There has never been a greater need for strong families and homes.
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Marriage – An Institution For Bringing Up Children
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.”
This ONLY happens between a MAN and a WOMAN who should be legally and lawfully married.
All Things Were First Created Spiritually – INCLUDING YOU AND ME!
We each were predetermined a man or a woman, before we came here.
God created all things spirituallybefore they were naturally upon the face of the earth. He created man, the first flesh, upon the earth—Woman is a help meet for man.Moses 3:2
To be created “spiritually” appears to have at least two meanings: to be planned in advance, and to be formed as a living being with individual identity and a spirit body.
“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;
But I, the Lord God, spake, and there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.”Moses 3:5–7;
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.”Abraham 3:22–23
For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—First spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work—D&C 29:31–32See also Moses 3:19; 6:51).
Children Are Becoming Less Valued
There is a “shift in attitude” about the purpose of marriage. More and more young people view marriage ‘as a couples relationship, designed to fulfill the emotional needs of adults, rather than an institution for bringing up children.’
Sadly, the family continues to be assaulted relentlessly throughout the world. You only need to read a newspaper, internet, or turn on the television to see how openly and viciously the war against the family is being waged. Gender is being confused, and gender roles are being repudiated. Same-gender marriage is being promoted in direct opposition to one of God’s primary purposes for His children to experience mortality.
Another disturbing challenge to the family, is that children are becoming less valued. In many parts of the world, people are having fewer children. Abortion is probably the clearest sign that couples do not want children. An estimated one-quarter of all pregnancies worldwide end by induced abortion.
A Devastating Practice
Abortion is a two-edged sword. Not only does it encourage selfishness and the promiscuous use of the powers of procreation, this widespread practice often makes adoption more difficult for married couples who are unable to bear children of their own.
While recognizing certain “rare cases in which abortion may be justified,” they emphasized that “these are not automatic reasons for abortion” and “counseled people everywhere to turn from the devastating practice of abortion for personal or social convenience.
Bringing children into the world is certainly not convenient. Most often it involves physical pain followed by great sacrifice and selflessness. But the blessings of keeping God’s command to rear children are some of the sweetest blessings He offers. Indeed, in many ways parenthood gives us a foretaste of godhood.
The family is not just the basic unit of society; it is the basic unit of eternity. We lived as Heavenly Father’s spirit sons and daughters before this mortal existence. In that grand premortal family council, our Heavenly Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and peace of His children was presented. We understood that we would come to this earth to live as families, and through the sealing authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood we could live throughout the rest of eternity as families.
It is alarming to see how intensely and openly the family is under attack in contemporary society. The proclamation is very clear:
We declare that God’s commandment for His children to
multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare
that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation
are to be employed only between man and woman,
lawfully wedded as husband and wife. . . .
. . . Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony,
and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows
with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. [“The Family,” 102]
As important as the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is, the Lord has made clear that we must demonstrate our obedience only within the marriage relationship. There are numerous reasons for this restriction, but two of the most significant are to discourage sexual promiscuity and to provide a stable and healthy family environment for children.
In most societies, bearing children out of wedlock has traditionally been considered an embarrassment and a disgrace. But in today’s world, where good is called evil and evil good (see Isa. 5:20), the stigma of nonmarital childbearing has largely vanished. Not only is this practice a sin in the eyes of heaven, but researchers have found out-of-wedlock birth to be associated with several risks for the baby. For instance, compared with children born to married couples, children born out of wedlock are more likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome, suffer death due to injury, or eventually become juvenile offenders.
Children born to unwed parents and placed for adoption fare significantly better than those who are not adopted. They experience fewer learning problems, achieve higher vocational levels, and are less likely to receive government assistance as adults.It is obvious that bringing children into the world and raising them the Lord’s way results in spiritual and temporal blessings.
Replenishing the Earth
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:26-27
After the Lord commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful, and multiply,” He commanded them to “replenish the earth, and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). The Hebrew word translated as replenish means “to fill.” For many years we have heard warnings about overpopulation and the devastating effects it can cause. While some areas of the world are experiencing a negative impact from extreme population density, the world as a whole is actually moving in the opposite direction. Indeed, research indicates that by the year 2040 world population will peak and begin to decline.
Probably a more relevant issue than population density is how we use the resources God has given us to support the population now and in the future. “For the earth is full,” He said, “and there is enough and to spare. … If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment” (D&C 104:17–18).
