Editor’s Note:  New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors Richard and Linda Eyre join forces with their daughter Saydi (an “in the trenches” mother of four young children who often contributes to these articles) to produce this series on the why-tos and the how-tos of receiving the Direct-Stewardship inspiration, guidance, and revelation we need to create strong and righteous families in this difficult world.  This is article 11 in a 13-part weekly series which runs here in Meridian every Tuesday. (Click here to read article 1, here to read article 2, here to read article 3, here to read article 4, here to read article 5, here to read article 6, here to read article 7, here to read article 8, here to read article 9.and here to read article 10.

In today’s turbulent world, and with the challenge of home centered Gospel teaching, parents and grandparents need personal family revelation more than ever before.  And since every home situation is unique, this is not a series on what to do generally—it is on how to get divine answers for your family specifically.  The series continues today in the midst of the current Pandemic, with the thought that we may all have more need for Family Revelation now than ever before.

Can you imagine where we would be as a Church and a people in the midst of this pandemic and lockdown if President Nelson had not had the prophetic foresight to establish the Come Follow Me program for teaching the Gospel in our homes?  This marvelous, guided approach to “Church at Home” has saved the day, and along with the Prophet’s ringing four words “Home Centered, Church Supported” sums up how the Lord wants His Kingdom on earth to operate right now. 

We the parents and grandparents are now the principle mode of transmission of the magnificent doctrines of the gospel to our children.

As part of this series on Family Revelation, we felt it was essential to dig a little deeper into the meanings and applications of “Home Centered, Church Supported.”

The last two articles have tried to delve deeply into the first two words—Home Centered—with ideas on what it means and on how we can put it into action.  In today’s article, we turn to the other two words.  What does Church Supported mean, and how do we tap into all of its benefits?

How do both the doctrine of the Restoration and the structure and programs of the Church support us, our homes, and our families?

Let’s start with the doctrine, and then move to the programs:

We are Church Supported by The Knowledge of God’s Goals as a Template for Our Goals

The goal of our Heavenly Parents—our immortality and eternal life and eternal lives—for us to return and live with them as families within their family, becomes our motivation for our own goals of committed, lasting marriages and responsible, righteous children within unified and loving families; and in turn these goals, coupled with our own humble sense of limitation and inadequacy, become our motivation to develop the spiritual skills and gifts that will bring to us the Family Revelation necessary to overcome the obstacles and progress toward our goals and God’s goals.

Motivation

The ultimate motivation for developing spiritual skills is the eternal objective of Salvation and Exaltation. Or, said another way, perhaps the greatest reason we can find for seeking and receiving Personal Revelation is that it can lead us to Salvation; and the prime driver of Family Revelation is the doctrinal knowledge that Exaltation is possible only with our families, and that the very government of God and the structure of His Kingdom is based on a Familial Order.

During the early part of my professional life, I (Richard) made my living by helping clients set goals.  Whether it was a company or a humanitarian group or a political candidate, my job was to write them a plan or a strategy, and those plans always began with the clearest possible statement of their short- and long-term goals.

One thing I learned over and over in that process is that it is impossible to set motivating, fulfilling short-range goals until one is clear and committed on the longer-range goals that they must lead toward. Good short-term goals should feed into and move one closer to the fulfillment of long-term goals. Once they do, it is possible to do the detailed planning or create the strategy to progress through the short goals toward the long goals.

A simple way to say all that is that if we don’t know the destination we will never find the right path.

In the Church we have a powerful goal-setting advantage because we know the longest-term goals, and they are not ours but God’s.  With the clarity that the Restoration provides on our eternal purpose, we become capable of establishing personal objectives that align with God’s goals.

Because of the Restoration, we know quite a lot about our Heavenly Parents goal and plan for their children. If we tried to reduce that goal to one word, that word might be “Exaltation” which incorporates a Return to Them in their Highest Heaven with our own families to become part of Their family and of Their eternal government and order.  And in that state, we have not only “eternal life” but “eternal lives” or the ability to procreate spiritually and to continue to expand our own families.

