Topic Study: Church and the Family

(January 2009)

I             Overview

The Bible Dictionary states that “The church is the organized body of believers who have taken upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ by baptism and confirmation.”

Merriam Webster 11th Collegiate dictionary says the etymology of family is from “Latin familia household (including servants as well as kin of the householder).”  Relevant definitions include:

1: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head: HOUSEHOLD

2 a: a group of persons of common ancestry: CLAN b: a people or group of peoples regarded as deriving from a common stock: RACE

3 a: a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation: FELLOWSHIP b: the staff of a high official (as the President)

5 a: the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children; also   : any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family *a single-parent family* b: spouse and children *want to spend more time with my family*

Is it possible that the church is just another name for the family of Christ, a precursor to the perfect organization that will exist in eternity?

The objective of this topic is to answer the questions:

  1. How is the church and the family the same?
  2. How is the church and the family different?

There is not TG entry for this topic.  So we will build a listing by which to study.

Family topics:  see also Children; Earth, Purpose of; Family, Children, Duties of; Family, Children, Responsibilities toward; Family, Eternal; Family, Love within; Family, Managing Finances in; Family, Patriarchal; Family Prayer; Marriage; Marriage, Fatherhood; Marriage, Motherhood;

These are an interesting set of topics; and I can see how many of them could be the same between the church and the family.

I.A            (Topical Guide | F Family:Entry)

The first “church” was the family.

1  AND it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him.  And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.

2  And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth.

3  And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and they also begat sons and daughters.

A pretty good definition of what the family does

4  And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.

5  And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord.  And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.

6  And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, …

9  And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.

10  And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

11  And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

12  And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.

Moses 5:1 – 12

The church includes prayer (calling on the name of the Lord), receiving inspiration, (hearing his voice), commandments and ordinances, obedience to them, a teacher (the angel), spiritual gifts (the Holy Ghost) teaching about God and the purpose of life, and sharing this message with others (their children).

From the list below, this scripture seems important.

23  And again, thus saith the Lord unto you, O ye elders of my church, who have given your names that you might know his will concerning you—

24  Behold, I say unto you, that it is the duty of the church to assist in supporting the families of those, and also to support the families of those who are called and must needs be sent unto the world to proclaim the gospel unto the world.

25  Wherefore, I, the Lord, give unto you this commandment, that ye obtain places for your families, inasmuch as your brethren are willing to open their hearts.

26  And let all such as can obtain places for their families, and support of the church for them, not fail to go into the world, whether to the east or to the west, or to the north, or to the south.

27  Let them ask and they shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto them, and be made known from on high, even by the Comforter, whither they shall go.

28  And again, verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church.

29  Let every man be diligent in all things.  And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways.

D&C 75:23 – 29

It specifies the relationship between the church and the family pretty explicitly.  The church is to support the family; but the “idler” comment indicates it is not to replace it.

The entry on church is much longer than the entry on family.  This might be because the formation of a church requires more instruction than forming a family.  Familial relationships seem to be more natural to us.  Why is that?  I guess it is because it is the basic unit of society.  Perhaps certain aspects of the church has changed over time.

  1. Gen. 10:5 isles of the Gentiles … after their f.
  2. Gen. 12:3 (28:14) in thee shall all f. of the earth be blessed
  3. Gen. 18:19 he will command … his household
  4. 1 Sam. 9:21 my f. the least of all the f. of … Benjamin
  5. Ps. 113:9 keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children
  6. Jer. 31:1 God of all the f. of Israel
  7. Eph. 3:15 of whom the whole f. in heaven and earth is named
  8. Alma 43:47 Ye shall defend your f. even unto bloodshed
  9. 3 Ne. 18:21 Pray in your f.
  10. D&C 19:34 Impart … all save the support of thy f.
  11. D&C 20:47 attend to all f. duties
  12. D&C 23:3 duty is unto the church … because of thy f.
  13. D&C 57:14 be planted in the land of Zion … with their f.
  14. D&C 75:24 duty of the church … to support the f.
  15. D&C 75:28 every man who is obliged to provide for his own f.
  16. D&C 84:103 inasmuch as they have f., and receive money
  17. D&C 93:48 Your f. must needs repent and forsake some things
  18. Moses 5:12 Adam and Eve made all things known unto their sons and their daughters.

I.B            Topical Guide | C Children Entry

This is a very long topic.  First thought is there is probably some correlation to member.

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