“The enemy of human happiness as well as the cause of
poverty and starvation is not the birth of children.
It is the failure of people to do with the earth
what God could teach them to do
if only they would ask and then obey.” Henry B. Eyring
We must stand firm at this time when the adversary is using differing lifestyles in an attempt to replace the marriage of one man to one woman. It would be well for all people of the world to read the full text of the proclamation.
The attacks on the family also undermine the value of life—particularly the life of the unborn. Life is being trivialized and subjected to the vacillating whims of convenience and political correctness. Indeed, some estimate that induced abortions end one-fourth of all pregnancies.
Far too many people view marriage as a “couples relationship,” designed to fulfill the emotional needs of adults rather than an institution for rearing children. Children are considered a choice rather than a blessing. About 1 million children per year experience parental divorce and its aftermath, and about one-third of all children in America are born out of wedlock. Almost every trend indicates that we are on a slippery slope downward from God’s plan for His children. The family, once universally hailed as the cornerstone of society, is losing its essential role.
When you stop and think about it, from a diabolically tactical point of view, fighting the family makes sense. When Satan wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he works to drive a wedge of disharmony between a father and a mother. He entices children to be disobedient to their parents. He makes family home evening and family prayer inconvenient. He suggests family scripture study is impractical and not doable. That’s all it takes, because Satan knows that the surest and most effective way to disrupt the Lord’s work is to diminish the effectiveness of the family and the sanctity of the home.
Look at what he accomplishes when he does that. Couples unhappy in their marriages tend not to give appropriate gospel instruction in the home, both through formal family home evening lessons and through exemplary living. They are less likely to be committed to gospel principles in their own lives. And the Internet, when not properly used, is a vicious influence in the home. So we know, without question, Lucifer is the enemy of the family!
Our youth need steadfast, courageous mothers—
and they need true, faithful and righteous fathers.
Full and Equal Partnerships
Men and women joined together in marriage need to work together as a full partnership. However, a full and equal partnership between men and women does not imply the roles played by the two sexes are the same in God’s grand design for His children. As clearly stated in the proclamation on the family, men and women, though spiritually equal, are entrusted with different but equally significant roles. These roles complement each other.
Family stewardships thus must be understood in terms of obligations and responsibilities—of love, service, and interdependence. Men who attempt to dominate their wives, who seek to exercise unrighteous dominion without regard to spousal counsel and sensitivities, simply don’t understand that such actions are contrary to God’s will.
“Some men who are evidently unable to gain respect by the goodness of their lives, use as justification for their actions the statement that Eve was told that Adam should rule over her. How much sadness, how much tragedy, how much heartbreak has been caused through centuries of time by weak men who have used that as a scriptural warrant for atrocious behavior! They do not recognize that the same account indicates that Eve was given as a helpmeet to Adam. The facts are that they stood side by side in the garden. They were expelled from the garden together, and they worked together, side by side. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Our Solemn Responsibilities,” Ensign, November 1991, 51]
It is within the family that divine potential is best realized for both men and women. The blessings and responsibilities of parenthood permit mothers and fathers to act, albeit imperfectly, in a new physical and spiritual relationship that draws them within God’s purposes for their lives.
The proclamation states: “Fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families” (“The Family,” 102). They teach their families the gospel and lead in kindness. They pray for and with family members, collectively and individually. They set an example of respect and love for their eternal companion and the mother of their children. In all things they follow the example of the Savior and strive to be worthy of His name and His blessing. Fathers should seek constantly for guidance from the Holy Ghost so they will know what to do, what to say, and also know what not to do and what not to say. They serve the family and the Church in the spirit of love and enthusiasm, by example preparing family members to serve others.
Part of the father’s role in presiding in the home involves learning about each individual’s needs and aspirations. Fathers are expected by God and His prophets not only to provide for their families but also to protect them. Dangers of all sorts abound in the world in which we live. Physical protection against natural or man-made hazards is important.
Moral dangers are also all around us, confronting our children from their early years. Fathers play a vital role in protecting children against such snares. It is sad to note that children in single-parent families are more likely to drop out of high school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, to be physically or sexually abused as children, and to be in trouble with the law than are those from families with both biological parents present.
