Paragraph 1

Marriage Between a Man and a Woman is Ordained of God

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

A CLOSER LOOK

Phrase A

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 

First Presidency

D&C 107:91–92
The duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—… to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

D&C 136:37
Joseph Smith … I did call upon by mine angels, my ministering servants, and by mine own voice out of the heavens, to bring forth my work.

D&C 107:22–24
Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church. The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

The long-standing doctrinal statements reaffirmed in [The Family: A Proclamation to the World] 23 years ago will not change. 
President Dallin H. Oaks, October 2019 General Conference Priesthood Leadership Session. Retrieved from https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-first-presidency-leadership-session?cid=HP_NWSRM_10_2_19

“With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” General Relief Society Meeting, 23 Sep 1995.

I testify that the proclamation on the family is a statement of eternal truth, the will of the Lord for His children who seek eternal life. It has been the basis of Church teaching and practice for the last 22 years and will continue so for the future. Consider it as such, teach it, live by it, and you will be blessed as you press forward toward eternal life.
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Forty years ago, President Ezra Taft Benson taught that “every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself.” I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is one of those tests for this generation. I pray for all Latter-day Saints to stand firm in that test.
President Dallin H. Oaks, “The Plan and the Proclamation.” October 2017 General Conference.

“This declaration is not politically correct, but it is true, and we are responsible to teach and practice its truth. That obviously sets us against many assumptions and practices in today’s world.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “As He Thinketh in His Heart,” An Evening with a General Authority, February 2013.

A proclamation in the Church is a significant, major announcement. Very few of them have been issued from the beginning of the Church. They are significant; they are revelatory. At that time, the Brethren issued “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It is scripture-like in its power. When you wonder why we are the way we are, … you can find the authority for that in this proclamation on the family. … You’ll find answers there—and they are the answers of the Church.
President Boyd K. Packer, “Proclamation on the Family,” Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast, 9 February 2008.

“The doctrine of the Church … is taught by all fifteen members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. … True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.”
Elder Neil L. Anderson, “Trial of Your Faith,” General Conference, Oct 2012.

It was no coincidence that this solemn declaration was issued precisely when the Lord’s prophet felt that, of all the subjects on his mind, unstable family life in the Church was his greatest concern. Later [President Hinckley] said that the greatest challenge facing both America and the rest of world “is the problem of the family, brought on by misguided parents and resulting in misguided children.”

m
The proclamation was not merely a collection of pro-family platitudes. It was a serious prophetic warning about a major international problem. And now, years later, the problem is getting worse, which shows just how prophetic the 1995 warning was.
Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “Marriage, Family Law, and the Temple,” J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Fireside in Salt Lake City, January 31, 2014.

Prophets

Heb. 1:1
God … spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.

2 Chron. 20:20
Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

Hosea 12:10
I have also spoken by the prophets.

Ezek. 2:5
They, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear … yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

Jer. 26:5
Hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you.

Amos 3:7
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Matt. 10:41
He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.

1 Ne. 22:1–2
By the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets, which shall come upon the children of men according to the flesh.

3 Ne. 23:5
Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.

Jacob 7:11
None of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.

Mosiah 18:19
They should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets.

D&C 1:38
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

If we pick and choose what we accept in the proclamation, we cloud our eternal view, putting too much importance on our experience here and now. By prayerfully pondering the proclamation through the eye of faith, we better understand how the principles are beautifully connected, supporting one another, revealing our Father’s plan for His children.
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Should we really be surprised when the Lord’s prophets declare His will and, for some, questions remain? Of course, some reject the voice of the prophets immediately, but others prayerfully ponder their honest questions—questions that will be settled with patience and an eye of faith. If the proclamation had been revealed in a different century, there would still have been questions, just different questions than those of today. One purpose of prophets is to help us in resolving sincere questions.
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Prior to being the President of the Church, President Russell M. Nelson said: “Prophets see ahead. They see the harrowing dangers the adversary has placed or will yet place in our path. Prophets also foresee the grand possibilities and privileges awaiting those who listen with the intent to obey.
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I testify to the truth and spiritual power of the united voice of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.
Elder Neil L. Anderson, “The Eye of Faith,” General Conference, April 2019.

Apostles

Luke 6:13 (Matt. 10:1)
He called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.

Eph. 2:19–20
Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

Eph. 4:11–14
He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; … for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, … that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.

2 Pet. 3:2
Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.

Eph. 3:3–5
By revelation he made known unto me the mystery … as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

1 Ne. 13:24
When [the book] proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.

D&C 20:2
Joseph Smith, Jun., … was called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church.

D&C 21:1
There shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ.

D&C 27:12–13
Peter, and James, and John … I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them; unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times.

Article of Faith 6
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

No decision emanates from the deliberations of the First Presidency and the Twelve without total unanimity among all concerned. At the outset in considering matters, there may be differences of opinion. These are to be expected. These men come from different backgrounds. They are men who think for themselves. But before a final decision is reached, there comes a unanimity of mind and voice.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God is at the Helm,” Ensign May 1994.

“The calling of 15 men to the holy apostleship provides great protection for us as members of the Church. Why? Because decisions of these leaders must be unanimous. Can you imagine how the Spirit needs to move upon 15 men to bring about unanimity? These 15 men have varied educational and professional backgrounds, with differing opinions about many things. Trust me! These 15 men—prophets, seers, and revelators—know what the will of the Lord is when unanimity is reached! They are committed to see that the Lord’s will truly will be done. The Lord’s Prayer provides the pattern for each of these 15 men when they pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Sustaining of Prophets.” October 2014 General Conference.

