*Des really wants to keep blogging and sharing some of the cool things she is learning in college, but has zero time to devote to that.
*God says, "How about for this semester you take these two classes and both of those classes will give you the opportunity to blog as an assignment so you can blog AND have it count as school work.
*Des is amazed (again) at how much God knows her and loves her.
AN ASSIGNMENT WITH A PURPOSE...
I have already been sharing things that I have been learning from my New Testament class in my "Come Follow Me" series. Now, I get to start sharing some things that I am learning in my Family class, and I am truly excited and terrified all at the same time.
Remember this post (my post about marriage) and this post (my first post about The Family: A Proclamation to the World)? I remember being completely terrified to write those posts because of comments that I may receive. But then I remembered that the only people who really read my posts are maybe my parents and my in-laws and a few close friends, so I probably didn't have anything to worry about, lol. I knew that they would be kind in their comments.
When I wrote those blog posts, I definitely felt inspired to do so and my motto is, "When God asks me to do something, I do it." Well now, once again, God is telling me to do something. Although there is still a little bit of anxiety that is accompanying the task, I am mostly just extremely excited to share with you the things that I have learned and am continuing to learn about God's pattern for families.
And honestly, there is no need for me to be anxious. Because...
THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL FAMILIES
"Families are the basic organizational unit of the eternal realms, and so [God] intends for them also to be the basic unit on earth.
The experiences we can have in our families will prepare us to live with God again someday and live as He lives--in a family unit. One of the things I love most about this doctrine of eternal families is that God didn't just say, "Here. Live in a family and learn how to live like me." He has given us instructions on how to be successful in our families and in the process of learning how to be like Him.
THREE PILLARS: THE CREATION, THE FALL, AND THE ATONEMENT
Social scientists have recognized that relationships go through stages as they grow, change, and develop. They have described these stages as visionary (the beginning), adversarial (times of disillusionment), and vital (reconciling differences). We can describe these stages in gospel terms as well: the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ (Hawkins et al, 343).
The more I have studied about how to have success in family life, the more I am drawn to and believe this doctrine of the three pillars to be true. In the doctrine of each of these pillars lies the truths and instruction for us to reach our full potential individually and in our families.
These truths, once you internalize them, can strengthen you beyond what you think is possible. I mean, think about it, we have the opportunity to become as God is! Isn't that an amazing promise? The great writer C.S. Lewis once said:
"The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words.
"If we let Him". I love that phrase. We have so much potential in us, and God can help us reach that potential as individuals and in our families, but we must turn to Him and allow Him to change us.
The Fall was necessary for us to learn and grow--on our own and in families. Without that opportunity for growth, we would not be here.
"Adam feel that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." -2 Nephi 2:25
That joy--true joy and happiness--"is most likely to be achieved when [family life is] founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Family, paragraph 7).
Our Savior. Our Redeemer. Our Champion. He has made it possible for us to live together as families for eternity! Isn't that the most amazing news ever?
Maybe you are reading those words and thinking, "I want my family to be together forever! How do I do that?" I will tell you how...temple marriage. Making covenants with your spouse and with the Savior in a temple of God.
Then it's all a matter of keeping those temple covenants and following the Savior in good times and in bad. Maybe this seems like He's asking too much--to follow His commandments for the rest of your life. But remember, it was He who bled from every pore and died for you, so asking you to keep your covenants with Him for the rest of your life sounds like a pretty small price to pay, doesn't it?
THAT WAS A LOT OF WORDS...
You're right. It took me a lot of words to get to this point of the post, so I won't say too many more. I just want to leave you with a couple of really powerful quotes that tell us WHY this doctrine of Eternal Families and the doctrinal pillars that support it are so important.
"If we continue with present trends, we can expect to have more emotionally disturbed young people, more divorce, more depression, and more suicide" -Ezra T. Benson
This was a prophetic statement given in 1992. Umm...are we seeing that it has come true today? Absolutely! We see huge amounts of emotional imbalances in our young people, divorce rates are still high, there is more depression and anxiety, and I don't have to tell you that the rate of suicides has increased by an alarming rate. What are the present trends the prophet was talking about? Disregard to God's commandments and principles that have been established since the beginning of time.
We need to return to the "God-ordained fundamentals that will ensure love, stability, and happiness in our homes." -Ezra T. Benson
THE TIME IS NOW.
While it is true that I am writing these blog posts about eternal families to fulfill a school assignment, more importantly, I am writing them to fulfill an obligation I have as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because I have made covenants with Him in His holy temple, it is one of my responsibilities to stand up for His moral laws and principles that the world at large is trying to move away from. My goal is to do that in the most loving way possible, trusting that His Spirit will help me to get the message across in an educated, humble, and kind manner.
Thank you for enduring this lengthy post. I leave you now with a message regarding eternal families from Elder L. Tom Perry, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beck, J. B. (2011, March). Teaching the Doctrine of the Family. Ensign, 41(3), 12-17.
Benson, E. T. (1992, July). Salvation: A Family Affair. Ensign, 22(7), 1-3.
"Family: A Proclamation to the World." (1995, November). Ensign, 25, p. 102.
Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., & Draper, T. (2012). Successful marriages and families: Proclamation principles and research perspectives. Provo, UT: BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.
WHY ETERNAL FAMILIES?
This page is dedicated to sharing information regarding God's plan for families, how we can strengthen our family relationships, and how the Savior can heal even the most broken of hearts.