We know that a father’s role does not end with presiding, providing, and protecting family members. On a day-to-day basis, fathers can and should help with the essential nurturing and bonding associated with feeding, playing, storytelling, loving, and all the rest of the activities that make up family life. And grandfathers continue their shepherding role as long as they live.
The proclamation teaches that “mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children” (“The Family,” 102). Nurturing refers to parenting behaviors such as warmth, support, bonding, attachment, recognizing each child’s unique needs and abilities, and attending to children’s needs. Nurturing in and of itself is more important in the development of a child than is any particular method or technique of child rearing. It hardly needs saying that nurturing is best carried out in a stable, safe family context. Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.
A mother’s nurturing love arouses in children, from their earliest days on earth, an awakening of the memories of love and goodness they experienced in their premortal existence. Because our mothers love us, we learn, or, more accurately, remember, that God also loves us. One cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.
Today there is significant pressure in our materialistic world to have and to spend more money. Unfortunately this draws married mothers to work outside the home to provide a second family income. As husbands, wives, and children recognize the difference between basic necessities and material wants—as manifest in the choice of house, household furnishings, car, entertainment, travel, etc.—they lessen family financial burdens and contribute to helping mothers be at home. Decisions about working outside the home are difficult ones and need to be made prayerfully, keeping ever in mind the counsel of the living prophets on this complex issue. It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter. I repeat, do the very best you can. You know your circumstances, and I know that you are deeply concerned for the welfare of your children. Gordon B. Hinckley
President Hinckley’s counsel raises significant questions about time pressures on mothers. Taking care of small, dependent, and demanding children is never-ending and often nerve-wracking. Mothers must not fall into the trap of believing that “quality” time can replace “quantity” time. Quality is a direct function of quantity—and mothers, to nurture their children properly, must provide both. To do so requires constant vigilance and a constant juggling of competing demands. It is hard work, no doubt about it.
Sometimes you mothers may feel like the fathers do not appreciate you and the important contribution you make to your families and to the work of the Lord. Never doubt, mothers, that you are the heart of the home. Your attitude—whether happy, sad, positive, or negative—will likely be reflected in the feelings of your husband and your children.
Women today are being encouraged by some to have it all—generally, all simultaneously: money, travel, marriage, motherhood, and separate careers in the world. . . .
Doing things sequentially—filling roles one at a time at different times—is not always possible, as we know, but it gives a woman the opportunity to do each thing well in its time and to fill a variety of roles in her life. A woman . . . may fit more than one career into the various seasons of life. She need not try to sing all the verses of her song at the same time. James E. Faust
And grandmothers continue their nurturing role as long as they live.
Principles for Marriage and Families
Let me quote again from the proclamation: “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities” (“The Family,” 102). Parents should work to create loving, eternal connections with their children. Reproof or correction will, to be sure, sometimes be required. But it must be done sensitively, persuasively, with “an increase of love” thereafter, “lest [the child] esteem [the parent] to be his enemy” (D&C 121:43).
It can be equally destructive when parents are too permissive and overindulge their children, allowing them to do as they please. Parents need to set limits in accordance with the importance of the matter involved and the child’s disposition and maturity. Don’t make mountains out of molehills, and don’t produce what to a child seems an interminably long list of rules. Help children understand the reasons for rules, and always follow through with appropriate discipline when rules are broken. It is important as well to praise appropriate behavior. It will challenge all of your creativity and patience to maintain this balance, but the rewards will be great. Children who understand their boundaries through the consistent application of important rules are more likely to do well at school, to be more self-controlled, and to be more willing to abide by the laws of the land.
Parents need to be consistent and loving, taking into account each child’s unique nature and disposition; setting appropriate limits to acceptable behavior, including modest dress, clean language, and dignified appearance; and then allowing each child his or her needed autonomy. Children are better prepared for the inevitable day when they leave home if parents “teach them correct principles and they [learn to] govern themselves”.
Helping children learn how to make decisions requires that parents give them a measure of autonomy, dependent on the age and maturity of the child and the situation at hand. Parents need to give children choices and should be prepared to appropriately adjust some rules, thus preparing children for real-world situations. To do this, parents must listen—really listen—to what their children are saying. They must know what is important to each child. I learned this lesson years ago from one of our daughters. She was only four or five at the time. She came into the room all excited. I was reading the newspaper, and she had something very much on her mind that was important to her. I was responding, “Yes. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.” All of a sudden the newspaper came crashing down under her two little hands. She grabbed my face between her hands so that she could look me right in the eye. This was a little four- or five-year-old teaching her father a great lesson: “Daddy, you’re not listening to me.” And she was right.