“When the original Twelve were called in this dispensation, they were told that their appointment was “calculated to create for you an affection for each other, stronger than death.” We already have such affection for you, Brethren, for your wives, and for your families.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Prophets, Seers and Revelators,” Ensign Nov. 2004.

“Let me also observe that none of the Twelve are shrinking violets. We each have strong personalities. So when we are unified in a decision, you can rest assured that we have counseled together and come to that decision after much prayer and thoughtful discussion.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Be Still, and Know That I Am God,” CES Devotional for Young Adults May 2014.

Without hesitation [apostles] respond to every call. They are true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. I add by way of personal testimony that during the twenty years I served as a member of the Council of the Twelve and during the nearly thirteen years that I have served in the First Presidency, there has never been a major action taken where this procedure was not observed. I have seen differences of opinion presented in these deliberations. Out of this very process of men speaking their minds has come a sifting and winnowing of ideas and concepts. But I have never observed serious discord or personal enmity among my Brethren. I have, rather, observed a beautiful and remarkable thing—the coming together, under the directing influence of the Holy Spirit and under the power of revelation, of divergent views until there is total harmony and full agreement. Only then is implementation made.
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That, I testify, represents the spirit of revelation manifested again and again in directing this the Lord’s work. I know of no other governing body of any kind of which this might be said. This procedure obtains even in the absence of the President of the Church.

I hasten to add that the Brethren would not be inclined to do anything which they feel would be out of harmony with the attitude, feelings, and position of their beloved leader, the prophet of the Lord.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God is at the Helm,” Ensign May 1994.

“I have given the following counsel to Church members—those who have committed themselves by upraised hands to sustain their church leaders: Criticism is particularly objectionable when it is directed toward Church authorities, general or local. Jude condemns those who ‘speak evil of dignities.’ (Jude 1:8.) Evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed is in a class by itself. It is one thing to depreciate a person who exercises corporate power or even government power. It is quite another thing to criticize or depreciate a person for the performance of an office to which he or she has been called of God. … When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and His cause.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Address to Church Educational System teachers, Aug. 16, 1985.

The need for prophetic teachers who know the revealed word of God and who speak it directly and without apology is as important in our day as it has ever been. … We sustain 15 men not only as prophets and revelators but as seers also. The presence of seers among us is not much spoken of, yet the ability to see beyond the present lends power and authority to apostolic testimony and teaching. … Our sustaining support of prophets, seers, and revelators is not in the upraised hand alone, but more so in our courage, testimony, and faith to listen to, heed, and follow them.

But I ask myself, if this is so clear, why is it so difficult? There may be many answers to this, but I think, in reality, there is only one. Most of the difficulty can be traced to our desire to be more acceptable to the world than to God.

The teachings of a living prophet are often contrary to the trends of the world. We, as Latter-day Saints must understand that there is an expanding gulf between the standards of the world and those of the gospel and kingdom of God, and that living prophets will always teach the standards of God. As much as we may want the gospel to accommodate to the world, it can’t, it won’t, it never has, and it never will.
Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Living Prophets, Seers and Revelators,” Ensign Nov. 2000.

The Church

D&C 115:4
Thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

D&C 84:2
The Lord [established] his church, in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets.

D&C 124:94
From this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church.

It was the Savior Himself who said, “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Even earlier, in AD 34, our resurrected Lord gave similar instruction to members of His Church when He visited them in the Americas. At that time He said:

“Ye shall call the church in my name. …

“And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church.” …

What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the “LDS Church,” the “Mormon Church,” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement. …

If we as a people and as individuals are to have access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ—to cleanse and heal us, to strengthen and magnify us, and ultimately to exalt us—we must clearly acknowledge Him as the source of that power. We can begin by calling His Church by the name He decreed. 
President Russell M. Nelson, “The Correct Name of the Church.” Oct. 2018 General Conference.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by 15 apostles, who are also regarded as prophets, seers and revelators. The man who has been an apostle the longest is the president of the Church, and by inspiration he selects two other apostles as counselors. These three function as the First Presidency, which is the highest governing body of the Church.
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Members of the First Presidency are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, called to teach and testify of Him throughout the world. They travel frequently, addressing and encouraging large congregations of members and interested nonmembers, as well as meeting with local leaders.
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When they are not traveling, members of the First Presidency counsel together and with other general Church leaders on matters affecting the worldwide Church, such as missionary worktemple building, spiritual and temporal welfare and much more.
Source: LDS.org

 

For a quarter of a century, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” has been a foundational, doctrinal declaration on God’s pattern of marriage and the family for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The bringing forth of this prophetic proclamation could also be considered a hinge point in the history of the Church. Because it was issued by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, it is a unified and prophetic statement that has and will continue to stand as a powerful beacon of truth in an increasingly confusing world.

In just 600 words, the family proclamation outlines what President Dallin H. Oaks declared as “the Lord’s reemphasis of the gospel truths we need to sustain us through current challenges to the family … [it] is a statement of eternal truth, the will of the Lord for His children who seek eternal life. It has been the basis of Church teaching and practice … and will continue so for the future.” (link)

Oftentimes we hear about the importance of defending the family. However, the unique thing about “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is that it is not only about defending the family, but also about defending the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Why? The two are linked together by statements of eternal truth, namely 1) we believe the prophet speaks for God and that apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ to all the world; and 2) their unified words in the family proclamation are truth.

