For Mormons, families are a central part of God’s plan. The family is not just a temporary convenience or comfort, but is meant to be eternal, shaping our entire eternal future.
Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is a restoration of New Testament Christianity. As we read the Bible, we note how important families are. One of God’s first acts after creating Adam was to give him a family and one of His first commandments was to have children. God knew that family life would serve as a powerful force for most mortals, encouraging them to mature, to work harder to succeed, to motivate them to improve. He expected them to make their families a priority.
Why then, after instructing families to love one another with all their hearts, to put each other first, and to find happiness through family life would God then rip our families away from us at death? We understand that we will be happier in Heaven than we ever imagined possible, and who can be entirely happy without his family? How can we even bear the thought of eternal life alone, when most of us can’t handle it in this brief life? When we die, we remain the person we’ve chosen to become in this life. We take with us what is in our hearts and minds, and this means our love goes with us. To bring us to a place of perfect joy and to begin that journey with an order to divorce your spouse, disown your children, and fall out of love seems contrary to God’s plan of happiness.
Mormons believe that eternal families are one of God’s gifts to the faithful. In preparation for eternal family life, Mormons work on Earth to build the type of family that can last forever. They are encouraged to marry someone who shares their faith and studies show that Mormons who marry in the temple have a far lower divorce rate than other marriages, perhaps because eternity puts the challenges marriages face into perspective.
They make family life a priority. Mormon parents are taught that their careers are important, but not more important than their families. They work to make time for their children and for their spouses. Married couples are encouraged to continue to date, setting aside time away from the children. The entire family sets aside one night a week, usually Mondays, to be together for Family Home Evening. During this time, they have a lesson on a gospel subject they care about, taught by someone in the family. They also have prayers, songs, games, and treats. It is a time to share values and to have fun together in a week that can often send everyone in different directions. Mormon families have daily family prayer and scripture study as well.
By making families a priority, Mormons create a family strong enough to last forever, and they enjoy one of God’s most loving gifts to His children.