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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Eternal Families? » Eternal Families?

Eternal Families?

Don - May 5, 2008

We talk about eternal families a lot. The church certainly places this concept as an important doctrine. But…should we really be concerned about not being an eternal family?

If I understand correctly those that are assigned the Celestial Kingdom can visit lower kingdoms.

So here’s how I see it. If every member of the family makes it to the Celestial Kingdom then obviously no problem. What if some of the family make it to the Celestial Kingdom and some go to the Terrestrial Kingdom? The ones in the Terrestrial get to associate with each other and then they can be visited by those from the Celestial….sounds like a family to me.

What if they all are in the Terrestrial? They get to associate with each other…sounds like a family to me.

Ok, Ok I know that visiting really doesn’t count as a family, but I really don’t veiw a “family” unit as all living in the same house/place in the Celestial Kingdon anyway. Give me a break! Do I really expect that my children and their children etc etc will all be living with me (if I make it)? So there will be visiting going on in the Celestial Kingdon.

So what really is the difference if I visit them, or they visit me in a different kingdom? Sure some will be Celestial some will not, but does that decrease the love felt, does it decrease the association? Does it make it not a family?

It appears to me that Families are forever, maybe just not in the same kingdom.

(I’m not talking here about Mom going to the Celestial Kingdom and Dad going to “hell”….although mom may still want to visit dad, but that’s a whole different post)

20 Comments »

  1. My only thought is this: If it didn’t matter, than the Church probably wouldn’t stress it so much. Nor the work for the dead.

    Besides, if we’re all creating worlds and spirits in the Celestial Kingdom, do you think we’ll have time to visit the other kingdoms? I doubt Heavenly Father has time to go trompin’ around visiting his relatives in the “lower” kingdoms… ;)

    Comment by cheryl — May 5, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  2. I take sealing to be something different than being bound together with duc tape for all eternity. The sealing is by bonds of love that happen only to those who have developed a godly measure of charity through their faithfulness. Without that sealing, there is no thing that can bind people together for all time, nothing to keep us drifting apart … as people and even families do.

    ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — May 5, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  3. I think what we tend to forget is that we are ALL family. No matter what, some loved ones won’t “make it”. That is partly why a third of the hosts of heaven left. The rest of us were willing to pay the price of guaranteed togetherness for agency.

    Comment by SilverRain — May 5, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  4. Cheryl,

    If God doesn’t have “time to go trompin’ around visiting his relatives in the “lower” kingdoms”, doe He have time to tromp around in His Celestial Kingdom to visit His family?

    Comment by don — May 5, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

  5. Thomas,

    Then only those who are “sealed” have charity enough to be bound together as families? So we are only bound together if both people have Celestial charity? The lower kingdom person just doesn’t care about family or those whom they loved on earth…they drift away and forget about them?

    I guess I understand that the “sealing” is important but I have a hard time understanding that a Celestial person wouldn’t want to visit family in a lower kingdom….are they just going to “kiss them off”….too bad for you.

    Comment by don — May 5, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

  6. Poacher

    (I kid… I kid…)

    Comment by Geoff J — May 5, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  7. Don,

    I imagine that we continue to care about them as deeply as ever. I currently have a son who doesn’t want much to do with me. I still love him as much as I ever did, and would love to have him here with me every day. But, he is not anxious to see me, and actually will do things to avoid it.

    I think SilerRain is right, as usual. Sometimes, things don’t work out.

    ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — May 5, 2008 @ 6:34 pm

  8. Don-
    I said that tongue-in-cheek, because really? I don’t dare assume what God is doing in His realms of Glory. Personally, it’s none of my business. My business is to get myself there to be with Him. And teach my children how to do the same. I guess I’m just not worried about the rest of it. It’s okay that your curious, though. No worries. I’m just…not…I guess…

    Comment by cheryl — May 5, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  9. Geoff,

    I’m sorry, I should read “New Cool Thang” more regularly!

    Good comments there too!

    Comment by Don — May 5, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

  10. Celestial glory entails being made one with the Father via Jesus Christ. You share in His divine nature, you indwell within Him and He in you in perfect love and harmony. This is then extended throughout the rest of those in the Celestial kingdom – including wife and children (and ancestors).

    That relationship is impossible with those in lesser glories. They have rejected such unity and cannot be included.

    Whether you get to walk down a few flights of steps to level B or not is kind of irrelevant. It is that indwelling unity of love that is lost.