That’s why throughout this site, you’ll find that we’re not aiming to debate the family proclamation but, rather, support it. Because it’s a statement of eternal, unchangeable truth that is the basis of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the proclamation is not up for debate. In other words, when it comes to eternal truth, there is no debate because eternal truth is just that: eternal, unchanging truth. This is a bold statement, to be sure, in a world where we’re encouraged to speak our own truth. But when you make the connections between the foundations of the church (see The Articles of Faith), prophets and apostles and the plan of salvation (centered on the family), it’s easy to see why the family proclamation is so much more than 600 words on paper. It’s truth because it came through the mouthpieces of God.

The family proclamation begins with a unified, stage-setting declaration: “We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” This is important because it tells us who is declaring these words and by what authority they are doing so. These are prophets, seers and revelators speaking to the world about the truths of the family. Of this apostolic authority, Elder Neuenschwander of the Seventy says:

The fundamental responsibility of prophets, seers, and revelators, all of whom bear apostolic authority, is to bear certain testimony of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world. This basic call to be a special witness of His name has remained constant whenever Apostles have been on the earth. …

We sustain 15 men not only as prophets and revelators but as seers also. The presence of seers among us is not much spoken of, yet the ability to see beyond the present lends power and authority to apostolic testimony and teaching. …

Our sustaining support of prophets, seers, and revelators is not in the upraised hand alone, but more so in our courage, testimony, and faith to listen to, heed, and follow them. (link)

It’s our hope that by spending time on this site, you and your loved ones will be able to understand the importance of prophets and apostles for our day and make a stronger connection to our Heavenly Father’s teachings on the family. These 600 words are God’s blueprint for creating happy marriages and families. We hope that you’ll see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in a new light and as a tool for helping you to have the desire to create, strengthen and heal your marriage and family.

 

The world has never needed a prophet of God more than we do now. With increased feelings of urgency, we look to President Russell M. Nelson to learn how to navigate this fast-changing world we suddenly find ourselves in. So what is he saying right now? What is he asking us to do—right now? In this month’s edition of the Liahona magazine, President Nelson asked the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to do the following things:

1. Immerse ourselves in the scriptures. “Doing so opens our minds and hearts to the Savior’s teachings and truths. The words of Christ “tell [us] all things what [we] should do” (2 Nephi 32:3), especially in these days of uncertainty and upheaval.”

2. Pray. We must take the initiative “to humble ourselves before God, find a quiet place where we can regularly go, and pour out our hearts to Him.”

3. Listen. “If we will stay on our knees for a while after we finish our prayer, thoughts, feelings, and direction will come into our mind. Recording those impressions will help us remember what actions the Lord would have us take.”

4. Repent. “[Be] worthy to receive revelation. … If something is stopping us from opening the door to heavenly direction, we may need to repent. Repentance allows us to open the door so we can hear the voice of the Lord more frequently and clearly.”

This is a direct message about what we need to do right now. Interestingly enough, this same prophet was one of the signers of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” where prophets and apostles warned that “the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets” (Paragraph 8, The Family Proclamation).

Both then and now, President Russell M. Nelson is calling on us to pay attention:

Satan has marshaled his forces and is raging against the work of the Lord and those of us engaged in it. Because of the increasing dangers we face, our need for divine guidance has never been greater, and our efforts to hear the voice of Jesus Christ—our Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer—have never been more urgent.

President Russell M. Nelson

President Nelson is known for being precise with his words, and he isn’t mincing them here. Consider why he may have used these very specific phrases:

“Satan has marshaled his forces” and “Satan is raging against the Lord’s work and those of us engaged in the Lord’s work.”

The prophet knows the dangers we are facing and he says that they’re increasing. He says that these are things that are the most urgent for all of us:

“Our need for divine guidance has never been greater, and our efforts to hear the voice of Jesus Christ have never been more urgent.”

Does the prophet have our attention now?

Urgency for Clarity in the Confusion

If you ever feel confused about where to get answers in troubled times, you are not alone and you are not the first.

In the days and months leading up to the First Vision, the prophet Joseph Smith explained that there was “an unusual excitement on the subject of religion.” This excitement, he said, wasn’t just located in upstate New York, but was actually happening around the country. He said that this “created no small stir and division amongst the people, some with an almost urgent cry, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!”

Does this sound like our day?

In his account, Joseph Smith talked about the great zeal among these groups. He explains that “a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.”

Does this sound like our day?

With so many conflicting voices, opinions and strife swirling around him, Joseph said that “his mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant.” It was a “war of words and tumult of opinions.” You can almost feel the sense of frustration and urgency when wrote, “I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties is right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it and how shall I know it?”

Can you relate to the prophet Joseph Smith?

Joseph kept himself aloof from all these parties, although he attended their meetings. But ultimately, none of them were satisfying because they all understood and interpreted the same verses of scripture so differently. There was also a lot of contention in this process. He says that all of these voices were destroying his confidence. He had questions. He needed answers. So what did Joseph Smith do? He did what President Russell M. Nelson is pleading with us to do in this month’s edition of the Liahona magazine.

We Get Clarity and are Protected as We Follow the Prophet

The Book of Mormon‘s promise to all of us who are living in the last days and seeing prophesies being fulfilled is that “the righteous need not fear,” for the Lord “will preserve the righteous by his power.” (1 Ne. 22:17) With everyone and everything out there proclaiming truth mixed in with half-truths or false doctrine, we are so blessed to have prophet of God who knows and follows the voice of the Savior and our Heavenly Father. Just as God said to Joseph Smith: “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” we can choose to hear Him. His voice is heard through our prophet and apostles. Just as the voice of our Heavenly Father pierced through the noise of the world, it will do the same for us as we listen to His prophet.

Because through His prophets, we can also hear Him.

