I come from a big family. I am the oldest of six kids—three boys and three girls. My parents were married and sealed in the Latter-Day Saint Salt Lake temple. We believe this means our family can be together forever. My family is so important to me and I don’t know where I would be without them.
In the scriptures we read about families since the very beginning with Adam and Eve. In the Book of Mormon, a companion scripture to the bible and another testament of Jesus Christ, it says that Adam and Eve brought forth the children of all the earth (2 Nephi 2:20).The scriptures also talk about the families of Abraham, Jacob, Lehi, Nephi, Mosiah, Alma, Mormon, and so many other prophets. Genealogical lists are also often found in the scriptures because of the importance of families.
Why are families so important? Families are central to God’s plan of salvation. Sister Julie Beck said “Without the family, there is no plan; is no reason for mortal life.” God put us in families to strengthen and help each other. Of all the names He could have asked us to call Him, He chose “Father”. He chose Father because we are all one big family. We are His children, His most prized creation. He wants us to feel the same happiness that He does, that is why He gave us our own families.
Families are important to me because families are forever! Friends are awesome, but friends will come and go. You will spend the majority of your life with your family. Your family will always be there for you!
Sister Beck also said, “Any doctrine or principle you hear from the world that is anti-family is also anti-Christ.” So it is important that you strengthen your family. I asked several people how they strengthen their families and came up with a list of 5 ways you can strengthen yours:
One of the answers I received said that “Our children spell love T-I-M-E”. There honestly is no better way to grow closer as family than spending time together. I just returned from a week-long vacation with my family in Lake Powell. It was great to be able to spend time together, away from electronics, in the most beautiful place on earth. I love going on long road trips with just my dad and me where we can talk about anything for hours. Do things with your family that you enjoy. The more time you spend with your family the stronger the bonds will get.
2. Pray, Read, and Fast
Praying regularly as a family has strengthened my family. Prayer brings a certain kind of peace and unity into our home. I love reading scriptures as a family, even though sometimes it can be hard with little kids. It’s fun to learn and relearn new things that we find in the Book of Mormon. Fasting as a family will strengthen you. Also fasting for your family when they are going through hard times or when you want to get along with them better helps.
3. Family Home Evening
The prophets and apostles have always counseled us to set aside Monday nights as family night. In Preach My Gospel it says, “The home is the best place to teach, learn, and apply principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A home established on gospel principles will be a place of refuge and safety. It will be a place where the Spirit of the Lord can abide, blessing family members with peace, joy, and happiness.”
4. Support and Defend
Your children and younger siblings look up to you. Be a good example to them. Stay true to what you know is right. Support their interests, ideas and decisions. Support them in all the things they do. Go to sporting events, school events, recitals, church talks, etc. In the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon it says, “And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites,to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.” (Alma 43:47)
Peace and unity in the home often start with YOU! You can be the peace maker and the influence for good. Being obedient to the commandments and also your parents will bring peace and love into the home. In the For the Strength of Youth it says, “Many problems in the home come from family members speaking and acting selfishly”, so try not to be that one who was being selfish, try to avoid conflict. It is easier to love your family when there is less conflict.
The Prophet and apostles have also given us some inspired principles to help strengthen our families in: THE FAMILY, A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD.
I have a testimony of the family. I know that it is central to God’s plan. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families. I love my family and I am so grateful that I can be with them forever.