Sunday, October 2, 2016

I See... The First Family Council

For church history buffs, it is always fun to trace the genealogy of church programs designed to bring us closer to Christ. Family Home Evenings became a church policy on April 27th 1915 (Monday night wasn't designated as the preferred time until 1970); Primary was adopted church-wide in 1880; the Scouting program of the church was started in 1913, three years after the Boy Scouts of America was established. While each one of these organizations possesses a riveting foundation narrative, the first family council beats them all. Why? Because without the key decision made at the first family council, we would not be here.
A family of four sitting together, looking at a painting of Joseph Smith from the Gospel Art Book.
The first family council was held in the pre-earth life, before the foundations of the world were laid. Our Heavenly Father called it because he had a big decision to make that would affect every member of his family; much bigger than traditional family councils held to discuss vacation plans, potential family moves, the division of labor around the house, etc.

In the first family council Heavenly Father introduced to us the Great Plan of Happiness, also known as the Plan of Salvation. According to this plan, we would be given the opportunity to come to earth and obtain a body. We would be given agency to make decisions about what we would do with this body; good choices would lead to more freedom, while bad choices would lead to physical and spiritual bondage. The decisions we made on Earth, combined with the grace of God, would determine how much we would enjoy the afterlife. Our Elder Brother Jesus Christ stepped forward and volunteered to be our Savior to make the plan work via the Atonement.

Another luminary in our pre-earth life, Lucifer, proposed an alternate plan. In his version, we would all still be given bodies and come to earth, but we would lack the power to choose. He would force us to make right choices and redeem us all, but his plan had a catch- he would receive all the credit and glory.

We all had a very important decision to make in that first family council. Two thirds of us chose Heavenly Father's plan; the other 33 percent supported Lucifer. As a result of that most important decision, we received bodies and agency, while Lucifer's supporters were condemned to endure eternity with as spirits. As a result of this very important decision, Lucifer's supporters now wander the earth trying to make life hard for us; they want us “to be miserable, like unto themselves.” The War in Heaven that rages on for the hearts and souls of mankind today had its origins in that first family council

So... the next time you hold a family council to discuss summer vacation plans that degenerates into a vicious shouting match about whether more time should be spent in Disney World or Universal Studios, try to remember that the first family council had problems too.  

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