God’s Goal and Our Goals

God’s goal of exaltation is not just a distant goal of eternity, it has an immediate part or phase here in mortality and is always bound to our happiness. When Nephi says “Adam fell that men (meaning men and women) might be (mortal) and men are (mortal) that they might have joy” he is talking about a step toward God’s eternal goal of our exaltation; and when we enter ordinances and make covenants (particularly the New and Everlasting Covenant) we are aligning ourselves and our lives to progress toward His goal to have us with Him in the highest part of the Celestial Kingdom.

His plan, or the path that leads us to His goal, is often called by President Nelson “The Covenant Path” and it incorporates the faith and the steps and the repentance that can allow us to return.  He calls it a plan and we call it a plan—the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness, and while we can only see it “through a glass darkly” from mortality, we know that it includes our agency and the roadmap of His Gospel and the saving course correction of the Atonement of His Son.

A shorthand way of saying it is that Family Exaltation is the END, and Christ and His Gospel and Atonement are the MEANS.

Where does the Church fit into all of this? Everywhere!  It gives us the Priesthood and the Saving Ordinances, it explains and expands God’s goal and plan and gives us the structure and support to build our families. Trying to create strong and lasting families in today’s world without the support and guidance of the Church would be like trying to build a skyscraper without cranes or scaffolding.  Perhaps that is why President Lee said “The Church is the scaffolding with which we build Eternal Families.”

The implications of that short phrase are astounding. The Church is temporary but essential; the Family is eternal, but only if we use the Church’s support to build it straight and high.

So the question comes:  As we come to know God’s goal and plan, how do we formulate our own family goals and plans in a way that fully utilize the means He has provided, that draw strength from the scaffolding of His Church and that fit snugly into His Grand Eternal End of The Immortality and Eternal Lives of Man? This is where Family Revelation comes in, and it comes more readily to those who have struggled to make their personal goals fit within the framework of God’s goals.

Goals of any kind are more developed and refined, and more committed to when they are written. Family goals are no exception. Sometimes writing down our goals expands them, and sometimes it filters and reduces them down to their essence.

One couple wrote these goals:  Create a marriage and family that lasts forever. Raise children who love Christ and think for themselves and seek their individual foreordinations.  Work ourselves out of a job as our children grow up and spin out of our orbit and into their own independent but still connected lives. And then enjoy the grandkids!

A single sister might write: Be my nephews’ and nieces’ favorite aunt, with a personal relationship with each of them.  Know their personalities and know their needs. Be an attentive, caring daughter to my parents and mold my character and nature into that of the wife and mother I will one day be. In the meantime, focus on the kinds of spiritual progression I may not have time for later.

A single dad may write: Build a strong, identity-giving family for my three kids, complete with familyrules and values, family traditions, and family responsibilities.  Implement my priorities and love by planning family time and individual time with each child before I plan my work schedule each week.

A grandparent might write: Strive to see myself first and foremost as a child of my Heavenly Parents and a parent and grandparent of my posterity. Make these my chief identity. Create a family kingdom based on unconditional love that will one day be worthy to be part of God’s kingdom.

You are encouraged to prayerfully draft some goals and directions for your own particular family situation, and to strive to make those goals dovetail with the Exaltation goals of our Heavenly Parents.

We say “draft” because its good just to get started, even if our first draft is not very complete or satisfactory. You can change it, add to it, re-work it, and as you do, it will gradually become something that both guides you and motivates you in your search for Family Revelation.

We are Church Supported by the Blessing and Motivation of the Restored Plan of Salvation and Exaltation

President Russell M. Nelson, with his gift for getting things down to their clear and simple essence, said (and has often repeated),

“Salvation is an individual matter,
but Exaltation is a family matter.”