 


Concerned about social issues involving the family? Wondering how to talk to youth about their tough questions? Check out the rest of this site for the research and the “why’s” behind God’s commandments. Start here: Home — The Family Proclamation

Phrase B

solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God

Marriage 

See also paragraph 6, sentence A [Husband and wife care] and paragraph 2, sentence C [Gender is essential].

Gen. 2:18, 22, 24. Also cited at Matt. 19:4–5; Eph. 5:31
God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. … [So] made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. … Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

1 Cor. 11:11
Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.

1 Cor. 7:2
Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

There is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband and wife, and posterity.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman:  “Same-Gender Attraction,” LDS Newsroom.  

“Human intimacy is reserved for a married couple because it is the ultimate symbol of total union, a totality and a union ordained and defined by God.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Personal Purity, Ensign, November 1998.

The future of marriage and of countless human lives will be determined by your willingness to bear solemn witness of the Lord and live according to His gospel. … And one of the more demanding opportunities of our time is to stand up for the truth regarding the sacred nature of marriage. Our message is shaped by divine doctrine, canonized in the Bible:

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In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 

And God blessed them, and . . . said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.13

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

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God is the Father of all men and women. They are His children. It was He who ordained marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Marriage was not created by human judges or legislators. It was not created by think tanks or by popular vote or by oft-quoted bloggers or by pundits. It was not created by lobbyists. Marriage was created by God!
President Russell M. Nelson, “Disciples of Jesus Christ—Defenders of Marriage,” BYU Commencement, August 2014.

“In the premortal world, Lucifer rebelled against God and His plan, and his opposition only grows in intensity. He fights to discourage marriage and the formation of families, and where marriages and families are formed, he does what he can to disrupt them.” 
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Marriage, Why Family,” General Conference, April 2015.

Many in our culture could not long resist the call to redefine marriage from the union of man and woman to the union of any two people, regardless of gender. After all, if marriage is little more than a vehicle for advancing personal autonomy and individual rights—rather than a sacred and enduring union between man and woman centered on self-sacrifice and raising a family—then it becomes very hard to deny marriage—any type of marriage—to any couple or group of people that seek it.
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Why, the argument goes, should we limit this efficient vehicle of personal rights and individual satisfaction to only a select few? If the ultimate aim is the highest form of self-satisfaction, why should not marriage be open to all in whatever form will most quickly and easily bring that result? Having lost the predicate upon which marriage has always been based, many find it difficult to dispute the conclusion.
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But this skewed conception of marriage has serious personal and social consequences.
Elder David A. Bednar, from an address, “The Divinely Designed Pattern of Marriage,” delivered at a colloquium on marriage in New York City, New York, USA, on March 9, 2017.

Marriage Ordained of God

See also paragraph 7, sentence A [Family ordained of God].

Gen. 3:8, 17, 20–21
Adam and his wife … heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, … And unto Adam [God] said, … Thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife. … And Adam called his wife’s name Eve. … Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins.

Prov. 18:22
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.

1 Cor. 7:38
He that giveth her in marriage doeth well.

4 Ne. 1:11
They were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them.

1 Ne. 16:7–8
I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also Zoram took the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife. And thus my father had fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.

D&C 49:15–16
Whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.

D&C 132:19 
If a man marry a wife by my word, … and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed … by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood.

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.
Elder Dale G. Renlund, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” Ensign, August 2020.

“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.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Marriage, Why Family,” General Conference, April 2015.

“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.” …
—-
[The] commandment for husbands and wives to “cleave” to each other reflects an eternal reality: men and women complement and complete each other in unique ways that enable them individually and as a couple to fulfill their divine potential.
—-

“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.
Elder David A. Bednar, from an address, “The Divinely Designed Pattern of Marriage,” delivered at a colloquium on marriage in New York City, New York, USA, on March 9, 2017.

Let me give you an example of a plain and simple doctrine that our students need to learn far more deeply. Over the last seven years, BYU–Idaho has required a course on the family as part of their Foundations program. (Such a course is part of the new Cornerstone series required of all institute, college, and university students in the Church Educational System.) Because all BYU–Idaho students take this course, the faculty have had a window into what is in the minds and hearts of the students about the doctrine of marriage as presented in the proclamation on the family.
___
What the teachers have found has been unsettling. Many students, perhaps 40 to 50 percent, have at best an incomplete and at worst a false understanding of this most crucial doctrine. These are good, active Latter-day Saint youth who have graduated from seminary and who have not sufficiently learned the doctrine of marriage either at home or in seminary or in Sunday School or in their Young Women or priesthood quorum classes and, in some cases, not even on their missions.
_____
The students not only need a better knowledge of the doctrine of marriage, they need to understand it in their hearts. They need a spiritual witness of its truth, and they need to act on that witness in the way they prepare now to be husbands or wives and mothers or fathers in an eternal family.
_____
They also need to know how to talk about the doctrine of marriage with their friends and with others who may not share their beliefs. And they need to grow in their capacity to discern between truth and error. They need increased faith in Jesus Christ, and they need increased hope in Him. This is what the rising generation needs.
Elder Kim B. Clark, “Encircled About With Fire,” Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2015.

“God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in his own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other.”
Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939), 272.

Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through the many generations.  
President Spencer W. Kimball, “Oneness in Marriage,” BYU Devotional March 1977.

