Paragraph 6

Parents' Duties Toward Children

“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.”

A CLOSER LOOK

Sentence A
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3).

1 Cor. 7:3
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

Col. 3:19
Husbands, love your wives.

Jacob 3:7
Their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children.

D&C 109:69
Have mercy, O Lord, upon his wife and children, that they may be exalted in thy presence, and preserved by thy fostering hand.

D&C 42:22
Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.

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

“When the frailties and imperfections of mortality are left behind, in the glorified state of the blessed hereafter, husband and wife will administer in their respective stations, seeing and understanding alike, and cooperating to the full in the government of their family kingdom. Then shall woman be recompensed in rich measure for all the injustice that womanhood has endured in mortality. Then shall woman reign by divine right, a queen in the resplendent realm of her glorified state, even as exalted man shall stand, priest and king unto the most high God. Mortal eye cannot see nor mind comprehend the beauty, glory, and majesty of a righteous woman made perfect in the celestial kingdom of God.”
Elder James E. Talmage, LDS Women’s Treasury: Insights and Inspiration for Today’s Woman [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 461 – 462.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that married parents’ emotional connection to each other affects child rearing so much that it shapes their children’s future. Demonstrating and providing love—this emotional component of family—has a long impact on children’s lives.
These findings still stood after researchers considered other factors that shape a married couple’s relationship and their children’s transition to adulthood. The result that these measures of love have independent consequences is also important. Love is not irrelevant; variations in parental love do have a consequence. These findings are consistent with the conclusion that  changes in the nature of parental marriages are likely to have long-term consequences for their children across multiple dimensions of social life.
Brauner-Otto, S., Axinn, W. G., & Ghimire Dirgha, J., Parents’ marital quality and Children’s transition to adulthood, Demography 57:1 (2020), 195–220.

“Marriage among even the very poor helps them leave poverty and keep their children from entering the “low-income state” (a classification of poverty based on the income their caregiver earns). The children of married parents enjoy relatively strong upward mobility (significantly more than the children of divorced parents).”
See Garnett Picot, Myles Zyblock, and Wendy Piper, “Why do Children Move Into and Out of Low Income: Changing Labour Market Conditions or Marriage or Divorce?” Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch (1999): 15; and Thomas DeLeire and Leonard M. Lopoo, Family Structure and the Economic Mobility of Children, Economic Mobility Project, 2010, available from
http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/Family_Structure.pdf, 14 March 2011, 11

Married mothers showed greater psychological well-being and reported less ambivalence and conflict, and greater love and intimacy in their relationships with their partners than cohabiting or single mothers. They also believed in more progressive child rearing ideas, and were less likely to believe in benefits for child development from maternal employment.
Stacy R. Aronson and Aletha C. Huston, “The Mother-Infant Relationship in Single, Cohabiting, and Married Families: A Case of Marriage?” Journal of Family Psychology 18:1 (2004): 5–18.

Marriage benefits individuals, families, and society. Social science research shows its many positive effects:

• Married men earn up to 26 percent more than their unmarried counterparts.
Kate Antonovics and Robert Town, “Are All the Good Men Married? Uncovering Sources of the Marital Wage Premium,” American Economic Review 9 (May 2003) 317-321. As cited in Patrick F. Fagan, “The Family GDP: How Marriage and Fertility Drive the Economy,” The Family in America 24, no. 2 (Spring
2010): 141.
• Women in intact marriages have relatively more money to take care of their families’ needs than women in any other family structure.
• Marriage protects against feelings of loneliness.
• Married people are happier in their relationships and report less depression than those who cohabit.
• Married people are more likely to report better health, a difference that also holds for the poor.
Patrick F. Fagan, “Strength from Marriage,” 2010 Report from the Marriage and Religion Research Institute. Retrieved from http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/Strength-from-Marriage.pdf

Children living in homes occupied by their mothers’ boyfriends or other non-relatives were up to 48 times more likely to die from child abuse than those who live with two biological parents. Households with a single parent and no other adults had no increased risk of fatal injury.
Patricia Schnitzer and Bernard Ewigman, “Child Deaths Resulting from Inflicted Injuries: Household Risk Factors and Perpetrator Characteristics,” Pediatrics 116:5 (2005): e687–e693.

