Often in my childhood I heard my parents and leaders testify that families could be eternal. Before going to bed, my mother often tucked us in reciting and singing the refrain from this touching story called “I’ll Build You a Rainbow: ” ( R.Scott Strong, “I’ll Build You a Rainbow,” ldslyrics).
NARRATION: Once there was a little boy named Jamey. He had some great friends, but his greatest friend was his mom. Not in any sissy way or anything like that. She was different than the other moms. While they were busy going to their fashion shows and their bridge parties, she was home with him. They'd play in the back yard together, go on bike rides, have long talks. She was the best football player on the whole block. At least that’s what the other guys said. They really thought she was special, you know, they wished their moms were more like that.
VOCAL: I'll build you a rainbow, way up high above. Send down a sunbeam, plumb full of love. Sprinkle down rain drops, tear drops of joy. I’ll be happy as spring-time, watching over my boy.
NARRATION: Then one day Jamey was called home from school. There was a big white ambulance in the driveway. When Jamey walked into the front door his dad was talking to the doctor, and Jamey was scared. They said he could only talk to his mom for a minute, and when he tiptoed into the bedroom and saw her lying on the bed, she smiled and whispered, ‘Hi, Big J.’ That's what she always called him even though he wasn't very big. She said he had a big heart.
She said, “Jamey, I'm going away and I won't be coming back. I'm dying.' Big tears came into Jamey's eyes and he said, 'Mom, you just can't die.” And she said, 'It's okay Babe, there're no regrets. l've been with you more in eleven years than most moms are with their boys in a whole lifetime.”
He said, 'I know Mom, but you just can't die, you just can't.' And she said, 'Jamey, there's a secret. It's a special secret, and I never want you to forget it - Families are forever, and even though you won't see me, I'll still be there watching over ya, and waiting for ya.'
And he said, 'But Mom, if I can't see you, how will I know you're there?” And, she thought a minute and then she smiled and answered:
VOCAL: I'll build you a rainbow, way up high above. Send down a sunbeam, plumb full of love. Sprinkle down rain drops, tear drops of joy. l'll be happy as spring-time, watching over my boy.
NARRATION: She kissed him, closed her eyes, and she was gone. As Jamey and his dad stood in the driveway watching the ambulance drive away, his dad broke down and started to cry. They hugged each other real tight and Jamey felt his dad's tear drops on his own cheeks.
Then he remembered the secret - and he looked up and sure enough, there it was, right over their house - a big rainbow, just like she promised. And he said, 'Dad, Dad it's alright. Families are forever.'
A simple child’s story can answer the most profound questions of mortal existence
Elder Neil L. Andersen, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “Our eternal perspective not only enlarges our understanding of those who are continuing their journey beyond mortality but also opens our understanding of those who are earlier in their journey and just now entering mortality” (Neil L. Andersen, “The Personal Journey of a Child of God,” Liahona, May 2021).
The plan of salvation gives me this eternal perspective. It helps me answer questions like: Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we die? The scriptures call it the plan of salvation, the great plan of happiness, or the plan of redemption (Alma 42:5, 8, 11).
The gospel of Jesus Christ is an essential element of this plan. It helps us have this eternal perspective. These simple words and this great truth have had a profound influence on me, on the way I have led my life and the choices I have made.
I have also on several occasions in my life been comforted by the Spirit and my testimony strengthened by the truths of the plan of salvation during unfortunate personal or family events, such as illness, the loss of a loved one, trials, but also during great joys such as marriage, the birth of a child, and the many covenants that I or those close to me have made with God.
I know that hope and joy in this life is possible, not only for me but for all of us, because of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives. I know He died for me and through His infinite love and sacrifice and because of the restored priesthood authority on earth, I will one day be able to live with my family forever.
President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency has taught: “To achieve this joyful destiny, eternal laws require that we must become purified beings through the Atonement of Jesus Christ so we can dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son and enjoy the blessings of exaltation. As the Book of Mormon teaches, He invites 'all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God'” (Dallin H. Oaks,“The Great Plan,“ Liahona, May 2020. See also 2Nephi 26:33; Alma 5:49).
Just like Enos in the Book of Mormon, I desire to invite all my brothers and sisters to seek this knowledge, this joy and this assurance which comes from a testimony of the great plan of salvation and the essential role of our Savior Jesus Christ in it.
My personal covenants, including baptism and the covenants I made in the temple, have helped me grow in my faith and knowledge of the plan of salvation. I was baptized on December 5, 1982 by my father. It was for me the opportunity to make a covenant on earth with my Heavenly Father and open this very important door to the covenant path which would one day lead me to the Toronto Ontario Temple to be sealed on May 23, 1996 to the love of my life, my wife Marie-lyne.
I know that the gift of exaltation is possible through God's plan and the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ and the covenants we make with God.
This great truth that I so often heard at night when I fell asleep is still very present in my heart. Especially when I see a rainbow in the sky! I then not only remember the covenant that the Lord made with Noah but also remember the story my mom so tenderly and lovingly recited to help me understand that families are forever.
I pray that we may all have this eternal perspective. It will influence our choices and our actions. I know that God lives. I bear witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him deeply! I know that the plan of salvation is true and that families are forever.