Thursday, January 19, 2012

Forever Families

From Left to right: Samantha, Ashlyn, Hayden, Finn and Jude
The above is a picture of my cousin Colleen's sweet grandkids taken at Christmastime.  Colleen's oldest sister Ellen, a vibrant and wonderful soul, passed away on the 10th, leaving me thinking a lot about my own mortality, and feeling intensely grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given us a Plan that allows for families to be together eternally.

“Modern studies show that the public feels a widespread hunger for heaven—and family life in heaven.

“I want to be with my family eternally more than I want anything else.

“No church has a greater commitment to family history than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does. We pursue family roots and records partly to know our ancestors but also to provide temple ordinances that build eternal bonds across the generations. Our understanding of family history also extends back to our pre-earth life, showing that our individual spirits are only one generation away from Him who is the literal Father of our spirit. Thus we pray to Him as “Heavenly Father,” and we call each other “brother” and “sister.” He sent us to earth to develop through demanding experience the personal qualities we need to live forever with Him. Then the Atonement makes it possible for us, if we are faithful, to return to be eternally “at one” with Him and with our mortal families.

“As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The fulness of eternal salvation is a family affair. … The gospel plan originated in the council of an eternal family, it is implemented through our earthly families, and has its destiny in our eternal families.”

“As the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” Because of Family Future and Family Past, true love in Family Present is never wasted, and our sacrifices for the sake of eternal love signify everything.

“It isn’t easy to translate these principles into a tidy, daily reality.

“Family life is by its nature a continual struggle between the ideal and the real. But if your home often knows warm feelings of love and laughter, if your family is trying—even most of the time—to have family prayer, home evening, and honestly shared gospel experiences, you are learning the pattern for happiness. We know each other at our worst, and our best, in the closeness of family life. At our worst, we might wonder how we can keep living with each other. But in the best moments, we can’t really imagine living without each other.

“Your longing to belong forever to a loving family comes from God, and He has promised its fulfillment, if you are faithful: “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalms 107:9).

“I know His promise is sure.”
(Excerpts from “Joy”, an address given at BYU-Idaho on 13 Nov 2001 by Bruce C. Hafen of the Seventy)

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