Must I be sealed to my family to be a joint heir with Christ?

Must I be sealed to my family to be a joint heir with Christ?

Question

 

Hi Gramps,

Why are eternal families so important and how do they relate to being an heir of God’s kingdom? Do I need to be sealed to my parents, spouse, and children in order to be a joint-heir with Christ?

Perry

 

Answer

 

Dear Perry,

In short, yes.  Now let’s explore the revelations we have been given on this topic.  In the Proclamation on the Family we are taught:

“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.”

From this we understand that families are an essential part of Heavenly Father’s plan for our happiness.  Heavenly Father wants us to return to Him, and that would mean achieving celestial glory.  He has given us instruction on that in :  Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4

“In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;

 

“And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];

 

“And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

 

“He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.”

So in order to achieve the highest level of glory within the Celestial Kingdom we must be sealed in the temple.

The concept of becoming a joint heir with Christ is best explained through the prophet Joseph Smith and the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood.

“[You] shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 347).”

The Oath and Covenant of the priesthood specifies (Doctrine and Covenants 84: 36-38),

“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.”

Our Father in heaven is merciful and just.  For this reason, He has provided us every opportunity to partake of these blessings.  The Church now has 145 operating temples, and 14 more under construction.  As members we are encouraged to do the work for our dead, because Heavenly Father desires that all of His children will have the opportunity to return to Him.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

What if my personal revelation doesn’t match that of my husband’s?

What if my personal revelation doesn’t match that of my husband’s?

Question

 

Gramps,

My husband and I have been married for many years.  We have 5 children and I have felt for quite some time that we need to add to our family.  My husband does not feel the same.  I have prayed with much sincerity to know my Heavenly Father’s will and continue to have this feeling of another Spirit in our home.  Should I just forget about the impressions that I’ve had and drop the subject?

Angie

 

Answer

 

Dear Angie,

There are times in our lives when it is difficult to understand the mind and will of the Lord, and then to trust it.  You seem to be in one of those moments, you feel that the Spirit is nudging you to have another baby, and yet your husband doesn’t feel the same way.  The scriptures are full of stories of people asked to do difficult things which required them to trust the Lord and often to wait for His timing.

I assume you have already talked to your husband about this so my counsel is not to try and persuade him.  Take your concerns to the Lord.  Pour out your heart to him about how you feel prompted to have another child and your husband is not on board.  Then ask the Lord to change your husband’s heart, or yours as needed.  Be willing to trust the Lord’s timetable, like  Abraham and Sarah.  Though I don’t think He would literally make you wait that long…but possibly longer than you would hope.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

 

“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).

 

Gramps

 

What are local and ethnic traditions spoken of in Elder Lynn G. Robbin’s talk in General Conference?

What are local and ethnic traditions spoken of in Elder Lynn G. Robbin’s talk in General Conference?

Question

 

Gramps,

What is meant by statement in Lynn G. Robbin’s  Nov. 2014 Conference talk: “Some members don’t realize they are falling into the same snare when they lobby for acceptance of local or ethnic traditions of their fathers .  D&C 93: 39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.”  Do you know what are the local or ethnic traditions referred to in his talk?

Karen

 

Answer

 

Karen,

The full answer is that it could be almost anything. In short, any local or ethnic traditions that conflict with the Gospel of Jesus Christ would serve to prevent someone from receiving light and truth from Heavenly Father. One example from the scriptures that comes to mind would be the hatred of the Nephites by the Lamanites. Sure, Laman and Lemuel had their sibling rivalries with their younger brother, but why was that attitude continued?

One reason it happened is that we tend to look up to our parents as examples of how ‘grownups’ must behave. Thus as Laman and Lemuel had children, those children sought to exemplify what they saw in their parents. As each generation came into its own, the pattern repeats itself.  So a sibling rivalry becomes a family tradition. As the two groups of families grew even further apart, this tradition became an ethnic tradition as Lamanites vs. Nephites throughout much of the Book of Mormon. Indeed, that lone tradition was a key element in the destruction of the Nephites and a loss of blessings to both sides over the centuries.

