Sunday, July 31, 2016

Final paper on Family, a Proclamation to the World

I like to begin my paper by quoting Elder Henry B. Eyring’s statement when he said that, “Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child's life to put feet firmly on the path home.” The home that Elder Eyring was referring to is our Heavenly Home, back to the presence of our Heavenly Father through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is actually my ultimate goal - that is to be able to return to the presence of God, not alone but with my family, the greatest treasure I possess.

I dedicate this “Book of Remembrance” primarily to my beloved children, grandchildren and future great great-grandchildren. From childhood, they will have an opportunity to learn and share the teachings and eternal principles contained in the Family proclamation. They badly need those principles to put their feet firmly on the path to the “celestial kingdom” where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are waiting for their return.

My intentions and purposes for choosing this project are as follows:

First, For my children, grandchildren and future great-great grandchildren to see, read and witness for themselves the eternal beauty and the benefits of the revealed truths of God on the importance and the sacred nature of marriage and family.

Second, that this book will serve as a handy, living remembrance of my learnings and valiant testimonies on the correct doctrine of the family and they will refer to it always. That, through this book, my children and all my descendants will be inspired and encouraged to obey and courageously share and defend the teachings and principles taught in the Family proclamation.

To fulfill my goals, I have engaged myself daily in fervent prayers and scripture study so that the Spirit of the Lord may dwell with me as I write my thoughts and feelings. I have also made a “Calendar of Activities” which served as my “Liahona” in directing my feet on the daily tasks I need to accomplish.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World has been used wisely and widely since President Gordon B. Hinkley first announced it on September 23, 1995, at the annual general Relief Society meeting. As the name suggests, it is addressed to all the world; all nations, all faiths, all families. It continues to be a light in a darkening world and as a bulwark in defense of the family. Elder M Russell Ballard (2005) called the proclamation “a clarion call to protect and strengthen families and a stern warning in a world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit”. (p. 41 Chapter 29)

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President said, “We were grateful for and valued the clarity, simplicity and truth of this revelatory document. Little did we realize then how very desperately we would need these basic declarations in today’s world as the criteria by which we could judge each new wind of worldly dogma coming at us from the media, the internet, scholars, TV and films, and even legislators. The proclamation on the family has become our benchmark for judging the philosophies of the world, and I testify that the principles set forth within this statement are as true today as they were when they were given to us by a prophet of God nearly 20 years ago.”

“ I would like to add my testimony that the principles taught in the Family proclamation will serve as our ladder of success in reaching our goal towards eternal life. It will be our weapon against the adversary in his attempts to deceive and destroy the sacred nature of our families. I encourage my children and their families, especially all my grandchildren and future great great grandchildren to be diligent in obeying and following the teachings and principles contained in this proclamation. This proclamation was given by our Lord, Jesus Christ, through our living prophets and leaders. These eternal principles are true. They will never change. We must obey.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught that the divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. The holy ordinances referred to are the endowments, the temple marriages and the sealing ordinances inspired by the Spirit of Elijah. I was sealed to my beloved husband, Rolly, on July 16, 1985 at the Manila Temple. Same time, our three children, Iroal Joanne (7), Ivory Jane (5) and Irene Joy (3) were sealed to us for time and all eternity. The other two younger daughters, Valerie Jovy, and Nyla Irmamina were born in the covenant. This is the beginning of our journey towards eternal life where we belong as God’s divine children. Rolly and I understood the divine role we were to play as parents of these wonderful daughters. Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. (Family Proclamation P-6)

I also came to realize and fully comprehend that my husband, Rolly, is truly my one and only eternal companion for time and all eternity and that I need to honor our marital vow with complete fidelity. (Family Proclamation P-7) Since my parents and Rolly’s parents passed away when we were newly married at our younger age, we were left on our own in the care, nurture and support of our six children.

“Equal partnership” is another principle that impacted me in my studies on the Family, proclamation. Me and my husband, Rolly, has practiced and implemented this principle not very well in the beginning of our married life. But as the years went by, we learned to value this principle. When our children were still babes and small, he helped me do some household chores especially washing the dishes, cooking rice, and cleaning the house. There was a time when he lost his job and I was sewing baby dresses and clothes as per contract in a garment company. I acted as the breadwinner for our family. For over five (5) years we were together in doing our Reflexology and Massage work for people needing our services. As spiritual leaders in our home, I would prepare our program for the weekly Family Home Evening and Rolly would be the presiding and conducting officer. He assigned the opening and closing prayers. We took turns in giving the short lesson for the night which was usually about “Love at Home”. For us, “Equal partners” means we are sharing in the duties and responsibilities of parenting and supporting our family. When one spouse is not capable to do his job, the other spouse is ready to help and assist. Another application of equal partnership in our life is my Pathway studies. When I am too occupied with my assignments and discussion boards, my husband, Rolly, would initiate cooking our dinner. He also helps do the dishwashing and house cleaning. Each spouse understands his primary duties first but each is willing to share her/his time and efforts in order to meet the current need of the family. Equal partner is being kind, helpful and thoughtful.

