Thursday, September 30, 2010

Family Rules

"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." - Articles of Faith, number 1

Since God is our Father then everyone else is a brother or a sister, and we're a huge family. Right? As a young dad trying to manage a small family of four, along with Jess, I can't even imagine what it must be like trying to manage such a large family.

Jess and I were talking about this the other night, and I surmised that a family can only successfully scale to that order of magnitude with some very good and effective family rules in place. There would have to be strong family traditions to hold the group together. The parents would have to stick to those rules perfectly so as to be utterly predictable. They'd also have to do a lot to make sure those family rules were known and understood by the kids, so they could both know how to predict correctly what mom and dad would do and know how they should act to find joy in the family.

Well, the revelation of those rules is essentially the gospel. Here are two great modern-day scriptures that relate to this:
Moses 5: 58-59
58 And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.
59 And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof; and thus it was. Amen.
Doctrine and Covenants 29: 42-43
42 But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.
43 And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation -- that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;

Well, this is just a thought i've been having lately, again as a young dad who does a lot of explaining family rules to a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. If these angels would have presented the gospel in terms of family rules, what would those rules have been? What are the things that our Heavenly Father values?

I asked Jess this question te other night as we were going to bed. It was a neat conversation. We came up with a few things right off the bat, but I'm sure you might have some additional ideas. Please share them in the comments!


  1. The first one I said was, “in this family we are free to act for ourselves.” Agency is a huge family value. The rule might read: "no one may force anyone else to do anything."

    Another one we came up with was obedience. The rule: "Our family is governed by eternal laws. If you keep them you will be blessed, if you do not keep them you have no promise."

  2. Another one might be the value of sacrificing for one another: "we will not leave anyone behind. If someone in this family is suffering, each family member is expected to try to help them as much as possible."

  3. I don't exactly know how to phrase this one, but I think our family really values equality. There are tons of scriptures that say that God is "no respecter of persons," meaning he deals the same with everyone (utterly predictable). The rule might read, "no one has more potential in this family than anyone else in the family." We all are alike unto God.

    Check out this great verse: Doctrine and Covenants 38: 22-27
    22 Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?
    23 But, verily I say unto you, teach one another according to the office wherewith I have appointed you;
    24 And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practise virtue and holiness before me.
    25 And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
    26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there -- and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
    27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

  4. Ok, one more from me, then I got to get ready for work.

    Individuality. This one goes along with agency, but I'm highlighting a different aspect of it here. What I mean is, although we very highly alue equality, we don't believe we all have to be identical in traits and skills and personality. This might be laid down as more a fact than as a rule, but it's a helpful fact to remember in light of the family rules: "everyone is unique."

    My personal application of this fact is, "I can learn something from everyone - there is something emulateable in each."

    The second paragraph of "The Family: A Proclamtion to the World" Sheds light on this one:
    "All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

  5. It seems like you are evolving a family mission statement.