What is interesting in this example is that on more than one occasion, both the Nephites and the Lamanites were able to ignore that tradition of hatred for a period of time. As they did so, the blessings immediately began to come into their lives. Indeed, after Christ visited them, there was over 200 years of peace among all the people. It was so successful, they didn’t even identify themselves as Nephites or Lamanites during that time.

That brings up an interesting point that needs to be considered, and that point is the use of labels. Christ would have us all be one in unity together. Any time we label ourselves, we are immediately dividing ourselves up. Now, differences exist to be sure, however using labels on ourselves and each other creates an opportunity for contention. Contention is, by its very nature, harmful to the Holy Ghost and its ability to remain with us. When the Holy Ghost cannot remain with us, the light and truth that he testifies of cannot be given to us, or remain with us for long.

Take a look at the world as it stands today. Many of the wars and other events going on have a basis in local and ethnic traditions. Imagine if they went away tomorrow, and what measure of peace would come to the world as a result.  Now, the key to this scripture is not found on the world stage. Rather it is given to us on an individual level. The reason is because the best place and time to prevent situations like the Lamanites vs. Nephites and similar problems is at the individual and family level. Thus the problem is prevented before it can gain momentum.

Speaking individually, ‘traditions of their fathers’ could range from drinking alcohol, thus conflicting with the Word of Wisdom, to any other aspect of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such as modesty, body piercings, tattoos, and so on.

Having said that, at no time has the Lord said that we are to abandon our familial and cultural heritage. There is a vast and rich diversity of culture in this world that is beautiful and good, wherever it may come from. We are only cautioned against those elements that would put our salvation and exaltation at risk. We cannot look at how the world is and imagine that this is how Heavenly Father wants us to live in the eternities. There is so much more in store for us that we don’t even know about, let alone the blessings to come that we have been given. It would be foolish to let anything stand in the way of our goal as found in the Celestial Kingdom. Only then will we be able to become all that Heavenly Father has wanted us to be.

Our coming here in the first place has been to take all the steps necessary to obtain that goal. We need to be careful in our examination of what traditions are good and what traditions are bad. A prayerful examination is always the best process to use in any effort to improve our lives in the manner Christ has given us. As we do so, we will have a better view of what treasures our ethnic fathers have given us, and what traditions we can safely let go of for the sake of our eternal progress after this life is done. May God be with you and guide you always

 

Gramps

 

 

Does being from the House of Jacob have precedence over Ephraim?

Does being from the House of Jacob have precedence over Ephraim?

Question

 

Gramps,

Hi. I want to know what the distinguishable factors, blessings and responsibilities are between being from the house of Ephraim and Joseph regarding patriarchal blessing Lineage?  Mainly Joseph I don’t understand. If Joseph was split into 2 tribes, being Ephraim and Manasseh, how is it that someone can be in a tribe that was split into 2? That already makes an aparant 13 tribes and with Joseph added that’s 14 tribes. Does being in the house of Joseph have precedence over Ephraim?

Aubrey

 

Answer

 

Dear Aubrey,

I sincerely thank you for giving me the opportunity to study this topic more fully. For those that are unaware, sometimes a person’s patriarchal blessing declares that person to be of the tribe of Joseph without specifying either Ephraim or Manasseh. Joseph is indeed a tribe separate from that of the others (including his prominent children).

When it comes to the blessings and duties of Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh, I can find little difference between the three. They are all heirs to the Abrahamic covenant through Joseph. I have previously compared the blessings of Ephraim and Manasseh, which I quote again here:

 “Like Ephraim’s descendants, the tribe of Manasseh is heir to all the blessings and obligations given to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. A study of those patriarchs will show that regardless of which tribe you fall in, your blessing is bounteous. Studying Manasseh specifically, you will find that he is often mentioned in company with his brother Ephraim. Even centuries later, he is still mentioned alongside his sibling. The latter-day duty of Manasseh is probably best described by Moses as he blessed the tribe of Joseph: ‘[Joseph’s] glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.’ (Deuteronomy 33:17, see 13-17).

