The Theology of the Family

"The fullest possible meaning of Christ’s Infinite Atonement...is literally the restoration of God’s Eternal Family."
~Kerry Shirts

August 4, 2009, Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President, addressed LDS seminary and institute of religion teachers on Teaching the Doctrine of the Family.

As parents, church leaders and teachers we are called upon to teach this most important and sacred doctrine to our families and children. As Sister Beck states, "This generation will be called upon to defend the doctrine of the family as never before. If they don’t know it, they can’t defend it."

Sister Beck quotes President Kimball who said:

“Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us. …

“… There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. …

“We of all people, brothers and sisters, should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a moral society is going through. We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism. We know the family to be eternal.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Families Can Be Eternal,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4.)

It talking about the Theology of the Family, Sister Beck tells us:

"In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a theology of the family that is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.

"The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.

"The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. The rising generation need to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family.

"When we speak of qualifying for the blessings of eternal life, we mean qualifying for the blessings of eternal families. This was Christ’s doctrine, and it was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 2:1–3:

“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.

“If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”

"This scripture is talking about temple blessings—ordinances and covenants without which “the whole earth [is] utterly wasted.”

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was written to reinforce that the family is central to the Creator’s plan. 1 Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life."


"The key elements of the doctrine of the family are found in the family proclamation. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) said that the proclamation was “a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices” that this Church has always had."

Also See:
http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1149-84,00.html
Families - Index

Here are some examples of young LDS Defenders of Marriage and Family:

What is Reel Love?

 This is one of my favorites. The Ruth Institute sponsored a Challenge for videos about 3 minutes long that promote love...hence, Reel Love. The Ruth Institute had this challenge to promote marriage among our nation's college students.

"We also applaud the Ruth Institute for involving college-age students in an idea that is important when our culture is promoting something so different. The Ruth Institute says: "We envision a renewed culture where the majority of marriages are stable."

Mariah is Mormon and her video, of the ones I watched, was my favorite and was creative in style but what she shares about her ideal of what "real" love is speaks volumes for someone so young.



Levi and Shanna Mele, students living in Evanston, IL are getting some media attention for doing what comes somewhat natural for many LDS young adults do, be married and have children....while going to college. The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern University's news site)ran this news video:

Undergrad dad




"Daily Northwestern's profile of "father figure" Mele: It's pretty rare for a college wrestler to be married and a father. Northwestern University's 133-pounder Levi Mele has a wife Shauna-Lee and 4-month-old son Wyatt, who arrived on the first day of classes." In a profile by Sarah Kuta for the Daily Northwestern student paper, the 22-year-old Mele talks about how he balances his Wildcat mat career, academics and his family life." (by Mark Palmer, College Wrestling Examiner)

A few months later, the Daily Northwestern, ran another article on the Mele Family: NU wrestler balances parenthood, sport

About the same time a staff reporter, Kara Spak, for the Chicago Sun Times saw the video and did an interview with the Meles for her own article:
Married on campus: ‘Life is so much more stable’
Spak quotes some interesting trends about campus life:

"Four decades ago it wasn’t uncommon for a woman to pick up an “MRS” degree — or a man to pick up his wife — on the road to graduation. In 1970, the average age for a woman to marry was 20.8; for a man, 23.2. College campuses were hotbeds of hope for happily-ever-afters.

“In the middle of the 20th century, women saw college’s function as husband hunting,” said Barbara Risman, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The goal was to have an engagement ring on the finger by senior year.”

"Now, on many campuses, women outnumber men, both are career-focused and few of either sex are looking for a lifetime commitment at this point in their lives, Risman said.

In the midst of a campus culture dedicated to self-exploration, binge drinking and casual sex, a handful of local students are still taking the plunge and marrying before graduation. Putting a ring on it as an undergraduate comes with a scramble to find appropriate on-campus housing, surprised parents and friends and a lot of questions from classmates."

Deseret News picked up the Chicago Suns Time article, Mormons & Media: High-profile folk help understanding of LDS? by Scott Taylor. Quote:

"Levi and Shanna Mele are one of the leading husband-and-wife duos prominently featured in the Chicago Sun-Times's lengthy look at married couples doubling as college students in "Married on campus: 'Life is so much more stable."
Also see:
From mission to mat in the Big Ten by Greg Hill, LDS Church News staff writer
Levi Mele - Wrestling Bio
Church Missionary Wrestles With Time Commitments and Team-Mates
Levi Mele - My Faith

I'm struck by the interest in this little family for being married in collage and having a child. They were doing was what the Lord had commanded all to do. In Genesis the very first commandment given to mankind was to "multiply and replenish the earth."(Genesis 1:28) God's chosen people have always taken this commandment serious. And yet we in this day and time we see constant assaults against the family unit.

