Family Revelation

Flight into Egypt” (detail), by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1923)

Joseph and Mary independently received revelation about Jesus, the child they would raise together.

  • According to Luke, the angel Gabriel told Mary, “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:31-33).
  • Subsequently, according to Matthew, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream with the following instructions: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20).

I wonder what their conversations were like as they shared with each other the revelation they had each received and discussed what it might mean.

After the visit from the wise men, Matthew relates two other messages from heaven delivered to Joseph through dreams:

  • “The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13).
  • “When Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life” (Matthew 2:19-20).

These dreams remind me of the experience of the first family in the Book of Mormon. As their situation in Jerusalem became more dangerous, Nephi writes, “The Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream…. And…the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:1-2). Nephi’s father later tells him, “I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 3:2). and he subsequently relates to the family a detailed dream, rich with symbolism, which he believed held messages for the entire family. (See 1 Nephi 8.)

While these are dramatic examples, I think this principle operates frequently than we might think: Parents receive revelation about how to lead their families “in love and righteousness.” (See “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”) Raising children is too hard to do alone and requires more knowledge than any of us has. Like Joseph and Mary, and like Lehi and Sariah, we need to be open to the direction God is willing to provide.

In 2020, Richard and Linda Eyre wrote a series of articles with their daughter Saydi Eyre Shumway on the topic of receiving revelation for your family. In the first of those articles, they listed 21 brief “case studies,” in which parents sought and received revelation. Here are a few of those:

  • “A mother, deep in prayer about a rebellious teen, receives the distinct impression to take her along on an upcoming business trip where there will be ample time for one-on-one talks and for trust to build.”
  • “A father, burdened by worries about a son who lacks confidence and gives up easily is sitting humbly in sacrament meeting when he suddenly knows that he has to tell his son more stories about his grandparents and ancestors and their resilience; and as he does so, he begins to see a new light and determination in his son’s eyes.”
  • “A full-time mom feels ‘sandwiched’ between her five small children and her ageing mother who, recently widowed, has just moved in with them. She goes prayerfully to the temple and while sitting in the waiting room, suddenly sees a vision of how her mother can feel worth by helping with the kids in a way that benefits both generations and lightens her own parenting burden at the same time.”

(“Opening The Door To Family Revelation: Receiving Divine Answers for You and Your Children,” Meridian Magazine, 20 April 2020.)

Today, I will seek for inspiration about how I can bless my children. I will discuss with my wife the insights I receive and will strive for unity with her as we strive to lead our family in a way that is consistent with God’s will.

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