Along with Ephraim, Manasseh is responsible to gather the other tribes. Ephraim is to head up this great work, but Manasseh is to roll up his sleeves and be there at his side. As Manasseh does this, he will reap the blessing of the patriarchs with visible results. This grand outpouring of bounty is a sign of the times. The children of Lehi (a famous Manassehite) will prosper as proof that the Lord is speeding His coming. ‘But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose’ (D&C 49:24).”

 

Joseph is well-known as one of the 12 sons of Israel. This number became a symbol of God’s power, government, or priesthood, and so we find biblical authors going to great lengths to preserve it. We start with Israel himself blessing Joseph’s sons: “And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” (Genesis 48:5). Simeon and Reuben were cut out of the original 12 on account of their transgressions (see Gen. 35:22 and Gen. 34:25-26) and Joseph’s sons took their place. Generations later, when Moses gave his great farewell blessing to the tribes, he lists the original 12, complete with Reuben and Simeon. Even Joseph is there, but Ephraim and Manasseh are absent (Deuteronomy 27:11-13). When blessing the tribes individually, Moses plays a funny grouping game. He once again includes Reuben. He also includes Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh, but he groups all three together in a single blessing. He does the same with Zebulun and Issachar. Simeon is again dropped, yielding an even 10 blessings (Deut 33). When it came to land inheritance, Reuben and Simeon are restored as tribes, with Ephraim and Manasseh standing in for Joseph. The nice, round number 12 is preserved because Levi is set apart for a special ministry, so they were excluded from the 12 for a holy purpose (see Joshua 13-14). Finally, the list of 12 reemerges in the book of Revelation. In this case, we again have Reuben and Simeon. Manasseh is even present, as is Joseph, although Ephraim is absent (he is either represented through Joseph as the birthright son, or is missing for an undisclosed reason). Also absent is Dan, bring our number to a nice, even 12 (Revelation 7:4-8).

The moral of these stories, from my point of view, is best illustrated in an exchange the Savior had with the Jewish leadership. “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. … Ye do the deeds of your father. … Ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:39-44). A person may be an heir to the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by birth or by patriarchal blessing, but the divine probate does not perform DNA tests. If an heir wishes to claim the blessings, that person must live the lives of the patriarchs. Failure to do so may leave that person cut off, as sometimes was Reuben, Simeon, or Dan. But thank God for repentance and His mercy! For walking uprightly in his or her covenants, regardless of unrighteous parents, will draw down on a person the full blessings promised by this lineage, as in the cases of Reuben and Simeon.

 

Gramps

 

 

Should I stay home with my child or go to work?

Should I stay home with my child or go to work?

Question

Hello Gramps!

I would really appreciate your insight. I stay home with my 2-year-old daughter.  My family of 4 lives with my aunt.  We have quite a bit of debt and cannot afford a home of our own along with all of our debt payments.  My husband will be starting a new job soon.  He will work four 10-hour days and be home three weekdays.  My aunt is retiring and will also be home.  I love being home with my daughter, but should I go to work since they will be home to care for her?

Thank you!

MormonMama

 

Answer

Hi MormonMama,

Your question contrasts two important responsibilities we have: To care for our children at home and to see to their physical and financial needs.

On one hand, according to The Family: A Proclamation to the World, your place as mother — your primary duty and privilege — is to see to the nurture of your daughter. Others who love your daughter may fill this role, but no one can take your place.

