How exactly did “The Family; A Proclamation to the World” come about? It’s always a good idea to hear about things firsthand from the people involved. In this case, the firsthand accounts come from prophets, seers and revelators. If members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in prophets (and we do!) then the family proclamation that comes directly from prophets is truth.
Here are a few quick facts directly from the mouths of prophets and apostles that explain the drafting process:
President Russell M. Nelson:
“One day in 1994, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spent a day in their council room in the Salt Lake Temple discussing issues surrounding the family. They considered everything from the increasingly ubiquitous nature of pornography to potential anti-family legislation of various kinds. This was not a new discussion, but that day the entire agenda revolved around this one vital topic.”
“The Twelve reviewed both doctrine and policies, considering those things that could not be changed—doctrine—and those things that possibly could be—policies. They discussed issues they saw coming, including an intensified societal push for gay marriage and transgender rights. ‘But that was not the end of what we saw,’ Elder Nelson explained. ‘We could see the efforts of various communities to do away with all standards and limitations on sexual activity. We saw the confusion of genders. We could see it all coming.’
“This extended discussion, along with others over a period of time, led to the conclusion that the Twelve should prepare a document, perhaps even a proclamation, outlining the Church’s stand on the family to present to the First Presidency for consideration.” Source: Sheri Dew in Insights from a Prophet’s Life: Russell M. Nelson (2019), 208.
President Dallin H. Oaks:
“As one of only seven of those Apostles still living, I feel obliged to share what led to the family proclamation for the information of all who consider it. The inspiration identifying the need for a proclamation on the family came to the leadership of the Church over 23 years ago. It was a surprise to some who thought the doctrinal truths about marriage and the family were well understood without restatement. Nevertheless, we felt the confirmation and we went to work. Subjects were identified and discussed by members of the Quorum of the Twelve for nearly a year. Language was proposed, reviewed, and revised. Prayerfully we continually pleaded with the Lord for His inspiration on what we should say and how we should say it. We all learned “line upon line, precept upon precept,” as the Lord has promised (D&C 98:12).”
“During this revelatory process, a proposed text was presented to the First Presidency, who oversee and promulgate Church teachings and doctrine. After the Presidency made further changes, the proclamation on the family was announced by the President of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley.” (Link)
Elder M. Russell Ballard:
“As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, I participated in the process of drafting that inspired document. It was a remarkable experience for all of us. As we travel the world, we see things–both within the Church and outside the Church. We were troubled by much of what we were seeing. We could see the people of the world wanting to define the family in ways contrary to God’s eternal plan for the happiness of His children. Various world conferences were held dealing either directly or indirectly with the family. Major agenda items were introduced by some delegates that would have greatly weakened the family; yet, through the significant contributions of Church leaders, members, and other like-minded people, the language and thus the effects of those proposals were softened.”
“In the midst of all that was stirring on this subject in the world, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could see the importance of declaring to the world the revealed, true role of the family in the eternal plan of God. We worked together through the divinely inspired council system that operates even at the highest levels of the Church to craft a proclamation that would make the Lord’s position on the family so clear that it could not be misunderstood.” (Link)
President Boyd K. Packer:
“The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve issued a proclamation on the family. I can tell you how that came about. They had a world conference on the family sponsored by the United Nations in Beijing, China. We sent representatives. It was not pleasant what they heard. They called another one in Cairo. Some of our people were there. I read the proceedings of that. The word marriage was not mentioned. It was at a conference on the family, but marriage was not even mentioned. It was then they announced that they were going to have such a conference here in Salt Lake City. Some of us made the recommendation: “They are coming here. We had better proclaim our position.” (Link)
He later added:
“In 1995 that great document “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was prepared by all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. … The hope is that Latter-day Saints will recognize the transcendent importance of the family.” (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.