Frequently Asked Questions

Quick reference guide to answer the "why's"
Why is the family so important?

“Though earthly families are far from perfect, they give God’s children the best chance to be welcomed to the world with the only love on earth that comes close to what we felt in heaven—parental love. Families are also the best way to preserve and pass on moral virtues and true principles that are most likely to lead us back to God’s presence.”
Phrase C, Scriptures, Paragraph 1

“In marriage and family life, we learn and grow together as God intended. In our families we cannot hide from who we really are as we strive to become who we are destined to become. In essence, a family is the mirror that helps us become aware of imperfections and flaws we may not be able or want to acknowledge. No one knows us better than a spouse and the other members of our family. Thus, the family is the ultimate mortal laboratory for the improving and perfecting of God’s children.”
Elder David A. Bednar, The Divine Pattern of Eternal Marriage 

“The purpose of mortal families is to bring children into the world, to teach them what is right, and to prepare all family members for exaltation in eternal family relationships. The gospel plan contemplates the kind of family government, discipline, solidarity, and love that serve those ultimate goals. But even the love of family members is subject to the overriding first commandment, which is love of God (see Matt. 22:37–38), and the Savior’s directive, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). As Jesus taught, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 3

“Knowing why we left the presence of our Heavenly Father and what it takes to return and be exalted with Him, it becomes very clear that nothing relative to our time on earth can be more important than physical birth and spiritual rebirth, the two prerequisites of eternal life. This is, to use the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the “office” of marriage, the “post of responsibility towards … mankind,” that this divine institution “from above, from God” occupies. It is the “link in the chain of the generations” both here and hereafter—the order of heaven. A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive—the setting for the birth of children, who come in purity and innocence from God, and the environment for the learning and preparation they will need for a successful mortal life and eternal life in the world to come. A critical mass of families built on such marriages is vital for societies to survive and flourish. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage and the family as privileged institutions. It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 5

“Families are an echo of a celestial pattern and emulation of God’s eternal family. Families are not just meant to make things run more smoothly here on earth and to be cast off when we get to heaven. Rather, they are the order of heaven. They are an echo of a celestial pattern and an emulation of God’s eternal family.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“The family unit is fundamental not only to society and to the Church but also to our hope for eternal life. We begin to practice in the family, the smaller unit, what will spread to the Church and to the society in which we live in this world, which will then be what we practice in families bound together forever by covenants and by faithfulness. We can start now to “promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family.” I pray that we will. I pray that you will ask, “Father, how can I prepare?” Tell Him how much you want what He desires to give you. You will receive impressions, and if you act on them, I promise you the help of the powers of heaven.”
Phrase C, Scriptures, Paragraph 9

Why is marriage divinely designed to be between a man and a woman?

“Because of their distinctive temperaments and capacities, males and females each bring to a marriage relationship unique perspectives and experiences. The man and the woman contribute differently but equally to a oneness and a unity that can be achieved in no other way. The man completes and perfects the woman and the woman completes and perfects the man as they learn from and mutually strengthen and bless each other.” Thus, by divine design, men and women are intended to progress together toward redemption and enduring joy.”
Phrase B, Scriptures, Paragraph 1

“A family built on the marriage of a man and woman supplies the best setting for God’s plan to thrive—the setting for the birth of children, who come in purity and innocence from God, and the environment for the learning and preparation they will need for a successful mortal life and eternal life in the world to come. A critical mass of families built on such marriages is vital for societies to survive and flourish. That is why communities and nations generally have encouraged and protected marriage and the family as privileged institutions. It has never been just about the love and happiness of adults.”
Phrase B, Scriptures, Paragraph 1

“The social science case for marriage and for families headed by a married man and woman is compelling. And so “we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.” But our claims for the role of marriage and family rest not on social science but on the truth that they are God’s creation. It is He who in the beginning created Adam and Eve in His image, male and female, and joined them as husband and wife to become “one flesh” and to multiply and replenish the earth. Each individual carries the divine image, but it is in the matrimonial union of male and female as one that we attain perhaps the most complete meaning of our having been made in the image of God—male and female. Neither we nor any other mortal can alter this divine order of matrimony. It is not a human invention. Such marriage is indeed “from above, from God” and is as much a part of the plan of happiness as the Fall and the Atonement.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

What is the purpose of marriage?

