One of the most beautiful and important doctrines of the Mormon faith is that of eternal family.
Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. His saving grace is part of God’s eternal plan. We believe that we existed before this life and lived with God. We believe that this life is a testing period where we can prove our devotion to God. Central to God’s plan for his children is the family. Those who are faithful in mortality are blessed to live with God, Jesus, and their families for eternity. That is the doctrine of eternal families.
The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
~The Family: A Proclamation to the World
This wonderful blessing can be realized by being “sealed” together as a family in a holy temple. For those that have already passed on to the next life without an opportunity to be sealed to their family, we perform the work for them as proxies within holy temples. In my life, it has been a great blessing to know that when a loved one passes away that I can be with them again in heaven.
What is a family?
The Mormon Church isn’t rigid enough to believe that a family is only one with a mom, dad, and kids. Today’s society is full of blended families, single-parent families, children being raised by grandparents, widows and widowers…the list goes on. However, the Mormon Church has not changed its stance on God’s eternal doctrine of marriage and how that fits into the larger conversation about family.
In 1995, in a document entitled The Family: A Proclamation to the World, the Church declared: “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.” Any other type of marriage relationship halts God’s plan for the eternal progression of his children, and for family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.
While not every family relationship fits the “mold” or the “ideal” Mormons strive for peace and harmony in family life.
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. 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.1.
Every family has their faults and weaknesses as well as their strengths. Mormons believe that “successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”1.
1. The Family: A Proclamation to the World