I have a non-member friend who is interested in hearing about eternal families. How would you explain this doctrine to a friend?
We don’t have a lot of knowledge, revealed word of God, that specifically explains how this will look; although, if your friend who isn’t a member is open to reading scriptures with you then share the scriptures that highlight what it may look like.
Let’s talk about this verse of scripture (as its the only one I know that specifically says something about interactions in the afterlife), Doctrine and Covenants 130:2,
“2 And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.”
This verses specifies that the same “sociality” existing here will exist there. If we look at families now how do they interact? I currently live in one state and my siblings live in another state. We are still family although we are miles apart. We still talk with each. We still visit with each other, but most of my time is doing my work, and most of their time is doing their work. It seems like this will be the same thing with our eternal families. We will be able to visit each, minister to each other, and yet the majority of the time we will be doing our own work — whatever that is.
My wife will still be with me in one of the many mansions in heaven — whatever that means. We’ll know what it means when we get there. BUT, I’ll still be living with my wife, and my brothers and sisters will be living with their spouses.
Keep it simple to what we know. How are families in this life, and it won’t be much different in the next except with eternal glory (and we will no longer be tempted by Satan). We will enjoy a peace like we have never experienced before. Here are some extra study helps/materials that will help answer the question your friend has: Family and Marriage.