Monday, March 9, 2009

Reflections on Forever

I know I've been writing about the temple a lot, but it's been on my mind a lot. This is actually a paper that I wrote for my missionary preparation class. I sort of forgot about it until this morning, but this idea for a post has been floating around in my head all weekend, so it wasn't too hard to turn into a paper.

Families Can Be Together Forever

One of the first songs we learn as children in Primary is “Families Can Be Together Forever.” We grow up with this beautiful knowledge planted deep within us, never needing to wonder if we will see our loved ones after death. Through the blessings and ordinances of the covenants made in the temple, we can be sealed to our spouse for time and all eternity. There is no disclaimer of “’til death do you part.” This simple truth about the eternal nature of marriage and families sets The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart.

In Matthew 18:18 it says, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” By being obedient to the covenants we make, we can guarantee ourselves a place in the celestial kingdom with the one we love by our side. The doctrine of eternal families is crucial to the teachings of the Gospel and has been since the beginning of time with Adam and Eve.

The LDS Church invests a great deal of time and money into the construction of temples. These beautiful structures now dot the globe. Why put so much into building temples? The ordinances and covenants made within the temple are key to our religion. It is within the walls of the temple that we can learn the answers to “the terrible why questions” as my dad, a convert to the LDS Faith, likes to call them. We are taught about our origin before this mortal life, our purpose on this earth, our relationship to God, and the life to come. In an article entitled, “Why These Temples?” Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Parents are partners with God in bringing to pass his eternal purposes with reference to his children. The family, therefore, is a divine institution, the most important both in mortality and in eternity.” Families play a crucial role in the Gospel; the importance of families was emphasized in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” as well as countless addresses given by leaders of the LDS Church.

The Sealing Room in the Draper Temple.

This past week I was able to attend the Draper Temple open-house, once with my parents and later with my fabulous friend, Samanta. Both experiences were wonderful; I felt enfolded in a sense of peace and pure joy. While visiting the temple with my parents, I felt a strong reaffirmation of the knowledge that our families can be together for eternity. This year has been tough on my family. My dad, who has been battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for years suffered his second relapse in October. Although we have been incredibly blessed and comforted, treatments have not been as successful as we had hoped and we have had to face the idea of our family being separated in this life. Standing in the sealing room with my mom and dad beside me, I looked into the mirrors and saw our little family reflected for eternity. I felt a feeling of comfort as I looked at our smiling reflection and knew that no matter what trials we face in the coming months, we are sealed to each other for time and all eternity. The bonds between us cannot be broken by time or death. They are the result of an enduring holy covenant that has been ordained by God.

I am so grateful for the knowledge of the eternal nature of families. Like it says in the Primary song, I know that families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan. In Ecclesiastes 3:14 it says, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it.” The beauty of the temple itself only serves to highlight the beautiful simplicity and truth of this doctrine. We do not promise to be true and faithful until the end of this life; we promise for eternity. Like the reflection in the mirror, my family will continue to stand together forever, in this life as well as into the next.


Shankar said...

Very nicely written. The doctrine of eternal families, and particularly redeeming the dead, played a significant role in my own conversion the gospel.

martha said...

it's beautiful, isn't it?

Kristen said...

I love your faith. It strengthens mine. I'll keep praying for your family! I love you guys!