Saturday, June 5, 2010

Eternal Families

In the very beginning the Lord taught Adam and Eve the importance of the family. The scriptures record, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24.)
In the temple, we perform sacred ordinances. One such ordinance is celestial (or eternal) marriage, where wife is sealed to husband and husband sealed to wife for eternity. When most people are married, they are married “til death do you part”. but eternal marriages performed in the temple may exist forever. Children born to a husband and wife after an eternal marriage are automatically sealed to their parents for eternity. If children are born before the wife is sealed to her husband, there is a temple sealing ordinance that can seal these children to their parents for eternity, and so it is that children can be sealed vicariously to parents who have passed away.
About a month to six weeks before a temple is dedicated, the temple is opened up for anyone and everyone to come see it. After it is dedicated, it is held so sacred, a nature that purity of life and strict adherence to standards of the Church become qualifications for admittance.
Gordon B. Hinckley, was a prophet and president of my church. He explained it well when he related what happened to him as a couple exited the open house of the Wahsington D.C. temple. "On that occasion thousands of curious but earnest people stood in long lines to gain entry to the building. A policeman stationed to direct traffic observed that it was the first time he had ever seen the English eager to get into a church.
Those who inspected the building were asked to defer any questions until they had completed the tour. In the evenings I joined the missionaries in talking with those who had questions. As a young couple came down the front steps of the temple, I inquired whether I could help them in any way. The young woman spoke up and said, “Yes. What about this ‘marriage for eternity’ to which reference was made in one of the rooms?” We sat on a bench under the ancient oak that stood near the gate. The wedding band on her finger indicated that they were married, and the manner in which she gripped her husband’s hand evidenced their affection one for another.
“Now to your question,” I said. “I suppose you were married by the vicar.”
“Yes,” she responded, “just three months ago.”
“Did you realize that when the vicar pronounced your marriage he also decreed your separation?”
“What do you mean?” she quickly retorted.
“You believe that life is eternal, don’t you?”
“Of course,” she replied.
I continued, “Can you conceive of eternal life without eternal love? Can either of you envision eternal happiness without the companionship of one another?”
“Of course not,” came the ready response.
“But what did the vicar say when he pronounced your marriage? If I remember the language correctly, he said, among other things, ‘in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, till death do ye part.’ He went as far as he felt his authority would permit him and that was till death separates you. In fact, I think that if you were to question him, he would emphatically deny the existence of marriage and family beyond the grave.
“But,” I continued, “the Father of us all, who loves His children and wants the best for them, has provided for a continuation, under proper circumstances, of this most sacred and ennobling of all human relationships, the relationships of marriage and family.
“In that great and moving conversation between the Savior and His Apostles, Peter declared, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,’ and the Lord responded, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ The Lord then went on to say to Peter and his associates, ‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ (see Matt. 16:13–19).
“In that marvelous bestowal of authority, the Lord gave to His Apostles the keys of the holy priesthood, whose power reaches beyond life and death into eternity. This same authority has been restored to the earth by those same Apostles who held it anciently, even Peter, James, and John.” I continued by saying that following the dedication of the temple on the following Sunday, those same keys of the holy priesthood would be exercised in behalf of the men and women who come into this sacred house to solemnize their marriage. They will be joined in a union which death cannot dissolve and time cannot destroy.
Such was my testimony to this young couple in England. Such it is to you today and such it is to all the world. Our Father in Heaven, who loves His children, desires for them that which will bring them happiness now and in the eternities to come, and there is no greater happiness than is found in the most meaningful of all human relationships—the companionships of husband and wife, parents and children."
I believe that if I live my life using Jesus as my example and follow him, I can live with my husband as husband and wife after we die. Our children will be our children forever. I was married and sealed to my best friend 16 years ago. I am glad I was married in the temple I am glad to know that my family can continue as as family for eternity and not just "til death to ye part".

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Aww! Happy Anniversary!!! What a great post!!