Families, communities, and nations can be strengthened by studying and following the counsel given in a document known as the Proclamation on the Family. I am taking a course titled “The Eternal Family” for my religion class this semester and will be studying this Proclamation in depth. As is my usual practice, I will share what I learn with my readers.
The official title of the Proclamation is “The Family: A Proclamation to the World—The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” This document was presented to the women of the Church in September 1995 and published to the world in November 1995.
President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency delivered an address titled “The Family” to the Brigham Young University student body on November 5, 1995. He discussed each part of the Proclamation in his talk, beginning with the title.
“Three things about the title are worth our careful reflection. First, the subject: the family. Second, the audience, which is the whole world. And third, those who proclaimed are those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. That means that the family must be as important to us as anything we can consider, that what the proclamation says could help anyone in the world, and that the proclamation fits the Lord’s promise when he said, `Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same’ (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
“Before we start to listen to the words of the proclamation together, the title tells us something about how to prepare. We can expect that God won’t just tell us a few interesting things about the family; he will tell us what a family ought to be and why....”
I found this proclamation interesting for several reasons: (1) The Church has issued very few proclamations to the world in its 186 years of existence. I believe this proclamation was number five or six.
(2) It was issued in 1995, more than 20 years ago and previous to the destruction of the family that has taken place in the past 5-10 years. (3) It contains two warnings, one to individuals who fail to fulfill their marriage and family responsibilities and one about the effects of the disintegration of the family.