Latter-day Saints envision heaven as home—the home of our Heavenly
Parents and the continuation of homes we build on earth. Sealing ordinances
promise that we can be reunited with family members after death, thus
challenging us to cultivate now relationships that we would want to last
forever. Our belief in the importance of a strong family life should motivate
us to action against forces that undermine families, such as poverty or
There is a tendency in the church to equate eternal family narrowly with
eternal marriage and spirit progeny (D&C 132:19-20).
But our tradition also offers a more expansive vision of eternal family:
as a vast kinship network—spouses, parents, children, siblings,
grandparents, welded to one another in a web that extends to our most
remote ancestors—all cooperating to advance the divine work through
endless worlds. This is a vision with room for all family members, married
or single. There is more than one path to eternal happiness: God's grace
provides gifts and joys as diverse as individuals' desires or circumstances
(D&C 7:8; 46:15-16; Matt. 7:9-11). When
we lose sight of that principle, the doctrine of eternal families can
lead to anxiety or heartache instead of, as it should, consolation and
fearless, optimistic love.
We should be wary about allying ourselves with "pro-family"
politics. The anti-polygamy persecution suffered by the Saints shows that
campaigns claiming to protect marriage and family can, in fact, oppress.
Jesus' hard sayings about families (Matt. 10:35;
Mark 3:31-34; Luke 14:26) should give us pause about assuming that
the gospel equates with "family values."
| Home Can Be a Heaven
on Earth (Hymns 298)
|Donna Zell Willis: I
believe in a continuation of the family ties throughout eternity.
I want to weld those ties so firmly here that they will endure forever.
|"My Ideal Latter-day Saint
Home," Improvement Era, August 1946
David O. McKay: It
is possible to make home a bit of heaven; indeed, I picture heaven
to be a continuation of the ideal home.
|Man May Know for Himself
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1967), 233
Ardeth Greene Kapp:
The joy of the journey comes through our relationships, feelings
for each other that, like divine echoes of times past, stir within
us a quiet anticipation of the continuation of this same sociality
|My Neighbor, My Sister,
My Friend (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1990), xi-xii
|Chieko N. Okazaki: There
is great diversity in LDS homes, but all of these homes can be righteous
homes in which individuals love each other, love the Lord, and strengthen
. . . [T]here's not one right way to be a quilt as long as the pieces
are stitched together
firmly. . . .
Through the years, the circumstances of my life have changed. I
was a single woman, then a wife married to a nonmember, then a partner
in a temple sealing, a mother, a mother-in-law and grandmother,
and now a widow. I have known the Savior's love in all of these
. . . I have felt the
Savior's presence and power in my home. . . .
I testify that the Savior extends to us all the same mercy, the
same power to find healing, and the same perfect love. He has assured
us that it is his work and glory to bring to pass our immortality
and eternal life. What joy it gives us to contemplate eternal life
with our families as part of the great family of God. What warmth
and what beauty come from every well-made quilt, even crazy quilts.
|Aloha! (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book, 1995), 4-5, 14
James E. Faust: We
are all part of a family—either a natural family or a ward
or branch family.
|“A Vision of What
We Can Be,” Ensign, March 1996, 10