Psalms 127: 3-5 (NKJV) states:
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."

Other LDS Defenders of the Family:
On Being a Mother

"I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." (Amplified Bible: “every family in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 3: 14-15)

A Father Indeed

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about the family. Bonding, sealing, welding is its main concern to preserve the family into eternity.

The Bridal Chamber

"The Lord [did] everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber." (The Gospel of Philip 67:28-30-Nag Hammadi Library)

"Baptism is 'the Holy' building. Redemption is 'the Holy of the Holy.' 'The Holy of the Holies' is the bridal chamber." (The Gospel of Philip 69:22-25)

The writer of the Gospel of Philip, one of the apocrypal documents in the Nag Hammadi library, believed that the most sacred part of the temple was what he called the "bridal chamber," where a "woman is united to her husband" and "will no longer be separated." If a person does not receive these blessings in this world, he asserted they cannot be received elsewhere.(Gospel of Philip 69:14-25; 70:17-20; 86:3-7; see R. McL. Wilson, trans., The Gospel of Philip (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), 45-46,62.

Compare D&C 132:15-18:

15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.
18 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

Also see:
The "Unpaired Ones"

Everything is Relative: The Torah's Family Rules

We are indebted to "the Children of Israel" for our Bible and all that it teaches us about our relationship to God and to others. There is much to learn from the Jews and their way of thinking especially when it comes to marriage and family. The Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, are the most sacred and important scriptures to the Jewish people, and there are some very important principles it teaches when it comes to marriage and family. Here are a few excerpts from the book, "The Torah for Dummies," by Arthur Kurzweil.

Everything is Relative: The Torah's Family Rules
It isn't surprising that the Torah places great value on the family unit; after all, the Jewish people as a whole are considered to be a family, as implied by the phrase "the Children of Israel." Even though a few million people stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, the entire group knew itself to be one large family, with all descended from Jacob, the patriarch. In a sense, the entire Torah is really the rules and history of one large family, but within the Torah you find many specific commandments designed to regulate the individual family unit.

Be fruitful and multiply
The Torah contains 613 commandments, and the first one found in the first chapter of the first book is the commandment to have children: "And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the land and conquer it, and you shall rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, and all the animals that move upon the earth'" (Genesis 1:28).

Honor your father and mother
Honoring your father and your mother is known in Hebrew as kibbud av v'em (kih-bood ahv vah-eem). It's one of the Ten Commandments, but there are other verses in the Torah that also concern themselves with how to treat your parents. They are as follows:
* "Honor your father and your mother in order that your days shall be lengthened upon this land that the Lord your God has given you." (Exodus 20:12)
* "He who smites his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:15)
* "He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:17)
* "A man, his mother and his father shall he fear, and my Sabbaths shall he guard, I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:3)

Just married? Take a year off

An unusual set of commandments in the Torah pertains to a newly married couple. The Torah teaches that a newly married husband shall be free for one year to rejoice with his wife: "When a man takes a new wife, he shall not enter military service, nor shall he be charged with any business; he shall be free for his house one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken" (Deuteronomy 24:5).

The wife's rights are just as important as the husband's
The Torah protects the rights of wives in many ways. To mention just one example, Jewish law states that if a husband wants to change careers, his wife can forbid him to do so if it means that he will be away from home more often and therefore will not be able to make love as often as the wife would like. The Torah states, "If he takes a wife, her food, her clothing, and her conjugal rights, he shall not diminish" (Exodus 21:10).

Evil Speech

The Torah disagrees with the last phrase in the adage that "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me." The Torah represents the view that words can surely harm a person. Jewish thought, as based on the Torah, recognizes many sins concerning speech. One is lashon hara (lah-shone ha-rah; evil tongue), which the rabbis define as telling someone something true about a third party, with the result that the person who hears what was said diminishes his or her opinion of the person being described (Leviticus 25:17). This is different from lying, which is its own sin (Exodus 23:7).
Other sins of speech include making a vow and ignoring it, embarrassing someone in public, telling tall tales--"You shall not be a talebearer amongst your people" (Leviticus 19:16)--and one of the Ten Commandments, "You shall not bear false witness" (Exodus 20:16).

Sealing Rooms in the Salt Lake Temple



Families Forever


Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church believe that this life is not the end. Through the sealing power performed in the Temple, Mormons believe we can be together with our family forever through Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to pave the way for us to return to Him. This is the great plan of happiness!