Parents, let’s listen and know what is important in the lives of our children. If we fail to listen, if we don’t try to understand their point of view, how can we expect them to come to us for guidance in making important decisions?
One of the best tools we have at our disposal as parents is the family council. I cannot emphasize enough its importance in helping to understand and address challenges in the family. When members of one family began to feel unusual contention invading their home, they called a family council to discuss the situation. The father and then the mother explained to their children what they had observed and asked how each felt about it. The mother and father learned that since their two oldest children had left home—one to be married and one to go to college—an unfair burden of responsibility had been unwittingly shifted to the two oldest children remaining at home, and they were becoming resentful. By counseling together and listening to what their children were feeling, a more equitable distribution of responsibility was made among the children, resolving much of the frustration and tension in the home.
I recognize that there are as many kinds of family councils as there are different kinds of families. Family councils can consist of one parent and one child, of two parents and several children, of just two parents, or of just siblings, etc. Regardless of the size or makeup of the family council, what really matters are loving motivation, an atmosphere that encourages free and open discussion, and a willingness to listen to the honest input of all council members—as well as to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
Family councils can be a blessing in the lives of families and individual family members in this life and through the eternities. Through them we can draw closer to our families and closer to God. They provide a unique opportunity for fathers and mothers to extend their loving influence in important ways.
As our families counsel together with the understanding that we are the family of God, we come to know that He loves us. We are precious to Him. He cares. He wants to help us. He wants to give us the support and help that we need in times of crisis. Much of that support and strength comes through counseling with one another.
We need to remember that our families are imperfect because they are made up of imperfect people. Still, there are things we can do to improve our families and each individual who lives within them as we move forward together toward fulfilling the Creator’s eternal plan for us. In all that we do, we must always remember that the voice of the Spirit is an essential component—and it is a still, small voice. God’s most significant messages come quietly, softly, sweetly. You cannot teach nor cradle nor weld together a celestial, eternal family if there is contention in the home.
If any of you are struggling with contention in your homes, you can change this. Talk to your family. Ask for their help. Tell them you don’t want a contentious spirit in the home anymore and discuss what each family member can do to prevent it.
Let the spirit in the home reflect the attitude of the still, small voice. It is this spirit that will imbue us with sufficient spiritual strength to feel confident and patient in our family relationships.
If we would avoid adopting the evils of the world,
we must pursue a course which will daily feed our minds
with and call them back to the things of the Spirit.
I know of no better way to do this than by daily reading the scriptures.
We have spoken together today about fundamental, guiding principles for our homes and families—about full and equal partnerships, roles of fathers and mothers, principles for marriage and families, and family councils. Remember, also, there is great power in prayer. I strongly encourage personal and family prayer—which are important in building strong families—but I want to emphasize something else as well. I’m wondering if many of you parents—you couples—have lost that essential moment of kneeling together at the end of the day, just the two of you, holding hands and saying your prayers. If that has slipped away from your daily routine, may I suggest you put it back—beginning tonight!
This is a great time to thank the Lord for your companion and for your children and for one more day together. I do not believe Lucifer can penetrate a marriage, or cause discord and misunderstanding within a marriage and the family, when parents take time to pray together. Don’t try to work through the daily challenges of life without kneeling together and calling down the blessings of heaven into your marriage and your family, letting Heavenly Father help you get from where you are to where you would like to be.
This article is primarily focused on the sacred roles of fathers and mothers. Please do not think I am unmindful or uncaring about the many married persons who have been denied the blessings of parenthood through no fault of their own. I am also well aware of the heart-wrenching sorrow of so many who walk the paths of life alone without a faithful companion at their side. We have been promised that no meaningful blessing related to marriage and family will be denied you in the eternities if you will be strong, be loving, and stay faithful. Pray always. He will hear and answer your prayers “in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will” (D&C 88:68). And never underestimate the influence for good you can be in the life of a sister, a niece, a brother, or a nephew.
In conclusion, please get a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”Read it and strive to align your marriage and your family to its inspired, revealed direction from the Lord. Then, be the very best and act the very best you can. God will give you strength beyond your own as you strive daily to fulfill the most sacred mortal responsibility He gives to His children. Listen to the voice of the Spirit and the counsel of the living prophets. Be of good cheer. God did not place you on earth to fail, and your efforts as parents will not be counted as failure unless you give up.