Feminism, Roles, Women, Men
See paragraph 7, [Roles of Fathers and Mothers]

Sentence B
Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

Physical Needs

See also paragraph 7, sentence F [Fathers provide and protect].

Mosiah 4:14–15
Ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

Spiritual Needs and Teaching

See also paragraph 7, sentence E [Successful principles], and paragraph 7, sentence G [Mothers nurture].

Deut. 6:5–7
Thou shalt love the Lord. … These words … thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Prov. 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Isa. 54:13 (3 Ne. 22:13)
All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Eph. 6:4
Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

2 Tim. 3:15–16
From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

D&C 20:47, 51
Visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.

2 Ne. 25:23, 26
We labor diligently to write, to persuade our children … to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. … And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Enos 1:1
My father … was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it.

Alma 39:12
The Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good, lest they lead away the hearts of many people to destruction; therefore I command you, my son, in the fear of God, that ye refrain from your iniquities.

D&C 52:35–36
Let my servants … take their journey [and] labor with their families, declaring none other things than the prophets and apostles, that which they have seen and heard and most assuredly believe.

D&C 93:40
I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

Moses 6:58–59
Teach these things freely unto your children, saying: … ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven … and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might … enjoy the words of eternal life.

Alma 37:35
Remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.

The love of God does not supersede His laws and commandments, and the effect of God’s laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose and effect of His love. The same should be true of parental love and rules. … Some seem to value God’s love because of their hope that His love is so great and so unconditional that it will mercifully excuse them from obeying His laws. In contrast, those who understand God’s plan for His children know that God’s laws are invariable, which is another great evidence of His love for His children.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Love and Law,” October 2009. 

“What is it we hope this rising generation will understand and do because of what you will teach them? Teach so they don’t misunderstand that every doctrine, every principle, everything you’re teaching leads them to the fulness of the gospel. And the fulness of the gospel is found in the temples—in temple ordinances and covenants and their eternal role. That is the full gospel. …

Let’s be very clear on key elements of doctrine. I hope every one of you … has a copy of the proclamation on the family … and that all of your students [and children] 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.”
Julie B. Beck, “Teaching the Doctrine of the Family,” Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2009.

Fortifying children to become sin-resistant is a task and a blessing for parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, and leaders. We each bear responsibility to help. …
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How to ‘bring up [our] children in light and truth’ may be a challenging question since it is individualized for each family and each child, but Heavenly Father has given universal guidelines that will help us. The Spirit will inspire us in the most effective ways we can spiritually inoculate our children.
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To begin, having a vision of the importance of this responsibility is essential. We must understand our—and their—divine identity and purpose before we can help our children see who they are and why they are here. We must help them know without question that they are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and that He has divine expectations of them. …
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… Helping children become sin-resistant is to begin at very early ages to lovingly infuse them with basic gospel doctrines and principles—from the scriptures, the Articles of Faith, the For the Strength of Youth booklet, Primary songs, hymns, and our own personal testimonies—that will lead children to the Savior.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary General President, “A Sin-Resistant Generation,” General Conference, April 2017.

“There are forces that work beyond our sight. Sometimes we think the whole job is up to us, forgetful that there are loved ones beyond our sight who are thinking about us and our children. We forget that we have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who are even more concerned, probably, than our earthly father and mother, and that influences from beyond are constantly working to try to help us when we do all we can.”
President Harold B. Lee, “A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee,” Ensign, February 1974. 