What does “salvation” mean to the Christian world?  And what does it mean in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? And how does salvation differ from exaltation?

Clarity on the actual doctrines of the Restoration can give us a framework within which to seek our own personal Family Revelation.

Definitions

It is interesting how the definitions sharpen as we move from secular general reference sources to Christian sources and finally to our own doctrinal sources.

If we begin where most searches start these days—by Googling “salvation.” The top result is the on-line dictionary which defines salvation as:

“preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.”

A second definition follows:

“In Christianity, union or friendship with God and deliverance from original sin and damnation.”

Then comes Wikipedia which says:

“Salvation may also be called “deliverance” or “redemption” from sin and its effects. Salvation is considered to be caused either by the grace of a deity, by free will and personal efforts through prayer and asceticism, or by some combination of the two.”

In the Christian Bible Reference1 we read:

“Salvation means being saved from the power of sin and from hell, the eternal penalty of that sin. Through the process of salvation, we are freed from everything that could prevent us from enjoying the eternal life with God. Other common terms for salvation are being saved, going to heaven, eternal life, everlasting life, the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven.”

The Restoration clarified these definitions, and added the additional dimension of Exaltation.  Quoting now from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

“The Latter-day Saint concept of salvation derives from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the revelations given to ancient and latter-day prophets. It is evident from such teachings that there are different degrees or levels of salvation in the afterlife.”

“Exaltation is salvation in the ultimate sense. Latter-day Saints believe that all mankind (except the sons of perdition) will receive varying degrees of glory. We all receive glory in the afterlife. Exaltation is the greatest of all the gifts and attainments possible. It is available only in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. This exalted status, called eternal life, is available to be received by a man and wife. It means not only living in God’s presence, but receiving power to do as God does.”

It is interesting that when we go back to Wikipedia and look up Exaltation, the only reference is attributed to Mormonism:

“Exaltation orEternal Life is a belief among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) that mankind can return to live in God’s presence and continue as families.”

So “exaltation” really is our word—the word of the Restoration. We are unique in the Christian world in our belief that there are many levels of Salvation.  We believe in the universal resurrection and salvation promised in the Bible and given to all mankind by the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” But we do not believe that salvation is the same for all men, irrespective of their faith and their deeds.

For each Christian definition, the Restoration adds detail and clarification.  In other words, the truth of the Holy Bible is re-affirmed and expanded by the Restored Gospel.

The Bible speaks of the “Resurrection of the Just,” but it is the Restoration that tells us what that means. Christ’s teachings in the Bible tell us that “In my father’s house are many mansions,” but it is the Restoration that explains those mansions—those different levels or degrees or kingdoms of salvation and of exaltation.

Salvation and Exaltation

The explanations and additional insights of the Restoration are more about exaltation than about salvation, because it was the doctrines of Exaltation that were lost during the Apostasy and the Dark Ages and that needed to come to light in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, it could be argued that the New Testament gives us most of the information that we need about salvation.  The Holy Bible is clear in teaching that in Christ and His Atonement lies salvation, and most of the Christian world believes and accepts that on some level.

But the concept of Exaltation, of actually returning to the presence of God and of progressing eternally in His kingdom—what we call God’s Plan of Eternal Happiness—was largely lost during the Apostasy and was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  We know through the Restoration that this Plan is a plan for families which involves Eternal Marriage and family commitments and covenants that are made in Holy Temples.

A person can achieve salvation and go to heaven as an individual, but Exaltation in the highest glory where Christ and God the Father dwell—where continued progression toward God’s perfection is possible—can come only to Eternally married, covenant-keeping couples.  We believe in a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father and we believe that their kingdom is a family kingdom of which we can become a part.

Again, as President Nelson put it, “Salvation is an individual matter, but Exaltation is a family matter.”

