The Divine Nature And Destiny Of Families


On more than one occasion I have posed this question to a class of students, “Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to come from a loving home with a father and mother who are married and love each other and love you?” The response is always the same. Silence! Not a hand goes up, nor does anyone look like they have been inclined to vote so. I have only posed this question to students in seminary, Sunday School, and other affiliated church sponsored classes so you might think that the question I asked was to a loaded audience. You would be partially right but the students I have taught in this area over the years have been from very diverse backgrounds. Most have been members of the church, but plenty have come from single parent homes or have come from backgrounds that teach differently. Some have had their “own” children out-of-wedlock or are contemplating doing so. But this question is one that seems to catch many off guard. I can see in their faces a moment of reflection. And in that moment I recognize that they feel, as we all do, that coming from that kind of home would give you secure and loving feelings. It would be wonderful if all were so blessed! Some come from such homes, but increasingly, many do not. I believe it is a God-given need to belong to a unit called a “family” because it is after the pattern of God. Our desire to belong to a family is from God Himself. (Book of Genesis)

The world often tries to form or mimic bonds inherent to families through man-made organizations. Clubs, gangs, teams, colleges, countries, even those with a common belief system called churches can be formed to imitate or counterfeit the true order of “families”. The need to be “loved” is a primary need of everyone and the “family” unit is the Godly manner in which it is primarily fulfilled. When all have deserted, it is family members who seem to stand-alone in sustaining and supporting its members. I am just one of many who share grave concerns regarding the attack on and breakdown of the family as defined by God through the holy scriptures.  A modern prophet said:

“We are building and maintaining more prisons than we can afford. The costs are enormous, almost beyond comprehension.

In an alarming percentage of the cases of those who are warehoused in these facilities, there will be found in their background a broken home where a father abandoned his family and a mother struggled in vain to handle the overpowering odds against her. Why all of these broken homes? What happens to marriages that begin with sincere love and a desire to be loyal and faithful and true one to another?

There is no simple answer. I acknowledge that. But it appears to me that there are some obvious reasons that account for a very high percentage of these problems. I say this out of experience in dealing with such tragedies. I find selfishness to be the root cause of most of it. I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.

Selfishness so often is the basis of money problems, which are a very serious and real factor affecting the stability of family life. Selfishness is at the root of adultery, the breaking of solemn and sacred covenants to satisfy selfish lust. Selfishness is the antithesis of love. It is a cankering expression of greed. It destroys self-discipline. It obliterates loyalty. It tears up sacred covenants. It afflicts both men and women.Too many who come to marriage have been coddled and spoiled and somehow led to feel that everything must be precisely right at all times, that life is a series of entertainments, that appetites are to be satisfied without regard to principle. How tragic the consequences of such hollow and unreasonable thinking!” ( Gordon B. Hinckley, “What God Hath Joined Together,” Ensign, May 1991, 71).

Lucifer is trying with all his might to “counterfeit” the true nature of families. He can do that in many ways through the bonds of gangs, clubs, belief systems etc… I certainly don’t know the answers to all mankind’s great questions. Yet, I don’t’ have to hold a PhD in the social sciences to understand the basic order of life. When a man and a woman marry, and then honor and love each other and in unselfish love they rear children,  they are mimicking the nature of Godliness.  The God-given bonds of family are so evident in daily living that when some question its divine nature, I don’t know how to respond. It’s like tying to explain the nature of sunlight. I can’t explain it, but it’s all around, ever-present and life-giving. To deny its importance is to deny the existence of life itself. The family, as defined by the prophets, is the way of the Lord and no amount of social or political pressure will ever change its divine nature and destiny!


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