...

What Is the Purpose of Family?

Families are where we connect ourselves in relationships to past, current, and future generations.

Our families are where we experience our biggest triumphs and our deepest vulnerabilities—and they are where we have the greatest potential to do good. We believe the family is divine in nature and that God designates it as the fundamental building block of society, both on earth and through eternity. As such, it becomes the foundation for civilization and a sanctuary for the individual. It is where we learn the social graces of loyalty, cooperation, and trust. It is where we learn to love ourselves and each other, to bear one another’s burdens, to find meaning in our life and to give purpose to others’ lives, and to feel the value of being part of something greater than ourselves.

There is a universal desire for oneness among people—we want to belong. It’s why we collaborate, support common causes, cheer for sports teams, feel nationalism; it’s why we build villages, towns, and cities. For the fortunate among us, that desire began with loving parents and siblings in a home that was equal parts refuge and laboratory for experimenting with our potential, our beliefs, and our identity. Those who had less than this ideal situation growing up still have the capacity to forge families of their own making. We can create places where children feel loved and supported, where they’re taught that this life reflects what we previously had in heaven, and that our families will be ours through eternity if we accept Jesus Christ’s Atonement and follow His commandments.

One of the blessings of belonging to a family is the inspiration to make choices beyond self-interest and immediate gratification. The family can encourage our commitment to individuals, communities, and God. To help emphasize the important role of the family, a modern Prophet and Apostles revealed The Family: A Proclamation to the World to help strengthen the family and explain its divine nature and purpose.

One way we demonstrate this family focus is with a practice we call family home evening. For this evening, families gather together weekly on a designated day (usually Monday) in their homes to share music, lessons, scripture, stories, fun activities, and prayer, with the goal of strengthening their relationships. It is an evening when parents engage in a tradition as old as time, but one often neglected in our modern age of 24/7 distractions. They share wisdom, comfort, and laughter and ensure that the lives of their progenitors continue to influence the coming generations.

In over 4,600 family history centers operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world, the fabric of humanity is being woven together through formal record keeping. The Church records important dates and other information about those who have died, stores it, and makes it accessible to the public. Through this practice Church members find records of their deceased ancestors so they can perform ordinances on their behalf in temples. Temples are holy places where worthy Church members can extend the blessings of sacred commitments to God to their deceased ancestors.

The Apostle Paul spoke about performing ordinances for the dead when he asked, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). Today the restored Church of Jesus Christ is engaged in “turn[ing] the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) by performing saving ordinances for the dead. These acts of service permanently bind the generations of humanity to each other and ultimately create oneness in the family tree of humankind. It is a beautiful, massive tree—seemingly without limits—and one that has room enough for every root, branch, limb, and leaf. Our universal desire to belong exists for good reason; it exists because we do belong.

Why is the family important?

Imagine a newborn baby: small and beautiful, but unable to eat, stay warm, find protection, or even move from place to place on his or her own.

God sends each of us to earth helpless. It’s a given that we must depend on our family from the beginning. By design, we are given a family to provide for us, to protect us, and to prepare us for the challenges we’ll face in the years ahead.

We’re all familiar with a family’s ideal role. It is at home that we learn to walk and to talk. We share expressions of love. It is through family life we learn (purposefully or inadvertently) the habits, emotional responses, obligations, and values that will begin to shape our adult selves.

Being part of a family is a big responsibility. It’s humbling when we realize that our family on earth is patterned after our family in heaven.

We are children of divine Heavenly Parents who also provide for our needs with a physical world and all the bounties in it. Our Heavenly Father has the power to protect us, though just as mortal parents may do, He sometimes steps aside and allows us to learn from the consequences of our own decisions and actions. And finally, our Heavenly Father provides us with rules (or commandments) that can teach us the skills, the habits, and the values that will continue to shape our spiritual selves.

...
Tim Gates on family
1:33

To Tim Gates, composing a family is the most important thing he’ll ever do. He credits his parents and the generations who came before them for who he is and who he hopes his kids will become.

