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CHURCH TALK: The family is ordained of God

Friday 21 October 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


CHURCH TALK: The family is ordained of God
Jesus teaching in temple. SUPPLIED/22102005

I am grateful for the opportunities we have to learn more about our Saviour Jesus Christ, his gospel, and how we can actively participate in the work of salvation and exaltation both for ourselves and our families, writes Tamatoa Jonassen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to hear the words of men and women called of God as they taught and shared their testimonies at the General Conference held in Utah that was broadcasted around the world to more than 170 countries in more than 90 different languages.

Just this past weekend we also had the opportunity to attend a live broadcast of the rededication of the Hamilton temple in New Zealand. Originally built in 1958, the Hamilton temple underwent renovation for the past four years.

And this coming weekend will be our Cook Islands District Conference at the Arorangi chapel with sessions at 6pm on Saturday and 10am on Sunday. All are invited.

The spiritual feast available to us is meant for our improvement and the benefit of our families.

The family is perhaps one of the most important aspects of God’s great plan for us. Families are why we build temples, and why there are now more than 280 temples operating or in various stages of construction around the world. We learn that how we treat our families are important.

The Family Proclamation gives us simple truths about the family:

“(We) Proclaim that 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.

“All human beings – male and female – are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny….

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. ‘Children are a heritage of the Lord’ (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives – mothers and fathers – will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bounds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honour 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. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”

The Family Proclamation goes on to give us a solemn warning:

“We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfil family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

Our families are our great responsibility. Our positive experiences in our families also teach us love, patience, forgiveness, and other Christlike virtues. The development of our character and who we become as individuals and members of society is founded on our family experiences. The future of our children is influenced by the examples we show them at the attitude we have towards sacred responsibilities.

In the Cook Islands I believe our families have something extra special for us to consider. Our family roots run deep in the land and connect us in more ways than just the genome sequences in our blood. We often keep our deceased loved ones buried close. We bear the weight of our family lineage and heritage. Our culture sings and beats in our hearts. Our family connections bind us to each other in this life.

As we journey through life, no matter our circumstances, may we honour the family relationships we have and seek to create. And as we grow in the light of Christ, may we seek to seal our family relationships beyond this mortality through the sacred work performed in temples.

I testify that no success can compensate for failure in the home. The home is where our greatest work is done, and we are a link in the chain that connects the generations back to the beginning. May we honour our families. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.