The Ideal Family

I heard this quote a few weeks ago in sacrament meeting, and it really resonated with me about why the leadership of the church continues to teach the ideal of nuclear families, and husbands and wives with complementary duties as a complete team. Sometimes it feels a little insensitive. But the larger picture came into view with this perspective:

Elder Holland’s mother was a very good seamstress, she could just look at a picture of a shirt in a catalog and then sew a shirt that looked like it. But she wished for, and would have preferred, a pattern every time.

shirt pattern-sht-3 clean

“We are bound to be in trouble if a shirt is made from a shirt that was made from a shirt. A mistake or two in the first product–inevitable without a pattern–gets repeated and exaggerated, intensified, more awkward, the more repetitions we make, until finally this thing I’m to wear to school just doesn’t fit.

“It is precisely because many don’t have, or perhaps have never even seen, that ideal, that we speak about what our Father in Heaven wishes for us in His eternal plan for His children.

“Please be assured we are fully aware of the many different circumstances that exist among our members. We love every one of you. We also realize that as more and more families are in disarray and as many cultural forces devalue marriage, children, and traditional family life, the General Authorities and general officers of the Church feel increased urgency to speak of ideals and gospel-centered principles. Otherwise, the moral drift which the world inevitably experiences could take us to a point where earnest people in and out of the Church are truly at sea when it comes to divine expectations in marriage and eternal family standards.”

Anytime I start thinking that the brethren aren’t saying something “correctly” in conference or anywhere else, I am limiting their influence and scope. These men aren’t just public speakers with a good story to share. They aren’t just representatives of the Church. The Prophet and Apostles are speaking, warning, and teaching to the whole world as the appointed messengers of God. This helps me gain the proper perspective. They are protecting and disseminating God’s truth. God will never apologize for His ways because they are right and true; and neither will they. Our execution of these pure ideals may be clumsy or incomplete, but at least we are trying to follow the pattern. At least we have a pattern.


General Conference is coming up in a mere 29 hours. Please tune in and listen to these messengers of God explain the pure, undiluted pattern for happiness and joy.

2 responses to “The Ideal Family

  1. I really enjoy reading your thoughts and opinions. Most things I completely agree with, and you have given me wonderful new insights on many occasions.

    To be honest, I struggle with a few things in the church. One of those things is how the church deals with Heavenly Mother (I read your post on Her….I enjoyed your perspective!). I find it very interesting your first paragraph talks about an ideal family and husband/wife team, and the second paragraph is about needing a pattern to know how to live and to pattern our family life after. Yes! I completely agree! But it also shows a major problem in our church. because of the absence of Heavenly Mother in church dialogue, how do we know exactly how to pattern our lives and relationships with our spouses? I love the proclamation to the family, but I also find it problematic in that (as far as I know) it is not considered doctrine or even revelation. An inspired document? Official church policy? A good guide? Yes. But Until we know more of our Heavenly Mother, and receive official doctrine about marriage, we do not have an actual pattern to follow. Right now, I feel like we are following a shirt designed by the first presidency, not the direct pattern from Our Heavenly Parents.

    (I’m pecking this out on my phone—my apologies for poor grammar or if it’s choppy!)

  2. I really appreciate your ideas here Jan. Finding ways to encourage healthy and vibrant home relationships is so great. I can see why the church leaders feel the need to focus on the rule rather than the exception. As someone with a good marriage and kids I’ve rarely felt personally left out from the teachings about family but I know it can be hurtful to some when it seems like their family status is part of how others evaluate them and their progress spiritually. It seems that the doctrine about love and not judging is most important overall.

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