On the other hand, you need a place to live, food to eat, and clothing to wear. Providing this is primarily your husband’s duty and privilege. But if the husband and father cannot provide alone, the Proclamation makes it clear that parents — not only fathers — are charged with providing for the physical needs of their children. In our world today, we see many instances of mothers having to work outside the home to help provide for their children’s needs. In a perfect world, this would not happen; sadly, we do not yet live in a perfect world.

Your daughter’s well-being should be the highest priority for your husband and yourself, ahead of all other concerns except perhaps your marriage itself. It should ultimately be the deciding factor in your choice. Deciding what is truly in her best interest may not be easy. Does your daughter seeing her mother take responsibility for the family’s financial situation and help her father pay the bills outweigh having your influence there on a constant basis? And if you were working only when your husband and/or aunt were at home, spending the rest of the time home with your daughter, might that be sufficient for her needs while still allowing you to help pull the financial load?

I cannot tell you which choice you should make. My bias is always toward the mother staying at home to rear her children, but I am in no position to tell you what ought to be done in your case. You must counsel with your husband and take this in prayer to your Father in Heaven. Consider your options carefully. Make your choice according to your best information, and then seek to find the heavenly confirmation to tell you that God approves.

 

Gramps

 

What do the scriptures or prophets say about leaving inheritance to children?

What do the scriptures or prophets say about leaving inheritance to children?

Question

Dear Gramps.

What do the scriptures and prophets say about parents leaving inheritance to their children? We had a meeting with my siblings discussing dividing the properties that our late father left us. Some are opposed to  individual ownership and that all properties (land and houses) should be managed collectively because it would be unequal and unfair. I personally believe/prefer private property and personal responsibility. But if it can’t be divided, nothing but ruin will happen.

Radinika

 

Answer

Dear Radinika,

The safest course for me to take (and I have before in the past) is to follow the example of the Savior when placed in a similar position:

And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:13-15).

First and foremost, regardless of the scriptures and opinions I share, such family issues are best handled with a family council. It sounds like you’ve taken the first steps and had some initial discussions, but you haven’t arrived at a solution. Well that’s the nature of councils! Lots of discussion happens and then it can become a revelatory experience. With respect to inheritance specifically, I turned to the book of wisdom (Proverbs) and found the following:

“An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed” (Prov. 20:21).

I’m reading that you and your family need to exercise patience in determining a course to pursue. The heirs didn’t have these properties and funds in their name a month ago, so they can continue planning for themselves financially without it for the moment.

The concern about things being “fair” is perfectly understandable, but comes with a caveat. Knowing that at times an inheritance may “not be blessed”, because it may be used for unscrupulous or distasteful activities, the sage states

“A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren” (Prov. 17:2).

Simply put, not all heirs have to be heirs. The testator gets the privilege of deciding who gets what, and if an heir is not living up to the standards. In this case, the testator did not specify what should be done with the estate. Take this as a lesson to set your own affairs in order! Have a clear, written plan on the disbursement of whatever wealth you have. Specify what is to happen with any minors still under your care. I’ve even heard of some people going over these details while everyone is still alive to get the drama out of the way while no one is grieving.

With these lessons learned, let’s return back to the family council with the wisdom of Jesus. “[A] man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” The relationships you have with the people in that council are more important than the estate or even what happens to it. Keep that perspective in mind as you discuss whether to split it up or keep it together. It sounds like this is actually where your concerns are coming from. I would frame it that way in the discussion. “I really like you guys. I like spending time with you and visiting with you. I love you even though we don’t agree on everything. That’s why I’m concerned about pooling the estate together. You’ve seen how potentially divisive this one-time choice can be. Can you imagine reconvening every quarter? I value our relationship as family too much to be a part of this.”

