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Why do Mormons put so much more emphasis on the family than most other denominations do? What about their doctrine causes this? Or is it more because of culture/tradition?

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Catholics (at least in many countries) put a very strong emphasis on family, too... although I believe the emphasis is a bit different. –  Flimzy Oct 15 '11 at 17:30
    
Can you please provide some evidence or examples of what you think is a high emphasis on family? This question seems opinion based now without it. –  curiousdannii 1 hour ago
    
@curiousdannii I think their doctrine of exaltation and being married and making children for eternity is probably the justification for the question and coincidentally the answer too. –  fredsbend 3 mins ago

5 Answers 5

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I'm answering this only because of the year I spent in a Mormon (LDS) church. If anyone who is LDS would like to post a different answer, please do. This is based only on what I observed and learned during that time.

There are actually a few reasons for the emphasis on family. The first section below is presented to add emphasis to the "meat" of the answer found later on.

The first has to do with the fact that LDS doctrine teaches that you have to add works on top of the free salvation presented by Jesus' sacrifice if you want to attain to the highest level of Heaven (also referred to as the highest degree of glory.

This underlies a lot of why members of the LDS Church are such stellar examples of how to behave, or at least why so much emphasis is put on "being good". Doing the will of God and actually following the commandments is seen as necessary to achieve the highest level of glory. One of the basic principles of the LDS Church is that other denominations are false, because Christianity went into full apostasy. They view the concept of salvation by grace through faith apart from works as a false doctrine that encourages people to continue sinning while believing they are saved. I can't tell you how many times I heard Matthew 15:8 quoted in Sunday Schools and in services.

The emphasis on being a good person springs from this belief. This is, from what I've experienced, the most crucial aspect of LDS doctrine, and the belief that good works are necessary to future glory underlies a great deal of the emphasis on goodness. Part of the emphasis on family springs from this. Quite obviously, it is good to love your family and to have a close family.

Their teachings also include the idea that your family life continues on in heaven, and they want to be able to spend eternity with their families. This feeds the emphasis on family, because close families are less likely to drift away from the Church. Since the view is that a person who leaves the Church is going to attain a lower level of glory, they want very much to maintain close ties to keep their children and loved ones in the fold. The best way to do this is to encourage family time, and closeness in the family.

You can read the official LDS statement on the importance of family while a more "evangelical" and less "doctrinal" explanation can be found here.

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Your answer is the better, but is missing one point. Mormons teach, or used to teach, that the celestial kingdom, the highest degree of glory, is organized by family relationships. In other words, you would report to and take commands from your father. If your father was not worthy of the celestial kingdom, then your grandfather. And so on up and down through the family lines. –  Gilbert Le Blanc Oct 19 '11 at 13:29
    
Although this is a great answer overall, I would disagree with the statement that "LDS doctrine teaches that you have to add works on top of the free salvation presented by Jesus' sacrifice." Rather, LDS doctrine teaches that each individual must actively accept Christ's grace. "And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end." (3 Nephi 27:19) But maybe that's making too much of a subtle point. –  amcnabb Mar 28 '12 at 3:58
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I agree with @amcnabb's assessment. The LDS church certainly emphasizes works, but it does not claim that these works in some way 'add' or otherwise suppliment Christ's atonement. If I am not mistaken, the view is that Christ payed for everything, and in return he asks for our best effort in good works. If we don't manifest good works, we don't have true faith (James 2:14-26). –  Dougvj Oct 12 '12 at 23:41
    
Clarification - I didn't say it works add to salvation. I said that your works determine if you reach the highest degree of glory. LDS teaching is clear on this.Righteousness and ordinances are a prerequisite for those who hope to attain the Celestial kingdom. –  David Stratton Oct 12 '12 at 23:54

I think this article from 5/2003 explains the LDS position quite clearly, as to why they believe in the importance of family ties. Family members that have died before the could be brought within the Mormon fold can also be given the saving ordinances by having someone stand in for them. This Mormon missionary prep guide may help explain this.

By stressing close family ties it helps to bind the religious community together, and serves as an example of how being Mormon can help society as a whole. There is also more pressure on trying to stay together because the families will try to convince couples to persevere, all to keep the family together.

