Celestial homes may be large or small, rich or poor. The families may range from a couple to a dozen or more. The home might be serene or bustling. But all celestial homes do share some qualities—the same ones that the Lord prescribes for the temples, which are his other homes on earth.
“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).This is the yardstick against which we can measure our individual homes. If they do not measure up, they are not outposts of the kingdom of God, and we can see at once where we must improve.My husband and I recently completed a project which to us serves as a kind of analogy for celestial family building—we built a house. . .Building a celestial family is in many ways a parallel experience. First we have the dream, independent of reality. Getting married is like finding the perfect spot for the house. We now know what we have to work with and what the challenges will be. This is the time when we choose the designer. There are many in the world who would tell us how to build our family and rear our children; but we must be careful of their advice, for their viewpoint is limited, is sometimes warped, and frequently changes as new philosophies become the vogue. The only designer with the eternal perspective is the Lord. His blueprint is contained in the scriptures and can be confirmed in us constantly through personal revelation. If we seek out his blueprint and study and follow it, he will add new dimensions we could not have conceived of on our own.The work of building families, like that of building houses, is often frustrating and mundane. The results are sometimes slow in coming, but occasionally there is a bright moment when we seem to be making progress, and we are encouraged to keep on. We make mistakes and sometimes have to compromise, but if we maintain contact with our designer and study the blueprint, we can correct mistakes and solve the problems. Because we are building our dream family, we can do the little extras that no experts would consider worth the labor. We can do more than keep our children fed and dressed—we can stimulate their bodies and minds and spirits so that they can achieve their divine potential.Occasionally it is necessary to hire experts to help us with our families: doctors, dentists, schoolteachers, music and dance teachers, coaches, child-care experts, and so forth. We must be careful not to get too many “experts” involved in doing our job, however, or we may turn our responsibilities over to people who have not seen the blueprint we are following. We must stick by our own plan, even if it isn’t the fashionable way to run a family or is different from every other family in the neighborhood.Unlike a house, a family is never finished. We move to different stages in the construction as our children grow up and their needs become different. The marvelous thing about our scriptural blueprint is that it contains the plan for whatever stage we might be in at the moment.
There is great satisfaction in building a house, but that is nothing compared to the overwhelming joy in building an outpost of the kingdom of God. The roles of mothers and fathers are sometimes downplayed in our society, but I think that those who scorn our work might not have tasted the joy that comes from understanding the glory of what we are doing. (Petrea Kelly, The Joys of Motherhood)
In our kitchen/dining room hangs this canvas that I painted. We see it every time we sit down to eat, or sit at the table to do school. It is there to constantly remind our family what we are trying accomplish and it won’t work unless we are all working on it together.
This is our living room wall. It seems no matter where anyone goes in our home they can’t get away from reminders of how important we think our home is and the people that live there.
All the cutesy reminders on our walls won’t do a bit of good if we don’t act on what we know we should do. So why do I have them to begin with? Because the artwork on my walls helps to create the atmosphere I want.
I want people to feel loved.
I want them to feel good.
I want them to know that families are important.
I want them to know we worship Jesus Christ.
Having these reminders helps us to stay focused and not get distracted from our goal. At the funeral of Marjorie Pay Hinckley she was quoted by one of her children, “As you create a home, don’t get distracted with a lot of things that have no meaning for you or your family. Don’t dwell on your failures, but think about your successes. Have joy in your home. Have joy in your children. Have joy in your husband. Be grateful for the journey.”
Things that have meaning for every family can be found in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” We try to do each of those things every day for a well balanced family life.
Some things that don’t have any meaning for our family are very meaningful to other families and vice-verse. For instance, sports has never played a big role at our house. About the only time we actually watch any sports are for the Olympics and the World Cup. Music on the other hand is a totally different story. At various times throughout the day you will hear someone practicing the piano, violin, or guitar. You almost always hear someone singing. Music is something we have chosen to focus on for our family. Does that make my family better than yours? Certainly not! Each family will decide for themselves what is important to them.
I absolutely love the last sentence in today’s portion of the article, “The roles of mothers and fathers are sometimes downplayed in our society, but I think that those who scorn our work might not have tasted the joy that comes from understanding the glory of what we are doing.”