Now there’s one more chapter I’d like to share with you that may have dubious utility to you, but I came across it and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Moses laid out some funny laws about inheritance (Leviticus 25). He divided up Israel according to tribe, and each tribe further divided the land according to the families in it. That land was always to remain in the family (much like the inheritance you’re discussing). To ensure that no outside tribe or foreigner reduced the size of the territory through aggressive purchasing, the land could not be sold. It was instead leased out, always to be returned in the Jubilee year (which occurred every 50 years). What’s more (and this may have some relevance to your family discussions), the next of kin always retained the right to buy the land back, even before the Jubilee.This way, if a landowner fell on hard times, he could sell the land and still keep it in the family. Or, if the landowner simply didn’t want to be a landlord, this option was available for the next of kin (“redeemer”) to lay claim to the land and keep it in the family.

Gramps

Didn’t the Lord specifically dictate women’s role in the home?

Didn’t the Lord specifically dictate women’s role in the home?

Question

Good day brother Gramps,

I just read the reply you gave to Carmen. On one one you write, “Carmen What we do with our lives, so long as it is legal and morally sound, is pretty much up to us to decide. I can’t recall the Lord ever dictating specifics on this.” Yet, you give this response, “President Ezra Taft Benson had this to say: “Sometimes the mother works outside of the home at the encouragement, or even insistence, of her husband. It is he who wants the items or conveniences that the extra income can buy. Not only will the family suffer in such instances, brethren, but your own spiritual growth and progression will be hampered. I say to all of you, the Lord has charged men with the responsibility to provide for their families in such a way that the wife is allowed to fulfill her role as mother in the home.” If it’s out of the mouth if a prophet, it is from the Lord, therefore, He did dictate specifics on this topic.

Liz

 

Answer

Liz,

I agree with what President Benson has said, and I apologize for not being more clear with my previous answer. However I stand by my answer as it is written. In support of my statement, President Gordon B. Hinckley had this to say, in direct reference to the quote of President Ezra T. Benson in your question. It comes from his comments during the October Conference in 1996. The talk is called “Women of the Church

Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.

Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women (it has become very many in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.

Now, please be assured that I agree with your position as well. What I might have said in order to be further clear on this matter could be this; Heavenly Father has always had specific things he wanted us to do as parents raising children in this life. At the same time, he knew from the start that it would be impossible for us to completely fulfill those roles perfectly. Because of this fact, there are families where both spouses must work to provide for their family. There are yet others where the husband cannot work, or cannot provide for the family as well as the wife can. And yes, there are families where the husband provides adequately for the family, and the wife is thus able to stay home and be a full-time mother to her children.

Unsuprisingly, our modern apostles have spoken on this very thing. The Proclamation on the Family phrases it thusly: “. . . circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.” The Lord has not attempted to impose a mandatory one-size-fits-all solution over the Church at large; rather, He expects each person to counsel with Him and seek His will as it applies to that person’s specific situation. And that is the key. Because our General Authorities are speaking generally, to a world-wide Church, across different cultures, and even different periods of time, you will find principles being espoused that appear contradictory. For instance, the same Christ that commanded an unconditional love (“love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:39)) also commanded the exercise of conditional love (“love one another, as I have loved you…. [and as a demonstration of the conditional nature of Christ’s love] “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:12, 14)). Elder Oaks addresses the reality of this contradiction head on:

If parents have a wayward child—such as a teenager indulging in alcohol or drugs—they face a serious question. Does parental love require that these substances or their consumption be allowed in the home, or do the requirements of civil law or the seriousness of the conduct or the interests of other children in the home require that this be forbidden?

To pose an even more serious question, if an adult child is living in cohabitation, does the seriousness of sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage require that this child feel the full weight of family disapproval by being excluded from any family contacts, or does parental love require that the fact of cohabitation be ignored? I have seen both of these extremes, and I believe that both are inappropriate.

Where do parents draw the line? That is a matter for parental wisdom, guided by the inspiration of the Lord. There is no area of parental action that is more needful of heavenly guidance or more likely to receive it than the decisions of parents in raising their children and governing their families. This is the work of eternity. (Law and Love, October 2009 General Conference).