Another way of saying this is that an individual, a man or a woman, is not a perfectible entity in that he or she alone, cannot become like them (God.)  Only a man and a woman together, sealed for Eternity, can continue to progress toward what God is, in the place where God is, while an individual can progress only toward but not into that place.

We are aware that some feel it is not “politically correct,” in a Church where half of our adult members are single, to talk about eternal marriage as a condition of Exaltation.  But in truth, that is exactly why we need to talk about it more, because eternal families should be the goal for all, and we know that all will have this opportunity, if not in this life then in the spirit world to come.

Indeed, eternal families is God’s goal for us all.  For the Lord said “This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”5 (another one) We believe that the ultimate immortality and eternal life is with God in His highest heaven and we believe that a family order there will constitute the very government of God.

We believe that the Church or the Kingdom of God on earth is here to prepare us for the Kingdom of Heaven, and to help our families to last forever and ultimately to become parts of God’s eternal family.

The Church and the Gospel and the Atonement of Christ are the means to the end of Eternal Families. Eternal families and Exaltation are the Goal, and the Restored Gospel gives us the plan or the path that can lead us to that goal.

The principles of eternity and eternal exaltation are of no use to us, unless they are brought down to our capacities so that we practice them in our lives.

Brigham Young  JD 4:28 (17 August 1856).

We are Church Supported by the Blessing and Back-Up of Church Programs, Church Culture and Values Support

We believe that President Nelson would agree that “Home Centered, Church Supported” is not actually a new paradigm, but a re-emphasis of the oldest paradigm of eternity. From the pre-existence to the hereafter, family has always been the organization and the government of God. Now, in our time, both the doctrine and the structure of the Church is being adjusted to reflect that fact and to facilitate personal salvation and family exaltation.

Scaffolding and Boats, Means and Ends

As mentioned earlier, President Lee, teaching this doctrine of the everlastingness of family and the temporary, mortal support of the Church, used a dramatic metaphor. “The Church is the scaffolding,” he said, “with which we build eternal families.”

As much as we all love the Church, we know that it is a temporary, earthly institution, while the family of God is eternal, as can be our families if we, with the Church as our support and scaffolding, can build them according to His will.

President Ballard has encouraged us to “stay in the boat” of the Church and warned us how dangerous the currents are if we fall out of the boat.  A boat is a vehicle, not a destination, a means not an end—it takes us to somewhere, just as the Church is a vehicle that is designed to take us to the family-centered eternal kingdom of Heaven.

Also remember that Christ is in our boat, as He was with the Apostles when they said, in essence, “Master, the tempest is raising.” 

When the Church is viewed as an end in itself, it seems to lose its relevance for Millennials and younger generations who are not sure how spending more time in Church buildings or reading ancient scriptures is going to enhance or improve their lives in today’s world.  But when the Church is viewed as the means to the end of lasting marriages and happy families it becomes both relevant and meaningful to all who have or desire those familial relationships.

And make no mistake, Christ and His Church and Gospel are not just desirable supports or a pleasant ride, they are the indispensable means and the only way and the only word by which we can return as families to the presence of God.

Thoughtful families will create a two-way arrow between the home and the Church.  They will teach the Gospel in the home, but they will also look for help from the Church in teaching them how to succeed at marriage and parenting.  They will teach scriptures and Gospel principles and show children how to apply them to their daily lives, but they will also take today’s real-life challenges or worries and search for scriptures and principles to apply to them. They will use their home as a place to teach the Gospel, but they will also use the Church as their main guide and support in raising their children and fortifying their marriage and family.

And they will remember that Christ is always the means.

Our beloved personal mentor Stephen Covey once told us that he had observed families at the lake where he and many other Church families vacationed each summer.  He categorized those families into three groups by what he observed them focusing on most.  One group seemed to emphasize the Church above all else; A second group talked and stressed family above everything; And the third group appeared to concentrate most on Christ.  Over the years, Stephen observed that it was the families who focused on Christ that had the best chance of staying strong and together.  We think what he meant is that the families who knew they had to rely on Christ and His Spirit were the ones that found the help and faith they needed to preserve and guide their families.