Two individuals approaching the marriage altar must realize that to attain the happy marriage which they hope for they must know that marriage is not a legal coverall, but it means sacrifice, sharing, and even a reduction of some personal liberties. It means long, hard economizing. It means children who bring with them financial burdens, service burdens, care and worry burdens; but also it means the deepest and sweetest emotions of all.”
President Spencer W. Kimball, “Oneness in Marriage,” BYU Devotional, March 1977.

Spiritual and Physical Needs

See also paragraph 7, sentence F [Fathers provide and protect].

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 

“Marriage has beneficial social and health effects for both the married and their children, and these gifts also benefit immediate communities and all of society. … This would mean that our society would predictably have fewer children in foster care, less poverty, crime and drug abuse, and lower health care costs. These public gifts from marriage would translate into higher government revenues, lower government expenses, more citizen engagement and a more stable public order.”
Dr. Allan Carlson, “Anti-Dowry?: The Effects of Student Loan Debt on Marriage and Childbearing,” The Family in America 19:12 (2005): 6.

Poor parents who married gained economic advantage from marriage. Though marriage itself may not lift a family out of poverty, it may reduce economic hardship. This effect occurs because marriage, especially if it is long-lasting, allows couples to pool earnings, to recruit support from a larger social network of family, friends and community members, to share risks, and to mitigate the disruptions of job loss, loss of job benefits or loss of earnings due to absenteeism, illness, reduced hours on the job or lay-offs.
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, testimony before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, U.S. Senate, 28 Apr 2004. 

Spiritual Needs and Teaching

See also paragraph 7, sentence E [Successful principles], and paragraph 7, sentence G [Mothers nurture].

A socialization process that emphasizes parental religious teaching, expectations, relational warmth, and congruent parental modeling—along with an appropriate amount of autonomy granting and respect for children’s views—is likely to foster more healthy family outcomes and relationships. Additionally, with religion being a significant influence in family life for many Americans, with religious differences in families on the rise, and with the responsibility many religious parents feel to pass on their faith to their children, focusing on positive religious socialization processes rather than religious outcomes and benchmarks may help families who are having difficulty navigating diverse religious perspectives.
Barrow, Betsy Hughes, Dollahite, David C, & Marks, Loren D. (2020). How parents balance desire for religious continuity with honoring children’s religious agency. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, Psychology of religion and spirituality, 2020-01-13.

“In our national study, we found that “the family that prays together” seems to benefit in more ways
than just “staying together.” Family prayer also reportedly provided unique and salient opportunities for family togetherness, interaction, social support, and connectedness. It is evident that family prayer was associated with important relational processes and, for most of these families, represented a family ritual that was a “potentially unique pathway to family [cohesion].” 
Chelladurai, Joe M, Dollahite, David C, & Marks, Loren D. (2018). “The Family That Prays Together . . .”: Relational Processes Associated With Regular Family Prayer. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(7), 849-859.

The religious behaviors and attitudes of parents may be associated with the way that parents treat their children, but may also be related to how children adjust and develop in religious and other domains. … In the words of Robert Ingersoll, ‘‘It is difficult for a child to find a father in God, unless the child first finds something of God in his father.’’ … Indeed, there is empirical evidence that close parent–child relationships are a salient factor in successfully transmitting religiosity across generations.
Dalton, Hilary, Dollahite, David C. & Marks, Loren D. (2018). Transcendence Matters: Do the Ways Family Members Experience God Meaningfully Relate to Family Life? Review of Religious Research, 60(1), 23-47.

“Your children will be educated in this society. And as mothers and fathers you have the responsibility to care for and educate your children. Government should empower you to fulfill those duties. It shouldn’t interfere or indoctrinate. Nor should it use … programs to promote a sexual ideology at odds with the values that responsible parents try to instill in their children.”
Anderson, R. “Truth, Responsibility and Love,” Commencement address Regent University (May 4, 2013).