Since parents have been tasked with the work of eternity they will find wisdom in the words of the living oracles, and clarity and direction from the Wonderful Counselor.

Gramps 

How do I handle a granddaughter I think might be stealing from me?

How do I handle a granddaughter I think might be stealing from me?

Question

Gramps,

My granddaughter has stolen a considerable amount of money from me. I can’t prove it but I am sure she did. I asked her about it. Her comment was “how can you accuse your own granddaughter?”  I don’t know what to do at this point. Can you help me to know what to do please? Thank you

 Sam

 

Answer

Sam,

You will know your granddaughter better then I would.  So you would be better qualified in knowing what you should do about it.

If it was my granddaughter I would first of all note that according to your message she evaded the question. That is not a good sign.  Then I would ask if I could prove that she is the thief.  In your case you say you can’t which means as much as you would like to deal with her thieving directly, you’d be on shaky ground if you did.  Because there is always the possibly that there was a mistake made somewhere.

So I’d work with what I knew.  Money has gone missing so I would need to find a more secure way of handling my money. I see this as common sense really.  By doing so I remove the possibility of future temptation or misunderstandings.

As for my granddaughter, I would love her.  I would also realize that she is more important than the money, and that youth (and even adults) make poor choices at times.  It’s very possible that in some way she justified her actions.  So as much as I would like to have a direct discussion about it, she would most likely not be ready or willing to face what she did, and I would need to be patient in working with her on the issue.

Gramps

Why are some children born into privilege and others into misery?

Why are some children born into privilege and others into misery?

Question

Gramps,

Is there a reason that some souls are chosen to be raised in affluent homes that can afford a high-level education and to parents that genuinely care about the child, and some into poverty, abuse, and suffering from the moment they exit the womb? Why are some children naturally smarter than others – why are some child prodigies, and some mentally disabled?

Jeremy

 

 

Answer

Dear Jeremy,

I should start with a story. I once worked with a building contractor whose wife was a member of the church. As we discussed this on occasion, he would tell me about attending church with his wife for special events. He was supportive of her worship, but not interested in membership. At one point in our work relationship, when things did not go well in a particular negotiation, he seemed to be taking the bad news I delivered in stride. I commented on the maturity of his acceptance of the bad news. He told me, “you know, whenever things like this happen, I ask myself, ‘will this matter to me in five or ten years?’ If the answer is no, I don’t get too worked up over it.” I asked if he had ever considered what it would mean to him in 100 years. He look at me a bit puzzled and said, “no.” I told him that when he did, he would get baptized. We had a good laugh over that, but what I said, I meant.

So I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that I do not have any definitive answers for you, especially when it comes to connections between our choices, activity and faith in the pre-mortal world and this world. The bucket of things we don’t know is fuller than the bucket of things we do know. Though we cannot make assumptions about any given person or situation, Alma 13:3 makes it clear, that for some, there is certainly a connection.

“And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.”

Some patriarchal blessings indicate that some people chose the family they were born into or were given a particular family due to faithfulness in the pre-mortal world. This does not give license for us to make assumptions about any given person and their situation in life.

The good news is that what happened in the pre-mortal world is of little importance compared to what happens here and now in preparation for what comes after. Doctrine and Covenants 83:3 is clear that,

3 For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.

The inverse is also true, ‘Unto whom little is given, less is required and he who is righteous with the lesser light shall receive greater exaltation.’ The parable of the talents comes to mind. The only rebuke given in the parable was given to the person who buried their talents instead of using them. Enough is given to everyone to receive every eternal blessing available.

Elder Boyd K Packer, as part of a CES Broadcast, The Plan and the Play, described life as a three-act play. We find ourselves in the middle act without recollection of much of anything in Act 1. This makes life more difficult, of course. He said,

Though it may seem unfair and even hurtful that some are born into privilege, and others into abuse, poverty and suffering, a longer perspective and trust in the plan of redemption, including perfect justice and mercy, are quite soothing.