From the pre-existence to the hereafter, family has always been the organization and the government of God. Now, in our time, both the doctrine and the structure of the Church is being adjusted to reflect that fact and to facilitate personal salvation and family exaltation. We come to understand that the seemingly impossible task of making our own families eternal, and surviving the ups and downs and divisions and disappointment that they will all face is only possible through Christ and His Atonement and His Gospel and His Church.

Eternal Family is the END and Christ and His Atonement and His Church are the MEANS. 

We keep coming back to this paradigm. It simplifies decision making and puts everything in priority and perspective. The family re-emphasis we now see unfolding in the Church will help our homes and guide us toward the true purpose that will lift us above the trivial and often frivolous reasons for the “faith crises” they are experiencing.

Your Resources and your Team

As we view our family stewardships—the spouse and children and other family members that are our deepest loves and our biggest responsibilities—we acknowledge our own inadequacy and our need for help from heaven.  In a world where so much works against us, we need to take advantage of every resource available and build around us a team that can support and help.

What are your resources and who is your team?

Our greatest resources are the Savior, His Atonement, the Spirit and the Church, which we access by participation, by activity and by study and prayer.

And our team is first of all our own families and extended families, and second our ward families.  These teams are made up of different configurations for different families in different situations.  If you are part of a three-generation family, with grandparents still alive, think of those grandparents as senior consultants and advisors for you and your children.  Have meetings or conversations with them where you explore and evaluate the needs of your children and brainstorm how they can be met (and who can meet them.) 

Many of us, though we hate to admit it, were content, or at least complacent with letting the Church do most of the Gospel teaching to our children.  Oh, we were happy to help, and particularly happy for the Home Evening manuals and other “helps” the Church gave us so that we could supplement everything in our homes.  We figured it was our job to teach our kids academics and life skills and hopefully some good values to live by while leaving the heavy Gospel teaching to the ward and the stake and the seminary system and the Church.

And that never worked very well. Oh, we are all grateful for the Sunday school teachers, the quorum advisors, the auxiliary leaders and the home teachers, not to mention the Seminary and Institute teachers who instructed our children. But there was often not enough communication and not enough ways to know what our children were really learning—what they knew and what they didn’t. Time and again young adults from strong Church homes reported that they really didn’t “get” the Gospel until they went on their missions.  It turns out that we were delegating or “farming out” our most important and beautiful responsibility—that of teaching our children the most important things in the world.

President Nelson recognized that—had been recognizing it for many years Home Centered, Church Supported announcement was not a new program but a re-recognition of the most ancient of principles, that parents are the stewards over their children, and that our prime priority must be the salvation and exaltation of ourselves and our families

So, while the Church, even behind the scenes during this Pandemic, continues to improve and increase both the quality and the quantity of its support and help to marriages and parenting and families, the stewardship and responsibility for our children and indeed, for all of our family members, will always rest firmly on us.

When we are speaking to secular or non-religious groups, we tell those parents and marriage partners that they need a support group to succeed in their families. With the various cultures that swirl around our children these days—the social media culture, the celebrity culture, the gaming culture, the drug culture—we need a countering strong family culture and a broader church or club or support-group culture for back up. This is a little harder to explain to people now that Church is not meeting regularly, but if people will subscribe to the “home centered” notion, they can partake of more “Church supported” later.

In addition to our personal efforts to receive Family Revelation, it is up to us to seek help everywhere and use all the tools and help available to us. The Church is the greatest tool we have, and that is the way we should think of it.  We are now the tools to relay the principles of the Church in teaching the Gospel to our children in our homes; but the fact remains that the principles of the gospel as taught by the Church are our most reliable and powerful tool to use in the raising of our children and the strengthening of our marriages and other family relationships. 

