Families are strengthened when parents, teachers, and youth leaders teach the doctrine of the family to the rising generation. The youth of today will be the leaders and hope of tomorrow; therefore, they must have good understanding of the doctrine of the family.
There are several principles that the rising generation must understand: They need to understand that the family unit is under attack in many different ways. They need to understand the threats in order to know what they are fighting against as well as to prepare for the battle. They need to understand that the commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth" given to Adam and Eve has not been rescinded but remains in force on earth today. They need to clearly understand that doctrine of family comes from Christ; therefore, any teaching, principle, or doctrine that is anti-family is also anti-Christ.
The doctrine of the family is based on the three pillars of eternity: the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This doctrine is found in the scriptures, in the family proclamation, and in the teachings of latter-day prophets and apostles.
Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, stated the following pertaining to this subject, "The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family. It was part of Heavenly Father's plan that Adam and Eve be sealed and form an eternal family.
"The Fall provided a way for the family to grow. Adam and Eve were family leaders who chose to have a mortal experience. The Fall made it possible for them to have sons and daughters.
"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 needs to understand that the main pillars of our theology are centered in the family."
The doctrine of eternal families is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. It was restored to earth in our day by the Prophet Joseph Smith. "Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
"And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
"If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." (See Doctrine and Covenants 2:1-3.)
Beck quoted the above scripture and then continued, "This scripture is talking about temple blessings - ordinances and covenants without which `the whole earth [is] utterly wasted.
"`The Family: A Proclamation to the World' was written to reinforce that the family is central to the Creator's plan. Without the family, there is no plan; there is no reason for mortal life."
The proclamation on the family begins: "We … 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." It continues in defining and explaining the relationships and responsibilities included in family life. (See "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129.)
The family is central to God's plan for His children. Is it any wonder then that Satan and his powers of darkness are attacking the family on all fronts in an effort to destroy the family unit? There is evidence all around us that the importance of family is decreasing: falling marriage rates, rising marriage ages, increasing divorce rates, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births, increasing abortions, lower birthrates.
In addition, there is still inequality between spouses in many marriages as well as cultures that condone and practice abuse among family members. Many people put their careers before marriage and family. Because of the bad examples of adults, many of our rising generation have lost confidence in marriage and family relationships.
Many youth do not have the social skills to form family units. They are so busy texting, using social networks, and other means of technology that they do not learn to enjoy personal social experiences.
According to Beck, "We also face the problem that we read about in Ephesians 6:12: `For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' Public policies are being made every day that are antifamily, and the definition of family is changing legally around the world. Pornography is rampant… [and targeting] young women. Parents are being portrayed as inept and out of touch. Antifamily media messages are everywhere. Youth are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families."
The doctrine of the family must be taught to the rising generation, and the key points of the doctrine must be emphasized. I believe that we are now seeing that generation spoken of by President Spencer W. Kimball when he stated, "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 … 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." (See Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 4.)
In order to prepare the rising generation, parents, teachers and leaders of youth must clearly teach the doctrine of family. Knowing and understanding the doctrine of family will strengthen youth as well as their families.
Ideas and quotes are from Julie B. Beck, "Teaching the Doctrine of the Family," Ensign, March 2011, pp 12-17.