I was married in the right place at the right time.
So over the past 34 years we have had 12 children, and 18 grandchildren, all these souls whom the Lord entrusted to us and who are our posterity. As of Feb. 2015. According to the covenant, our children are sealed to us for all time and all eternity. I often ponder on what this actually means.
so how I now KNOW that this principle is true...
Throughout my life, I have always believed that if you don't repent fully before you die, you are in big trouble. And in fact, you are. I have not believed that there are chances for those who had the light and knowledge, because of my interpretation of the Book of Mormon scripture which says:
So as I read this all these years, I thought it very clear. The devil doth seal you his. End of story.
But apparently, it is NOT the end of the story. My interpretation and understanding was wrong. In fact, we have to be scholars of ALL the scriptures and not take one out of context of all scriptures that have been revealed, or try to make one more important than another. If its in the canon, its ALL important and doctrine. There are scriptures/doctrine which teach of repentance in the World of Spirits, after our mortal life. So we know that. It is taking place today (see D&C 138). There are also scriptures that teach that sinners who were eternally married, sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, will come forth in the 1st resurrection (that's a good thing) and will receive their exaltation (also a magnificent thing, see D&C 132:26). One could read that scripture out of context and say "it says right here, no matter what I do, I will enter into my exaltation if I was sealed in the temple," and they would be wrong. Wrong, because there are numerous other scriptures which teach about the absolute necessity of repentance, and the Atonement of Christ. So we have to be careful not to take things out of context. Apparently, I have been partially doing this when it comes to Alma 34. I have thought about absolutes, when there are obviously possibilities of repentance, albeit much harder repentance, akin to the kind that Alma went through.
My Son Stephen was recently killed in an auto accident, on Dec. 14, 2016, 11:00 am, by a DUI driver. He was 25.
Stephen had accepted Jesus Christ in his young life. He knew exactly what he was doing when I baptized him in the waters of baptism. He chose it. He was excited about it. He willingly and lovingly accepted the invitation to be baptized and was happy that day. SO he did know Jesus Christ, and rejoiced in it.
For a brief few years only, Stephen lost his way, but I am confident he WOULD HAVE COME BACK if only his life was not suddenly cut way short.
But I know Alma got a second chance. He was the worst and vilest of sinners as the scripture states, his dad was even a prophet, he knew the gospel light and rejected it trying to destroy the church of God.... but God gave him the chance to turn it around as he sent an angel to SHOCK Alma into a spiritual awakening to realize the truth of who is in charge. I have no doubt the meeting that Stephen had with Jesus Christ upon his death would yield a similar awakening, and Stephen, like Alma, will/would/did respond in a manner to mitigate and repent and get BUSY for Christ, like Alma did. Like it says in Alma 34.
Stephen is in the Spirit World. There is more work to do there than there is here. There are 100 billion souls there, and we have only done about 100 million temple baptisms, a mere scratch of that surface, a 1/1000th of the work. SO much work left to do, so many souls to save, to teach. Stephen could literally be preparing for a real mission to go and help rescue souls. I believe it is possible, and wish I could know it. Maybe the Lord will see in his mercy or wisdom to either reveal it to me, or to withhold it from me, depending on the one or the other. All I know is that I have become a much more willing servant of the Lord, more willing to accept what comes my way, and more willing to be patient on the Lord and wait for things to happen on HIS timetable.
Jesus Christ has become literally, my super-hero, and when I watch the videos of him, I more vividly and realistically watch that fictional actor who portrays him, and I see the spiritual message and know that there was a very real and literal Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, who walked the earth and did those things, and did them powerfully, and did them perfectly…. And he was perfect in his obedience and in doing ONLY the will of the Father. I truly, because of Stephen’s death, love the Savior more, honor and respect the resurrection more, the literal reality of it, and I can testify with greater firmness and truth and resolve as to the reality of the Atonement and what it means to Stephen, and to our family. Let me close once again with this truth, revealed to me, which have caused me to become a firm believer in the sealing power of the temple because of the covenants we make with Christ:
“He is sealed to you”
“You are an eternal family.”
God ordained marriage in the first place. It is not good for man to be alone, nor for the woman either. Through a marriage covenant they grow ideally together, to be one in purpose and goals, and God willing, to have children.
These past two months so far, my wife and I have been teaching a marriage class at church, not that we are qualified, but the Bishop asked us to do this. We have been learning a lot, and so many of these lessons apply directly to us, even after 35 years of marriage, there is still much work to do.
Surely the Lord knew this would be the case.
Marriage is for growth. Marriage is to learn. Marriage helps a man become a better man, and a woman become a better woman, because through the process of learning to become selfless and put the interests and needs of your spouse before your own, you become Christlike. Yes, that's the ideal, and I am still learning and have a long way to go. That reality I think, helps me be a better and more approachable teacher on the topic. I can relate to the struggles that others have had in marriage and raising a family and children and finance, etc. etc. because this is something that goes with the territory.