One of the great breakthroughs in this synergy came in 2015 when the name (and the operation) of one of the three General Councils of the Church was changed from The General Priesthood Council to The General Priesthood and Family Council. This was a powerful and prophetic recognition of the Family as the basic unit of the Church and Gospel as well as of society, and that the Priesthood operates on its most fundamental level within the home.

Trends in the World, Trends in the Church

President Nelson has warned repeatedly of declining family life and lower marriage and parenthood rates. And the lines on the graph are getting steeper as people throughout the world move away from family life.  Perhaps the most worrisome thing is that family statistics within the Church are heading in similar directions. In 2000, 28 percent of adult Church members were single and today the figure is 42%. That is a sea change!  And other Church numbers are approaching the national levels where the average age of women having a first child is now 29 and more babies are born to women between 30 and 35 than between 25 and 30.  And more women are battling against biology as they try to have a career first and then start a family as they near 40.  We are somehow falling into the selfish and illogical family patterns of the broader society instead of standing out with counter-trends.

In our book The Turning, we charted how quickly families are changing, we have arrived at “tipping points” where majorities become minorities.

  1. More U. S. Adults are now single than married.
  2. More U. S. children now born out of wedlock than in.
  3. More U. S. Marriages now end in divorce than stay together.
  4. In many major world cities, there are households which are occupied by one single individual than households inhabited by some kind of family.
  5. There are more Asian women between 20 and 40 who say they do not want children than who say they do. 
  6. Among couples that move in together, far more choose cohabitation than marriage.
  7. More than half of Hispanic children in the U. S. are raised in fatherless homes. (Among African American Families the figure is 70%)

And we looked at the functions that family performs within society and asked whether any other institution could perform these essential functions:

  1. The role of procreation and reproduction (replenishing the population).
  2. The role of roles.  (Boys need a role model for becoming a man, and girls need a role model for becoming a woman)
  3. The role of nurturing (facilitating children’s emotional growth and helping them develop into responsible adults).
  4. The role of providing a lasting identity (something permanent in our lives as everything else changes –jobs, locations, etc.)
  5. The role of instilling values (other institutions may help, but the buck stops with the family wherein values are applied as well as taught)
  6. The role of offering joy and fulfillment to individuals (at a level beyond what is obtainable elsewhere.  Children should receive unconditional love within families, and parents are refined and completed as persons through the selfless love they give to their children.)

Two things are absolutely clear. First: Society cannot survive, let alone prosper without these six functions. Second: No entity other than family can perform them adequately.

President Nelson, back in 2008 reminded us that,

…pivotal to God’s plan is the family. In fact, a purpose of the plan is to exalt the family. The earth was created so that we as premortal spirit children of our Father in Heaven could come to the earth and obtain physical bodies. We are here to be tried and tested.  We are here to “choose liberty and eternal life … or to choose captivity and death.”  And best of all, we are allowed to fall in love, to be married, and to invite children into our families.

And in that same year he observed,

“Loud voices defend the fallacious doctrine that all lifestyles are of equal value. People want more rights than responsibilities. They seem more concerned with entitlement than enlightenment. Responsible fatherhood is being defined as a weekly visit and financial support. In short, we face a mind-boggling moral inversion.”   

And what a trend that has become!  Our last book with McGraw Hill was The Entitlement Trap, which explores this I-deserve-everything attitude that robs kids of their motivation, their incentive, and their gratitude.  And of course, most of this entitlement comes via the attitudes of their parents.

Our feeling is that parents and marriage partners in the Church do not want to follow the world—they know that their families should be stronger and more prioritized, but absent a strong and visible and comprehensive family prioritizing and training campaign from the Church, they are being sucked along into the trends of the world and often lack any model of how prioritized a family should be. The only way we know to push back against the trends of the world is to follow the Prophet and constantly seek personal Family Revelation.

