Who are Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and What do They believe about Families?
Like many other good people around the world, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known for their belief in the importance of children and family. But also like many, Latter-day Saints are aware that good parenting isn’t easy. The parents of Latter-day Saint families know all too well that in addition to the many joyous moments that come with being a parent, there are plenty of moments full of crying children, dirty dishes, and endless to-do lists.
With so much advice out there and so many demands on parents’ time, it can be hard to slow down and just enjoy being a parent. But, it’s essential that parents take a break from the worry of not doing things perfectly and from the busyness of life to spend time being with their children. The Book of Mormon records that when Jesus Christ visited the Americas, He spent His time teaching and ministering. During His important work, He made time to focus solely on the children. He “took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them” (3 Nephi 17:21). After the Savior exemplified the importance of spending time loving and caring for the children, He invited all those present to also focus on them, saying, “Behold your little ones” (3 Nephi 17:23).
How can I better connect with my family?
Parents today can follow the Savior’s example and invitation. One mother wrote about what “beholding” meant to her. She said, “I first experienced ‘beholding’ when my first daughter was a newborn. Her small, insistent cry had awakened me at about midnight, and I was getting ready to feed her when it happened. She opened her eyes wide and looked for several long, precious moments straight into my eyes. As she and I truly ‘beheld’ each other for the first time, I sensed something about the eternal bond we would share” (Jan Pinborough, “Parenting, Unplugged,” Ensign, June 2014, 63).
Scientific studies have found that the nonverbal communication that happens as parents and infants “behold” each other is essential for children’s healthy development (see Pinborough, “Parenting, Unplugged,” 63). As our children grow, they require “beholding,” or taking time to connect, in different though just as important ways. But how can parents take the time to truly connect with their children in such a hectic world? Latter-day Saint families believe that establishing a strong bond between parents and children requires more discipline and self-control on the part of parents than on the part of children.
Latter-day Saint families also believe that connecting with children may require a conscious choice to disconnect from our digital devices. Latter-day Saint families are taught that spending quality time with children “may mean resisting the temptation to check our text messages or scroll through social media posts. It may involve thoughtfully establishing personal and family media rules, [and] setting boundaries that will protect the sacred time that we give to one another in our families” (Pinborough, “Parenting, Unplugged,” 63).
Church leaders have emphasized how important it is for parents to turn off digital devices to spend more time with their children. For example, Rosemary M. Wixom, a former president of the Church’s worldwide organization for children (the Primary organization), taught, “Precious moments of opportunity to interact and converse with our children dissolve when we are occupied with distractions. Why not choose a time each day to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other? Simply turn everything off. When you do this, your home may seem quiet at first; you may even feel at a loss as to what to do or say. Then, as you give full attention to your children, a conversation will begin, and you can enjoy listening to each other” (“The Words We Speak,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 82).
How can I learn more?
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the perfect example of how we should treat our family members. Latter-day Saint families find peace and joy not only from spending time together, but also from their belief that because of Jesus Christ, sacred family relationships can continue beyond the grave. To learn more about God’s plan for you and your family, visit comeuntochrist.org.