    Comment by Seth R. — May 6, 2008 @ 8:35 am

  11. I think this points out a misconception Mormons have about the Evangelical view of the afterlife. When asked “don’t you want to be with your family forever” Mormons are posing a dilemma that isn’t a question for Evangelicals.

    We feel we will be family with everyone in the here after. Our time won’t be spent with just our family but the entire family of God. So of course we’ll be with our family, and Michelangelo, and Aquinas, and Billy Graham, and etc. . . .

    Comment by Tim — May 6, 2008 @ 9:25 am

  12. Yes Tim, but you have to admit we’re a bit more symbolically explicit about that relationship.

    Comment by Seth R. — May 6, 2008 @ 9:53 am

  13. Well, you’re not symbollically explicit at all. You’re literalist. True?

    Comment by Tim — May 6, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  14. I personally deal with this conundrum by denying the antecedent. I don’t think the Celestial Kingdom, Terrestrial Kingdom, or Telestial Kingdom are geographic locations; but rather states of being. See, for example, D&C 88:37-38 and 1 Corinthians 15:40, noting especially the designation of “celestial bodies.

    I will shortly have a juris doctor degree. My brother has a bachelor’s degree in business finance. My father has a master’s degree in sociology. My sister has an associate’s degree in french. Doesn’t mean we can’t hang out–just means there are different things each of us is capable of doing.

    Comment by JimD — May 6, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  15. JimD,

    Interesting concept. So families are forever no mater what kingdom we are in, or other family members are in!

    That being the case then why the emphasis on eternal families if it’s going to happen anyway? Which kind of is my point of this post.

    Comment by Don — May 6, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  16. Don –

    To me, it isn’t whether or not the family relationship continues or not. It’s a question of what kind of relationship that will be.

    The question isn’t “will I be able to say ‘good morning’ to my wife every day in the eternities?”, but “will I become one part of a divine unit, with my wife constituting the other part?”

    The question isn’t “will I see my parents whenever I want to?”, but “will the chain of individuals through which I receive the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and (in my case) Ephraim include my biological father, or some other individual?”

    The question isn’t “will I be with my kids forever?”, but “once [or "if"] I become a king and a priest to the Most High God, will my children remain a part of my own little kingdom so that, just as my own righteousness reflects and adds to the glory of our heavenly Parents, my children’s righteousness reflects and adds to the glory of my wife and myself?”

    To talk of “eternal families” is, of course, technically accurate. But I think it’s a monumental understatement of what the temple sealing really encompasses. (Your results may vary, of course! ;-) )

    Comment by JimD — May 6, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  17. A question:

    I wonder whether the schematic from the old missionary discussions whereby man enters one of three distinct pastel-colored spheres after the final judgment, conditions us into viewing the kingdoms of glory as geographical locations. (I note that Preach My Gospel seems to omit this schematic, at least in its discussion of the Plan of Salvation.)

    But really, other than the statements that the celestialized earth will become a “home for the righteous”, do we have any other authoritative sources for the preposition that the degrees of glory are distinct, geographical locations?

    Comment by JimD — May 6, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  18. Joseph Smith said, “Could you gaze into heaven for five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that was ever written on the subject.”

    The prophet’s remark tells me that we really don’t know much. I suspect that much of what we think we know will turn out to be erroneous.

    Although the slogan “Families can be together forever” is undoubtedly true, it tells us next to nothing about the kind of life we can expect in the hereafter. We’ll be together; but together doing what?

    Sometimes we Mormons talk glibly about exaltation and the Celestial Kingdom. Once, when I was teaching a Gospel Doctrine class, I asked whether anyone expected to be at all surprised at anything in heaven. One stalwart sister answered with an emphatic No! She was sure that she knew exactly what to expect. I have my doubts that she does.

    Comment by P.K. — May 6, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  19. At least in terms of marital relations in the kingdoms, I remember J Fielding Smith in the Doctrines of Salvation trio, saying that if you don’t go Celestial, your genitals will be “taken away”… that’s a distinctive perspective, anyway…

    Comment by Algie — May 8, 2008 @ 10:25 am

  20. Here’s the JFS quote Algie refers to:

    Some of the functions in the celestial body will not appear in the terrestrial body, neither in the telestial body, and the power of procreation will be removed. I take it that men and women will, in these kingdoms, be just what the so-called Christian world expects us all to be-neither man nor woman, merely immortal beings having received the resurrection. Doctrines of Salvation 2:288

    .

    Comment by JimD — May 8, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

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