I had and ending the relationship that caused me so much pain. It was completely scary, but something inside guided me. It felt right and it felt like I had finally found the light I was looking for. My friend Nick, baptized me 2 months after on April 4, 2015. After my baptism, I began to understand how much Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father truly love me, and how they created a plan of happiness for me. Knowing that I was able to live eternally with my loved ones brought me so much peace. I was not afraid of what happens after this life anymore.
Nick and I were married about a year later on June 18, 2016. Joining the church was hard on my family, so I tried to keep the peace as much as possible. We decided to have a civil wedding first where all of our families could attend. We were sealed the next year on July 11, 2017, and it was truly the greatest day of my life (and Nick's!). I was not only sealed to Nick for eternity, but I received those special promises and ordinances given in the temple. I knew for a surety that families are eternal, and that there is nothing to fear when we believe in Jesus Christ. His Gospel is true, and His Church truly is restored on the earth now. He gives everyone the opportunity to live eternally with their loved ones. Although we are the only members of the Church in our family, I have so much faith that we will all be together forever because of Jesus Christ.
“Chapter 32: The Eternal Family: A Plain & Precious Part of the Plan ofSalvation ” Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives, Daniel K. Judd., BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2016.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” (1995, November). Ensign, 25, p. 102.