Here is a video (in which I talk fast and breathlessly and say the wrong day of the week) about 1) what to expect and look forward to in the Family Proclamation Celebration, and 2) how you can get more involved. Also, grab and share the button over there on the sidebar (—>) to help more people find what we’re doing.
Over the next two weeks, this blog will be graced with guest posts from some really remarkable people who will share their thoughts about family and faith. I wanted to kick things off with my own testimony and gratitude for the role of family. In the first sentence of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, this thesis statement is literally proclaimed:
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.
Prophets and apostles receive inspired revelation and speak for the Lord. The following description of their role gives a clear picture of why this Family Proclamation was given:
Like the prophets of old, prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God’s will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. At times, they may be inspired to prophesy of future events for our benefit.
So before we even begin to study the contents of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, I want you to know that I believe God speaks to us today through living prophets and apostles. I know that when I have heard and obeyed their counsel, the promised blessings have come. The world we live in is increasingly dark, angry, and confusing, but our Heavenly Father sends us guidance and direction through His servants, and He sends confirmation of those teachings through personal revelation.
The family is central to God’s plan. Central. Of primary importance. Sister Julie Beck taught that the theology of the family is based on the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement:
The Creation of the earth was the creation of an earth where a family could live. It was a creation of a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was not about a creation of a man and a woman who happened to have a family. It was intentional all along that Adam and Eve form an eternal family. It was part of the plan that these two be sealed and form an eternal family unit. That was the plan of happiness.
The Fall provided a way for the family to grow.Through the leadership of Eve and Adam, they chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for Adam and Eve to have a family, to have sons and daughters. They needed to grow in numbers and grow in experience. The Fall provided that for the family.
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 and the plan of salvation was a plan created for families. I don’t think very many of the rising generation 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.
What does this theology teach us about ourselves? What does it point us toward and what does it turn us away from? Sister Beck later taught that anything that is anti-family is anti-Christ. We must hold family in highest regard, not just in our faith structure, but in our hearts, in our calendars, in our covenants, and in our choices.
Another thought that has occurred to me often is this: If family really is central to God’s plan, it makes sense that the knowledge, gifts, and talents he gives us individually are intended, first and foremost, to bless our families. I have certain skills that I sometimes think would be better used in other ways, but maybe God knows me and my husband and children and extended family well enough to know that my skills are exactly what is needed to help all of them become who He wants them to be. And of course, it follows that their skills and talents have been given to them to bless me as well. The first and greatest recipients of our talents and blessings should be our families. (They also happen to be the first and greatest recipients of our weaknesses, but isn’t it nice that God set it up so that the people who love us the most are the ones who help us work through them? That points us to the business of growth and perfection, and therefore, toward the Atonement.)
I used to look at other moms with their glaring talents and abilities so different from my own and wonder if I was somehow an underachiever. On other occasions, someone would come up to me and compliment me on something they thought I did well and they wished they could do better. I have learned to recognize that perhaps if I had someone else’s talents instead of my own, I wouldn’t be the mother that my children need. Heavenly Father knew my children (and me) before they were born, and He knows exactly what their little spirits need to learn and progress. And he gave them me. Me. There’s something about all of us being together in a family and navigating this life with each other’s help that polishes us and grows us. The closer we come to each other by applying the principles in the Proclamation, the closer we come to Jesus Christ.
Families are central in Heavenly Father’s plan, indeed, but my family is central in my plan too, and I’m so glad I can count on His help.
How is your family “central” to you?
Every time you leave a comment on any of the Proclamation posts or participate in any of the Blog Hops, you are entered in a drawing to win a giveaway prize.
← The giveaway this week is a Dream Big Family Rules Subway Art sign from Landee on Etsy. “One of the reasons we love to create things for our homes is because our favorite people live there! We love our families and want them to be in a happy & healthy environment. We always try to create products that are positive, motivating and uplifting. Stop by our shop and find that special detail for your home that you’ve been looking for!“