...
I’m an outdoor enthusiast, and excited, instant father
3:30

He’s an outdoor enthusiast and a landscaper. She’s into décor and fashion. Their lives changed when they got a call about adopting an Apache baby . . . that day.

How can I help my family be strong?

Just as we need a family for physical support, we need them for spiritual support too.

Part of belonging to a family means we each step up to help each other. While our first role in a family is as a dependent child, the part we play is never small—and it continues to grow in scope and importance as we mature.

It is our duty, even a sacred responsibility, to care for those in our family. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” God expressed that parents are “to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs.” We are also told that parents “will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).

Whether parent or child, sibling or spouse, every one of God’s children has a role in taking care of one another. And like the pattern set by our heavenly family, we must provide and care for each other with love. We can follow Heavenly Father’s example by encouraging our loved ones in their trials, listening to their worries, cheering for them in their efforts and successes, and comforting them in their sorrows.

By upholding God’s principles in our homes, we can influence those around us. Many people take pride in their family names and the heritage of honorable people they represent. Others are setting aside past mistakes and seeking to fulfill the divine roles of family anew. No matter our past, all of us can have essential roles in nurturing and strengthening our family ties on earth into relationships that can link generations in love throughout the eternities.

...
The Julie Hillyard family
2:36

Julie Hillyard never thought raising a family would be easy, but she never thought it would be this hard! In this touching account she tells how three kids, a beat-the-odds marriage, and autism bring out the best in her family.

...
Radio show host, and happy wife and mother
3:02

As a radio host, Julie Stevens helps people see things in another way. With the help of the gospel of Jesus Christ, she has changed her own perspective on family.

Request a Holy Bible

Get a free copy of the Bible delivered by two missionaries who will share an uplifting message with you.

Name and email
Name and email
Address and phone
Scheduling preferences
Additional info
Verification
Please enter a value
Please enter a value
Please enter a value
Please choose a country
Please choose a country
Please select a country
Please select a country Please choose a country
Please enter an address
Sorry, we couldn't find any addresses that would help you.
Address line 2
Please enter a city name
State
State
Please select a state
Please select a state State
Please enter a zip code

Address Verification

We were not able to find an address that matches your input. Please try making changes to it, or you can choose to keep it as it is and submit the form.
We couldn't find that exact address. Suggested address corrections are highlighted in red. Please choose one of the following.
We found a perfect match for your address. If that looks right to you, go ahead through the form!
  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Côte d"Ivoire
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Curacao
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Guam
  • Guatemala
  • Guernsey
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jersey
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Martinique
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Romania
  • Saint Barthélemy
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Swaziland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna
  • Western Sahara
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
Please enter a value

Preferred confirmation method to authenticate form submission?

Text confirmation is not enabled in your area.
Please select an option

Confirm your preferred delivery method.

Please select an option.

When is the best time for you to meet? (Select all that apply)

Please select an option.

What prompted your request? (Select all that apply)

Please enter a value
Please select an option.
Does this info look right?
Name and email
Edit
Address and phone
Edit
Scheduling preferences
Edit
Additional info
Edit
By submitting this form, I certify that I, or the person I am referring, give permission to provide contact information to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to receive emails, phone calls, and/or text messages from the Church using the information provided, including by using automated technology. We will use the personally identifiable information you voluntarily provide on this form to meet your requests, including contacting you or others you refer through Church representatives. We do not sell your information. Additional information about our privacy practices can be found at https://www.comeuntochrist.org/site/privacy-notice
Icons / Media / Star - FilledCreated with Sketch.
You're nearly finished!

IMPORTANT: Check your messages. We have sent you a confirmation link. Click to the link to complete your request.

Following your confirmation, you will receive:
  • Contact from our representatives to arrange a time to meet, share an uplifting message, and provide you with a Holy Bible.
ComeUntoChrist.org Chat is typing...