Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

God has not abandoned family structure among the faithful

Among those who will obey him, God still respects the structure he has given to families even if the world reviles at it. God still respects the father as the head of a home, and the parents as having authority over the children.

But what does this mean in practice?

Its meaning is powerful and profound.

It means that when a Father tells his children to do something God stands behind that. He will not prosper children in their disobedience. If they choose to disobey, God will sometimes cause those efforts to go awry. God will do this for no other reason than that the Father was disobeyed. 

Similarly for the parents and the children. When faithful parents tell their children to do something, and the children disobey, God will sometimes cause their disobedience to go awry. They will find consequences worse than the natural consequences.

The same is true for the Father as the head of his home. When a righteous Father gives direction and his family disregards it, God stands behind the counsel of that Father, and will sometimes intervene as if it was he, himself, that had been disobeyed. 

When a child is born to us, it is as if, in a limited degree, God allows us to try out standing as God for that child. Before mortality, being a parent and being a God were not separate things. And in mortality, if we are righteous, when we get to try out parenthood, we get to, in a limited degree, try out Godhood as well. He allows us to offer commands. We do not have his power, but we have his backing, as well as the right to inspiration from him. When he commands us, he requires us to obey him. And when we command our children, he requires them to obey when the command does not violate principle of righteousness.

That is the critical nub that we don't seem to know about. God stands by his divine family structure.

Now, having put that in place, there is a lot more to be said. But that core is crucial to the whole matter and needed to be stated first.

When a Father requires something of his children that is displeasing to God, it is the Father who will be held accountable. Along with his role as head comes accountability for the effects of his leadership on his family. It is not only a greater measure of accountability at the judgment bar, it is has consequences here.

When a Father fails to warn his children, he will face consequences for it. They will not only be consequences at the judgment bar.

The adversary gains a measure of power over a man when he fails to warn his family about matters of serious consequence to themselves. But if instead the Father warns them and they give no heed, then the adversary can gain no direct advantage over the man from the matter.

These principles extend to mothers and their children. Children are required to obey their mother. But mothers will be accountable for what they require of, and teach, their children.

Now of course, there are ifs ands, and buts about this. And many are mostly pretty obvious. For example, a man who is being unchaste loses his right as head, as he loses his right to his wife, and she may divorce him.

But the principle is perfectly true. God stands by his divine family structure. We can see some of these principles reflected in the teachings of Joseph Smith:

And first, it becomes an Elder when he is traveling through the world, warning the inhabitants of the earth to gather together, that they may be built up an holy city unto the Lord instead of commencing with children, or those who look up to parents or guardians to influence their minds, thereby drawing them from their duties, which they rightfully owe these legal guardians, they should commence their labors with parents, or guardians; and their teachings should be such as are calculated to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of children to the fathers; and no influence should be used with children contrary to the consent of their parents or guardians; but all such as can be persuaded in a lawful and righteous manner, and with common consent, we should feel it our duty to influence them to gather with the people of God. But otherwise let the responsibility rest upon the heads of parents or guardians, and all condemnation or consequences be upon their heads, according to the dispensation which he hath committed unto us; for God hath so ordained, that His work shall be cut short in righteousness, in the last days; therefore, first teach the parents, and then, with their consent, persuade the children to embrace the Gospel also. And if children embrace the Gospel, and their parents or guardians are unbelievers, teach them to stay at home and be obedient to their parents or guardians, if they require it; but if they consent to let them gather with the people of God, let them do so, and there shall be no wrong; and let all things be done carefully and righteously and God will extend to all such His guardian care.

And secondly, it is the duty of Elders, when they enter into any house, to let their labors and warning voice be unto the master of that house; and if he receive the Gospel, then he may extend his influence to his wife also, with consent, that peradventure she may receive the Gospel: but if a man receive not the Gospel, but gives his consent that his wife may receive it, and she believes, then let her receive it. But if a man forbid his wife, or his children, before they are of age, to receive the Gospel, then it should be the duty of the Elder to go his way, and use no influence against him, and let the responsibility be upon his head; shake off the dust of thy feet as a testimony against him, and thy skirts shall then be clear of their souls. Their sins are not to be answered upon such as God hath sent to warn them to flee the wrath to come, and save themselves from this untoward generation. The servants of God will not have gone over the nations of the Gentiles, with a warning voice, until the destroying angel will commence to waste the inhabitants of the earth, and as the prophet hath said, "It shall be a vexation to hear the report." I speak thus because I feel for my fellow men; I do it in then name of the Lord, being moved upon by the Holy Spirit. Oh, that I could snatch them from the vortex of misery, into which I behold them plunging themselves, by their sins; that I might be enabled by the warning voice, to be an instrument of bringing them to unfeigned repentance, that they might have faith to stand in the evil day!

Thirdly, it should be the duty of an Elder, when he enters into a house, to salute the master of that house, and if he gain his consent, then he may preach to all that are in that house, but if he gain not his consent, let him not go unto his slaves or servants, but let the responsibility be upon the head of the master of that house, and the consequences thereof, and the guilt of that house is no longer upon his skirts, he is free; therefore, let him shake off the dust of his feet, and go his way. But if the master of that house give consent, the Elder may preach to his family, his wife, his children and his servants, his man-servants, or his maid-servants, or his slaves; then it should be the duty of the elder to stand up boldly for the cause of Christ, and warn that people with one accord to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and for the Holy Ghost, always commanding them in the name of the Lord, in the spirit of meekness, to be kindly affectionate one toward another, that the fathers should be kind to their children, husbands to their wives, masters to their slaves or servants, children obedient to their parents, wives to their husbands, and slaves or servants to their masters.

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands, in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish, so ought men to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself, for no man every yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church, for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh" (Ephesians 5:22-31).

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters, according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God" (Colossians 3:18-22).

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