Same-sex Marriage

Social and political pressures to change marriage laws are resulting in practices contrary to God’s will regarding the eternal nature and purposes of marriage. Man simply cannot make moral what God has declared to be immoral. Sin, even if legalized by man, is still sin in the eyes of God. Brothers and sisters, undergirded by incontrovertible truth, proclaim your love for God! Proclaim your love for all human beings “with malice toward none, with charity for all. ”They as children of God are our brothers and sisters. We value their rights and feelings. But we cannot condone efforts to change divine doctrine. It is not for man to change.
President Russell M. Nelson, “Disciples of Jesus Christ: Defenders of Marriage,” BYU Commencement, August 2014.

“While God’s commandments forbid all unchaste behavior and reaffirm the importance of marriage between a man and a woman, the Church and its faithful members should reach out with understanding and respect to individuals who are attracted to those of the same sex or whose sexual orientation or gender identity is inconsistent with their sex at birth,” President Oaks taught. “We do not know why same-sex attraction and confusion about sexual identity occur,” he continued. “They are among the challenges that persons can experience in mortality, which is only a tiny fraction of our eternal existence.”
—-
President Oaks spoke of three fundamental doctrinal truths that God has revealed:
—-
“First, … that God created ‘male and female,’” and that this “binary creation is essential to the plan of salvation.”

“Second, modern revelation teaches that eternal life, the greatest gift of God to His children, is only possible through the creative powers inherent in the combination of male and female joined in an eternal marriage (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). That is why the law of chastity is so important.”

“Finally, the long-standing doctrinal statements reaffirmed in [The Family: A Proclamation to the World] 23 years ago will not change. They may be clarified as directed by inspiration.” For example, “the intended meaning of gender in the family proclamation and as used in Church statements and publications since that time is biological sex at birth.”
=
“When counseling with any members experiencing challenges related to their sexual orientation, Church leaders should affirm that God loves all His children, including those dealing with confusion about their sexual identity or other LGBT feelings,” President Oaks said. “Such members and their families have unique challenges. They should be offered hope and be ministered to as directed by the Spirit according to their true needs, remembering the admonition of Alma to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort (see Mosiah 18:9).”
—-
“Because we love God and understand His great plan of salvation and the significance of His commandments, we manifest our love for our neighbors by helping them come unto Christ, repent, and keep His commandments. This is part of bearing one another’s burdens that they may be light.”
President Dallin H. Oaks, October 2019 General Conference Priesthood Leadership Session. Retrieved from https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/october-2019-general-conference-first-presidency-leadership-session?cid=HP_NWSRM_10_2_19

Gratefully, the answer is that same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life. It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence. The good news for somebody who is struggling with  same-gender attraction is this: 1) It is that ‘I’m not stuck with it forever.’ It’s just now…  2) If I can keep myself worthy here, if I can be true to gospel commandments… Every blessing — including eternal marriage — is and will be mine in due course.
Elder Lance B. Wickman, “Interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman:  “Same-Gender Attraction,” LDS Newsroom. 

“You will likely encounter increasing debate about the definition of marriage. Many of your neighbors, colleagues, and friends will have never heard logical and inspired truths about the importance of marriage as God Himself defined it. You will have many opportunities to strengthen understanding of the Lord’s side of that argument by the eloquence of your examples, both as individuals and as families.”
President Russell M. Nelson, “Disciples of Jesus Christ—Defenders of Marriage,” BYU Commencement, August 2014.

Let’s consider the definition of marriage. In recent years, many countries, including the United States, have legalized same-sex marriage. As members of the Church, we respect the laws of the land and abide by them, including civil marriage. The truth is, however, that in the beginning—in the beginning—marriage was ordained by God! And to this day it is defined by Him as being between a man and a woman. God has not changed His definition of marriage.
President Russell M. Nelson, “The Love and Laws of God,” September 2019 BYU Devotional.

“The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife. … A body patterned after the image of God was created for Adam, and he was introduced into the Garden. … We can remember that we are God’s sons and daughters, that He created us in His image, and that His plan prepares us for life eternal. If we obey His commandments, He will not withhold from us any of the blessings He has promised.”
President Boyd K. Packer, Strengthening the Family: Created in the Image of God, Male and Female,” Ensign, January 2005. 

Marriage

See also paragraph 6, sentence A [Husband and wife care] and paragraph 2, sentence C [Gender is essential].

Apart from its procreative aspect, natural marriage is important for another reason: Men and women are different, not just in morphology (form) or physiognomy (appearance), but also neurologically and emotionally. They complement one another as persons, even as they complement one another as sexual partners … [it’s] born-out in hard science. …
—–

Human biology and physiology also make it plain that men and women are created to mate and reproduce. Complementarity seems self-evidently biological; explanations of such things as heterosexual intercourse, conception, or birth only serve to vindicate and illustrate it.
Schwarzwalder, R. (2013). “Complementarity in Marriage: What it is and Why it Matters.” [Issue Analysis]. Retrieved from https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF13J39.pdf

“Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father. …

In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This reduces marriage to a system to approve emotional bonds or distribute legal privileges. … Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage. It rejects … the norm of male–female sexual complementarity. … Marriage cannot do the work that society needs it to do if these norms are further weakened.”
Ryan Anderson, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It,” Heritage Foundation, 11 Mar 2013.

Marriage Ordained of God

See also paragraph 7, sentence A [Family ordained of God].