STRUGGLES WILL HAPPEN.
It's important to realize this truth about the inevitability of struggles, because there will be times of ease where it seems like you have no problems. And then there will be times of trial, sorrow, and possibly pain. How we prepare for these sure things to come will determine if we can KEEP THE FAITH.
The Book of Mormon prophet Lehi taught about OPPOSITION in ALL THINGS and how it is an integral and even necessary part of life here on earth. It will happen to everyone! Opposition will come, trials will come. These challenges give us opportunities to grow, or an unfortunate choice to murmur, or worse. How we respond is what God is looking for. Lehi said:
2 Nephi 2:15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
And so we have this OPPOSITION which is built into the earth experience. No one can escape it, for our very weakness in body and eventual death demands we face opposition... even opposition in ALL things. A good attitude in marriage merely realizes that this is the way it is, life is hard, and marriage is work. But work can be fun and even enjoyable if we have the right attitude and believe in God. Our faith helps us and informs us of how we must behave and respond to the challenges. Our faith tells us by the Holy Ghost when we need to repent, say we are sorry, and what we must DO to help out. The Lord will tell us all things we need to do pertaining to our marriage. He will also tell us, if we ask him in our personal prayers, what we are doing wrong and how we need to apologize, say we are sorry, improve, and show more love. After we have hurt or offended someone, we need to fix that. And the one who was hurt needs to also forgive. Because of they don't the Lord has said
Doctrine and Covenants 64:9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him thegreater sin.
So we absolutely must forgive all trespasses against us. Marriage is not about holding grudges and being sullen, or aloof when things go wrong. It is about communication. Taking time out of your schedule to address the most important thing in your life: your marriage. More important than your job. More important than your house. If there is trouble in the relationship, there is need to immediately address it. Don't let it go even a day without striving to resolve it. Try hard. Make it work. Make it last. Show true love to our spouses because it is what Christ has instructed us to do. He revealed through his prophets:
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.
Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
By divine design, FATHERS are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.
MOTHERS are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. I
FATHERS and MOTHERS are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that shereverence her husband.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
Detractors of the Bible today, homosexual activists, use modern day societal norms to disparage the Law of Moses' prohibition of eating shellfish, and conflate the strangeness of that ancient law (strange by our modern day standards) with "strangeness" of prohibiting homosexuality today. The two are completely unrelated. Homosexuality was wrong BEFORE the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses merely instituted specific severe punishments for breaking of various commandments, including murder and adultery. These punishments were done away with the advent of Jesus Christ and His gospel taught in the meridian of time, fulfilling the Law of Moses. But the commandments remained.
The fact is, homosexuality or fornications have nothing to do with the eating of shellfish or abstaining from eating pork. The latter two were SPECIFIC to the Law of Moses, as an obedience rule given to them only by God, a law of sacrifices and rituals, but fulfilled with the coming of Jesus Christ and His gospel. It is well known that Jesus FULFILLED the Law of Moses. He was the great and last sacrifice. All other commandments, including marriage, remained in force, even until this day. These other commandments were not specific to the Law of Moses. Commandments such as marriage, specific to man and woman joining in union with one another. These commandments were eternal in nature. Commandments such as THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, for instance, is an eternal law and was in force with the teachings of Jesus Christ. And the commandment is to help strengthen MARRIAGE.
Those who argue that the Law of Moses specific commandments being fulfilled must mean that all other Old Testament commandments were also to be fulfilled, or be ignored because the Bible is somehow "inconsistent," neither understand that the Bible is MORE than just the Law of Moses part, or that marriage was given BEFORE the Law of Moses was given.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Marriage between Man and Woman started BEFORE Old Testament was written, and continues long AFTER the New Testament was written. In God's eyes, Marriage prevails.
Marriage was instituted by God BEFORE the Law of Moses*, was practiced IN the Law of Moses, and when the Law of Moses was fulfilled by Jesus Christ, marriage was STILL in force as a commandment of God and Adultery** was still SIN. Sexual relations outside of marriage ordained by God (between man and woman) is sin. Not love is love, but rather, sin is sin.
Marriage is not changing with the times, and shellfish has nothing to do with homosexuality, although gay marriage proponents conflate these things because they are both mentioned in the book of Leviticus, as a part of the teachings that Moses taught. Their "trick" is to conflate these and make a STRAW MAN that has no basis related to biblical teaching. Its a play on words, so to speak. Homosexuality was wrong long before Moses even came on the scene and this is because practicing homosexuality is contrary to the commandment of MARRIAGE that God gave to mankind long long before Moses was even born. Did not Abraham, who came before Moses, get commanded by God to leave Sodom and Gomorrah because of the wickedness of that city, which was destroyed by God, wickedness which also included the sin of homosexuality?
Genesis 19:55 And [the MEN] called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Genesis 19:77 And [Lot] said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Glossary of Terms:
*Law of Moses
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 2:2424 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.