Parents’ fundamental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children have been repeatedly recognized and protected by the United States Supreme Court. When creating the U.S. Department of Education, the United States Congress enacted statutory law that states “parents have the primary responsibility for the education of their children,” and that “states, localities, and private institutions have the primary responsibility for supporting that parental role.
Source: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/3401

Sentence C
Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

See also paragraph 8, sentence A [Accountable before God].

D&C 68:25–28
Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion. … And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

“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.”
President Henry B. Eyring, “Help Them on Their Way Home,” Ensign, May 2010, 23.

The responsibility for establishing a Christ-centered home lies with both parents and children. Parents are responsible to teach their children in love and righteousness. Parents will be held accountable before the Lord in how they perform their sacred responsibilities. Parents teach their children with words and through example. This poem by C. C. Miller titled “The Echo” illustrates the importance and impact parents have as they influence their children:


’Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.

And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.

Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won’t take long
Till the lambs are as wrong as they.

And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay.
Elder Richard G. Maynes, “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home,” General Conference, April 2011.

“We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes.”
Elder L. Tom Perry, “The Importance of the Family,” General Conference, April 2003.

“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.”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Settle This In Your Hearts,” General Conference, October 1992.

The rising generation needs the plain and simple truths of the gospel taught and learned with increased love, with greater spiritual power, and with deeper impact in their lives. I believe that impact will come because the gospel of Jesus Christ will be more powerfully rooted in our hearts and in our minds and because the Holy Ghost will be our constant companion. Our lives will more fully and completely reflect the teachings of the Savior. … We will receive the revelation we need, and we will do the work with the pure love of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. The rising generation will learn deeply, and they will rise up!
Elder Kim B. Clark, “Encircled About With Fire,” Seminaries and Institutes of Religion Satellite Broadcast, August 4, 2015. 

See also paragraph 8, sentence A [Accountable before God].

“Although teachers and schools are held accountable for outcomes, parents are primarily responsible, too. … Studies show that children with involved parents tend to do better in school.”
Porter, A., Time for more parent accountability in nation’s schools,” Washington Post, 30 Jul 2012.

International human rights instruments further recognise and emphasise the rights of parents to choose the kind of schooling they wish for their children and, therefore, to exercise some control over their children’s education. For instance, Article 26 of the United Nations declaration of human rights 1948 states that ‘Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to children’. …
___
The primary role of parents (or legal guardians) in the overall development of the child is emphasised in several provisions of UNCROC: Article 14 requires that ‘States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child’ and Article 18 states that ‘parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child’. 

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The rights of parents to determine the education and upbringing of their children are inextricably linked to parents’ religious convictions and the rights of parents to have their children educated according to their religious beliefs. ICESCR provides that states Parties are obliged ‘to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to choose for their children schools’ and ‘to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions’. This is echoed in the International covenant on civil and political rights1966 (ICCPR), which requires states Parties to have ‘respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions’.
Varnham, S., & Squelch, J. (2008). Rights, responsibilities and regulation – the three Rs of education: a consideration of the state’s control over parental choice in education. Education & the Law20(3), 193–208. https://doi-org.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/10.1080/09539960902823869

“A fundamental belief that the responsibility for and control over education lies with the parents drives the majority of those who home school. Harding cites the US research of Ray in stating that ‘home educating families share a common belief that the education of children is primarily their responsibility’. Michael Farris, a founder and previous president of HSLDA, argued that ‘the right of parents to control the education of their children is so fundamental that it deserves the extraordinary level of protection as an absolute right’. In choosing home education parents assume ultimate responsibility for and control over their children’s education.

Parents are expected to take an active role in their children’s education in the school and at home. Active parental involvement and participation in their children’s education is a key factor in achieving successful educational outcomes.”
Varnham, S., & Squelch, J. (2008). Rights, responsibilities and regulation – the three Rs of education: a consideration of the state’s control over parental choice in education. Education & the Law20(3), 193–208. https://doi-org.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/10.1080/09539960902823869

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