May our Heavenly Father bless each and every one of you. May the peace of the Lord abide in your own hearts and overflow into your homes and families. I leave you my testimony that God lives. We are His children. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. They love us and want us to be faithful and happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
“For behold, this is my work and my glory—
to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Moses 1:39 For The Family
Many of these words and thoughts expressed come from
Latter-day Prophets, Apostles and educators on the family.
The pull of the present is strong, but so are the tugs to the past and the future. Family and faith — our two great bridges beyond the here and now — stretch far past 100 years, in both directions, and expand the purpose and meaning of our lives.
None of us is born a mere individual. We come to this world with a network of pre-existing ties, bonds and obligations. These family relationships shape our worldviews, instil our values and form our identities. And families of all kinds thrive when they join a community of believers. The benefits go both ways — churches strengthen families, and families strengthen churches.
Working together, family and faith reinforce norms of right and wrong, teach us how to love our neighbors and provide a support base where children and parents navigate life’s challenges. In other words, family and faith keep us from being alone. They enlarge our circles of responsibility beyond the self and help us turn strangers into friends. Families then pass this spiritual and social capital across generations.
The sacred relationships between kin and church, church and kin, tie us to the past, present and future. Such continuity helps us situate ourselves in this big universe. We find out who we are.
“The marriage of two lovers joins them to one another,
to forebears, to descendants,
to the community,
to Heaven and earth.
It is the fundamental connection without
which nothing holds.”
The fortunes of family and faith will continue to ebb and flow, as they have in various periods throughout history, but experience shows they will do so joining hands. As the one rises or falls, so will the other. The course of history is not predetermined; it is chosen. And those choices have long trajectories — much too long, indeed, to fit into a 100 years.
“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works:
shew me thy faith without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2:18
“My father slipped in and out of consciousness for a while,” Beck recalled. “And then he sat up in bed, looked up at the ceiling corner as if someone was there, and he said, ‘Yes? OK. I understand. I’m ready. Take me with you.’ And he closed his eyes.”
Beck fought back tears as he continued: “[My father] told me once, ‘Son, I’ll keep an open mind but I will tell you this: I don’t think there’s going to be angels that are going to come down and greet me.’ I told him at the time I begged to differ.”
Beck said he believes his father didn’t just see “greeters;” he saw “escorts.”
(Excuse the Commercial!)
“God lives,” Beck said. “And it is all true. Thanks, dad, for teaching me how to work, for not teaching me what to think, but how to think, and when you were dead tired, thank you for driving your boy to the radio station to pursue his dream.”
“And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—” Alma 41:4
“It is my desire to remind you of the nature
and kind of being that God is, so that
you may worship him in spirit and in truth
and thereby gain all of the blessings of his gospel.”
“Great progress has been made in mechanics, chemistry, physics, surgery, and other things”. Men have built great telescopes that have brought the hidden galaxies to view. They have, by the aid of the microscope, discovered vast worlds of microorganisms. … They have discovered means to control disease. … They have invented machines more sensitive than the human touch, more far-seeing than the human eye. They have controlled elements and made machinery that can move mountains, and many other things have they done too numerous to mention.
Yes, this is a wonderful age.” But there is another trend he saw in the world.
“All of these discoveries and inventions have not
drawn men nearer to God! Nor created in their hearts
humility and the spirit of repentance, but to the contrary,
to their condemnation. Faith has not increased in the world,
nor has righteousness, nor obedience to God.”
In contrast to the world’s growing indifference toward God, a grandsons recalled:
“My mother was an excellent cook, and my grandfather ate frequently at our house. Quite often he would be invited by my father to ask a blessing on the food. His prayers were always very personal—as if talking to a friend.”2
Beginning with Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the true knowledge of God has been restored in our day.
I am very grateful for the first vision, in which the Father and the Son appeared to the youthful prophet and again restored to man the true knowledge of God.3
Through Joseph Smith’s First Vision, “the true knowledge of God” was restored.
