“1. What If I Come from a Family That’s Not Perfect? Can I Still Have a Strong Family in the Future?” New Era, Dec. 2012, 39
Because family is central to God’s plan for each of us and to the Church, we hear a lot about families. We are taught to be good children and siblings and to prepare to be righteous spouses and parents. But what if you come from a family that isn’t ideal? Because of your experiences, it may be hard to think you could ever have a family of your own where there’s peace and happiness at home instead of anger and contention. Yet it’s important not to give up hope. While no family is perfect, a foundation built on gospel principles can lead to joy in the family. When you start to wonder if happy family life is possible in your future, remember the example of Abraham.
Abraham’s father was not a righteous man. He associated with men who had “turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments … , unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly [refusing] to hearken to [Abraham’s] voice; for their hearts were set to do evil” (Abraham 1:5–6). Abraham’s father even tried to have him killed.
But despite his father’s example, Abraham kept an eternal perspective about the family through his testimony of the gospel. He “saw that it was needful” (Abraham 1:1) for him to pursue a different life from that of his father. He knew “there was greater happiness and peace and rest for [him, so he] sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto [he] should be ordained to administer the same” as a priesthood holder (Abraham 1:2).
Even though Abraham’s father was not a worthy priesthood holder, Abraham remained “a follower of righteousness” and desired “to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, … to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God” (Abraham 1:2).
Because Abraham stayed faithful to God, studied the gospel, kept the commandments, honored the priesthood, and remembered the plan of salvation, he was able to establish a righteous family of his own. He later became known as “the father of the faithful” and was the “founder of the covenant race” (Bible Dictionary, “Abraham”)—a life that was possible because he made a choice to establish a family based on gospel principles.