Relief Society Lesson 42: Family: The Sweetest Union for Time and for Eternity

This has the possibility of being a wonderful lesson. It’s got love at the root of it and it’s got family at the center. Love and Family. The two big things in life are all about loving and all about families. This is the opportunity for the women in Relief Society to learn more about each individual’s family and their trials and their joys in their journeys of life. Reading through the lesson it is apparent that sharing personal family stories will bring the spirit, unite the class, and also remind us that each of us are facing different situations but we all have the end goal in mind.

What would ruin this lesson is to teach ONE ideal family and make everyone feel that if their families DON’T fit the mold, then they are doomed in the eternities. That’s not uplifting, nor is it helpful.

And yes, after reading through the lesson–I know what you’re thinking! It’s the same thing I thought as I read this. This lesson has been taught often and usually in the same way. The ideal family is presented, the ways of securing that ideal family in heaven are talked about, quotes are read, and the reminder that your ideal family cannot be together forever unless temple covenants are lived up to wrap up the lesson in a neat little bow. The one thing that is often not talked about is the fact that hardly anyone has an ideal LDS family. We are all so unique, with various family situations that it is imperative to be very sensitive to any and all issues that each person may be dealing with individually. I know these lessons have depressed my mother in the past because growing up I was the only active child (out of five) that she had. It caused her undo stress and anxiety. I think if the focus can be brought back on loving the family instead of looking to children and spouse as products, then the lesson will be a success!

If the center of the lesson is learning to love unconditionally, then the spirit will be there. If the center of the lesson is to focus on who is being “faithful” in your family and worrying over who is not, then only sadness will permeate the room.

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