Through the Family Revelation that we can receive, we gain divine help from the Spirit in our effort to spot the counterfeit trends and the false ideas about happiness coming from materialism and freedom from responsibility and we need more reinforcement and reassurance that the real happiness source is devotion to our faith and our families.

As mentioned, we often tell our audience at secular speeches that, no matter how good they become at parenting methods and techniques, they will find it hard if not impossible to succeed without some kind of a back-up or support mechanism. They need to become part of a culture that underscores and reinforces the values they are trying to teach their children.

Church Culture

We sometimes hear Church members, worried about the peculiarities of some rather extreme or unbalanced lifestyles, say “You’ve got to separate matters of Church Doctrine from matters of Church Culture.” 

Yes, there can be wisdom in doing that because there are some “oddities” about our culture that are not part of our doctrines. But we should also think about how blessed we are in the Church to have such a culture—a culture with a divorce rate less than one fourth of the national average in the U. S and with a college graduation three times the national average.

How blessed we are—and even more so when Church resumes—that we have the Church culture of Primary for our children and wonderful Young Men and Young Women programs for our children.

How blessed we are to have the Church culture of service and helping each other and ministering to one another.

How blessed we are to have the Church culture of healthy living and the Word of Wisdom which not only blesses our bodies, but stands as an effective roadblock shielding our youth from at least some of the culture of substance abuse.

How blessed we are to have the Church culture of sexual morality which proves to our children that it is possible to save intimacy for marriage and that not everyone uses sex as recreation or jumps into bed at first acquaintance as so many movies and media portrays.

How blessed we are to have a Culture where the Church is the scaffolding that allows us to build strong families and the boat that keeps us out of the dangerous waters of immorality and amorality that dominate today’s world.

Conclusions

“Home Centered, Church Supported” sounds pretty simple and straight forward. But there are many requirements and ramifications if it is to really work for our families.  First, we need to understand how and be committed, especially in this time of a Pandemic to the Home Center of our family; and devote ourselves to setting up our homes, and the regular practices within them, as Gospel Teaching Institutions, and view them as “envelopes within envelopes” parts of God’s own Eternal family.

Now, and even moreso when we are able to return to Church, we need to open ourselves to the full range of Church Support, from meetings and quorums and ordinances to the ultimate personal motivation of wanting our families to participate fully in God’s glorious plan of salvation and exaltation.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What motivates us to seek Personal Family Revelation? Do we need the doctrine and understanding of what Exaltation is to motivate us to do the hard work of seeking this guidance?
  2. Do you like thinking of Family Revelation as a spiritual skill?  Do you think it is a skill that can be developed?  Can it even become a Spiritual Gift?
  3. Does the Salvation vs. Exaltation discussion ring true and seem relevant?
  4. How do you respond to the “Goals and Plans framework?  Are Spiritual goals a relevant possibility?  Can spiritual things be separated into “means” and “ends?”
  5. Is there balance between the help the Church gives us with our families and the help our homes now provide in teaching the Gospel.  Is this a synergistic, two-way relationship?
  6. Is there value in looking at lists of “most common parental concerns” to see how our own match up and to take some comfort in that so many others are facing the same issues we are?
  7. Are the things discussed here relevant to you no matter what kind of family you presently have—and to the present family roles into which you now fit.
  8. Do all of the ideas listed discourage you or do they get you excited about rejuvenating their marriages and overcoming some of the bad habits they may have fallen into?
  9. Were you able to read them not as instructions or prescriptions but rather as “prompts” for personal, individual, stewardship requests for and receipts of family revelation?

Next Week

Thanks for joining us again today.  There are only two articles remaining in this series, and we believe that they are the most important. Next Tuesday we will turn to the question that burns so brightly in most parent’s mind:  How can I help my children to seek and receive personal revelation for themselves? And in the final article we will explore how to seek Family Revelation in the toughest, most challenging times, and for the hardest and deepest concerns from addictions to same-sex attractions, and from death and tragedy to loss of faith and testimony.