Order a free copy of this video: http://mormon.org/togetherforever

WE WILL BE TOGETHER FOREVER SOMEDAY
Words and Music by: Michael Mclean

Will its harder to say goodbye and let go
for time to ever erase,
and its hard to see it end
When the mem'ries we've just made
may never happen again.

But its harder for time to ever erase
the together times we've shared.
So when we're apart remember
all the love we've shared together
And for all the love
thanks the Lord above
who showed us the way.

That we can be together forever someday
We can be together forever someday
We will be together forever someday.

A PRECIOUS PROMISE-Wayward Children

Elder Orson F. Whitney taught:
"Prophet Joseph Smith declared--and he never taught more comforting doctrine--that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.
"Who are these straying sheep--these wayward sons and daughters? They are children of the Covenant, heirs to the promises, and have received, if baptized, the gift of the Holy Ghost, which makes manifest the things of God. Could all that go for naught?"


"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."
(Luke 15:4-7)

Eternal Marriage in Ancient Accounts


In some accounts, one must be married in the Holy of Holies of the temple in order to obtain the highest of three degrees of glory. (Eric Segelberg, “The Coptic Gnostic Gospel according to Philip and Its Sacramental System,” Numen 7 (1960): 198–99)

“The Holy of Holy Ones Is the Bridal Chamber”(Gospel of Philip 117. 24–25).

“The Woman is united to her husband in the Bridal Chamber. But those who have united in the Bridal Chamber will no longer be separated”(Gospel of Philip 118. 17–29). Cf. Gospel of Phillip. 4–8 and 124. 6ff.

New and Everlasting Covenant

Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

“The New and Everlasting Covenant is the fullness of the gospel. It is composed of ‘All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations’ that are sealed upon members of the Church by the Holy Spirit of Promise, or the Holy Ghost, by the authority of the President of the Church who holds the keys. . . Marriage for eternity is a new and everlasting covenant. Baptism is also a new and everlasting covenant, and likewise ordination to the priesthood, and every other covenant is everlasting and a part of the new and everlasting covenant which embraces all things.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:65)

(posted by Adam)
I had an institute teacher who was learned in some Hebrew, and he talked about the significance of Abram and Sarai's names being changed to Abraham and Sarah. Apparently the character (in Hebrew) that was added to their names, which represents the letter H, fits into the word for Jehovah. (see this wiki article for the Hebrew word) In the word Jehovah, one of the characters is male and the other female, and they are joined in the middle by a character referencing--you guessed it--a nail.

Also from D&C 132:18 - it talks about a man and a woman being "joined" by Christ, or by "my word," which makes a lot of sense if you think of Christ as "the Word."
So, when we are sealed to our spouse we are symbolically joined by Christ, on the alter.


...not only are we symbolizing Christ in the sealing, but we are symbolically spelling out Jehovah. Therefore, it makes sense to equate the new and everlasting covenant of marriage with the atonement.


Also see:
Eternal Marriage
New and Everlasting Covenant

The Marriage of Adam and Eve

We read in Genesis that Eve was Adam's wife, indicating they were married by God while in the Garden of Eden.

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."(Genesis 2:25)

Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve were in a condition in which there was no death. Therefore, marriage was eternal because it existed prior to the Fall.





Also see:
The Creation, God Introducing Adam and Eve - An Illustration by Jean Fouquet
16th Century Sculpture of the Marriage of Adam and Eve

FAMILIES ARE FOREVER

Brigham Young tells of a dream he had of Joseph Smith and the importance of families and living righteously.
While sick, and asleep, about noonday of the 17th [of February, 1847] I dreamed that I went to see Joseph. He looked perfectly natural, sitting with his feet on the lower round of his chair. I took hold of his right hand and kissed it many times, and said to him, “Why is it that we cannot be together as we used to be? You have been away from us a long time, and we want your society, and I do not like to be separated from you.”
Joseph, rising from his chair and looking at me with his usual earnest, expressive and pleasing countenance, said, “It is all right.”
I replied, “I do not like to be away from you.”
Joseph said, “It is all right; we cannot be together yet; we shall be, by-and-by; but you will have to do without me awhile, and then we shall be together again” …
Joseph stepped toward me, and, looking very earnestly, yet pleasantly, said, “Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small, still voice; it will teach what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to convictions, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, strife and hatred, and all evil, from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord, they will go right. Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in heaven, before they came into the world. Our Father in heaven organized the human family, but they are all disorganized and in great confusion.”
Joseph then showed me the pattern, how they were in the beginning. This I cannot describe, but I saw it, and saw where the Priesthood had been taken from the earth, and how it must be joined together, so that there would be a perfect chain from Father Adam to his latest posterity. Joseph again said, “Tell the people to be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and follow it, and it will lead them just right.”
(Improvement Era, v. Xi, no. 8, June, 1908)

The Marriage Relationship

The basis for Jesus’ claim that he had purchased us with His suffering is evidence that he wanted us with him for his happiness. This is an insight into the statement that Jesus is a Bridegroom and the Church is like his bride, who he takes with him back into the presence of the Father.

