Families May Be Forever - An Open Letter To All My Children

by H. Clay Gorton

The rather over-used phrase that "Families are forever" is not exactly true. It is the hope of nearly everyone and the belief of many that they will be united with their loved ones in the eternities after this mortal life is over. However, to maintain the family organization in the eternities with all its endearing relationships, requires strict compliance to specific conditions. What are those conditions? The Lord has said that "Everything that is in the world… that [is] not by me or by my word… shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection."

For husbands and wives to remain together in the marriage relationship, and for the children of parents to maintain their familial status, two conditions must be complied with. First, they must be sealed together in one of the Holy Temples of the Lord by the requisite authority. Associated with that sealing are several covenants relating to strict obedience to the laws of salvation. The second condition is that the contracting parties must respect and honor those covenants that they have made with the Lord. Fulfilling those two conditions there is no power in heaven or on earth that can prevent that family from maintaining their familial status throughout the eternities.

Even the worthiest of individuals, who do not make those covenants "are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever."

While in mortality we live as it were in a dark cocoon, perceiving only those things that are in our rather immediate surroundings. Since the things of eternity are not available to open vision they are often given second importance to those things that impress themselves immediately upon our mortal senses. Thus, both faith and hope are required to keep the all-important things of eternity in perspective. Ask someone what they would do to be able to become the owner of all of Manhattan Island, with its almost untold wealth, and the answer would be "almost anything". But what is Manhattan Island, or all the riches of the world in comparison to the rewards promised by the Lord to those who love him and keep his commandments? They "shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers, dominions, all heights and depths... and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and continuation of the seeds forever and ever."

Where will the Gorton family end up? Who will be counted as members of the family throughout the eternities? The love that each of us feels for the other members of our family will blossom into a perfect love for those who remain in the family, and will bring heart ache, pain and sorrow to those who choose other paths to follow.

The time of the Second Coming is not far off. Satan is raging in the earth as never before. Severe and terrible temptations are everywhere. The time has fully come that was spoken of by Nephi when it is the way of society to "call evil good, and good evil, [to] put darkness for light, and light for darkness, [to] put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" But each of the members of this family, without exception, have the power and the strength to overcome all of the evil that the Adversary can put upon them.

Each individual has been born into this family with an assignment from the Savior to strictly live the commandments and stand at the forefront of righteousness and valiantly help to prepare this earth for the coming of the Savior. The time of that coming is near! It is my fervent prayer that all family members will stand with honor and integrity in the battle against the forces of evil, that they may merit the accolade, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."