Have you ever heard of the doctrine of the family – sometimes called the theology of the family? The doctrine of the family is carefully and plainly explained in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Anyone reading this document should be able to see clearly the importance of the family in this world and in the world to come.
When President Gordon B. Hinckley read the proclamation in a general Relief Society meeting in September 1995, he said that the proclamation was “a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices” that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had always taught. Joseph Smith understood this doctrine when he was only 17 years old.
Prophets and apostles have taught these “standards, doctrines, and practices” at various times throughout the history of the Church. In 1980, President Spencer W. Kimball said, “From the beginning, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has emphasized family life. We have always understood that the foundations of the family, as an eternal unit, were laid even before this earth was created! Society without basic family life is without foundation and will disintegrate into nothingness.
“Therefore, whenever anything so basic as the eternal family is imperiled, we have a solemn obligation to speak out, lest there be critical damage to the family institution by those who seem to be deliberately destructive of it.” (See “Families Can Be Eternal,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4)
The “family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (See “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”) God has a plan for us and it involves marriage between a man and a woman and their family throughout eternity.
In Genesis, we read that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” and then God commanded them to be “fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (1:27-28). This was God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve, and it remains in force today. God created us as male and female in order to provide bodies for His other spirit children.
God’s plan for the eternal happiness of His children was created for eternal families. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the Creation of the earth, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We are taught that “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith – History 1:39) if families are not sealed together for eternity. The family cannot possibly be an “accident” or a “mistake” because it is part of God’s plan for our eternal happiness. This is the doctrine of the family.