We (Mormons) believe that families are central to Heavenly Father’s plan. This isn’t some new invention, either. Families have been central to Heavenly Father’s plan since Adam and Eve. Not surprisingly, Satan has done what he can to destroy families since Adam and Eve.
I have not had the best of luck when it comes to “family” – compared to the ideal. I was born out of wedlock and didn’t know my biological father for the first 31 years of my life. My mom married, and her husband adopted me (I consider him my father, and I love him as if he’s my father). When I was ten, they divorced. My mom remarried when I was 11 and then divorced again when I was 15. She remarried a third time when I was 15 (later that year). It has been interesting. Meanwhile, My dad remarried when I was 11. This last year, my step-mom (after 22 years) called it quits. I have also experienced a marriage, divorce, and another marriage of my own.
Most of the problems that I have faced have been associated with my family.
The greatest blessings I have experienced have been associated with my family.
Family is important.
I know that I am not the only one in the world who comes from a “broken” family. In fact, I recognize that I have been greatly blessed in many ways. Despite the divorces, my family has always had monetary means, my father has been a big part of my life, and I even found my biological father. So – I’ve been blessed, but I know how much pain and sadness can come from these relationship that should be filled with Love.
In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, we are taught:
“Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is where the Book of Mormon fits in. We believe that the Book of Mormon is another witness of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon helps us to learn who Jesus Christ is and allows the Spirit to fill our lives. The Book of Mormon tells us what the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ are. The Book of Mormon is a powerful key in achieving happiness in family life.
The Famlily: A Proclamation teaches:
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”
We can get scriptural examples of each of these principles in the Book of Mormon.
“And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” – Alma 32:21
Faith can help us in our families – as we endure trials together – we can use this opportunity to express faith together. Faith is required in our lives as we raise our children – we don’t have a perfect knowledge as parents, but rely on the Lord. This kind of faith will help us to overcome marital struggles, and other difficulties. Faith in Christ is paramount in a successful – happy – family.
- The Savior, himself, taught:
“Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” – 3 Nephi 18:21
- Repentance and Forgiveness
- This is completely necessary in our families. If we don’t repent (and if we don’t forgive), then instead of living in happiness, our families will live in anger and pain. Jesus taught:
“Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.” – 3 Nephi 12:24
- Sometimes respecting each other can be hard to do – especially within the family. Nephi is an amazing example of respecting his family members – even though his brothers mocked him, bound him, and even tried to kill him, he continues to love and respect them. After the Lord prompted Nephi to shock Laman and Lemuel, they tried to worship him. Instead, Nephi says:
“…And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee.” – 1 Nephi 17:55
Nephi respects the Lord, and won’t let Laman and Lemuel worship anyone other than the Lord. Nephi respects his brothers. He refuses their worshipping. Nephi respects his parents, and he urges his brothers to do the same.
- Love and Commapassion
- Charity and compassion are closely related, which is why I’m including them together. Charity is the Pure Love of Christ – and it never fails. So, if our family is based on Charity, and Charity is felt in our homes, then – our homes will be solidly anchored in Christ and will not fail. Learn more about charity:
” 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.” – Moroni 7:45
- After escaping the Lamanites, Nephi and his people inhabited a new land. There, they kept the commandments and began to prosper. Nephi relates:
“And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.
15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.
And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.
And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.” – 2 Nephi 5:11, 15-17, 27
We can live after a manner of happiness by following the same pattern of righteousness and work.
- Wholesome Recreational Activities
- We don’t get many recorded examples of “wholesome recreational activities” in the Book of Mormon. It seems like the times when they were righteous may span hundreds of years, but are represented by only a few pages in the Book of Mormon. Instead, it seems that the Book of Mormon records more recreational activities that were not wholesome, and the negative consequences that follow.
Through the Book of Mormon, we can get a stronger influence of Christ in our lives. We can learn more about the principles that will help us to have successful marriages and families. There are so many wonderful examples that are not included in this blog post. What are some good “family” examples that you can think of from the Book of Mormon?
If you haven’t read the Book of Mormon, I encourage you to do so. Read it online here. You can also request a free Book of Mormon here. Check out some other great blog posts in the Book of Mormon Forum.