Paul explained that the relationship between the Lord and his bride, or Church, is a model of the proper relationship between husbands and wives:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as [he submits]unto the Lord.
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.


“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it. …
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:22–26, 30–32).

There is no question but what a righteous patriarchal order is being described by Paul. Where righteousness is not central in a marriage it is “only too easy for the patriarchs to become arrogant, dictatorial, self-righteous, and oppressive. The gospel sets absolute limitations beyond which patriarchal authority may not be exercised—the least hint of unkindness acts as a circuit-breaker. ‘Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man’ (D&C 121:37). Without that sacred restraint, patriarchal supremacy has ever tended to become abusive.” The righteous, correct pattern is set forth in the marriage metaphor.

"For Time and All Eternity"

Marriage performed in an LDS Temple, is an eternal covenant. Shortly after Christ gave Peter power to seal in heaven what was sealed on earth, Christ spoke of marriage:

"And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them in the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matt. 19:4-6)


“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:31-32)

Eternal Love

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.(Song of Solomon 1:2)


It is a sacred belief that marriage is a divine institution that the sexes are not without each other "in the Lord." For example, Clement of Alexandria felt that marriage "was good practice for life..."

Clement insists that marriage and procreation are an intrinsic and positive part of God's plan for the human race. He frequently cites Gen. 1:28 ("Increase and multiply") and regards human procreation as an act of co-creation with God: "In this way the human being becomes the image of God, by cooperating in the creation of another human being."

Philip A. Khairallah presents some interesting thoughts on [marriage]. He is a priest of the Melkite Rite, of the Holy Orthodox Church of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, in communion with the Church of Rome. He cites II Peter 1.4, and Athanasius, and then writes that “the one and only aim of human life on earth is union with God and deification.” “Marriage is eternal…. [and] is another channel God has given to us for our deification.” He writes that “parents have a responsibility to their children in aiding them to grow in faith and wisdom, to achieve responsible adulthood, so that they too may seek their deification.” [Philip A. Khairallah, ”The Sanctification of Life,” Emmanuel 96 (1990): 326, 395, 396-7.]

Temple Marriage Divorce Rate 6%

Here are some interesting information about studies done while back on divorce rates according to beliefs.
Mormon Temple Marriages have only 6% Divorce Rate

The first site shows information on the various divorce rates among various Christian denominations and other groups. The interesting thing is that atheists have the lowest rate at 21%. You can view this site at this link: Baptists Most Likely to Divorce.

Now, you’ll notice on that report that although 'Baptists are the most likely to divorce,' Mormons have a 24% divorce rate, which is only 2% lower.


However, there is one exception: Mormon Temple marriages. Those Mormons that Marry in the Temple have only a 6% divorce rate. You can view this information at this site: In Era of Divorce, Mormon Temple Weddings Are Built to Last. You will notice that this article gives reasons of why the divorce rate for temple marriages is significantly lower. This list includes the following reasons:

1. They Date within their Faith
2. They Make Sure they’re Committed to their Faith
3. They get their Lives Squared Away before Marriage
4. They Make the Wedding Ceremony Sacred
5. They Marry for Eternity
6. They Believe the Family that Prays together Stays together
7. They Get Help when they have a Problem
8. They Believe Children Create a Happy Marriage
9. They have Family Home Evening every Monday Night
10. The LDS church and active members discourage divorce.

Barna report: Variation in divorce rates among Christian faith groups:
Denomination (in order of decreasing divorce rate) % who have been divorced
Non-denominational ** 34%
Baptists 29%
Mainline Protestants 25%
Mormons 24%
Catholics 21%
Lutherans 21%

** Barna uses the term "non-denominational" to refer to Evangelical Christian congregations that are not affiliated with a specific denomination. The vast majority are fundamentalist in their theological beliefs.

The Barna Research Group's national study showed that members of nondenominational churches divorce 34 percent of the time in contrast to 25 percent for the general population. Nondenominational churches would include large numbers of Bible churches and other conservative evangelicals. Baptists had the highest rate of the major denominations: 29 percent. Born-again Christians' rate was 27 percent. To make matters even more distressing for believers, atheists/agnostics had the lowest rate of divorce 21 percent.