“Until you have a broad perspective of the eternal nature of this great drama, you won’t make much sense out of the inequities in life. Some are born with so little and others with so much, some in poverty, with handicaps, with pain, with suffering, premature death even of innocent children. There are the brutal, unforgiving forces of nature and the brutality of man to man. We’ve seen a lot of that recently. Do not suppose that God willfully causes that, which for His own purposes, He permits. When you know the plan and purpose of it all, even these things will manifest a loving Father in Heaven.”

I recommend you read the entire talk.

 

Gramps

If a woman can’t bear a child in mortal life, will she during the millenium?

If a woman can’t bear a child in mortal life, will she during the millenium?

Question

 

Gramps,

If a woman is not blessed with the opportunity to bear children in this life, will she have the opportunity to bear children in the ,mllennium (if she is united in marriage)?

Dennis

Answer

 

Dear Dennis,

Earlier this year, as I was reading about the wives of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), I noticed something remarkably peculiar. These men were promised posterity as numerous as the stars of the heaven, and as plentiful as the sand on the shore. Their wives were every bit their matriarchal equals in this promise. These promises are renewed and extended in our day to worthy husbands and wives in holy temples.

Now get out some pen and paper so we can tally up multitudes of children these righteous women had. Sarah gave birth to Isaac and…. huh, that’s it. Rebekah gave birth only once, but she got 2 kids out of it (“thousands of millions” is starting to sound like an exaggeration). That’s ok though. In the next generation we have the twelve tribes of Israel, so Rachel has clearly fulfilled the prophecy with… 2 sons. This is not the trip to the beach nor the starry sky I imagined.

I have known some women who have heard these promises and sorrowed that they were given physical limitations preventing the fulfillment. I hope they can take some comfort knowing that the women we associate with these blessings felt the same sorrows. Rebekah struggled to have her two children while her sister popped out another baby every time her husband winked at her. Such comparisons are dangerous (even if understandable), because they lead the believer to doubt the promised blessings. It would be better to look to the matriarchs who experienced similar trials but were blessed triumphantly for their faithfulness.

The promise of seed is one that has two fulfillments in this life. For the literal application, we often have to wait several generations to see it at work. For a more spiritual application, we turn again to the Abrahamic covenant. “As many as receive this Gospel shall be … accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father” (Abraham 2:10). Sarah and Abraham received seed through gospel ministries. When they moved from country to country, they took with them “the souls that [they] had won” (Abraham 2:15). We see this playing out in our day as well when we listen to converts speak fondly of the missionaries who brought them into the Church. They hold in their hearts a powerful, familial-like bond for the families that introduced them to the gospel, or who stood at the crossroads of life and guided them down the right path.

For the barren woman in this life, she can hold out hope that she will be another Sarah, whose womb was miraculously quickened. Or she can embrace the hope shared in an apostle’s testimony:

“We know that many worthy and wonderful Latter-day Saints currently lack the ideal opportunities and essential requirements for their progress. Singleness, childlessness, death, and divorce frustrate ideals and postpone the fulfillment of promised blessings. … But these frustrations are only temporary. The Lord has promised that in the eternities no blessing will be denied his sons and daughters who keep the commandments, are true to their covenants, and desire what is right.

“Many of the most important deprivations of mortality will be set right in the Millennium, which is the time for fulfilling all that is incomplete in the great plan of happiness for all of our Father’s worthy children. We know that will be true of temple ordinances. I believe it will also be true of family relationships and experiences” (Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 101; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 75).

For these women, the literal fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise lies in the eternities, where they can have “an increase” free of mortal privations. They will find themselves surrounded by their children in the faith who remain grateful for the nourishing watchcare that brought the prodigals home. “How great shall be [her] joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15, emphasis mine). In that day, they will understand the personal fruition of Isaiah’s hymn:

“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord” (Isa. 54:1).

Gramps

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