It is the foundation of an eternal family.
Church of God in Christ
The nature of male and female spirits is such that they complete each other. Men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation.
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The Lord has commanded husbands and wives to cleave to each other see Genesis ; Doctrine and Covenants In this commandment, the word cleave means to be completely devoted and faithful to someone. Married couples cleave to God and one another by serving and loving each other and by keeping covenants in complete fidelity to one another and to God see Doctrine and Covenants A couple is to become one in establishing their family as the basis of a righteous life. Latter-day Saint husbands and wives leave behind their single life and establish their marriage as the first priority in their lives.
They allow no other person or interest to have greater priority in their lives than keeping the covenants they have made with God and each other. Nonetheless, married couples continue to love and support their parents and siblings while focusing on their own families. Similarly, wise parents realize that their family responsibilities continue throughout life in a spirit of love and encouragement. Being one in marriage requires a full partnership. For example, Adam and Eve worked together, prayed and worshipped together, sacrificed together, taught their children the gospel together, and mourned over wayward children together see Moses , 4, 12, They were united with each other and with God.
By divine design, both a man and a woman are essential for bringing children into mortality and providing the best setting for the rearing and nurturing of children. Complete sexual abstinence before marriage and total fidelity within marriage protect the sanctity of this sacred responsibility. Parents and leaders should do all they can to reinforce this teaching. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
When there is no father in the home, the mother presides over the family. Wise parents teach their children to apply the healing, reconciling, and strengthening power of the Atonement within their family. Each family member has a responsibility to strive for family unity.
Children who learn to strive for unity at home will find it easier to do so outside the home. All members, even if they have never married or are without family in the Church, should strive for the ideal of living in an eternal family. This means preparing to become worthy spouses and loving fathers or mothers. In some cases these blessings will not be fulfilled until the next life, but the ultimate goal is the same for all.
Faithful members whose circumstances do not allow them to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, provided they keep the covenants they have made with God. In the teachings and practices of the restored gospel, the family and the Church help and strengthen each other. To qualify for the blessings of eternal life, families need to learn the doctrines and receive the priesthood ordinances that are available only through the Church.
To be a strong and vital organization, the Church needs righteous families. God has revealed a pattern of spiritual progress for individuals and families through ordinances, teaching, programs, and activities that are home centered and Church supported. Church organizations and programs exist to bless individuals and families and are not ends in themselves. Leaders and teachers seek to assist parents, not to supersede or replace them.
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For more information on home-centered and Church-supported curriculum, see 1. Leaders must endeavor to strengthen the sacredness of the home by ensuring that all Church activities support the lives of individuals and families. Church leaders need to be careful not to overwhelm families with too many Church responsibilities.
Parents and Church leaders work together to help individuals and families return to our Father in Heaven by following Jesus Christ. These holy places include temples, homes, and chapels.
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Wherever Church members live, they should establish a home where the Spirit is present. All members of the Church can make efforts to ensure that their place of residence provides a place of sanctuary from the world. Church members can invite the Spirit into their homes through simple means such as wholesome entertainment, good music, and inspiring artwork for example, a painting of the Savior or a temple. A home with loving and loyal parents is the setting in which the spiritual and physical needs of children are most effectively met.
A Christ-centered home offers adults and children a place of defense against sin, refuge from the world, healing from emotional and other pain, and committed, genuine love. The First Presidency proclaimed:. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility. Latter-day Saint fathers and mothers have been commanded to teach gospel doctrines, ordinances, covenants, and ways of righteous living to their children see Doctrine and Covenants — Children who are so reared and taught are more likely to be prepared at the appropriate age to receive priesthood ordinances and to make and keep covenants with God.
Strengthening individuals and families is the focus of ministering see Doctrine and Covenants , 51 and inspired Church programs such as home evening.
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As in all things, Jesus set the example of entering homes to care for, teach, and bless see Matthew —15 ; —13 ; ; Mark —43 ; Luke —42 ; —9. Latter-day prophets have counseled individuals and families to hold a weekly home evening to teach the gospel, bear testimony of its truthfulness, and strengthen family unity. Members are encouraged to hold home evening on Sunday or at other times as they choose.
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A family activity night could be held on Monday or at other times. Leaders should continue to keep Monday evenings free from Church meetings and activities. Home evening may include family prayer, gospel instruction, testimony sharing, hymns and Primary songs, and wholesome recreational activities.
For information on using music in the home, see As part of home evening, or separately, parents may also call a periodic family council to set goals, resolve problems, coordinate schedules, and give support and strength to family members. We call them friends of the church. It seems that the worshiping community could use an injection of people. Mainline Protestant denominations like Presbyterianism have seen their followings diminish in recent years. To address shrinking congregations, some pastors are searching for new ways to use their churches and redefine what fellowship means.
Churches have the space and the good will, after all, to commit to community works, social justice or arts and educational projects. And opening their doors in this way can bring in those looking for more than a Bible study class. Rutgers traces its history to , its name derived from the street in Lower Manhattan where it opened its first sanctuary.
The congregation has worshiped on the Upper West Side since , and now has just over members. Stehlik described it, is on display. Thompson Jr.
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The church, which has a largely white community drawn from the neighborhood around it, has become a political sanctuary, and it has created a designation for so-called associated members who are part of the congregation but are not part of their faith. Butler, one of the associated members. As a lawyer, she challenged the death penalty , and a few years ago she plopped down topless in a plaza in Times Square to support the painted performers whose bare bodies had stirred controversy. Hogenauer, 71, has various ailments and relies on a rolling walker to navigate the neighborhood.
She happened to come to the church several years ago simply because it was close to her apartment. Hogenauer does not consider herself an observant Christian. But she found comfort in finding people who hugged her, asked about her health and joked with her. During a recent Sunday service, people were asked to share their joys, sorrows and concerns. One woman introduced a relative visiting from out of town. Others prayed for a regular who had been away and for the parents dropping their children off at college.
Hogenauer spoke about a health dilemma, as a medication prescribed to treat her severe pain did what it was supposed to but also left her feeling tired and groggy.