President Spencer W. Kimball (1962) taught that “Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. We marry with the understanding that we will give ourselves completely to our spouse and that any divergence is sin.” We are commanded to love our spouse with all our heart and cleave unto none else (D&C 42:22) . I’m so blessed to have a husband who is truly faithful to our marriage covenant. There was never a time, a chance, or any circumstance when my husband, Rolly, had looked upon other women to lust after them. Even during those long years he has worked abroad, that was in Saudi Arabia for over ten years, he was coming home just once a year. He was in constant communication and continuously sent his financial support for the family. He always testified to me of the power of the priesthood and how he feared God’s punishment if he committed a case of immorality. He always mentioned his great honor and respect for the holy priesthood which he holds. That’s why he said he never dared break the “Law of Chastity” because he loves his family especially our five daughters who look upto him and highly respected his priesthood authority. He said “ I will never, never, attempt to break the promise and covenant I made in the House of the Lord. Indeed, upto the present time, he has never broken our marriage covenant but have remained faithful to the end.

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God”. Successful covenant marriages are founded on the teachings of the Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Family Proclamation). When our children were very small, we taught them to pray and bless the food. We also prayed regularly as a family each night. The leader to say our prayer would start from us, parents, followed by the eldest child down to the youngest child. We also hold regular Family Home Evenings every Monday where children’s talents were exhibited and shared with one another. We used to sing our favorite song “Love at Home” and usually, Ivory, our second daughter, would be the Music Leader. Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy was practiced by attending church services, partaking of the sacrament worthily, and offering a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

According to President Hinckley : “Every child is entitled to grow up in a home where there is warm and secure companionship, where there is love in the family relationship, where appreciation one for another is taught and exemplified, and where God is acknowledged and His peace and blessings invoked before the family altar.”

Of all the joys of life, none other equals that of happy parenthood. To rear children in an atmosphere of love, security, and faith is the most rewarding of all challenges.. The good result from such efforts becomes life's most satisfying compensation. Although we have experienced great hardship and difficulties in rearing six children, God has not left us alone to suffer. Through the grace and infinite atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we were able to cope and courageously accomplished our goals and aspirations for our children. We have exercised great faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ, that He will open our hearts and understanding in finding ways to solve whatever concerns we may have in our daily life.

President Hinckley also taught us that, “As children grow through the years, their lives, in large measure, become an extension and a reflection of family teaching. If there is harshness, abuse, uncontrolled anger, disloyalty, the fruits will be certain and discernable, and in all likelihood they will be repeated in the generation that follows. If, on the other hand, there is forbearance, forgiveness, respect, consideration, kindness, mercy and compassion, the fruits again will be discernible, and they will be eternally rewarding. They will be positive and sweet and wonderful... I speak to fathers and mothers everywhere with a plea to put harshness behind us, to bridle our anger, to lower our voices, and to deal with mercy and love and respect one toward another in our homes.”

I can testify with all my heart that we did our best as parents to discipline our children with love and forgiveness. In spite of our imperfections, and we admit that there were instances we made mistakes, but, we truly love and care for our children. Our goal had always been for the good, and the best welfare of our children. Our style of parenting has mostly been democratic and we listened to their desires and feelings and have fulfilled their wants and wishes as we were capable and able-bodied.

I strongly believe in the words of President David of MacKay, that, “ Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world.” Indeed Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of her children.

President Boyd K. Packer taught us that “Temple Covenants save Families – The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. It is true that the divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God, and for families to be united eternally. I have performed holy ordinances of baptism, confirmation, endowments and sealings for my parents and grandparents. We are all linked with one another to become part of the family of God. We belong to our Heavenly Father’s family and Jesus Christ is our eldest brother. Through the Lord, Jesus Christ, we receive the gift of immortality, that is being resurrected and the gift of eternal life (exaltation) which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God. (Doctrine & Covenants 14:7) .

The prophet, Joseph Smith, promised that “when a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother.”

Finally, Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles All family members are vital to family work. Children can learn to take responsibility for family work. Mothers set the household tone for family work. As a mother, I have trained my daughters when they were in their primary years how to wash their own socks, wash the dishes and sweep the floor. They also learned how to cook boiled rice and boiled eggs. In my own home, my husband, Rolly, has set an example for participation in household chores. Rolly is very good in electrical works, in fixing and repairing busted lights and fuses. He is very good at cleaning roofs and windows. He can also do repair works on any defective household appliances like electric fan, electric stove and refrigerator. He has done many repair works on our home appliances which has saved us a lot of time, money, and effort. Indeed, a Father’s actions influence his children's attitudes toward family work.

Rolly and I have been married for thirty eight (38) years now and I can testify that we have attained certain degree of success and full happiness in our marriage covenant. I can testify that happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although our family have experienced numerous trials and adversities in life, it has also brought us joy and happiness which contributed to our personal growth and spiritual progress. We continue to face difficulties and challenges today but I have a firm testimony that God loves us unconditionally and will never leave us alone. I am determined to share and defend the eternal principles taught in the Family proclamation, because, I believe that with God, all things are possible.