“Marriage was intended by God “to mean the complete merger of a man and a woman—their hearts, hopes, lives, love, family, future, everything … to be ‘one flesh’ in their life together.” We cannot achieve the kind of life our Heavenly Father enjoys by ourselves or without a complete commitment to fidelity within a marriage to our husband or wife according to God’s plan.”
Phrase B, Scriptures, Paragraph 1

What is at the center of God’s eternal plan for His children?

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” and “is essential to [God’s] eternal plan.” This divinely designed pattern of marriage is neither an experiment nor a sociological innovation. Rather, it is a relationship “central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
Elder David A. Bednar, The Divine Pattern of Eternal Marriage

“The sanctity of life is central and essential in God’s eternal plan.”
Elder David A. Bednar, The Divine Pattern of Eternal Marriage

What are some of the most important characteristics we have as children of God?

“Individual identity began long before conception and will continue for all the eternities to come.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

“Our gender was determined before we came to earth and is part of our eternal identity.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

“Your gender existed before you came to earth.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

“From our premortal life we were directed into a physical body. There is no mismatching of bodies and spirits.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

“Male and female he created them; and blessed them … in the day when they were created.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

“All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughter of Deity.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

“Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 2

What is our purpose on earth?

“We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body.”
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181

“Remarkable as your body is, its prime purpose … is of even greater importance—to serve as tenement for your eternal spirit. Your spirit acquired your body and became a living soul to experience mortality and the associated trials and testing. Part of that testing is to determine if the appetites of your body can become mastered by the spirit that dwells within it. When we understand our nature and our purpose on earth and that our bodies are physical temples of God, we will realize that it is sacrilege to let anything enter that might defile the body.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 3

Are families eternal?

“That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 3

Should I be neutral on issues surrounding the family?

“Seeking to be neutral about the gospel is, in reality, to reject the existence of God and His authority. We must, rather, acknowledge Him and His omniscience if we want our children to see life’s choices clearly and be able to think for themselves. They should not have to learn by sad experience that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 3

“One of the great tasks of our time—one on which diverse faith communities should be united—is to help people understand the true meaning and purpose of marriage. All people, especially the rising generation, need a vision of the richness of family life and its potential for developing the highest and best in each of us. In an age of increasing selfishness, we must highlight marriage’s capacity to lift men and women beyond their narrow self-interests to the joys that come from dedicating one’s life to a higher and holy purpose.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 9

“Today I call on members of this Church and on committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to this great proclamation and to make it a banner not unlike General Moroni’s ‘title of liberty,’ and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts. … The world needs to know what the proclamation teaches, because the family is the basic unit of society, of the economy, of our culture, and of our government.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 9

What was the first commandment made by God to His children?

“The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 4

“Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children, being co-creators with our Father in heaven. … Blessed is the husband and wife who have a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family, parenthood, and sacrifice. To have those sweet spirits come into the home is worth practically any sacrifice.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 4

Procreation is sacred, why?

Our purpose in mortality is to become like our heavenly parents. Our divine understanding and use of sexual intimacy are essential to that process of becoming. Sexual relations are ‘one of the ultimate expressions of our divine nature.’ Our proper expression of sexuality makes it possible for God’s plan to unfold on earth and in the eternities, qualifying us to become like our Heavenly Father. God promises eternal life for the faithful that includes eternal marriage, children, and all other blessings of an eternal family.
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 4

“Heavenly Father intends that sexual relations in marriage be used to create children and to express love and strengthen the emotional, spiritual, and physical connections between husband and wife. … Obeying the law of chastity includes abstaining from all sexual relations before marriage and remaining completely faithful and loyal after marriage. Sexual relations are to be limited to marriage between a man and a woman. Heavenly Father intends that sexual relations in marriage be used to create children and to express love and strengthen the emotional, spiritual, and physical connections between husband and wife. In marriage, sexual intimacy should unite wife and husband together in trust, devotion, and consideration for each other.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 4

Why is life sacred?

