The family is the central unit of the Mormon Church. It is designed to act as the unit of society both in heaven and on earth. The family is central to the plan of our Heavenly Father. It has been His design from the beginning that a man and woman marry and bring children into the world. He told Adam in the Garden of Eden, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh," 1 and commanded them to "multiply and replenish the earth." 2
To Mormons marriage is considered a sacred covenant. When performed within a Mormon temple the marriage is promised to last for not only this life but for all eternity. Any children that are born under this eternal marriage "covenant" are also sealed to their parents after death. Because of this belief that families are forever Mormons place a great emphasis upon the family.
The Church teaches that in a Mormon family, "Husband and wife have a solemn obligation to love and care for each other and for their children." 3 Fathers are to primarily provide for the material needs of the family, while mothers nurture their children. Fathers and mothers work together as equal partners to teach and raise their children.
Parents are under sacred obligation to teach their children the doctrines of the Church. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches, "As parents have children… and teach them not to understand the doctrine… the sin be upon the heads of the parents."4 Members believe that a gospel-centered home is the place where children are best taught. President Joseph F. Smith said, "Do not let your children out to specialists, but teach them by your own precept and example, by your own fireside. Be a specialist yourself in the truth. Not one child in a hundred would go astray, if the home environment, example and training, were in harmony with the truth in the gospel of Christ, as revealed and taught to the Latter-day Saints."5
Because teaching the gospel is so important the Mormon Church has set aside every Monday night for Family Home Evening. During these evenings gospel principles are taught and family bonds are strengthened. Members are promised that "regular participation in family home evening will develop increased personal worth, family unity, love for our fellowmen, and trust in our Father in heaven." 6 Members are also taught to have family prayer both morning and night and to read the scriptures together as a family every day.
Having an eternal family, one that will last forever, is the ultimate goal of every Mormon family.
(1) Genesis 1:24
(2) Moses 2:28
(3) First Presidency of the
(4) Doctrine and Covenants 68:25
(5) Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939), p. 302
(6) Family Home Evening Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976), p. 3.