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
The Family Proclamation gives us simple truths about
“(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
“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
“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
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.