It should be remembered that the entire Christian world in 1820 had lost the true doctrine concerning God. The simple truth which was understood so clearly by the apostles and saints of old had been lost in the mysteries of an apostate world. All the ancient prophets, and the apostles of Jesus Christ had a clear understanding that the Father and the Son were separate personages, as our scriptures so clearly teach. Through apostasy this knowledge was lost. … God had become a mystery, and both Father and Son were considered to be one unknowable effusion of spirit, without body, parts, or passions. The coming of the Father and the Son placed on the earth a divine witness who was able by knowledge to restore to the world the true nature of God.4
The [first] vision of Joseph Smith made it clear that the Father and the Son are separate personages, having bodies as tangible as the body of man. It was further revealed to him that the Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, distinct and separate from the personalities of the Father and the Son [see D&C 130:22]. This all-important truth staggered the world; yet, when we consider the clear expressions of holy writ, it is a most astounding and wonderful fact that man could have gone so far astray. The Savior said, “My Father is greater than I;” [John 14:28] and he invited his disciples, after his resurrection, to handle him and see that it was he, for, said he, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” [Luke 24:39.] The apostles clearly understood the distinct entities of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to which they constantly refer in their epistles; and Paul informed the Corinthians of the fact that when all things are subjected to the Father, “then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” [1 Corinthians 15:28.]
Joseph Smith beheld the Father and the Son; therefore he could testify
with personal knowledge that the scriptures were true wherein we read:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them.”
This was to be understood literally, and not in some mystical or figurative sense.5
To exercise faith in God and worship Him,
we must have an understanding of His characteristics.
One of our revelations tells us that if we are to be glorified in Christ, as he is in the Father, we must understand and know both how to worship and what we worship. (See D&C 93:19–20.)
We know that God is known only by revelation, that he stands revealed or remains forever unknown. We must go to the scriptures—not to the scientists or philosophers—if we are to learn the truth about Deity.
Indeed, John’s great prophecy about the restoration of the gospel by an angel who should fly in the midst of heaven says that it was to occur so that men could come to a knowledge of the true God and be taught: “Fear God, and give glory to him … and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7.) In other words, beginning with the restoration of the gospel in this dispensation, men once again would be called upon to worship and serve their Creator rather than the false concepts of Deity that prevail in the world.
In every age the Lord’s prophets have been called upon to combat false worship and proclaim the truth about God. In ancient Israel there were those who worshiped images and pagan gods, and Isaiah asked:
“To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isa. 40:18, 28.)
Much of the world today does not have this knowledge of God, and there are those who have not perfected their understanding of that glorious being who is our Eternal Father. To those without this knowledge we might well say:
“Why dost thou limit the glory of God?
Or, why should ye suppose that he is less than he is?
Hast thou not known?
Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator
of the ends of the earth, is infinite and eternal; that he has all power,
all might, and all dominion; that he knows all things,
and that all things are present before his face?”
Revelation of some of the basic doctrines of salvation as to Deity says:
“… there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal,
from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God,
the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.”
God is our Father; he is the being in whose image man is created. He has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s (D&C 130:22), and he is the literal and personal father of the spirits of all men. He is omnipotent and omniscient; he has all power and all wisdom; and his perfections consist in the possession of all knowledge, all faith or power, all justice, all judgment, all mercy, all truth, and the fullness of all godly attributes. …
If we are to have that perfect faith by which we can lay hold upon eternal life, we must believe in God as the possessor of the fullness of all these characteristics and attributes. He is an infinite and eternal being, and as an unchangeable being, he possesses these perfected powers and attributes from everlasting to everlasting, which means from eternity to eternity.6
We know that our Heavenly Father is a glorified, exalted personage who has all power, all might, and all dominion, and that he knows all things. We testify that he, through his Only Begotten Son, is the Creator of this earth and of worlds without number.7
God is a personal being and the Father of our spirits.
We are the spirit children of God our Heavenly Father. … We are members of his family. … We dwelt with him for long ages in our premortal life. … He ordained a plan of progression and salvation which would enable us, if faithful and true in all things, to advance and progress until we become like him.8
We are taught in the Scriptures that God is literally, and not in a figurative sense, our very eternal Father.
