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?
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.