“Our being with God “in the beginning” means that you have been you for a long time. Hence the Apostle John correctly wrote that “[God] first loved us” (see 1 Jn. 4:19). Likewise, amid the mortal turbulence, we learn who other mortals really are—our spiritual brothers and sisters, not functions, rivals, or enemies. Moreover, we should have a special sanctity and regard for human life.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 5

“Since the beginning of man, God has taught of an absolute respect for human life. From the very first moment of his being until the last breath of his life, there is a veneration for life which includes those in being, but not yet born. …

The exercise of a man or woman’s sacred procreative powers makes each a partner with God in creation and brings to them in parenthood their greatest happiness. This divine partnership also brings their greatest privileges and most weighty responsibilities. Since becoming a parent is such a transcending blessing, and since each child is so precious and brings so much happiness, a cardinal purpose of marriage and of life itself is to bring forth new life within this partnership with God.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 5

What actions today diminish the sanctity of life?

“When the controversies about abortion are debated, “individual right of choice” is invoked as though it were the one supreme virtue. That could only be true if but one person were involved. The rights of any one individual do not allow the rights of another individual to be abused. In or out of marriage, abortion is not solely an individual matter. Terminating the life of a developing baby involves two individuals with separate bodies, brains, and hearts. A woman’s choice for her own body does not include the right to deprive her baby of life—and a lifetime of choices that her child would make.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 5

“From the perspective of the plan of salvation, one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them birth. … Many laws permit or even promote abortion, but to us this is a great evil. … There is a tragic irony in the multitudes of children eliminated or injured before birth while throngs of infertile couples long for and seek babies to adopt.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 5

“Abortion, which has increased enormously, causes one to ask, ‘Have we strayed so far from God’s second great commandment—love thy neighbor—that a baby in a womb no longer qualifies to be loved—at least as a mother’s neighbor?”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 5

Why is the responsibility of parenthood so important?

“Our most important and powerful assignments are in the family. They are important because the family has the opportunity at the start of a child’s life to put feet firmly on the path home.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 6

“All are free to choose, of course, and we would not have it otherwise. Unfortunately, however, when some choose slackness, they are choosing not only for themselves, but for the next generation and the next. Small equivocations in parents can produce large deviations in their children! Earlier generations in a family may have reflected dedication, while some in the current generation evidence equivocation. Sadly, in the next, some may choose dissension as erosion takes its toll.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 6

What are children entitled to?

We are losing the basic understanding that society has a unique and profound interest in marriage because of its power to form a male-female union that is the optimal setting for the bearing and rearing of children—ensuring to the greatest extent possible that every child has an opportunity to know and to be loved and cared for by the mother and father who brought him or her into the world.
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“Children need the emotional and personal strength that comes from being raised by two parents who are united in their marriage and their goals.  As one who was raised by a widowed mother, I know firsthand that this cannot always be achieved, but it is the ideal to be sought whenever possible… We also need politicians, policy makers, and officials to increase their attention to what is best for children in contrast to the selfish interests of voters and vocal advocates of adult interests.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“A home with a loving and loyal husband and wife is the supreme setting in which children can be reared in love and righteousness and in which the spiritual and physical needs of children can be met. Just as the unique characteristics of both males and females contribute to the completeness of a marriage relationship, so those same characteristics are vital to the rearing, nurturing, and teaching of children.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

How can individuals and families be happy in this life?

“The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children can be happy at home and that the family can continue through eternity. All Christian doctrine is formulated to protect the individual, the home, and the family.”
Sentence D, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“The home and family have been the center of true civilization. Any distortion of the God-given program will bring dire consequences. The families worked together, played together, and worshiped God together.”
Sentence E, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

Fatherhood: What is the divine role and responsibility of men?