The words of our Redeemer spoken to Mary near the tomb from which he had risen and gained the victory over death, are most sublime and filled with glorious meaning: “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” [John 20:17.] In these words the truth of the Fatherhood of God is emphatically pronounced by his only begotten Son, who declares that he is our Brother and that we have the same eternal Father.9
I am grateful that the knowledge of God and his laws has been restored in our day and that we who are members of the Church know he is a personal being and not, as some sectarians have said, “a congeries [a disorderly collection] of laws floating like a fog in the universe.” I am grateful that we know he is our Father in heaven, the Father of our spirits, and that he ordained the laws whereby we can advance and progress until we become like him. And I am grateful that we know he is an infinite and eternal being who knows all things and has all power and whose progression consists not in gaining more knowledge or power, not in further perfecting his godly attributes, but in the increase and multiplying of his kingdoms.10
Heavenly Father loves us and is interested in each of us.
There is an expression in the vision of Moses, which was given at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceeding high mountain and saw God face to face and talked with him. The Lord showed unto Moses the “workmanship of his hands,” and Moses beheld the world, and all the children of men to the latest generations. [See Moses 1:1–8, 27–29.]
And the Lord said to Moses:
“For behold there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man, but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
“And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.
“And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.” [Moses 1:35–37.]
Notwithstanding the countless number of worlds and the great magnitude of many of them, they are a means to an end, and not the end itself. The Father is creating worlds for the purpose of peopling them—placing upon them his sons and his daughters. We are informed that by and through the Son of God, the “worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” [D&C 76:24.]
We learn from other revelations from the Lord, that man is the most important of all our Father’s creations. In the same vision given to Moses, the Father said: “And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortalityand eternal life of man.” [Moses 1:38–39.]
We learn from this and other scriptures that the great work of the Father is to bring to pass the salvation of his children giving unto each that reward which each merits according to his works. I feel most assuredly that our Father in heaven is far more interested in a soul—one of his children—than it is possible for an earthly father to be in one of his children. His love for us is greater than can be the love of an earthly parent for his offspring.11
Moses, here pictured overlooking the promised land,
received a vision in which he learned of God’s work and glory.
Heavenly Father weeps over His disobedient children.When the Lord spoke to Enoch and showed to him the nations of the earth and explained to him the nature of the punishment that should befall them for their transgressions of his commandments, the Lord wept and showed his sorrow in tears for their disobedience. Because of this, Enoch marvelled and thought it strange that the Lord could weep.Here is the passage:“And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?“And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy and from all eternity to all eternity?“And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there and also thou art merciful and kind forever.” [See Moses 7:28–30.]And the Lord answered: “… Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;“And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should choose me, their Father; but behold they are without affection, and they hate their own blood.” [Moses 7:32–33.]
These are reasons why the Lord wept
and why the heavens wept.
I was asked one time if a man could be perfectly happy in the celestial kingdom if one of his children was not permitted to enter there. I told him that I supposed that any man who was so unfortunate as to have one of his children barred from the celestial kingdom would, of course, have feelings of sorrow because of that condition; and that is just the position our Father in heaven is in. Not all of his children are worthy of celestial glory, and many are forced to suffer his wrath because of their transgressions, and this causes the Father and the whole heavens to have sorrow and to weep. The Lord works in accordance with natural law. Man must be redeemed according to law and his reward must be based on the law of justice. Because of this the Lord will not give unto men that which they do not merit, but shall reward all men according to their works.
I am satisfied that our Father in heaven would, if it were possible, save all men and give unto them celestial glory, even the fulness of exaltation. But, he has given unto man his agency and man is under the necessity of obeying the truth according to that which is revealed in order to obtain the exaltation of the righteous.12
Heavenly Father has provided the way of redemption
so we can be brought back to His presence.
When Adam was in the Garden of Eden he was in the presence of God, our Father. … After he was driven out of the Garden of Eden the scene changed. Adam was banished because of his transgression from the presence of the Father. The scriptures say he became spiritually dead—that is, he was shut out from the presence of God.13
I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
and that he received from his Father
the power to ransom men from the spiritual
and temporal death brought into the world
by the fall of Adam.14
There was only one way of redemption, one way in which reparation could be made and the body restored again to the spirit; that was by an infinite atonement, and it had to be made by an infinite being, someone not subject to death and yet someone who had the power to die and who also had power over death. And so, our Father in heaven sent us his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world with life in himself. And because he [Jesus Christ] had a mother who had blood in her veins, he had the power to die. He could yield up his body to death and then take it again. Let me read his own words: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17–18.)15
It was never the intention of our Father in heaven to leave men to grope and feel their way in darkness and that without any light to guide them, and expect them under such conditions to find their way back into his kingdom and into his holy presence. That is not the way of the Lord. All down the ages from the beginning our Father in heaven has shown his kindness for his children and has been willing to give them direction. From the earliest times the heavens have been opened, the Lord has sent messengers from his presence to divinely appointed servants, men holding the authority of the priesthood who have been commissioned to teach the principles of the Gospel, to warn the people and teach them righteousness; and these men have received this knowledge, this inspiration and guidance from these messengers from the presence of God. This is true of our own dispensation. There is no need for men to shut their eyes and feel that there is no light only as they may depend upon their reason, for the Lord has always been willing to lead and direct and show the way. He has sent, as I say, messengers from his presence. He has sent revelation. He has commanded that his word be written, that it be published, so that all the people might know it.16
I say to you, and for that matter,
to the whole world,
that a gracious and loving Father
has in these last days spoken again
from heaven to his servants the prophets.
