by Linda Clyde
In the April 2017 general conference, President Henry B. Eyring taught that “though earthly families are far from perfect, they give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven—parental love” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign, May 2017, 20).
God is the supreme Parent. He cherishes His family collectively and deeply loves us individually. He knows and wants what is best for us. He is doing what He can to gather us to Him without infringing on our agency—not an easy task. Whether we choose to follow Him must be our decision. So how does God go about gathering His family? He speaks to His children who have already sought and found Him, the ones who are already listening to Him and feeling His love, and He gives them promptings to extend that love to others. In this way, He can continually offer love and blessings to His children. This is the ingenious way God is working to gather His family—past, present, and future.
When we choose to get involved in the sacred work of helping God gather His family, we are joining forces with Him and uniting in the cause of Christ. It’s a unique and powerful way to increase our ability to feel God’s love for us and then share it.
Fulfilling Malachi’s Prophecy
When Malachi prophesied about our time, he said that God would send Elijah to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (See Malachi 4:5–6). That prophecy has been and continues to be fulfilled today. Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith in 1836 in the Kirtland Temple and restored the priesthood keys for sealing that are necessary to gather God’s family and seal families together for eternity.
As Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to be “part of a great movement—the gathering of scattered Israel,” said President Nelson in a 2006 general conference address (“The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 79)—an incredible movement that has been progressing globally at a rapid pace since the restoration of the Church.
As we turn our attention to our ancestors, our love for them grows. This love is often reciprocated in wonderful, unexpected ways. It is exciting to know that our actions and efforts to seek and know our ancestors can be a catalyst for rich blessings on both sides of the veil. Heavenly Father knew that in our day, we would feel drawn to our ancestors, that we would have the technology to find and identify them, and that we would have temples to perform ordinances on their behalf.
To Know God and Choose Him
God wants all of His children to progress and advance to become like Him. For this to happen in the way God has outlined, we need Him, we need each other, and we need to understand our sacred privileges and responsibilities. Everyone who has lived, lives now, or will live must be given the opportunity to learn about God and be presented with the choice to follow Him.
“Our Heavenly Father is anxious to gather and bless all of His family. While He knows that not all of them will choose to be gathered, His plan gives each of His children the opportunity to accept or reject His invitation,” said President Eyring (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign, May 2017, 20).
As you engage in family history and attend the temple, you become an active gatherer of the family of God and in turn will be able to share that love with others.
Learn more about becoming gatherers in God’s kingdom with this family home evening lesson.
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