It also makes is harder to leave the Mormon faith because these close relationships will be at risk, so when people choose to leave they will leave everything they hold dear behind them.

This story was interesting, I don't know how legit it is, but it can give some idea about what happens when people leave the Mormon church. I am not trying to attack the Mormon faith by this last link, but to some idea as to how family will work to try to keep people in the faith. If more religions cared as much about close family ties I doubt we would have so many divorces, in the US.

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Faithful members of the LDS church have the opportunity to be married in the temple in a ceremony called a temple sealing. This sealing is one of the most sacred ordinances performed in the temple.

When a couple is sealed and married they don't hear the usual, "Until death do you part". This union doesn't end with death, rather it continues on into the eternities.

When a couple that has been previously sealed has children the blessing of the sealing extends to their children, as long as the parents have kept their covenants.

If a couple gets sealed after having children, the children enter the temple and the parents are sealed as husband and wife, and the children are sealed to their parents.

This sealing ordinance enables family ties to continue beyond death. This is why the family is a strong focus in the LDS church. The people in your family were likely close to you before you came to this earth, and if we keep our covenants, then we never have to lose them.

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+1 and welcome! This answer uses fact to give insight. Well-done, and welcome to C.SE! –  Affable Geek Oct 12 '12 at 21:56

I know that this was answered several months ago but I would like to contribute my view on this since I am actually of the LDS Faith have left the LDS church at one point and returned after a lengthy period of time.

The family is the most central unit of the LDS church. All doctrine in the church revolves around the family unit. Without the saving ordnance of being Sealed in the temple to your husband/wife a member of the LDS church believes that they cannot attain the highest degree of glory. As David said there is a large emphasis on works as well as the saving grace of Christ. So beyond just getting sealed the couple and later their family must continue to work at being a Celestial family (the highest degree of glory according to LDS doctrine). Because of this LDS families that actually live the teachings of the gospel do place a heavy emphasis on close family relationships.

Now to clarify what @James Black said. As one who has belonged to the LDS church for most of my life and having left the church at one point as well. I can honestly say that I never felt like I was discriminated against by those who knew me or my family. In fact I have a sibling who is not currently part of the church and my family not only loves her still, but does not pressure her to come back to the church. Would we like her too? Of course we would, but part of the reason that LDS families that live the gospel are so strong is because the LDS church also puts such a heavy emphasis on accepting people for who they are, and not who we think they should be.

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Out of curiosity, if "the LDS church also puts such a heavy emphasis on accepting people for who they are, and not who we think they should be," then how is baptism of the dead justified? –  Steely Dan Jan 20 '12 at 17:29
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@SteelyDan: I think "accept" may be the wrong word here. The LDS church puts a heavy emphasis on loving people for who they are, but at the same time, not accepting any imperfection as "good enough." There's a strong focus on personal improvement and helping others to progress, but it is explicitly to be done only through love, persuasion and sincerity and without any form of coercion or force. According to the Doctrine and Covenants, the authority of anyone who tries to exercise "leadership" through unrighteous means is void. –  Mason Wheeler Jan 20 '12 at 18:02
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@SteelyDan: Mason is basically right, however your question is a very good one and very complicated. But to put it simply it boils down to two things. Love of family on our part and the love that God has for all of his children. LDS believe that God loves all of His children equally and so would offer all of His children the chance to accept the gospel and the Atonement of Christ. Which leads us as members through our love of family and the Savior to want to help our ancestors attain the same degree of glory that we strive for. But even in death people have agency and can reject our help. –  ryan Jan 20 '12 at 19:42
    
@SteelyDan in addition to what ryanOptini said, you might want to read answers here where that question is basically asked. –  MaskedPlant Jan 20 '12 at 20:58

The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Read: The Family, a Proclomation to the World. - Official statement from the First Presidency of the Church, and Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

The simplest answer is that Families are the Greatest Source of PURE Joy, and finding joy is the purpose of life.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men care, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)

Our Father in heaven wants us to be happy, just as any father on earth would want his children to be happy, just like I want my children to be happy, more than anything I want them to find pure joy in this life and the life after.

This is the reason that God created the earth and put us on it, that we may pass through sorrow and find eternal happiness. For it is only through our trials and experiences on earth that we can learn happiness.

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Nephi 2:11)

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