His voice has been one inviting all men to come to his Beloved Son, to learn of him, to partake of his goodness, to take his yoke upon them, and to work out their salvation by obedience to the laws of his gospel. His voice has been one of glory and honor, of peace in this life, and of eternal life in the world to come.17
I add my Testimony to the truthfulness of these things.
From the Teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith
For The Family
“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” 2 Nephi 2: 11-12
It’s nice to know that there is a heaven. What’s really nice, is to know you’re going there!
We each must escape the corruption that is in the world.
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4
Though it may be hard and filled with much temptation, this is the purpose and why we came to this world to choose the way we should live, go the way we should go, and to conquer the enemy of all unrighteousness.
“And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.” Moroni 9:6
God’s Plan of Happiness was to gain a body of flesh and blood and know both good and evil, and to choose between the two. We are to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He hast sent. Jesus came to show us the way and to rescue us from our mistakes. After the test, comes the glory.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make youperfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” 2 Peter 1: 8
“And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 2 Peter 1:6
We must always remember and remind ourselves who we are!
“But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.” 2 Nephi 1:10
“O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favoredpeople of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his waysare righteousness forever.” 2 Nephi 1:19
Through study and prayer and in choosing good versus evil, He will let us know that we are in the right place. But, we must have charity, which is to give up selfishness. As we all will come to ‘the end of the road’, this is a “to do list” in the work of God.
“Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” 2 Peter 1:14
” For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:16-19
The “more sure word” means, ‘to see the Savior’. The Savior sometimes taught with parables.
As we learn the truths of the gospel, what do you think it means to see with our eyes and hear with our ears?
Why do you think light will be taken away from us if we are unwilling to receive greater light?
Think about what you need to do to receive more gospel light.
Study the parable of the sower. In this parable, the Savior shows that the same gospel message produces different effects depending on how people receive it.
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the wheat represents the righteous, or “the children of the Kingdom.” The tares represent “the children of the wicked one.”
How can we remain faithful even though the “tares” are allowed to grow among the “wheat”?
Why is the word of God unable to grow in people “whose hearts are full of iniquity”?
Why do tribulation and persecution lead some to set aside the word of God?
In what ways might “the care of this world” and “the deceitfulness of riches” choke the word within us?
How can we ensure that our “ground” is good when the word is planted in us?
What can parents do to help children prepare their hearts to receive the word?
Here are THE KEYS:
2. Having your ‘Calling and Election’ made sure
“Righteous followers of Christ can become numbered among the elect who gain the assurance of exaltation. This calling and election begins with repentance and baptism. It becomes complete when they “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end” (2 Ne. 31:19–20). The scriptures call this process making our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:4–11; D&C 131:5–6).
3. Knowing you are going to heaven
And here are things TO AVOID:
- “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be falseteachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1
- “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” 2 Peter 2:2
- “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3
- “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” 2 Peter 2:12
- “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riotin the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 2 Peter 2:13
- ” Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2 Peter 2: 14
- “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” 2 Peter 2:12
- ” And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you” 2 Peter 2:13
- “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” 2 Peter 2:14
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be falseteachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” 2 Peter 2:1, 2,
(That bought them.)
WE HAVE BEEN PURCHASED BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST!
THE LORD’S PROPHETS
THE DEVIL’S PROPHETS
BEAR WITNESS: (sure word)
(May 17th, 1843.) “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood. It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” D&C 131:5-6
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
“All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.
“By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal,
from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth,
and all things which are in them.” D&C 20:17