It is certainly my great pleasure today to introduce you to my own flesh and blood...
my sister Cara Peace! My sister has always been so kind to me and a great example of how to love and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love her. I respect her.
And I'm proud to say that "she's my friend to the bitter end!"
“The Family.” (Breathe.) “A Proclamation to the World.” (Another breath.) “We the First Presidency….”
If you were in our home, anytime since this spring, you might have witnessed a very noble attempt to memorize the Family Proclamation. At times we have a great unified rhythm going and other moments there might be five different speeds with seven different volumes competing for air time.
Some days I can only capture one person’s attention and interest and have a most reverent discussion. On other days our whole family will practice together challenging my group leader skills for a wide range of intellect and attention spans. Some days, we may only study one word, but we study it until we understand the meaning or significance, and realizing that it might be just a "one word day" and call it good. We study the words of our prophet and pick apart the Family Proclamation word for word in a desire to understand what truth we can discover. We quiz and prompt each other. We work hard. Really hard. We have fun together.
That is the most satisfying thing to me. I know that using this proclamation as our family’s spiritual time is fortifying us for whatever may come. Not only will my children have solid words come to their minds when needed, but also the time together and the effort made to learn together and moments shared learning truths of God will be precious to us in the future.
I have a strong feeling that this proclamation is just the beginning of proclamations to come. It is “A (meaning one) Proclamation to the World.” There might be other proclamations about families or about something else in our future. I feel that we need to figure this one out and own it, build a testimony of its truths and love it before another proclamation from the prophet is delivered. This proclamation to the world is about families. I love families. Let me tell you about mine.
My name is Cara P. Kennedy. I grew up with three fun sisters and one great brother.
My sister Jocelyn has always been my wonderful friend.
I grew up in a loving home with strong, faithful parents who willingly served the Lord.
Now my husband Jacob and I are raising five strong future parents.
Before all this, I lived in heaven with my Heavenly Parents. I know they love me. Why? Well, the proclamation clearly reminds me that I have an “eternal destiny.” I’m one of “His children,” I am “created in the image of God,” beloved spirit …daughter of Heavenly parents”, I worshiped Him as my “Eternal Father,” I have a “divine destiny as heirs of eternal life,” His “divine plan of happiness” is for me. My family can “perpetuate(d) beyond the grave,” it is “possible for (me) to return to the presence of God and for (my) family(ies) to be united eternally.” All this and I haven’t even finished reading the first side yet!
Don't you feel loved when you read the Family Proclamation? I do!
This adventure of memorizing the Family Proclamation with my kids came about, because I decided to follow the council to not over-schedule our families.
Now, first let me say, we weren't overloading our schedules on an individual basis, but as you can imagine having seven schedules of very worthwhile activities can be a little too much--even if each person just did one thing. Even trying to limit things, our seven schedules did overlap and caused us to hurry, hurry, rush, rush.
So I went on a "sabbatical of busyness." That means that as a family, we went on hiatus...from everything extra.
And, lo and behold, we started to have time. Not scheduled time to do this or be that person, or to attend that thing, but time to not hurry, time to develop a deeper relationship with each other and with God….in a quiet, non-hurrying kind of way. Gone are the days of yelling, “Come eat! Right Now! We have to PRAY so we can EAT so we can GO!"
Go where? It seemed to always be away from home- away from security, peace, serenity, ease, and comfort and contentment. We squeezed in God. We remembered Him a lot. We talked about His ways a lot. And we definitely were quick about it. I think that goes against sincere, pondering, don’t you think?
Anyway, being on a sabbatical was great! It was surprising to me how easily and how often I was asked and could have signed someone up for something or committed to doing something that would take us way from the slow, meaningful life that we had chosen. Rushing to here and there isn't’t really meaningful or purposeful is it?
"Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy or souls. Hurry can keep us from living well.....For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. " --John Ortberg So to take advantage of this relaxing time, I decided to fill it with gentle, satisfying things and follow my dear friend Kellie Parker’s example and memorize The Family Proclamation. I was planning on doing it by myself. Then I realized that if I was going to do it so were my kids. It is a perfect life lesson plan to follow. I needed long moments to teach my own children the truths of who they really are. How awesome I think they are. How awesome our Heavenly Father thinks they are. I wanted to give the truth to them about marriage, gender, sex, gay issues, the sanctity of life, importance of fathers and mothers and children, of work and play and covenants, of sacred things the world isn't’t going to share with them. Also, their world of friends and culture WILL get it wrong. If I don’t prepare them before the issue comes up then the world’s seed would be planted before mine; before God’s.
I was taught young and often to know the answer to the question before the question was asked. If asked, “Do you want to smoke, swear, have sex, cheat, lie…etc” I knew what my response would be. Now I hope my kids will be able to recall sacred words and know their answers before questions or statements are given like, “I can be a great mother without being married. “ Or “What’s wrong with being gay or cross dressing or having sex changes or having abortions?” These may seem like strong words to be reading while talking about lovely things, but those ideas are out there in full force. I tell it to my kids straight out. The older my oldest child gets the more I realize it is never too early to teach peaceful, loving truths that will allow him to be happy. Happiness in all our lives is most likely achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The whole proclamation is worded so perfectly. The entire thing expresses love from our Heavenly Father and His loving plan for us. I am continually amazed. I love that the words which clearly state male and female, husband and wife, his or her, progress towards perfection, sacred powers of procreation, lawfully wedded as husband and wife and individual premortal, mortal and eternal identity and purpose.
We all have an individual eternal purpose. When we shut out the world and slow down and allow more time to develop our eternal selves we will have more power, more enlightenment, and more love for God and our families. I can stand for truth because I know truth. I can share truth because I love truth. I can promote truth because it makes me happy. And I want everyone to be eternally happy too.
It will be a few more months until we memorize the whole proclamation but it is worth doing. I know that the words are in the correct order. I feel that each word was particularly chosen for each phrase and for each sentence. When I recite a part wrong and leave something out I feel that it changes the clarity of the message. I am grateful for revelations from the prophets. I know they are messages from God to me. I hope all of you will make time--because that is what you must do--to share your love of this proclamation with those you love too, no matter how young or how long you have known them. Truth is eternal and so are we!
For further reading on this topic, Cara recommends:
Description: "I BELONG 2010 stamped on one inch nickle silver disc. Attached to 24 inch silver plated ball chain. Chain may be cut down to shorter size. This item is designed with creativity and is custom hand stamped especially for you! That is what makes each piece unique." by Just Be Jewelry