William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are Families Truly Forever?

The question was put:

"I'm a college student at the University of North Texas, and a born-again Christian. I feel like God is really leading me into ministry, so theology is always one of my favorite topics to discuss.... and this board seems like the perfect place to do it! I've been reading a lot of the posts and am excited to get into some discussions. Anyways, in the spirit of Mormon apologetics, I've got a question for everyone to take a stab at: Are families truly forever? And please explain why. Thanks!"

To which I responded:

Thanks for your honest questions. To be fair, there is not a whole lot of concrete LDS doctrine concerning what is meant by the concept, "Families are forever." When you really dig into it, you find there are abstract concepts like "sealing," etc., but not a whole lot of practical information. From my own perspective, I don't see how it is that two people's relationship to each other, including how they consider each other, would change merely by virtue of death, regardless of the existence of a sealing. I know of no LDS doctrine which says that non-family members who make it to the celestial kingdom will be unable to interact with each other. For that reason, I just don't understand why an ordinance would be necessary to make a familial relationship continue in the hereafter.

What I make of the "families are forever" doctrine is that it is really a matter of attitude towards our loved ones. We should treat our relationships as eternal ones and try not to allow our selfish short-sightedness to erode the quality of our relationships. Also, the reasonable sacrifices we make for our family will move us closer to God and help us to become more like God. In truth, however, I see no reason why (other than the need for general societal order) why our love and service and affection towards our immediate family members ought to be any greater than towards our other "spiritual" brothers and sisters.

As for the "worlds apart" issue, I imagine that heavenly beings will be able to travel sufficiently quickly that physical distance will not create a meaningful damper on a relationship.

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