“Fatherhood is much more than a social construct or the product of evolution. The role of father is of divine origin, beginning with a Father in Heaven and, in this mortal sphere, with Father Adam. The perfect, divine expression of fatherhood is our Heavenly Father.”
Sentence F, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“The father is the protector of the home. He guards it against the intrusion of evil from without. Formerly he protected his home with weapons and shuttered windows. Today the task is more complex. Barred doors and windows protect only against the intrusion of a corporeal creature. It is not an easy thing to protect one’s family against intrusions of evil into the minds and spirits of family members. These influences can and do flow freely into the home. Satan can subtly beguile the children of men in ways we have already mentioned in this conference. He need not break down the door. Fathers, you will have to live close to the Lord. Develop a sensitivity to the impressions of the Spirit.”
Sentence F, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“The most important of the Lord’s work you [fathers] will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home.”
Sentence F, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“In a home where there is an able-bodied husband, he is expected to be the breadwinner. … We urge the husband to do all in his power to allow his wife to remain in the home caring for the children while he continues to provide for his family the best he can, even though the job he is able to secure may not be ideal and family budgeting will have to be tighter.”
Sentence F, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

Motherhood: What is the divine role and responsibility of women?

“My dear sisters, your ability to discern truth from error, to be society’s guardians of morality, is crucial in these latter days. And we depend upon you to teach others to do likewise. Let me be very clear about this: if the world loses the moral rectitude of its women, the world will never recover.”
Sentence G, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“The calling of motherhood has been identified as the most ennobling endowment God could give His daughters, “as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the priesthood itself.”
Sentence G, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“Mothers have a sacred role. They are partners with God, as well as with their own husbands, first in giving birth to the Lord’s spirit children, and then in rearing those children so they will serve the Lord and keep his commandments.”
Sentence G, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“Mothers, teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord’s way of teaching. The Church cannot teach like you can. The school cannot. The day-care center cannot. But you can, and the Lord will sustain you. Your children will remember your teachings forever, and when they are old, they will not depart from them….  This is your divine calling.”
Sentence G, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

“A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career. Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation. They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here. A woman’s moral influence is nowhere more powerfully felt or more beneficially employed than in the home.”
Sentence G, Scriptures, Paragraph 7

Can the disintegration of the family really cause problems for the whole world?

“Whether we like it or not, so many of the difficulties which beset the family today stem from the breaking of the seventh commandment (see Ex. 20:14). Total chastity before marriage and total fidelity after are still the standard from which there can be no deviation without sin, misery, and unhappiness. The breaking of the seventh commandment usually means the breaking of one or more homes.”
Sentence C, Scriptures, Paragraph 4

“As the residual societal stability is eroded that was created in the strong marriages and families of previous generations, the prospects for our future grow ever more uncertain and even bleak.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 8

“War will be poured out upon all nations. … With the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the … chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 8

What responsibilities do I have to protect the family?

“The proclamation is direct: “We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.” Our Father’s plan encourages a husband and wife to bring children into the world and obligates us to speak in defense of the unborn.”
Sentence B, Scriptures, Paragraph 4

“Sometimes we become the lightning rod, and we must “take the heat” for holding fast to God’s standards and doing His work. I testify that we need not be afraid if we are grounded in His doctrine. We may experience misunderstanding, criticism, and even false accusation, but we are never alone. Our Savior was “despised and rejected of men.” It is our sacred privilege to stand with Him!”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 9

“Discipleship includes good citizenship. In this connection, if you are a careful student of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions—especially when the First Presidency has spoken out—the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people; and causes, not candidates.”
Sentence A, Scriptures, Paragraph 9

Will the church's stance on the family ever change?

No, “the long-standing doctrinal statements reaffirmed in [The Family: A Proclamation to the World] 23 years ago will not change.”
Phrase A, Scriptures. “Paragraph 1

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