Monday, August 10, 2009

Families are Forever

My mom's dad is an amazing man. He was a good, upright man, even in his pre-church sailor days, and he had so many adventures has and such a wonderful sense of humor. He never lacked for a great story to tell. A few weeks ago he was outside throwing rocks at the neighbor's annoying peacocks when he misstepped and fell. He came through surgery, but never really recovered. I'm sure he's pleased that he left us such an amusing story to tell about his departure. I attended my grandfather's funeral last week. It was a lovely service and we're all going to miss him a lot. We cried in spite of his forbidding us to and of course we smiled and laughed at the wonderful and amusing memories that we shared. We have all cried liberally at the fact that he is no longer around. I bawled when I spoke to him on the phone during the last few days of his life when he couldn't talk back or even open his eyes. It's hard to know that I can't see him for a really long time, but I take great comfort in knowing that I will see him again; that I am forever a part of his family.

When our time on earth is through, the loving ties that bind husband and wife, parents and children need not be dissolved. I can think of no sadder phrase than, "Till death do us part," and I know of few who truly believe it. Most people who I have talked to, if they believe in an existence after this life, believe that their family relationships will continue. I believe that this is because the Spirit teaches us that these cherished relationships are meant to continue forever.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:5-6 Elijah was the last prophet before the time of Christ to hold the priesthood power to bind in heaven what is bound on earth Matt 16:19, and he has returned as was prophesied. In 1836, Elijah appeared in the temple and restored the sealing power of the priesthood of God to the earth. Parents and children can be united forever as a families through the sealing ordinance performed in God's temples by those who hold this priesthood authority. Families sealed together by the Holy Spirit, will remain intact and receive the fullness of joy which the Father has promised to all the faithful. Marriage is required for both men and women to receive the highest blessings that God has in store for his children. To those who lacked the opportunity during their lifetime, President Howard W. Hunter assures us that "no blessing, including that of eternal marriage and an eternal family, will be denied to any worthy individual."

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ...Rom. 8:16-17 Our families are modeled after God's family. I am a child of God. On earth I have a father and mother. I have a father in heaven, who is the literal father of my spirit. I also have a mother there. That I am part of a heavenly family is one of the most beautiful truths that I know. That my family here is patterned after theirs inspires me to conduct my family life after their perfect example. That my family can last into eternity makes me want to devote my all to this great commission. The LDS belief that as God's children we can someday be like Him, that our families can be like His family, that the work that He has given us here prepares us for the blessings that He has in store for us in eternity, is the most sublime, the most inspiring of anything that I can comprehend. I am so grateful for this knowledge and for the blessing of being part of an eternal family.

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