Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when individuals understand and live the principles contained in the inspired document known as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The proclamation on the family is inspired counsel from living apostles and prophets and contains counsel to help strengthen marriages and families.
The seventh paragraph of the Proclamation states: “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.”
This paragraph contains many principles applying to marriage and families. First of all, it teaches us that God wants us to marry and to live in families, but He has only one definition of a marriage and family. God ordains marriage between one man and one woman and has made this marriage an important part of His plan for the eternal happiness of His children.
The second important principle defines the rights of children to be born “within the bonds of matrimony” and “to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” It is a sad fact in our society that the rights of children are so often forgotten by selfish adults who put their own desires and needs ahead of those of their children.
The third important principle is that the teachings of Jesus Christ are the foundation for happy and successful families. Parents and children who live the gospel of Jesus Christ are more likely to be truly happy and successful. The gospel principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities are the exact principles that strengthen and prolong relationships.
No man is “superman” and no woman is “superwoman.” We all have limitations in our abilities, time, and energy. This inspired document divides the duties of husbands and fathers from those of wives and mothers and thus makes it possible for us to “cover all the bases.” When husbands and fathers preside, provide, and protect their families, their wives are more likely to have the time and energy to care for and teach the children.
Our Heavenly Father has given us the pattern for the ideal family and has provided teachings to help us develop these ideal conditions. We all know families who live under less than these ideal situations – whether temporarily or more permanent – and need assistance and support from other people. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even siblings should take this opportunity to give service in such cases.
Janice Kapp Perry wrote the words and music for a beautiful song entitled “Love Is Spoken Here” that teaches both children and adults how to put these principles into daily life. I enjoy hearing my children and grandchildren sing this song because I can feel the love in their homes and families when they do. The girls usually sing the first verse, and the boys usually sing the second verse. Then all come together for the ending of the song. The words and music of the song are beautiful and bring such a wonderful spirit into a home or meeting.
I see my mother kneeling with our family each day.
I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray.
Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears.
And I am thankful love is spoken here.
Mine is a home where ev’ry hour
Is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow’r,
With father and mother leading the way,
Teaching me how to trust and obey;
And the things they teach are crystal clear,
For love is spoken here.
I can often feel the Savior near
When love is spoken here.
The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ contains a story about 2060 young men who went to war to protect their families, homes and nation. These warriors were involved in several fierce battles; all of them received injuries but none of them were killed. They were blessed because of their faith, obedience, and righteousness. Helaman, the leader of these stripling warriors, wrote the following in a letter to his commander: “Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them” (Alma 57:21).
I know the importance of establishing our families on gospel principles. The principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ strengthen us as individuals and unify us as families. Our families, communities and nation can be strengthened when we live the gospel principles.