Compared with other forms of romantic relationships, marriage involves a higher level of commitment from partners and a stronger future orientation. Moreover, as an institution, marriage receives a great deal of support from religion, the legal system, and the wider
community. For these reasons, marriage is likely to place a particularly prominent role in shaping people’s identities and sense of self. The institutional nature of marriage, therefore, combined with the long-term nature of marital bonds, may account for the especially favorable state of wellbeing among spouses. …


Even individuals in relatively unhappy marriages may benefit from the stability, commitment, and social status of marriage. And the long-term time horizon of marriage may provide people with the hope that their relationships will improve in the future. … After controlling for relationship happiness, married individuals continued to have the highest level of subjective well-being … [and] being married was associated with higher self-esteem, greater life satisfaction, greater happiness, and less distress. 
Dush, Claire M. Kamp, & Amato, Paul R. (2016). Consequences of relationship status and quality for subjective well-being. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(5), 607-627.

 College-educated women are more likely to have long-lasting marriages


“Being married is associated with an average reduction of approximately 35 percent in the odds of crime compared to non-married states for the same man.”
Robert Sampson, John Laub and Christopher Wimer, “Does Marriage Reduce Crime? A Counterfactual Approach to Within-Individual Effects,” Criminology 44 (2006): 465–502.

Marriage has economic implications. According to Pew Research, “married adults have made greater economic gains over the past four decades than unmarried adults.” In addition, children in single-parent households are more likely to live in poverty. But children in two-parent families around the world tend to have better educational outcomes than those living with only one parent or without a parent. Of course not all families are alike, and it takes mutual commitment and community support for even the best of them to work.
See “Why Society Needs Strong Families,” Church News release, 13 May 2013.

“The share of people who thought it was important for a couple planning to spend the rest of their life together to actually get married fell from 73% in 2006 to 64% in 2013.”
Gallup Polling

 

College-educated Millennials most likely to be married

 

 

 

 

“The world is kind of polarizing; it’s either black or white, and so you do have to choose. I think we do need to say to this generation, ‘choose,’ and let the people who are going to be on fire, be on fire.”

Sadie, Q&A Panelist

In a virtual interfaith Q&A townhall for young adults, Gen Z panelists told the audience that truth has become so relative and polarizing that they’re craving clarity and mentoring from older people in their Church.

According to the Christian Post, the Gen Z townhall focused on issues surrounding young Christian discipleship, social media and mental health crises. One of the panelists, 23-year-old Evangelical author Sadie Huff, said that her generation needs disciple-leadership from older church members who aren’t lukewarm on issues.

“Sometimes, our generation is fearful to ask for a mentor or fearful to ask to be discipled, but we crave it. And so if you are in the older generation … if you came up to us and said, ‘Can I disciple you?’ I know my answer would be yes every time. And I know a whole lot of people who would agree with me who are my age.”

The need for mentoring is reflected in a society where it’s becoming less possible to be lukewarm in Christian discipleship. Panelists observed that it used to be easier for the older generation to survive socially in the grey area, but today the pressure to chose a side has never been greater. And that can be a positive thing.

“It’s pretty hot or cold because it’s actually really cool to stand for something these days,” she explained. “It’s cool to 100% follow God, and it’s cool to 100% stay in the world. It’s really not cool to be in the middle anymore. And it used to be different.”

On Absolute Truth

Gen Z is craving absolute truth from their leaders, and they’re open to getting the truth straight-up. Sadie believes that having theological clarity will result in more grounded discipleship, because young people won’t be torn between living their faith with conviction and constantly having to adjust to the moving targets of moral relativism.

“The world is kind of polarizing; it’s either black or white, and so you do have to choose. I think we do need to say to this generation, ‘choose,’ and let the people who are going to be on fire, be on fire. I think, in that way, we can reach more of the lost than being confused by who’s actually lost.”

Gabrielle Odom, a 19-year-old Protestant author and Instagrammer, agreed.

I’ve seen a lot of soft doctrines that have broken my heart as it pertains to teaching the next generation. I’m begging for clarity. I think that my generation is spiraling and going out of control because there are too many tensions to fight through and no one’s giving clear absolute truth. And I think the next generation is craving clarity.

Gabrielle Odom, Protestant Panelist

Odom added that the older generation needs to ask, “Will we fight for Gen Z?”

“There are a lot of people that are fighting for our attention,” she said, specifically mentioning social media, politics, and pornography. There’s a legacy to be built, and the younger generation is going to take up that baton, and so it matters to equip them.”

Gen Z and the Eternal Family

In many ways, these interfaith Christian young adults are expressing the same concerns as leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The plea for equipping the rising generation with clarity and conviction is coming from not only the Gen Z young adults, but also Church leaders. Julie B. Beck echoed the need for clarity in a landmark address titled “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family“:

We are preparing our youth for the temple and for eternal families. Many threats are coming to them that can discourage them from forming an eternal family. Our role in this is to teach them so they don’t misunderstand. We must be very clear on key points of doctrine, which we find in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” This generation will be called upon to defend the doctrine of the family as never before. If they don’t know it, they can’t defend it. (Link)

Elder Kim B. Clark, former President of BYU-Idaho and Church Commissioner of Education, has made similar observations:

The students not only need a better knowledge of the doctrine of marriage, they need to understand it in their hearts. They need a spiritual witness of its truth, and they need to act on that witness in the way they prepare now to be husbands or wives and mothers or fathers in an eternal family.
_____
They also need to know how to talk about the doctrine of marriage with their friends and with others who may not share their beliefs. And they need to grow in their capacity to discern between truth and error. They need increased faith in Jesus Christ, and they need increased hope in Him. This is what the rising generation needs. (Link)

These Latter-day Saint Church leaders are rightly concerned about the need to strengthen Gen Z’s ability to turn spiritual belief into action. At its core, the theological disconnect is most often found with marriage and family. And, it is where increased doctrinal clarity and teaching are needed the most. This is reflected in Barna’s 2019 report titled “What Will it Take to Disciple the Next Generation?” Here, researchers found that marriage, family and faith ranked among the lowest in priorities for Millennials, and even lower now for Gen Z:

Reaching and Teaching Gen Z

As shown in the above graphic, Gen Z appear to be prioritizing spirituality, marriage and children even less than Millennials. This downward shift makes it all the more important to teach the rising generation about the doctrine of marriage and family much earlier in life. It also means that if we want to have a better chance at getting these crucial doctrines into the hearts and minds of our young people, it will be useful to integrate “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” into every gospel lesson, at every age. Julie Beck talks about this in her 2009 address on the family (referenced above):

Let’s be very clear on key elements of doctrine. I hope every one of your classrooms has a copy of the proclamation on the family in it and that all of your students have a copy of the proclamation with them. Then, when you are teaching them, you can tie back teachings to key statements and phrases that are in the proclamation on the family.
—-

The proclamation is not a standalone lesson. If you’re teaching in the Old Testament, the proclamation should be a partner piece that they are circling and underlining and finding where the Old Testament families understood these principles. If you’re teaching in the Doctrine and Covenants, you can tie it back to the proclamation. This also applies to the Book of Mormon. If they have the proclamation with them in their scriptures, they will be learning and tying it together as you work.

The concept of tying the family proclamation into every lesson is something that can implemented right away and provides virtually unlimited opportunities to have meaningful conversations about the theology of the family. With practice and consistency, it can be a powerful tool to help disciple-leaders answer Gen Z’s call for clarity in a world filled with moral relativism.

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“No other institution reliably connects two parents, and their money, talent, and time, to their children in the way that marriage does.”
Dr. Bradford Wilcox, Institute for Family Studies

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that each child needs both a mother and a father.
—-
Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe explains:
—-
We should disavow the notion that “mommies can make good daddies,” just as we should disavow the popular notion…that “daddies can make good mommies.”… The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.
Anderson, R. (2013, March 18). Marriage Matters: Consequences of Redefining Marriage. Retrieved from https://www.heritage.org/marriage-and-family/report/marriage-matters-consequences-redefining-marriage

“Sex makes babies, society needs babies, and children need mothers and fathers.” Connecting sex, babies, and moms and dads is the social function of marriage and helps explain why the government rightly recognizes and addresses this aspect of our social lives. As Maggie Gallagher explains:

The critical public or “civil” task of marriage is to regulate sexual relationships between men and women in order to reduce the likelihood that children (and their mothers, and society) will face the burdens of fatherlessness, and increase the likelihood that there will be a next generation that will be raised by their mothers and fathers in one family, where both parents are committed to each other and to their children.
Anderson, R. (2013, March 11). Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It.

The true great goods of marriage … are inextricably bound together such that the complementarity of husband and wife is of the very essence of marital communion. Sexual relations outside the marital bond between husband and wife are contrary not only to the will of God but to the good of man. Indeed, they are contrary to the will of God precisely because they are against the good of man.
Robert P. George, distinguished jurisprudence professor, Princeton University; Cardinal Justin Rigalia of Philadelphia. 

“Decades of social science, including the latest studies using large samples and robust research methods, show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. … Marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union. It involves a union of hearts and minds, but also—and distinctively—a bodily union made possible by sexual complementarity. As the act by which a husband and wife make marital love also makes new life. … In short, marriage unites a man and a woman holistically—emotionally and bodily, in acts of conjugal love and in the children such love brings forth—for the whole of life.”
Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (New York: Encounter Books, 2012).
 

“What is unique about marriage is that it truly is a comprehensive sharing of life, a sharing founded on the bodily union made uniquely possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman … to bind themselves to each other in pledges of permanence, monogamy, and fidelity.”
Robert P. George, “What Marriage Is and What It Isn’t” Retrieved from https://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/08/what-marriage-is-and-what-it-isnt

Redefining marriage further disconnect[s] childbearing from marriage. That hurt[s] children, especially the most vulnerable. It den[ies] as a matter of policy the ideal that children need a mother and a father. Traditional marriage laws reinforce the idea that a married mother and father is the most appropriate environment for rearing children, as the best available social science suggests.

Recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages … legally abolish[es] that ideal. It den[ies] the significance of both mothering and fathering to children: that boys and girls tend to benefit from fathers and mothers in different ways.

Anderson, R. (2013, March 11). Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It.

“The ‘haves’ are generally those in stable marriages. The ‘have nots’ are generally those who live outside of marriage, especially with children. So vast is the difference, one is tempted to replace the traditional notion of social class with the more descriptive term marriage class.”
Steven Nock, “Illustrations of Family Scholarship: Introduction to the Special Issue,” Social Science Research 35 (June 2006):322–331.

 

Phrase C

and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

See also paragraph 9 [Fundamental unit of society].

Gen. 2:18
God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.

Gen. 12:1–3 (Gen. 28:14; Acts 3:25; 1 Ne. 15:18; 1 Ne. 22:9–10; 3 Ne. 20:25–27; D&C 124:58)
The Lord had said unto Abram, … I will make of thee a great nation, … and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Abr. 2:11
In thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.

Jer. 31:1
I [will] be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

Eph. 1:4–5
He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, … having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

Eph. 3:14–15
I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.

1 Ne. 8:12
As I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

D&C 131:1–4
In the celestial glory, … in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. … He cannot have an increase.

D&C 132:19, 21, 46
If ye abide in my covenant, … [it] shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass … to their exaltation and glory, … which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. … Except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. … Whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven.

Moses 5:10
Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

Moses 7:45
Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth.

Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us. … There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. … We of all people, brothers and sisters, should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a moral society is going through. We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism. We know the family to be eternal.
President Spencer W. Kimball, “Families can be Eternal,” Ensign, November 1980.

“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.”
President Henry B. Eyring, “Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign, May 2017, 20.

Even if these blessings of identity and purpose seem distant, they are not any less real. In God’s eternal plan, there is an eternal companion for every one of you, if you are faithful. You may not know yet who that person is. It may be some time before you meet that person, but your beloved companion is a real person who will one day be sealed to you forever. And every one of you has children that will bless your life. You may not yet know who they all are, but they are real people living in the pre-mortal realm preparing to come into your family. You are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers in God’s eternal plan. That is who you really are.
Elder Kim B. Clark “Identity and Purpose in God’s Eternal Plan,” BYU-Idaho Devotional, April 22, 2014.

“The Atonement allows for the family to be sealed together eternally. It allows for families to have eternal growth and perfection. The plan of happiness, also called the plan of salvation, was a plan created for families. The rising generation need to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family.”  
Julie B. Beck, General Relief Society President, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” Address given to seminary and institute of religion teachers on August 4, 2009. 

When a man and a woman enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the holy temple, the sealing power of God creates the bonds of a celestial marriage and the basis for an eternal family.  … A husband and wife who make and keep the covenant of celestial marriage are prepared to bring children into the world in accordance with God’s eternal plan.  … This is our eternal purpose: to create a celestial marriage and an eternal family.
Elder Kim B. Clark, “Identity and Purpose in God’s Eternal Plan,” Brigham Young University Idaho, April 22, 2014. 

“Even if important parts of [the plan of happiness] aren’t fulfilled in your life now, they will be yours in the Lord’s due time. I also promise you that you can have significant growth and happiness now in your present circumstances. As a daughter or son of God, live whatever portion of the plan you can to the best of your ability.”
Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Living Great Plan of Happiness,” General Conference, Oct. 1996.

The strength of our families has a significant impact on each and every American—from the amount of taxes we pay, to the growth of our economy, to the level of crime in our neighborhoods. Years of research has shown that the children of nurturing, intact families are more likely to have higher academic performance and greater emotional maturity as well as more financial stability as adults. They are less likely to commit crimes and abuse drugs and alcohol. From a societal standpoint, strong families led by nurturing mothers and fathers mean less poverty and dependence on the welfare system, fewer crimes, a healthier and better educated populace, and a stronger economy, among other benefits.
James, K. (2020, May 6). Mothers Have an Impact That Goes Far Beyond Their Families. Retrieved from https://www.heritage.org/marriage-and-family/commentary/mothers-have-impact-goes-far-beyond-their-families

“Through my own personal experiences and my service in the Relief Society General Presidency, I have seen firsthand that many people in the world don’t live in perfect family situations. In fact, I’m not sure anyone does! The ideal described in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” reminds us of the loving eternal family that we belong to. It teaches that we are all part of the family of God and reminds us that, regardless of our earthly family situation, each of us is surrounded by brothers and sisters. Because we are all imperfect mortals, our family situations may never be perfect in this life. But our Savior can provide us with healing. …

Our heavenly parents love us, their children, and our Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us. That means that He has a plan for you. Please keep moving toward Him in faith. Help your eternal family members along the way back to Him. He will share hope and healing along your journey. And one day, each of us will have the chance to return to a perfect and eternal heavenly home.”
Sister Reyna I. Aburto, Relief Society General Presidency, Ensign, September 2020.

 

My family was enough for His purposes

By Miranda Gaubatz, Utah, USA

My family is not what you would call the “ideal” family. My parents split when I had just turned 11, so I was raised by a hardworking, dedicated single mother. I felt like we stuck out like a sore thumb in sacrament meeting.
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As a teenager, I remember sitting in a lesson on “The Family: a Proclamation to the World,” getting emotional as I listened to a youth leader testify of the family and coming to gain my own testimony that my little family was divinely approved and could provide everything I needed during this mortal existence.
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Even with that knowledge, I dreaded taking the required Eternal Families class a few years later at Brigham Young University. I didn’t want to sit through class after class hearing about my “less-than-ideal” family. But my professor started our first class with this statement: “We preach the ideal but live in reality and rely on the Savior’s Atonement to make up the difference.”
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I know that the family is central to Heavenly Father’s plan. Even families that are less than ideal, like I experienced as a teenager, can help us learn and grow. The Savior Himself was raised by an earthly stepfather. I’m so grateful that Jesus Christ can take our “not ideal” families and make them enough to fulfill His purposes for us.
See Ensign, September 2020.


The Family Proclamation: How Do I Fit In as a Single Adult?
By Liz Stitt

All Together

Sometimes people say things to me like, “Well, since you don’t have a family …”

First, I feel a little surprised at the comment and sometimes a bit frustrated. It is true that I am not married. But it is not true that I don’t have a family. That idea assumes that I just identify myself as someone who is not married and nothing more. With that perspective, it would be easy to feel like I’m left out of the family proclamation. But I know I have an individual role in Heavenly Father’s plan, and the blessings of the proclamation definitely apply to me.
Continue reading the story in the September 2020 issue of the Ensign.

The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“The family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity.”
The World Family Declaration

The difficult reality is that the natural family and sexual liberation are mutually exclusive. The more there is of the one, the less there will be of the other.
John A. Howard, Senior Fellow, The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

“The widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to the family, which is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”
United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, art. 10.1.

For questions and answers about why marriage between a man and a woman are so important for children and society, visit www.discussingmarriage.org 

 

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